Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are the perfect combination of cheesecake and pumpkin pie, but so much easier to make. They are creamy, tender and are full of warm and spicy autumn flavors.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars-1-17

Baking with pumpkin seems to be mandatory this time of year. Try googling pumpkin recipes and you will be blown away with all the different options. Seasonal cooking has a way of making us nostalgic and sentimental and who says there’s anything wrong with that? I certainly don’t. There’s something very right and proper about bubbly, comforting casseroles in the cold winter months, asparagus and snap peas in the early spring, fresh garden tomatoes during the summer and of course, pumpkin is all the rage in the autumn. It’s the iconic Thanksgiving dessert.

Every time I find myself in possession of this orange treasure, my mind quickly turns to cheesecakes. That’s probably because cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts ever, so naturally pumpkin cheesecake would also be high on my list. I’ve realized that dessert bars are really my thing too, so this year, I’ve converted my favorite Deluxe Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe into these amazing Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. I am now officially converted and will make these bars as long as there’s pumpkin available.  The addition of sour cream to the cheesecake batter makes them even more tender, which is exactly how I like it. 

Ingredients for Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: 

Crust Ingredients: 

  • graham crackers – graham crackers are the traditional option for a cheesecake crust, but you can also use vanilla wafers, shortbread cookies or gingersnap cookies instead of the graham crackers
  • pecans – pecans pair so well with the graham crackers and add more flavor, nuttiness and crunchiness. You can use any other nuts instead of pecans – almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc.
  • granulated sugar – just a bit of sugar to add some sweetness to the crust
  • butter –  this keeps the crust all together and of course, adds more richness and flavor

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling: 

  • cream cheese (make sure the cream cheese is at room temperate before you start mixing so that it mixes evenly
  • granulated sugar
  • eggs – room temperature
  • sour cream – my secret ingredient to make this dessert extra tender and delicious
  • vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg (these will give these bars the iconic pumpkin pie flavor and aroma). 
  • canned pumpkin – make sure this is canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin filling
  • optional – whipped cream, to add on top of the Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

How to make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars Video

Preparing the Graham Cracker Crust:

Tutorial for how to make a graham cracker crust for pumpkin cheesecake bars
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use a food processor to pulse the graham crackers, pecans and sugar together until the cookies and nuts are finely ground.
  • Pour in the melted butter and mix again until everything has a wet sand consistency. Press the graham cracker ingredients into the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. You can line it with aluminum foil to make it easier to take out the bars from the baking dish later.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.

Preparing the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling and Baking the Bars

  • While the crust is baking, combine the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and vanilla in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer until evenly combined.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time.
  • When the crust is baked, pour about 2/3 of the cheesecake filling over the crust.
  • Add the canned pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg to the remaining cheesecake mixture and mix to combine.
  • Pour the pumpkin mixture over the cheesecake mixture.
  • Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, until the edges are set and the center just barely jiggles.

Tips to Prevent Cheesecakes From Cracking

  1. Make sure the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs are at room temperature before mixing them. If they are too cold, they won’t combine evenly. You will have flecks of cream cheese that won’t mix in properly. You will also have to mix it longer if it’s cold, which will add more air to it than necessary.
  2. Don’t over mix the cream cheese. If you whip in too much air into the cream cheese, it is more likely to crack.
  3. Be careful not to overtake the cheesecake. Even after you turn off the oven and take the cheesecake out of the oven, it will continue cooking. Turn it off when the cheesecake is set around the edges but is still slightly “jiggly” in the center. It will cook through while it finishes cooking, but won’t be as likely to crack.
  4. Sudden temperature changes can also cause the cheesecake to crack. Taking it out of the hot oven and into the much cooler room temperature may cause it to crack. Leave the cheesecake in the oven, propping the oven door slightly open after turning off the oven, letting it gradually cool off.
  5. If you do end up with a crack even with all these tips, cutting up the bars and adding a dollop of whipped cream on top will hide the cracks. The bars will be just as delicious.

Serving the Cheesecake Bars

Cool the bars completely before cutting them into bars. They cut the best if you chill them in the refrigerator first. This is the perfect dessert to be made ahead of time, so take advantage of that characteristic during the holidays.

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Serve the bars with a drizzle of caramel and whipped cream. 

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Yield: 36 bars 1x
  • Category: Sweets

Description

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are the perfect combination of cheesecake and pumpkin pie, but so much easier to make. They are creamy, tender and are full of warm and spicy autumn flavors.


Scale

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers (810 graham crackers)
  • 1/3 cup pecans, oprtional
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted

Cheesecake:

  • 4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 11 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking pan (13×9 inches) with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Brush the bottom and sides with 1 Tablespoon of melted butter.
  2. Pulse the graham crackers, 1 Tablespoon sugar and the pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Add the remaining 3 Tablespoons melted butter and mix until evenly moistened.
  3. Press the crumbs into the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and vanilla in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer until evenly combined.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time.
  6. Pour a little bit more than half of the cheesecake mixture into the baking pan over the graham cracker crust.
  7. Add the canned pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg to the remaining cheesecake mixture. Mix to combine.
  8. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the cheesecake mixture.
  9. Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, until the edges are set and the center just barely jiggles.
  10. Cool the bars completely before cutting them into bars. They cut the best if you chill them in the refrigerator first. This is the perfect dessert to be made ahead of time, so take advantage of that characteristic during the holidays.
  11. Serve the bars with a drizzle of caramel and whipped cream.

18 Comments

  • Valya @ Valya' s Taste of Home

    This cheese cake bars look absolutely delicious! That’s funny how we are both in a bar baking mood. I’m working on my cream cheese and cranberry bars right now to post this week. How is your pregnancy going? I hope your feeling better. šŸ™‚

    • olgak7

      Bars are my thing:). Love the simplicity of them.
      Pregnancy is going well. The baby is growing. I still feel sick most of the time, but I’m used to it by now:). Only 3 months left!

  • Natasha (@NatashasKitchen)

    Olga, those are mouthwatering and look very simple to make :). I made some pumpkin puree and will give this recipe a try. Pinning šŸ™‚

  • veronica

    This is absolutely the best cheesecake recipe I have ever made! Thanks for sharing! I made it last night and it’s almost gone today… the only thing is that my cheesecake turned out a little flat and cracked in the center, maybe because I opened the oven during the baking process?

  • tania

    Quick question… I’m taking this cheesecake out if the over now. There is a brown crust on top of mine. I don’t see it on your finished cheesecake. Did you cut it off?

  • Evelina

    Hi Olga,

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for this recipe! It is absolutely fabulous and I have made it over and over in the last month, probably about 6 times since Thanksgiving really. I made a batch for a co-workers birthday and everyone was raving about how good it was and asking for the recipe… Thank you! Loving this cheesecake way too much!

    Evelina

    • olgak7

      No, I do not, Emily. Since they are in the crust and will be pre baked and then also will get a good amount of baking time, the pecans will get a toasty flavor without the extra step.

  • Alla

    Thank you for this recipe. It looks fantastic! I’m planing on making these for Thanksgiving this year. I’m considering making this in a springform pan to it will be shaped like a cheesecake instead of bars.

  • Julia

    Hi Olga. I absolutely love this recipe and am trying to make it for a friends wedding but seeing as it’s a summer wedding I don’t think pumpkin will work. Would it be possible to incorporate strawberries or raspberries instead?

    • olgak7

      I have no idea if it would work with strawberries or raspberries, Julia. I wouldn’t recommend it, since berries have a very different consistency from pumpkin.

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