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Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

These beautiful swirled bars combine the flavors of a pumpkin pie and a cheesecake.  Sweet, creamy, and full of warm spice, Pumpkin cheesecake bars are going to be a family holiday favorite!

Wooden board with squares of Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars - gingersnap crust and swirls of spiced pumpkin and cheesecake.

During my Corporate days when September rolled around, my morning ritual was a cup of coffee and an incredible pumpkin muffin with a cream cheese filling.  I was obsessed with the moist, spicy muffin and savored the sweet, creamy filling.  I would eat all around the cream cheese filling, saving the center as a special treat to be enjoyed last.

It was traumatic when shortly after Halloween, the coffee shop replaced my favorite muffin with something like gingerbread.  It was so disappointing, but probably a good thing for my waistline.

In planning for our Thanksgiving menu, I recreated the flavors of my favorite muffin made into bars.  

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

What’s not to love about pumpkin pie and cheesecake?  It’s a tough choice between the two after Thanksgiving dinner, but now you don’t have to make that choice!  These bars combine sweet and tangy cheesecake, pumpkin, warm spices, and a hint of vanilla, all on top of a buttery, gingersnap crust.  Bonus!  They’re easy to make!

Wooden board with squares of Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars - gingersnap crust and swirls of spiced pumpkin and cheesecake.

Ingredients Needed For This Recipe

  • Gingersnap cookies – you could also use graham crackers
  • Granulated sugar and brown sugar
  • Butter – don’t use margarine.  You want the nutty flavor of the butter.
  • Pumpkin puree – don’t use pumpkin pie mix.  It’s already sweetened and spiced.
  • Pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon – If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you could use cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and a pinch of ginger.
  • Flour and salt
  • Cream cheese – use full-fat.  Low-fat or no-fat cream cheese doesn’t bake as well and has an odd aftertaste in this recipe.  You want to allow the bricks of cream cheese to come to room temperature before using them.
  • Vanilla
  • Sour cream – again, full fat for creaminess
  • Eggs – use large eggs at room temperature

How Do I Make This Recipe?

  1.  Make the crust by mixing all of the ingredients together, pressing into the pan, and baking.
  2. Mix up both the pumpkin filling and then the cream cheese filling.
  3. Alternate spoonfuls of each filling on top of the crust.
  4. Use a knife to make pretty swirls in the fillings and then bake.
  5. Chill for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.

Wooden board with squares of Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars - gingersnap crust and swirls of spiced pumpkin and cheesecake.

If you enjoyed this pumpkin recipe, here are for more to consider:

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Wooden board with squares of Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars - gingersnap crust and swirls of spiced pumpkin and cheesecake.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Chilling time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 18 1x

Description

These beautiful swirled bars combine the flavors of a pumpkin pie and a cheesecake.  Sweet, creamy, and full of warm spice, Pumpkin cheesecake bars are going to be a family holiday favorite!


Ingredients

Scale

For the crust:

  • 3 cups gingersnap crumbs (about 15-ounces of whole cookies)
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter, melted

For the pumpkin filling:

  • 1 ¼ cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

For the cream cheese filling:

  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature (use full-fat)
  • 1 ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup sour cream (use full-fat)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

Instructions

Make the crust.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Place the gingersnaps in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until the cookies are a fine crumb.  Dump the crumbs into a large bowl.

To that bowl, pour in the sugar and melted butter. Stir until well combined and the mixture looks like wet sand.

Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.  Use the back of a measuring cup to press it into an even layer.

Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until it’s just beginning to turn golden brown and is very fragrant.

Cool the crust on a wire rack while you make the fillings.

Make the filling:

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Make the pumpkin layer:

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and flour until well combined.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream cheese and sugar.  Beat until combined and very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Stop beating the mixture as soon as the last egg is incorporated.  Don’t overbeat the mixture.

Stir 1 cup of the cream cheese mixture into the cream cheese mixture and stir until well combined and no streaks of white remain.

Alternate large spoons of the cream cheese filling and the pumpkin filling over the top of the crust.

Use a butter knife to swirl the tops of the two fillings together in a figure-eight pattern.  Take care not to go all the way down to the crust.

Bake the bars in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until the center has a very slight jiggle, but the edges are set.

Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar, allowing the cheesecake to slowly cool down for 1 hour.

When room temperature, refrigerate the bars for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight, before cutting into bars.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: pumpkin cheesecake bars, Thanksgiving dessert, Thanksgiving dessert recipes, Halloween desserts, bar recipes, pumpkin spice, pumpkin pie spice, cheesecake recipes, pumpkin recipes

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