Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

This pumpkin swirl cheesecake features a delicious pumpkin spice swirl, rich and creamy cheesecake filling, a deliciously spiced and crunchy gingersnap cookie crust, and is topped with fresh whipped cream and salted caramel sauce.

slice of pumpkin swirl cheesecake on a dessert server with salted caramel

Fall has arrived and we’re all in a mad dash to bake all the fall things like jalapeño cheddar bread and apple cider donuts. My latest creation is pumpkin swirl cheesecake, a delicious alternative to pumpkin pie and pumpkin cake. Judging by this reader-favorite cheesecake recipe, I know most of you are CRAZY for cheesecake too.

pumpkin cheesecake with whipped cream on a wood slice cake stand

How to Make Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

If you look at my classic cheesecake recipe, you’ll notice that today’s pumpkin cheesecake uses mostly all of the same ingredients. Besides the amounts of each, the difference is that we’ll divide the batter in half and add pumpkin puree + spices to create a hypnotizing pumpkin swirl. The result is pockets of luscious cheesecake paired with rich, creamy, perfectly spiced pumpkin cheesecake.

All this sits on top of a crunchy gingersnap cookie crust. Add extra flavor to the crust with a bit of cinnamon and ginger. Here’s my tip: Not all store-bought gingersnap cookies are the same, so make sure you read my notes below about which cookies are best for a cookie crust.

How to swirl: My trick is to drop spoonfuls of alternating batter– plain and pumpkin– until the pan is filled, then use a toothpick or knife to swirl. It doesn’t need to be perfect and it certainly doesn’t need to be neat.

2 images of cheesecake batter in a glass bowl and pumpkin batter in a glass bowl

Gingersnap cookie crust in a springform pan and pumpkin swirl cheesecake filling in a springform pan before baking

How to Make a Cheesecake Water Bath

A cheesecake water bath is nothing complicated. All you’re doing is placing the springform pan in a roasting pan, filling it with hot water, and baking. What’s the point of a water bath? I actually wrote an entire post about a cheesecake water bath years ago. Cheesecakes are egg-heavy desserts. Eggs need a moist and humid environment in the oven to (1) properly rise and (2) avoid drying out and burning. The steam from the hot water will lift the cheesecake up slowly and evenly, reducing the risk of cracks on the surface. Additionally, this slow and even baking method helps prevent the cheesecake from sinking back down as it cools. Taking a few extra minutes to prepare a water bath for your cheesecake is well worth it. I can’t say enough how valuable it is! Springform pans can leak if you’re baking the cheesecake in a water bath, but this particular pan is reliable. I haven’t had any leaking issues.

Want to skip all the water bath drama? Try my no-bake pumpkin cheesecake. It tastes like pumpkin mousse and is definitely one of my fall favorites.

pumpkin swirl cheesecake after baking in a springform pan

Tips for the Perfect Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

  1. Make sure you’re using blocks of cream cheese, not cream cheese spread.
  2. All of the cheesecake batter ingredients must be at room temperature so the batter remains smooth and combines quickly, so as to not over-beat the eggs.
  3. Do not over-mix the cheesecake batter
  4. Bake cheesecake in a water bath or alternate discussed in the recipe notes below
  5. Leave cheesecake in the cooling oven for 1 hour
  6. Cool completely at room temperature before chilling

I did have a small crack in the upper right edge of my pumpkin cheesecake, but that’s nothing a thick layer of fresh whipped cream can’t hide! Add a little salted caramel and I’m pretty sure this pumpkin cheesecake is the definition of pumpkin dessert heaven.

side view of pumpkin swirl cheesecake on a wood slice cake stand

slice of pumpkin swirl cheesecake on a white plate

How to Freeze Cheesecake

  1. Cool the cheesecake on the counter before freezing. No need to chill it in the refrigerator
  2. Freeze on springform pan: Remove the outer rim from the springform pan. Wrap the cheesecake with the bottom of the pan with a few layers of plastic wrap, then a final layer of aluminum foil.
  3. Or freeze without springform pan: After the cheesecake has completely cooled, run a sharp knife underneath the crust to release it from the bottom of the pan. Carefully slide it onto a parchment paper lined piece of cardboard or use a plate. Wrap it all in a few layers of plastic wrap, then a final layer of aluminum foil.
  4. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  5. Do not freeze cheesecake with any toppings. Prepare toppings for serving cheesecake.

