Ah, cheesecake. This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving-inspired desserts! I adore this No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake for the holidays because it doesn’t use up any oven space, you can make it ahead – AND my recipe uses one full can of pumpkin so you don’t have any leftovers to worry about.
I always make this cheesecake with my kids – they love helping out, and it’s SO easy we manage to make it to the end without a nervous breakdown.
I use gingersnaps for the base and not graham crackers – because they go so well with the pumpkin spice flavors going on in the filling. I don’t bake the base, but if you want it extra-firm or plan on making the cheesecake a day ahead, it’s a good idea to bake the base for 10 minutes to help it set more firmly.
The cheesecake itself is completely no bake. I know many recipes use only half a can in their pumpkin cheesecake, but mine uses a full can. That’s because a) I absolutely despise leftovers from canned pumpkin and always forget them in the back of the fridge, and b) because we’re going for maximum pumpkin flavor here.
Also, if you’re making this for Thanksgiving… Do you really want to end up with a cup or less of pumpkin left over? Everybody knows pumpkin retires once Thanksgiving dinner is over, and peppermint and gingerbread rejoice 😉
No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 1 ⅔ cups finely crushed gingersnaps
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 - 4 tablespoons melted butter
FOR THE FILLING
- 2 8-oz blocks cream cheese, softened
- 1 15-oz can pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice see note
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Whipped cream and your favorite garnish - grated nutmeg crushed gingersnaps, Brach's pumpkins...
- Prep: Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan (just the bottom, NOT the sides!)
- Make the crust: Combine finely crushed gingersnaps, granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons melted butter in a medium mixing bowl. Combine well until mixture resembles wet sand - add up to 1 additional tablespoon melted butter if mix is too dry. Press evenly and firmly into the prepared pan (see notes for technique, and for tips if making the cheesecake a day ahead).
- Make the filling: Combine cream cheese, pumpkin, powdered sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
Clean the mixer's beaters, then whip the cream in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently but thoroughly fold into the cream cheese mixture until well combined.
- Assemble cheesecake: Pour about 1 inch of filling over the prepared crust. Spread it well, making sure the cheesecake mix is covering the base completely. Add the remaining filling, gently shake the pan to evenly distribute, and then carefully smooth the top with a spatula.
- Chill: Cover the springform pan tightly with cling film and chill the cheesecake for at least 4 hours.
- Serve: To serve, run a hot knife (just place it under hot water and dry it off, then quickly use it) carefully along the edge of the cheesecake to losen it from the pan. Remove the outer ring of the pan, then set the cheesecake on a serving platter if desired. Garnish with whipped cream and a little bit of grated nutmeg (do not go overboard with this!), crushed gingersnaps, candy pumpkins... whatever you like! And slice to serve.