Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars start with a graham cracker crust filled with a cheesecake layer and topped with homemade whipped cream, each part flavored with pumpkin spice! If these sound good to you, I know you will love my Pumpkin Cheesecake!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Yes, it’s that time of year again…pumpkin spice time! From Pumpkin Waffles to Pumpkin Spice Bread Twist to this Pumpkin Spice Pork Tenderloin, it’s hard to hide from it! In fact, I have lots of pumpkin spice recipes to choose from, including homemade pumpkin spice to use. For these bars, we even added a little more pumpkin spice to the recipe to make the flavor stand out even more!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars Ingredients
There are three parts to this recipe–the crust, the filling, and the homemade whipped topping. And, of course, the most important ingredient in all three is the pumpkin spice!
Pumpkin Spice: From the crust to the filling to the topping, you will use pumpkin spice. You can make your own homemade pumpkin spice or use storebought. I will explain the difference below.
Graham Crackers: I used about 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs for this recipe. You can buy graham cracker crumbs or you can crush your own (about 14 sheets of graham crackers for 2 cups crushed).
Cream Cheese: It’s very important to make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature before using. This will give you a smooth and creamy consistency for the perfect cheesecake texture.
Pumpkin Puree: Make sure you are using pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin puree is made of 100% pumpkin, whereas pumpkin pie filling has added spices.
Topping: The topping for the bars is my homemade whipped topping with pumpkin spice sprinkled on top (optional). Yes, you could also use cool whip.
Graham Cracker Crust
Cheesecake crust recipes can be made from graham crackers, any cookies, animal crackers, etc. There are cheesecakes with brownie crusts, too, but we’re going to stick to the basic cheesecake crust recipe using graham crackers with a little bit of pumpkin spice, of course. Graham crackers worked best with the spicier pumpkin filling. You can buy graham cracker crumbs or simply smash a bunch of graham crackers to make the crust.
To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and pumpkin spice. Add the melted butter and use a fork to mix the ingredients, making sure that every single graham cracker crumb is coated in butter. The butter binds everything together so bits of the crust do not pop up in the cheesecake.
Press the crust into a 9×13-inch baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Use your hand to flatten the crust; then, use the bottom of a glass to press it down flatter. Chill the crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
To make the cheesecake filling for the bars, first, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Next, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour half of this cheesecake mixture over the crust, evenly spreading it out with a spatula.
To the remaining cheesecake mixture, add the can of pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice. Mix on low until incorporated. Top the cheesecake layer with the pumpkin cheesecake mixture, again, evenly spreading it out. Bake the bars for 50-60 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is slightly jiggly. To be more exact, a cheesecake should be removed from the oven when it has an internal temperature between 150°F and 160°F.
Remove the cheesecake bars from the oven and let them come to room temperature. After they have come to room temperature, place them in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours, up to overnight. After the bars have set, you can make the whipped topping to spread over the top.
How to Make Homemade Whipped Topping
This recipe can be used on so many recipes. It’s easy to whip up and will be spread on top of the cheesecake bars. Here are some tips to make sure it turns out:
- Don’t aim for “stiff peaks”. You want the whipped cream to keep its shape and be soft, billowing peaks. If by chance you OVERBEAT the whipped cream, fixing it is actually very easy. Simply add in more fresh heavy whipping cream and whisk by hand.
- Wait until peaks start to form before adding in the confectioners’ sugar. I much prefer confectioners sugar in this recipe, as it dissolves entirely and leaves a smooth texture. If you choose to use granulated sugar be sure to add it immediately at the beginning and whip it with the cream.
- Homemade whipped cream is best used immediately, but it can be stored for up to 10 hours if needed. After that, it may start to separate.
Once it’s been spread over the chilled pumpkin cheesecake bars, sprinkle the all-important pumpkin spice on top for even more flavor and enjoy! (The filling and crust have plenty of pumpkin spice flavor, so taste them before sprinkling more pumpkin spice on top.)
Can I Freeze Cheesecake Bars?
Yes! But, make sure you freeze the bars before adding the whipped topping. To freeze:
- Let the bars cool completely.
- Remove the bars from the pan and place them on a plate (cut or uncut). Put the cheesecake (uncovered) in the freezer for about an hour.
- After the hour in the freezer, remove the cheesecake bars and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
- Place the wrapped cheesecake into a zipped freezer bag or wrap it in aluminum foil. Be sure to label and date the cheesecake. It will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
Looking for More Pumpkin Spice Recipes?
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars start with a graham cracker crust filled with a cheesecake layer and topped with homemade whipped cream, each part flavored with pumpkin spice!
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113g) butter, melted
- 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- 1 pint (454g) heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup (31g) confectioners' sugar
- pumpkin spice, for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325°F degrees and spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, add graham crackers, sugar, and pumpkin spice. Mix together.
Add melted butter and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated (no dry spots).
Press the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Chill the crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, add cream cheese and sugar. Using a handheld mixer, mix on low until creamy.
With the mixer on low, add eggs, one at a time, until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Pour half of the cream cheese mixture onto the crust. Use a spatula to smooth it into an even layer. Set in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.
To the remaining cream cheese mixture, add the pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice. Mix on low to combine.
Carefully spoon the pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese mixture, smoothing into an even layer.
Bake 50-60 minutes or until cheesecake is slightly set around the edges and jiggly in the center.
Bring the bars to room temperature. Then, chill them in the refrigerator for 4 hours, up to overnight, before adding the topping.
Add heavy cream to a mixing bowl. Start mixing at the lowest speed, and then gradually increase speed to medium until the cream starts to get thicker. (The gradual progression prevents you from spraying yourself with cream.)
When the cream starts to thicken, stop the mixer. Slowly add in the confectioners' sugar and then resume mixing again, starting with low speed and increasing to medium speed, and eventually moving to a high speed.
The cream will thicken and start to peak. Mix on high until the cream is thick and stiff. This happens quickly, the stage between soft and stiff peaks, so watch it closely.
Spread the homemade whipped topping evenly over the chilled cheesecake bars.
Sprinkle with pumpkin spice and serve.