I would LOVE to know if you try the pumpkin cheesecake! If you want something smaller, I also have a recipe for mini pumpkin cheesecakes and pumpkin pie bars.

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon
slice of pumpkin swirl cheesecake on a dessert server with salted caramel

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 9 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves at least 12
  • Category: Cheesecake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This pumpkin cheesecake features a delicious pumpkin spice swirl, rich and creamy cheesecake filling, a deliciously spiced and crunchy gingersnap cookie crust, and is topped with fresh whipped cream and salted caramel sauce.


Ingredients

Gingersnap Cookie Crust

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (150g) gingersnap cookie crumbs*
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: ground ginger and ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

Cheesecake

  • four 8-ounce blocks (904g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (227g) pumpkin puree*
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
  • topping suggestions: salted caramel and whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. Make the crust: Using a food processor, pulse the gingersnap cookies into crumbs. Pour into a medium bowl and stir in ginger, cinnamon, sugar, and melted butter until combined. (You can also pulse it all together in the food processor.) Mixture will be sandy. Press firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan. No need to grease the pan first. I use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the crust down tightly. Pre-bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the hot pan on a large piece of aluminum foil. The foil will wrap around the pan for the water bath in step 4. Allow crust to slightly cool as you prepare the filling.
  3. Make the filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract, then beat until fully combined. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just blended. After the final egg is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing. To help prevent the cheesecake from deflating and cracking as it cools, avoid over-mixing the batter as best you can.
  4. Scoop out 2 cups of batter and place in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the pumpkin, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice until combined. Begin adding spoonfuls of each batter, the plain and the pumpkin, on top of the crust. Alternate until all the batter is used and pan is filled. Using a toothpick or knife, swirl the batters together by dragging the toothpick top to bottom, then left to right.
  5. Prepare the simple water bath (see note): If you need a visual, watch me prepare a water bath right here. Boil a pot of water. You need 1 inch of water in your roasting pan for the water bath, so make sure you boil enough. I use an entire kettle of hot water. As the water is heating up, wrap the aluminum foil around the springform pan. Place the pan inside of a large roasting pan. Carefully pour the hot water inside of the pan and place in the oven. (Or you can place the roasting pan in the oven first, then pour the hot water in. Whichever is easier for you.)
  6. (Note: if you notice the cheesecake browning too quickly on top, tent it with aluminum foil halfway through baking.) Bake cheesecake for 55-70 minutes or until the center is almost set. When it’s done, the center of the cheesecake will slightly wobble if you gently shake the pan. Turn the oven off and open the oven door slightly. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 1 hour as it cools down. Remove cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  7. Use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim. Add toppings, if desired. Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean and dip into warm water between each slice.
  8. Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: This cheesecake can be made the day before. It has to chill for quite some time before serving. See step 5. Another way to make this cheesecake ahead of time is to freeze it. Cheesecake can be frozen up to 2 or 3 months. I find this tutorial for freezing cheesecakes helpful. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Springform Pan | Wood Cake Stand
  3. Gingersnap Cookies: Store-bought gingersnap cookies are ideal as they are the most dry. The ONLY brand that I’ve had issues with is the Nabisco gingersnap cookies. They’re delicious on their own, but they’re too moist for a gingersnap cookie crust. Alternatively, you can use a graham cracker crust instead. Feel free to add or reduce the amount of cinnamon and ginger based on your taste preference.
  4. Pumpkin: I recommend canned pumpkin, not fresh pumpkin puree in this recipe. I like to use Libby’s brand. Fresh will work in a pinch, but the cheesecake is tastier and more firm with canned. Do not use pumpkin pie filling.
  5. Pumpkin Pie Spice: Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon each: ground allspice and ground ginger AND 1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves.
  6. Why is Everything at Room Temperature? Bring all cold ingredients to room temperature before beginning. Room temperature ingredients combine quickly and evenly, so you won’t risk over-mixing. Also, beating cold ingredients together will result in a chunky cheesecake batter, hardly the way you want to begin!
  7. Water Bath: Some readers have baked cheesecakes with a large pan of hot water on the rack beneath the baking cheesecake. In this manner, the cheesecake does not bake directly in a roasting pan of water. I have never tried this method, but many report back with great reviews! This is a wonderful alternative if you do not own a large roasting pan or are nervous about your springform pan leaking. Simply place a large baking pan filled with 1 inch of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven.

