Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars Recipe. I love traditional Thanksgiving desserts and make a pumpkin pie every year, but there is something so magical to me about cheesecake. Light, creamy, easy to feed a crowd, an absolutely delicious graham cracker crust. These pumpkin cheesecake bites taste like fall & are not difficult to make. It’s even made with greek yogurt & can be made gluten free with gluten free graham crackers.
- Graham Crackers: Plain graham crackers are used in this recipe. As mentioned below, this can be fully gluten free pumpkin cheesecake if you subsitute with gluten free graham crackers.
- Cream Cheese: Full-fat, brick style cream cheese is the cream cheese that should be used here. Whipped cream cheese will not work. Philadelphia Cream cheese is always my brand of choice. Make sure it is room temperature.
- Plain Greek Yogurt: I like to use full fat. You can use lower fat greek yogurt to substitute, but it won’t be as creamy as the original – still tasty though!
- Pumpkin Puree: Double check you are grabbing pumpkin PUREE and NOT pumpkin pie filling. Libby’s is the best & the only pumpkin puree I use for all of my pumpkin recipes.
- Pumpkin Pie spice: 1 tbs makes for a very well-spiced cheesecake. Feel free to add 1/2 the spice and taste the filling before adding the eggs to see your personal preference, add more as you wish.
Home Cook’s Tips /FAQ
Do I need to do a water bath?
Technically, no. But it does make a big difference to the final product. The bake is even with no cracks, and I find it to be even creamier and better in texture. This is not just a step for fancy bakers – I swear it is ridiculously simple and I recommend it for the best outcome.
I don’t have a food processor for the crust
No problem! I have used a trusty ziplock bag many times. Place the graham crackers in a plastic food storage bag, and seal it. Use a rolling pin or metal spoon to crush into fine crumbs. Shake up the bag & flip it over throughout to ensure they all break up evenly.
Allow lots of time for cooling
This is a great recipe for Thanksgiving or holiday festivities because it is best when made ahead. It needs up to 8 hours to cool entirely in the refrigerator and can hold up in the fridge for 4 days or so.
Graham Cracker Crust
Grease the baking dish and add your buttery graham cracker crumbs. The most annoying part of this step is pressing it evenly into the pan. But it’s really important the crust is tamped down. I like to use the bottom of a drinking glass. Press it flat and even, the less loose crumbs the better. You can let the crust go up the sides a little. Be patient getting it all even.
Pumpkin Spice Filling
The filling is quite simple to make. Make sure all of your dairy (cream cheese, yogurt & eggs) are room temperature. This is how we ensure the filling is creamy and beautiful with no clumps at all. You can leave everything out overnight or at 2 hours or so on your counter. The order is also important. Beat the cream cheese first until light and fluffy, then add the yogurt & sugars, beating after each step. Add the eggs last. This is how we make sure we did not over-beat the filling. The eggs are there to stabilize the cheesecake, not to create tons of lift or air.
Pour the filling into your pre-baked graham cracker crust. It can still be warm! And now it is ready to bake.
From the Kitchen
Connect with Me
When you make these Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars, please share your thoughts in the comments or tag me on Instagram @quartersoulcrisis. I really love hearing for you, but if anything please come back and give it a rating!
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bars
- 8 x 8 baking pan
Graham Cracker Crust
- 12 sheets graham crackers*
- 6 tbs melted unsalted butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- Pinch Salt
- 14 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 10 oz plain greek yogurt room temperature . I like to use full fat
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tbs pumpkin pie spice*
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs + 1 yolk room temperature
- All of your dairy ingredients need to be room temperature. This ensures no clumps in your cream cheese and a very creamy, perfect bake. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8×8 baking dish very well. I like to use butter. To ensure no sticking, use parchment as well. Set aside. Make sure a rimmed baking sheet is also available & set aside.
- Make the Crust: In food processor (or trusty ziplock bag & rolling pin) add all of the graham crackers. Break up or process the graham crackers as fine as possible. In a small bowl, add melted butter, graham crackers and ¼ cup brown sugar. Mix until butter is completely incorporated and you see no dry pieces of graham cracker. Press mixture into 8×8 pan. Tamp down with flat glass to make sure the crust is really pressed in to the baking dish*Bake crust for 8 minutes, remove from oven and set aside.
- Make the Filling: In large bowl with hand mixer OR stand mixer with whisk attachment, add cream cheese. Beat until smooth & creamy with no lumps. Add yogurt & beat again until smooth & creamy with no lumps. Add sugars, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice & vanilla extract. Beat again. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl! Finally add eggs one at a time beating on low until the egg is just incorporated. Stop as soon as they are mixed in.
- Hot Water Bath: Pour filling into baked crust & spread evenly. Lightly tap on counter to remove any bubbles. Boil about 5 cups of water in a pot. When water is boiling, place cheesecake in center of rimmed baking sheet. Carefully pour water into the rimmed baking sheet (NOT onto the cheesecake) letting the water surround the cheesecake. Close oven & bake.
- Bake for 50 minutes to an hour until there is a very light jiggle in the center. Like a tiny little belly jiggle. Start checking at 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Let sit until room temperature-ish before refrigerating 4-8 hours or overnight.
- Carefully remove if using parchment, cut into bars & serve. Serve with dollops of whipped cream.