These no bake pumpkin cheesecake bars will be one of the easiest desserts you’ll make this holiday season. No bake, can be made ahead, always comes out fabulous. The perfect way to end your epic Thanksgiving meal.
Fall is my favorite season with all the leaves changing colors, the crisp autumn air, and (of course) all the pumpkin desserts.
These no bake pumpkin cheesecake bars are the easiest to make of them all. And so good!
Let’s get to it.
Why you’ll love this recipe
I love making these no bake pumpkin bars. So many things going for it:
- Easy to make. No water baths, less than 10 ingredients, simple and straightforward to make. The hardest part is waiting for the cheesecake to set.
- Smooth and creamy. We don’t use gelatine in this recipe so the cheesecake retains that smooth and creamy texture cheesecakes are known for.
- Just the right pumpkin flavor. You know how store-bought pumpkin pies are packed with an overwhelming amount of pumpkin spice? None of that here! The flavors are perfectly balanced you’ll want to immediately grab a second piece.
- Can be made ahead. You can make these cheesecake bars the day before your get-together then slice and decorate when you’re ready to serve.
- No need for a spring-form pan. If not owning a spring-form pan stops you from making cheesecakes, you’re in for a treat. You’ll need an 8×8 inch pan lined with parchment paper.
- Perfect for parties. Pumpkin cream cheese bars are always a hit at parties! Delicious and pretty and sure to be the star of your Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.
How to make
If you’ve ever made no bake cheesecakes before, you know how fun and easy to make they are.
To make this recipe, you’ll need less than 10 ingredients. A few things to note:
- Graham cracker crumbs — I use pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs so they’re very fine. You can also buy the crackers and crush them yourself.
- Cream cheese — for best results, use full-fat cream cheese. It results to richer, creamier cheesecakes. I’m partial to Philadelphia.
- Pumpkin puree — make sure to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling is already flavored and sweetened, which we don’t need in this recipe.
- Pumpkin spice — pumpkin spice is a seasonal grocery item so if you don’t have it on hand, you can use other spices (see FAQs). Another option is to just use ground cinnamon, though you won’t get the same exact flavor profile.
- Cream — I usually use heavy cream (at least 36% milk fat content) when making no bake cheesecakes however I haven’t seen them in supermarkets lately. So I’ve been using whipping cream (35%) and it works well enough; it just results to a slightly softer cheesecake. So if you can find heavy cream, use that.
I use an electric mixer when making this recipe.
You’ll also need an 8×8 inch baking pan. I don’t recommend using a bigger square pan but you can use a 9 inch round pan.
Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper with a slight overhang on each side.
In a medium bowl, stir all crust ingredients…
…until evenly moist (resembling wet sand).
Transfer to your prepared pan. Use a spoon or the bottom of a glass to pack the crust firmly and evenly on the bottom of the pan. Chill while you prepare the filling.
Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat all cheesecake ingredients (except cream).
Beat until smooth and incorporated.
Add whipped cream.
Fold until combined.
Transfer to your pan and smoothen the top with a spatula.
Chill 6-8 hours, preferably overnight.
Easy, right? Here are more tips that’ll help you make perfect no bake pumpkin cheesecake bars every time.
- Always use room temperature cream cheese. When making cheesecake (baked or no-bake), always use room temperature cream cheese. It makes it easier for you to beat the mixture, prevents you from over-mixing the batter, and results in a smoother filling.
- Use full-fat cream. I always use heavy cream when making no bake cheesecakes. It contains 36-40% milk fat content which helps it achieve those nice, stable stiff peaks you need for the dessert to set properly. You can use whipping cream if heavy cream is not available but note that your cheesecake won’t set as firmly. Using full-fat cream cheese would be best too.
- Make sure cream and bowls are chilled. Also make sure you work with cold cream and that you chill the bowl and whisk before using them. It helps you achieve that nice volume and cuts whipping time significantly.
- Add gently. And when adding your whipped cream into your cheesecake batter, do so gently. You don’t want to deflate it.
- Allow time to set. For no-bake cheesecakes, you’ll need to give it time to firm up and set. They’re usually good to go after about 6 hours in the fridge. For good measure though, I always chill all my no-bake cheesecakes overnight. In a hurry? Make them in jars! See FAQs for more details.
Making no bake cheesecakes is easier than baked cheesecakes but if you’re encountering a bit of trouble, this troubleshooting guide should help you.
|Cheesecake is not smooth||Ensure that the cream cheese is at room temperature before using|
|Cheesecake won’t set||Use full-fat cream and cream cheese for best results and make sure to give the cake enough time to chill in the fridge, ideally overnight|
|Cream won’t whip to stiff peaks||Make sure you’re using the right kind of cream and to help things along, ensure your cream, bowl and whisk are cold prior to using|
|Cheesecake bars look messy when sliced||For clean slices, ensure your cheesecake has been chilled enough and that you’re using a sharp knife that’s been dipped in hot water. Wipe the knife before using and dip in hot water again after each slice.|
When I don’t have pumpkin pie spice, I use the following combination of spices (equivalent to 2 tsp of pumpkin spice):
1 tsp all-spice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
You can adjust the to taste.
Another option is to just use ground cinnamon, though you won’t get the same exact flavor profile.
I used to make this cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and bits of candied ginger.
All you need to do is crush the gingersnaps and add about ¼ cup of roughly chopped candied ginger.
If you’re looking for a bit of crunch and texture, you can add the following to the pumpkin cheesecake filling:
– Chopped pecans or walnuts
– White chocolate chips
To serve, I usually top each square with homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip and sprinkle with pumpkin spice and bits of white chocolate.
Yes, you can adapt this recipe to make pumpkin cheesecakes in individual mason jars.
Follow the same steps, but instead of using a baking pan, use jars.
Assemble by pressing the graham cracker crust at the bottom, then the cheesecake filling, then top with whipped cream before serving.
Yes, you can use a mini cheesecake pan with a removable bottom or a cupcake or muffin pan lined with cupcake liners.
This batter should be good for 12-14 mini cheesecakes.
You can make no bake pumpkin cheesecake bars the day before you’re planning to serve them.
I place the pan uncovered in the fridge, making sure there’s nothing smelly in there that the cheesecake might absorb.
Leftovers should be kept in a covered container in the fridge. They should last up to 3 days.
I don’t recommend freezing these bars because the texture will change.
Other holiday cheesecake recipes
If you want to mix things up this year and serve cheesecake instead of pie, check these out.
Did you make these easy pumpkin cheesecake squares? I’d love to hear all about it! Leave a comment or a star rating below. You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to see your creations!
No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
For the Crust
- Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper with a slight overhang on each side.
- In a medium bowl, stir all crust ingredients until evenly moist (resembling wet sand).8.5 oz graham cracker crumbs, ½ cup unsalted butter, 4 tbsp granulated sugar, pinch salt
- Transfer to your prepared pan. Use a spoon or the bottom of a glass to pack the crust firmly and evenly on the bottom of the pan. Chill while you prepare the filling.
- Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat all cheesecake ingredients (except heavy cream) until smooth and incorporated.1 8-oz block cream cheese, 10 oz pumpkin puree, ½ cup granulated sugar, 2 tsp pumpkin spice
- Fold in your whipped cream until combined.1 cup heavy cream
- Transfer to your pan and smoothen the top with a spatula.
- Chill 6-8 hours, preferably overnight, before slicing into bars.
- Remember to use canned pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.
- For clean slices, allow the cheesecake enough time to set (ideally overnight).
- See post for more tips, a troubleshooting guide, FAQs and step-by-step photos.
Nutritional information are estimates only.