slice of pumpkin swirl cheesecake on a white plate

198 Comments

  1. We made this cheesecake for Thanksgiving, as well as your French Silk Pie AND your Cranberry Apple Lattice Pie. Everyone LOVED LOVED LOVED. We had so many complements and the cheesecake was so gorgeous because of your technique. THANK YOU Sally. You made us look like baking rock stars!!

  2. Heidi Franklin says:

    I just made this cheesecake for the second time. This time for a Christmas gift. It is so good! Now I want one for me! Thank you for the awesome recipe!

  3. I made this for the first time for my son in law for Christmas. So I want to freeze it. It turned out beautiful! But there is no way that it can be taken off of the springform pan bottom. No matter how many times I tried to put the knife through the bottom, it appeared that I would destroy the beauty of this cheesecake. I wish I would have put some parchment paper on the bottom first. That is my suggestion to anyone that wants it removed from the pan. However it did give me the chance to taste it, and it is delicious. Only reason for the 4 stars is because I can’t get it off the bottom of the pan. Easy to make and beautiful. Followed the directions exactly.

    1. Hi Char, When freezing cheesecakes I always freeze it right on the bottom of the springform pan! In the recipe notes for freezing directions there is a link to more details on exactly how to wrap it up to freeze. I hope your son in law loves it!

  4. Made this for Christmas, though I actually made a 4 flavor one, this being one of them, her recipe came out soooooo creamy, moist, and flavorful, another hit with Sally’s recipes.

  5. Finally! Something I made that was eaten. My brother that never touched anything I made had 2 slices and couldnt believed I baked this. 🙂

  6. This cheesecake is amazing! I made it a few times and brought to Thanksgiving dessert one year. I also made the cheesecake ahead and froze it, thawed, then served on more than one occasion. Huge time saver during the holidays. Highly recommend!!

  7. Alyssa Flaherty-Spence says:

    I need to make the crust ahead of time (one day). Any suggestions on how to store it until the next day for the filling?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alyssa, If you prepare the crust the day before I would suggest covering it tightly with plastic wrap (press it right onto the surface to keep it as fresh as possible) and you can store it at room temperature. When ready the next day, fill and bake. Enjoy!

  8. I know you have the mini pumpkin cheesecake recipe, but can I make this exact recipe as mini cheesecakes?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karina, Yes! Same baking instructions as these mini cheesecakes, but add the swirl. This recipe would yield at least 4 dozen mini pumpkin cheesecakes. Let us know if you try it!

  9. I don’t have a springform pan. What else can I use to cook this in?

    1. Kirsten Trout says:

      You can halve this recipe and do it in a store bought gram cracker piecrust! Or make two!

      1. That’s a great idea! How long would you bake it for then? Would you still need a water bath?

  10. Kimberley Walker says:

    Hi Sally,
    You have taken my baking to a new level. Thank you
    My ? Is I live in Australia and we don’t have canned pumpkin anything.
    I’d love to make the pumpkin spice cheesecake ?
    Any suggestions
    Cheers Kimberley

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kimberley, Other readers have reported making fresh pumpkin puree this way: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/pumpkin-puree-recipe-1922629

  11. Hi Sally, your cheesecake looks amazing! I was going to make this in a 6 inch pan so I’ll probably divide the batter ( does this sound correct?) also would I have to adjust the temperature and time at all? Thanks

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Win, We haven’t tested this in a 6 inch pan but you can calculate the amount of batter you would need using the post Cake Pan Sizes and Conversions. I’m unsure of the exact bake time needed (same temperature) but keep an eye on it and bake until the center is almost set.

