The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake for Thanksgiving

October 28, 2018

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The first time I had pumpkin cheesecake, it was more of a New York style. It was delicious, but also very heavy. I mean, you just finished eating a plate full (or perhaps several plates full) of Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re like me, by that time, you just aren’t in the mood to eat something heavy.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Enter this recipe. I use Ricotta as the main base for the filling, which is lighter, and can cook up to a good texture without requiring flour. This recipe is enough to make 1, 8inch round cheesecake. You’ll need a springform pan. Also, the cheesecake needs to sit in the fridge overnight, so you’ll want to make this the day before.

Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Pumpkin Cheesecake

A ricotta-based cheesecake that is light, fluffy, and a pleasant finish to a big, Thanksgiving meal. 
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cheesecake, dessert, pie, pumpkin, ricotta, Thanksgiving


For the crust

  • 3 cinnamon graham crackers
  • 1 handful ginger snap cookies
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter melted

For the filling

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 20 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 15 oz pure pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 6 large eggs


For the crust

  • Break up the graham crackers and ginger snaps in a food processor or with a large mortar & pestle. 
  • Add the melted butter and sugar to the crumb, and mix until evenly coated. Pour into the bottom of a springform pan, and press down evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge while you make the filling.

For the filling

  • Preheat the oven to 315 degrees. In a stand mixer (if you have it, use a hand mixer if not) beat the cream cheese on low for 10 minutes, scraping the sides throughout. 
  • Add the ricotta and white sugar and beat for another 5 minutes until smooth, scraping the sides throughout. Slowly add the evaporated milk while running the mixer on low, until it is all incorporated. 
  • If using a stand mixer, change to the whisking attachment. Add the pumpkin and whisk together on medium speed. 
  • While the mixer is running on medium-low, add the corn starch, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, and salt. Turn the mixer off, scrape the side, then turn it back on to medium speed for 2-3 minutes until smooth and uniform. 
  • While the mixer is still running, add the eggs one at a time (crack them into a separate bowl first to ensure no shells get added) and whip until evenly incorporated. 

To bake

  • Remove the springform pan with the crust from the fridge and discard the plastic wrap. Pour in the batter to within about 1/2in from the top. 
  • Using one solid piece of tin foil, surround the springform pan loosely. Set in a large roasting pan filled with about an inch of water (this is called a water bath). 
  • Bake at 315 for 3 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool for one hour before covering with a cloth or paper towel and setting in the fridge at least over night. 
  • If moisture has gathered on the top after chilling, dab with a paper towel. Cut the cheesecake into 8-16 pieces, depending on the size you want. Serve chilled. 

Equipment used:

Kitchenaid Stand MixerSpringform PanRoasting Pan

More Thanksgiving Recipes:
• Savory Cornbread Stuffing
• Scratch-Made Asparagus Casserole (my version of green bean casserole)
• Country-Style Herbed Mashed Potatoes
• Dijon Country Gravy Made with Turkey Drippings
• Homemade Cranberry Sauce Worth Serving
• Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple and Bacon Vinaigrette
• How to Roast the Perfect Turkey
• How to Make an Entire Thanksgiving Meal In One Oven

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What do you think?

  1. Robin Fakler says:

    5 stars
    Your video was inspiring and I’m gonna try to make one for Thanksgiving! Can you give me advice on how to do it in advance? Can I freeze it at any point so I can make it a week ahead of time? I want it to be as impressive as it sounds when I serve it!

    • Chris says:

      I’ve never tried freezing it but it will keep in the fridge for several days. The longest I’ve done is like 5 days, but you have to keep moisture away from it. Including the humidity in the air. Try to refrigerate it sealed up completely and air tight.

  2. Ricky says:

    5 stars
    I have made this a few times and now everyone demands it on Thanksgiving. Did the recipe change? Seems like it used to be heavy cream rather than condensed milk.

  3. Sue says:

    5 stars
    Delicious!! I made Chris’ Pumpkin Cheesecake for Thanksgiving and is was a hit! It will definitely become a part of every future Thanksgiving dinner! Thanks! Sue

  4. Susan Lasky says:

    5 stars
    Chris….Excellent cheesecake!! So light and flavorful. Not sure what I did wrong but the crust “desolved” into the bottom of my cake…way too moist on the crust and cake I guess?? Next time I will brown the crust and let it cool. Maybe then it will stick around. Truly the best cheesecake I’ve eaten and fun to make! Thank you!!

  5. Angela says:

    I have a 9 inch springform pan, not an 8 inch. Will it work the same? Just less cooking time and make a little more of the crust? Thanks!

  6. Keri says:

    5 stars
    This was my first time baking a cheesecake and it came out beautiful and delicious! Everyone loved it! Thank you for the recipe and the video really helped me decide that I could do it!

  7. Ash says:

    5 stars
    I made this earlier today in preparation for Thanksgiving tomorrow. There was too much batter for my springform pan, so I filled four ramekins as well. Lucky for me, because I broke into one of them tonight. Delicious! Such a wonderfully light texture. We will be serving it with a maple whipped cream on the side. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Keri says:

      5 stars
      Well, now I’m really upset with myself for not thinking of doing this with my leftover batter. It was an agonizing 24 hour wait to dig into that cake! ????

  8. Jason says:

    5 stars
    Chris can you use real pumpkin rather than the stuff out of the can? Your vdeoa and receipies are great, but we need more.

  9. Emma says:

    5 stars
    by far the best desert i have EVER made..everyone loved it!

  10. Vicki says:

    You do an amazing job with these cooking videos. So clear about everything you are doing and why. I typically am not a cheesecake fan because it is so rich and heavy. I will definitely be trying this sometime soon!

    • Chris says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Vicki! I hope you do give it a try – if you aren’t a fan of heavy cheesecake I think you’ll enjoy it.

  11. Jacqueline kwan says:

    Hi! This will be my first time making cheesecake. I noticed the cook time is double of most cheesecake recipes. Is it because it requires longer cooking because of the evaporated milk (making it more liquid). I just don’t want to dry out the cake. Thanks for your advice!

  12. Danna says:

    Chris, you are so great at explaining things and giving tips of why and how to do things! I need all the cooking/baking tips I can get! Helps you remember how to do things because you know why you are doing them!

  13. Carrie says:

    I was just checking out this recipe last week from your big thanksgiving series your did several years back. glad you re-posted so I can save to my plan to eat app! this one is definitely on the list for this year!

  14. Jill says:

    O wow. I’m so ready for pumpkin anything. But this is over the top delicious sounding! And I just got a spring form this year. Thanks Chris!

  15. Christina says:

    5 stars
    This sounds great! Could you let me know if the plate in the photo is C&B, or add a link to your IG story? Thx!!!

    • Chris says:

      It’s last year’s Hearth and Home (Joanna Gaines’ Target line).

    • Ginny Vincz says:

      Hi Chris! I’ve got it in the oven now! Looking good so far. I needed to use some ricotta while still good so I am a little early for my use of this cheesecake. Can I freeze it with success? Thanks, ginny

  16. Julie S says:

    i think I’m going to try this out! I have an amazing NY style pumpkin cheesecake I love – I don’t love baking so it’s a once a year kind of thing, usually for Hub’s November birthday – only thing is, it’s so big and heavy the 4 of us barely get through a week of eating it before it begins to be past its prime. Bigger slices of yumminess that don’t feel like a chore to finish before it loses its flavor sounds like something good to try. Your ingredients and baking method seem pretty similar to what I’m used to doing which makes it even more likely for me to attempt it :)

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