This recipe for pumpkin cheesecake bars is SO GOOD. These pumpkin pie cheesecake bars filled with pumpkin spice flavor are a fun and easy crowd pleasing dessert!
Hello, fall! I’m so happy you’re here. As much as I love summer, the magic of fall is in full swing and I’m loving every minute of it. Farmers markets, sweaters, scarves, pumpkin spice lattes, and these pumpkin pie cheesecake bars. It feels like now through Christmas is one big magical season, and I’m here for every single second of it.
How to make pumpkin cheesecake bars:
First, pull out your cream cheese and eggs so that they have time to come to room temperature. This helps avoid the dreaded cheesecake crack.
Next, you’ll make your crust. There’s no need to pre-bake this crust before adding the filling.
Be sure to leave parchment paper hanging over the edges by about 2 inches. This leaves you with handles to pull out the pumpkin spice cheesecake later.
Using a stand mixer and paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), combine the cream cheese, sugar, and brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
One at a time, add in the vanilla and eggs. Mix after each addition until it’s just combined.
Pour half of the filling onto the crust, and use a rubber spatula to spread it around.
Add the pumpkin puree and DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice to the remaining cheesecake filling. Mix until it’s just combined.
Gently pour the pumpkin cheesecake filling over the plain cheesecake filling (being careful to keep the layers separate). Use a rubber spatula to gently evenly distribute the pumpkin cheesecake filling.
Bake the cheesecake on the middle rack of the oven at 300 F for 50 minutes. The edges will look set, but the center will still look wobbly.
Without opening the oven door, turn the oven off and let the pumpkin spice cheesecake bars finish baking in the off oven for an hour.
Open the oven door a few inches, and let the cheesecakes cool slowly in the oven for 30 minutes.
The two steps I just mentioned are SO IMPORTANT! Don’t skip them. Letting the cheesecake bars slowly cool off is the most important step in avoiding a cracked cheesecake. If you skip these steps, and pull the cheesecake out right away, expect a severe crack in your cheesecake.
Refrigerate the pumpkin cheesecake bars with gluten free graham cracker crust for at least 4-6 hours, but preferably overnight, before serving.
How far in advance to make pumpkin cheesecake bars?
These need time to cool in the oven, and another 4-6 to completely set in the fridge. I’d make them the day before if you can (or at least make it early in the morning if you need it that evening).
Love all things pumpkin, especially desserts? Me, too. Try my Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting if you’re looking for another crowd pleasing pumpkin dessert that doesn’t need as much rest time!
What You’ll Need:
If you love to bake, using this affordable powerhouse stand mixer will make your life so much easier.
If you don’t have the space for a stand mixer, then using an electric mixer is your next best bet. The trick to using an electric mixer is using it with an extra large mixing bowl. I have a mixing bowl this size, and it comes in handy all the time. It’s perfect for meal prep, salads, and it makes baking so much easier.
You’ll also need an 8-Inch Square Cake Pan. I love this one – it’s a great value and high quality.
How to make GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE BARS:
This recipe works beautifully gluten free! All you have to do is use gluten free graham cracker crumbs with a Tablespoon of this magical binding ingredient (hint: it’s not xantham gum!).
I’ve only tested this recipe using these gluten free graham crackers. It turned out perfectly! Since there’s a lot of variation by brand when it comes to gluten free baking, I can only vouch for how this recipe will turn out if you use these graham crackers.
- 1 ½ cup gluten free graham cracker crumbs
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon psyllium husk
- 3 packages cream cheese (softened, cream cheese bricks - 8 ounces each)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Preheat oven to 300 F.
- Crush the gluten free graham crackers into fine crumbs.
- In a medium bowl, combine the crumbs, 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, and the psyllium husk. Stir to combine.
- Add in the melted butter, stir to combine.
- Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a 8 x 8 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Make sure two edges of the parchment paper hang over the edge by a couple of inches. This gives you a handle to help pull the bars out later.
- Add the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
- Add in the vanilla extract and beat on low speed until just combined.
- Add in the eggs one at a time. Beat on low speed until just combined.
- Gently pour half of the mixture over the crust. Using a small rubber spatula, spread the cream cheese mixture out so it’s in an even layer over the crust.
- Add in the pumpkin and DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice to the rest of the cream cheese mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined.
- Being very gentle, either pour or spoon the pumpkin cream cheese mixture over the plain cream cheese mixture. Using a small rubber spatula, spread the pumpkin mixture out so it’s in an even layer.
- Bake for 50 minutes. The edges will look set, but the center will still jiggle.
- Turn the oven off. Allow the cheesecake to finish cooking in the off oven for an hour. The provides a gentle and gradual finish, which will help you avoid a crack in your cheesecake.
- Open the oven door a few inches and allow the cheesecake bars to cool slowly in the oven for half an hour.
- After the half hour has passed, remove the cheesecake bars from the oven.
- Refrigerate for a minimum of 4-6 hours, but preferably overnight, before cutting and serving.
- Top with whipped cream, DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice, butterscotch sauce, or pumpkin candies!
IMPORTANT - This dessert will ONLY be gluten free IF you use certified gluten free graham crackers to make your graham cracker crumbs.
If you'd like all the tips and tricks to successfully make a gluten free graham cracker crust - I wrote an entire article about it here!
You can also freeze these (which is how I prefer to eat them). I cut them into squares and then freeze the pre-cut squares. You can either eat them frozen, or if they’re a little too hard for you, you can let them thaw for a few minutes before eating.
If you do not eat a gluten free diet, you can adapt this recipe by using regular graham cracker crumbs (or biscuit cookie crumbs if outside the US), and omitting the psyllium husk.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 299 Total Fat: 20.2g Carbohydrates: 27g Fiber: .8g Sugar: 21.3g Protein: 3.7g
Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments and on Instagram! @keytomylime #keytomylime
Be sure to pin this recipe for later!
Looking for cheesecake bars with the Christmas spirit? A Treats Affair has a Candy Cane Cheesecake Bar recipe that looks delicious!