      1. Hi Sally I went ahead and made this by halving the recipe for my 6 inch. I baked it at the same temperature for and hour and half and it turned out fine with no cracks! I would say I had an excess of 1//3 cup extra batter and I used an oreo crust instead. It was very good! thanks.

  12. how long can you store the cheesecake with the whipped cream on it. Refrigerated and not Refrigerated

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bob, If you have leftovers you should store it in the refrigerator. You can keep it covered the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

  13. MidniteBakerRR says:

    Came out delicious! Made it last night for my work crew for Nat’l Punkin Cheesecake Day!! Everyone loved it, thanks!!!

  14. Elizabeth Chhim says:

    Hi Sally!

    I run a small bistro in a retirement community and I made this cheesecake last week and it sold really fast! It was delicious! In fact I use many of your recipes and I always get very positive feedback! Thank you so much for sharing!

  15. I’m in australia and tin pumkin is hard to get
    Is there anyway of using fresh and draining?…any ideas welcome

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Maree, Other readers have reported making fresh pumpkin puree this way: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/pumpkin-puree-recipe-1922629

  16. Just made this with your graham cracker crust. Your recipes never disappoint and are so easy to follow. This one was DELICIOUS and everyone was so impressed.

  17. Phyllis Smith says:

    Very good recipes, very precise and easy to follow. I love making cheese cakes I have three different size springform pans and I usually bring it ti Thanksgiving dinner where ever I go. This year I am dropping off cheese cakes and I thought it would be great to do something a little different.. So I tested the recipe first. The cheese cake was delicious!!! How many calories per slice in this recipe, please?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Phyllis, We are so happy you enjoyed this recipe! I’m unsure of the nutritional info of this recipe, but there are many great online calculators like this one: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  18. Hey Sally! I’m so excited to make this for Thanksgiving. I really don’t want the cheesecake to stick to the spring form pan, any tips to prevent this?

    Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mia, The butter in the crust prevents it from sticking to the pan, but if you wish you can line the bottom of the pan with a round piece of parchment paper.

  19. I have not made this recipe yet but I have a question. The recipe calls for 1 cup of pumpkin puree and is tagged with an asterik. The asterik doesn’t have any information associated with it. So my question is – is one cup pumpkin puree just 1 cup of canned Libby’s pumpkin? That is the brand Sally said she uses in the commentary. THANKS for your help! Trying to make for Thanksgiving so reply soon. 🙂

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katie, The asterisk indicates there is more information in the recipe notes (just below the recipe). Yes, it’s one cup of the canned pumpkin and the Libby’s brand is great!

  20. Hi, I made this and it was delicious but would like it to be only pumpkin without the swirl. How would I change the recipe to only have pumpkin cheesecake filling?

    1. Hi Jasmine, instead of swirling, you can beat the pumpkin right into all of the batter when you add the sour cream.

  21. Michelle Hetmanski says:

    This cheesecake was incredible. Very delicious. I also couldn’t get the crust off the bottom of the springform pan even though I used non-stick spray as well as parchment paper. The crust was completely ruined when I tried to remove it from the pan. I don’t understand why because I’ve made Tyler Florence’s cheesecake recipe many times and never had that problem before

  22. I’d like to make this smaller. Can I buy 1/2 of everything and use a 6 inch springform pan?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Pati, We haven’t tested this in a 6 inch pan but you can certainly try. If you wish to be exact you can calculate the capacity of each pan using this post on Cake Pan Sizes & Conversions. I’m unsure of the exact bake time needed (same temperature) but keep an eye on it and bake until the center is almost set.

  23. Hi Sally, I’m excited to try this recipe. But what do I do to get it off.of the springform pan? I would.like to give it as a gift.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Orissa, You can cut a round piece of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan and then after it’s baked you should be able to slide the whole cake off of the pan to give as a gift.

