Make this delicious creamy Pumpkin Pie Spice Cheesecake Without a Water Bath with pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree, cream cheese, and eggs. No water bath is needed to avoid cracks with just a few simple tips.
Perfect for the holiday season.
Cream Cheese—not low-fat at room temperature
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Graham cracker crumbs
Pantry Ingredients—sugar, butter, vanilla extract
Featured comment from Bob:
"This cheesecake's a winner. The recipe's ez peezy to do."
This easy-to-make full-size Philadelphia-style Pumpkin Pie Spice Cheesecake is based on a copycat of the Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake—packed with pumpkin pie spice flavor and a buttery graham cracker crust—great holiday comfort for Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.
Understanding why cracks occur will help you prevent them without using a water bath, which intimidates most home cooks. Let's make any cheesecake without cracks and the water bath.
👨🍳How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Without a Water Bath
Allow cream cheese and eggs to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350° with the rack in the center.
Crush 9-12 graham crackers but not into dust. You need 1 ½ cups of crumbs.
Melt 5 tablespoons butter and mix into the graham cracker crumbs with 1 tablespoon sugar and mix until coated.
Prep an 8 or 9-inch springform pan with a good coat of butter. Mash the graham cracker into the bottom and about 1 inch up the side. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove to cool while making the filling.
In a large bowl, combine the three 8 oz packages of cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
Add 1 cup of pumpkin, 3 eggs, 1 ½ teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice ( or ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon allspice). Mix until thoroughly combined, but do not over-mix.
Pour the filling into the pan and smooth.
Bake until brown around the edges and slightly puffing. That will be about 60 minutes, depending on your oven. But take a fast peek at 50 minutes to be sure it is not cooking too fast. Turn off the oven and prop open the door open only an inch or two for 60 minutes. Cool at room temperature for a few more hours, then refrigerate until cold (4-6 hours or overnight.)
For more details, keep reading. See the Recipe Card below for complete instructions and to print.
Pumpkin—This recipe uses pumpkin puree. You can make your own or buy it. Be sure not to get pumpkin pie filling—it is not the same.
Cream Cheese—Use a quality full-fat cream cheese that is allowed to rest at room temperature to soften before using. Temperature is important to prevent lumps and cracking.
Spices—Pumpkin Pie Spice or substitute cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice—cloves may also be added.
⏰How long does it take to cook cheesecake
Total baking time can vary, but a reasonable estimate is one hour. Do a quick check for done at 50 minutes.
You are looking for the edges to be slightly browned and slightly puffy. The center will look like it is just starting to set up and still have some jiggle.
Do I need a water bath?
Many recipes recommend a “water bath” for baking cheesecakes. Briefly, you warp the bottom and sides of the springform pan in foil to keep water out. Set it in about 1 inch of hot (boiling or close) water in the oven.
The added moisture will help decrease cracking and slow the cooking to help the texture. I have done this a number of times on cheesecakes, and except for me making a mess, I don't see much difference.
So the choice is yours, but please review my "How to prevent cheesecake cracking" section—get the details right and avoid the hot water.
How to prevent cracking of cheesecake during baking
Knowing what is causing the cracks is vital to preventing cracks. Mostly, it is not paying attention to details.
- Get your eggs and cream cheese to room temperature. This will let the ingredients come together more efficiently with less air trapping.
- Overmixing can trap air in the batter and affect the texture. Get it thoroughly mixed, and then quit mixing.
- The cooked cheesecake can stick to the sides of the pan and crack during cooling. When done cooking, before cooling, run a sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake down to the crust.
- Sudden changes in temperature cause cracks, so don’t open the oven door if possible. Slowly cool after cooking, following the recipe directions.
- Overbaking will cause a firm top, leading to cracking while cooling.
- A water bath will also help. It is covered below in the FAQs.
How to store cheesecake
Whole cheesecakes always have leftovers. The good news is cheesecake will store easily in the refrigerator and freeze well.
First, whipped cream does not store as well, so avoid topping until serving.
To store in the refrigerator, cover tightly with plastic wrap or in an airtight container for about a week.
To freeze, wrap individual slices and freeze them separately on a tray, then transfer to an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
If you don't have a springform pan, you will have trouble getting the cheesecake out of the pan. You probably will destroy it trying, so it is not recommended.
This uses an 8 to 9-inch springform pan. A 10-inch springform pan is too big. A 9-inch will cook faster since it is thinner than an 8-inch.
Philadelphia-style cheesecake mainly uses cream cheese with additives. New York-style cheesecake usually has sour cream or heavy cream mixed in the batter.
Interestingly, the original recipe (probably similar to this one) had a thin sour cream layer on top.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
Have you tried this recipe, or have a question? Join the community discussion in the comments.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Cheesecake Without a Water Bath
- 9-12 graham crackers - crushed 1 ½ cups
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 24 ounces cream cheese - full fat at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 eggs - room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Spices if not using pumpkin pie spice
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cloves - optional
- Allow cream cheese and eggs to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350° with the rack in the center.
- Crush 9-12 graham crackers but not into dust. You need 1 ½ cups of crumbs.
- Melt 5 tablespoons butter and mix into the graham cracker crumbs with 1 tablespoon sugar and mix until coated.
- Prep an 8 or 9-inch springform pan with a good coat of butter. Mash the graham cracker into the bottom and about 1 inch up the side. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove to cool while making the filling.
- In a large bowl, combine the three 8 oz packages of cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Add 1 cup of pumpkin, 3 eggs, 1 ½ teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice ( or ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon allspice). Mix until thoroughly combined, but do not over-mix.
- Mix until smooth, and pour the filling into the pan.
- Bake until brown around the edges and slightly puffing. That will be about 60 minutes, depending on your oven. But take a fast peek at 50 minutes to be sure it is not cooking too fast. Turn off the oven and prop open the door open only an inch or two for 60 minutes.
- Cool at room temperature for a few hours more then refrigerate until cold (4-6 hours or overnight) before serving.
Your Own Private Notes
- This is not a recipe to adjust the size. You are asking for failure.
- Commercial pumpkin puree is recommended. It seems to have more flavor than homemade. Do not use pie filling.
- The cream cheese and eggs need to be at room temperature to mix smoothly.
- Use an 8 to 9-inch springform pan and give it a good coat of butter. Do not try to use a different pan. A 9-inch will cook a little faster.
- Do not over-mix. It will add air and cause cracking.
- Done is when the edges are browning and puffing some. The center is starting to set. It will still jiggle some.
- See the post for a discussion of cracking and water baths.
- Cool in the oven with the door slightly open (about ½ inch) for about an hour, then another few hours at room temperature. Then refrigerate until cold before cutting.
- I like to run a knife or spatula around the edge of the pan to where the crust starts when done cooking.
- Good refrigerated for 4 days and frozen for 3 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Inspired by Cheesecake Factory™ Pumpkin Cheesecake at Epicurious. This recipe has been around the internet for over 20 years.
Editor's note: Originally Published October 22, 2015. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.