  24. Hi Sally! I am making this for Thanksgiving and will be dividing it between 2 store bought crusts. Do I still need to do the water bath if I am using the pre made crust? Thank you!

    1. Hi Annie! The water bath is to help prevent cracks in the cheesecake filling. I recommend it regardless if you use a premade crust or not.

  25. Hi! I’m making this in a few days for Thanksgiving, but I need to make 3! I’m using store bought graham cracker crusts, well, because I’m lazy. Actually, it’s because I have a 3 yr old and the quicker I’m out of the kitchen, the better. So! HOW do I halve a recipe with 3 eggs? Just double the recipe and make 4 cheesecakes? SOLD! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melissa, So you are using half the filling per pie crust? We haven’t tested that but let us know how it turns out! To use half of an egg you can crack it into a separate bowl, mix it, and then only use half. Happy baking!

      1. Fingers crossed, I’m gonna try it. If it’s not enough to fill two, I’ll just have to make some mini crustless cheesecakes in cupcake liners or something. OR maybe doubling the recipe will make three and I just won’t be able to freeze one for Christmas. 🙂 🙂 Thank you for the info! I’ll definitely let you know how it turns out 🙂 🙂

      2. Success!!
        SO… I doubled the recipe, because I wanted to keep a cheesecake for myself. One to the neighbor, one to go with my MIL to my BIL’s house, one for my Grandma and the ladies at her nursing home. Doubling recipes ALWAYS backfires on me, this was no exception…In the best way. Let me say, had I five pie crusts, it would have been perfect. I filled four of the store bought graham crusts and made half a dozen crustless cakes in my silicon baking cups. This recipe is delicious. Thank you so much, again!

      3. * Also, I made all four at once, in my regular sized oven. I used my jelly roll pans for the water bath (they’re like deep-dish cookie sheets) just like I always do, spread out my racks so that they separated my oven into thirds, and put two cakes on each sheet, and three cupcakes in each. At 350F, they were a little too jiggly at 50 minutes, and I figured ten more couldn’t hurt, so grand total of 60 minutes bake time. Then I popped the over door, turned it off, let it sit an hour, and like a charm, no cracks.

  26. Another winner!! I made this yesterday and it came out perfect. I even forgot to do the water bath. It didn’t deflate or seem overbaked in any way. Also made the whipped cream and salted caramel for toppings. Everything came out great!!

  27. Hi Sally. My cheesecake has been in the oven for 80 min and is still jiggly in more than just the middle. Should I continue to bake it or turn the oven off and start the cooling process? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ellyn, We suggest baking until just the center is jiggly. Go ahead and tent it with aluminum foil to prevent the top from browning as the cake finishes baking.

      1. So ours has been in the oven for about 100 minutes but is still pretty jiggly al over. Should we just call it and cross our fingers or should we keep baking until it’s less jiggly?

  28. Sally, this is the second time I am making this in as many months. I made the first one for our small Halloween gathering (because trick-or-treating was banned in our city). Everyone raved about it for days, and it was specifically requested for Thanksgiving!
    The first one I made, I layered it so that the pumpkin was the top layer, and I swirled the white cheesecake left into a swirly spider web (for Halloween)! This time I forgot about swirling before I added in the seasonings and cinnamon and such…so it looks like it is pumpkin and cinnamon swirled cheesecake! A happy mistake, but I am sure it’ll be just as good. Thanks for the fabulous recipes!

  29. I made the cheesecake and it has now cooled to room temperature. We will be eating it tomorrow, so do I leave it in the springform pan and put plastic wrap on it for the overnight in the fridge? I was worried about condensation.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Adria, store covered in the refrigerator. If you’re worried about condensation though, it would be fine uncovered for this amount of time.

  30. Thank you Sally! Followed your recipe and your suggestions, I was excited to see the cheesecake came out perfect! Looking forward to dessert on Thanksgiving! I’ll make the salted caramel tomorrow to top off sweetly!

1 2 3 4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×