bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

My sharp-eyed husband caught this bourbon pumpkin cheesecake recipe while I was — typically — flipping through a Gourmet magazine last year. Although it was a total hit at Thanksgiving, my fleeting recipe attention span struck again this year, but as I began hunting for a new and different fall-themed cheesecake it was made clear I’d still be welcome at the table with something else — just a little less so.

boubon pumpkin cheesecake

Like any good newlywed, last year I made two cakes — one for the family we would spend the afternoon with, and one for the family that had reserved our evening shift. I had intended to do the same this year until I realized that I’d left the base to one of my springform pans at my parents. Already having two batters and crumb crusts prepared, I cursed several times, refilled my wine glass and decided I’d try to make twelve cupcake-sized cheesecakes with the second batter. (Why oh WHY did I not buy these the fifteen times I have seen them at the store and fawned over them? The headaches $15 could have saved me!) While the full-sized cake looks lovely, the jury is still out on whether those cupcake cheesecakes are ever coming out of the pan, and it’s not looking very promising.

oh, i went there

The good news, however, is that is the remaining batter fit perfectly in a single 4.75-inch springform — no doubt purchased on impulse because it was sooo cuuute — I’d forgotten about which means we get both samples and pictures this year. I know it’s a little late in the game to change your dessert plans to this, and how arrogant for me to suggest that you should, but if you’re looking for that little something-something that will make your pumpkin cheesecake sing, that splash of bourbon (of course), crunching of ground pecans in the crust or even slightly sweetened sour cream topping could be used to juice up any recipe.

And now we make pie.

dollhouse serving

Cheesecake, previously: Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake, Key Lime Cheesecake, Nectarine, Mascarpone and Gingersnap Tart (almost no-bake!), Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake, Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares, Black-Bottomed Cupcakes (with a cheesecake filling) and Cream Cheese Marbled Brownies.

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

2018 updates: I continue to make this every Thanksgiving season, sometimes twice, and have made some changes over the years. There are little things — gingersnaps, some salt in the crust — and then there are bigger ones, like wildly simplifying it if you have a food processor (read to the end, first, for these instructions) or if you wish to make these instead as cheesecake bars (read to the end for this too). Weights have been added too.

    For crust
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers) or gingersnap crumbs
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (45 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Two pinches of salt
  • For filling
  • 1 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (95 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • For topping
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
  • Garnish: pecan halves

Make crust: Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.

Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour, although, honestly, I do it for much less these days, often only 15 to 20 minutes.

Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined. Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

Make topping: Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 additional minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring back to room temperature before serving.

Do ahead: Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 1 week.

A few ways I’ve simplified this recipe over the decade-plus I’ve been making it:

Do you have a food processor? If so, listen closely: this recipe is easier than you can imagine. For the crust, you can go ahead and grind your cookies and pecans (no need to pre-chop, although it helps to break up the cookies a little), and sugars together to make fine crumbs, then even add cold (!) butter in cubes and run the machine until the mixture clumps. You can then wipe out your food processor bowl (not even fully wash it, it doesn’t matter) and make the cheesecake layer in there. But I put the ingredients in a different order: First in the bowl go the sugars, then cold (!) cream cheese, cut into a few chunks. Blend and blend together until it’s absolutely smooth, no lumps at all. Scrape down the sides. Now add pumpkin, cornstarch, salt, and spices and blend to combine. Add the eggs one at time, blending briefly between additions. Add the vanilla, cream and bourbon, if using. That’s it; you can go ahead and pour it over the crust now and bake it as written above.

Want to make cheesecake bars? Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch cake pan with one large piece of foil with no tears in it. (I find that flipping your cake pan over and molding the foil over top and sides first, before flipping it back over and lining the pan with this foil, causes less tearing.) Coat it lightly with butter or nonstick spray. Either 1.5x or 2x the crust recipe so you have a substantial enough base for a bar. Press it across the bottom and then 1/2-inch up the sides, then chill it as you do above. Make the pumpkin layer as written above and pour it on top. This bakes at 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes (check it at 30, then 35 to be safe), i.e. it’s much faster. Continue with the sour cream topping as written. To serve it once it’s totally chilled, carefully lift the whole pan out using the foil sling and transfer it to your counter. Use a knife dipped in hot water to make clean slices, and wipe the knife between cuts. I cut mine into 24 squares.

Want to make even fewer cheesecake squares? You could halve the recipe (but use a full yield of the crust) in an 8×8-inch square pan. The baking time is 30 to 40 minutes, about the same as the full-size bars.

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420 comments on bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

  1. This was SO good last year. While I will miss not making this – there will be three different cheesecakes made by a friend we’ll see how they turn out, though his are the best I’ve had… Happy holiday!

  2. Jenifer from Memphis

    I just drooled all over the keyboard. DROOLED! I would be uberly happy to have that in my tummy tomorrow. Alas, I will have to make do with homemade truffles and hope that the TSA peeps won’t confiscate them when I pass through security.

  3. oh my, drooling as well. You can almost feel the texture through the picture. Thanksgiving must be awesome food-wise.
    Here we don´t even get to eat such decadent things even for Christmas because it´s summer, all one can manage for dessert is a fruit salad with ice-cream. That´s it, one new year´s resolution for me: spend thanksgiving in the US someday.

  4. deb

    Radish – Three cheesecakes? I can’t wait until you share the recipes. Have a great one!

    Jenifer – Of course, the TSA will if they’ve got good taste, though it would only make us resent their presence more. [I was going to make a joke here like don’t they have some old lady in a wheelchair to un-shoe but that makes me sound like I don’t take airport security seriously, blah blah.] Have a great flight!

    Marce – If you get to spend Thanksgiving in the states, I want to spend it in Argentina. It’s only fair, right? Right? Sigh.

    Tanna – Yeah, it was more when I saw it but believe me, last night it would have paid $50 so I didn’t have the cupcake-spackled mess I do now. Too little too late!

    Cat – Well, my apartment is filthy. Also, I was told to stop working today at 12:45 and I’m just not one to argue, you know?

  5. Yvo

    I notice that too- a lot of people stumble on my site Googling questions that I don’t even really answer/address. I wish they’d comment or email me because I’d love to help. :)

    That looks scrumptious, btw.

  6. lol you can spend thanksgiving here whenever you like… though it won´t be anything special since we don´t celebrate it hahaha You are officially invited.
    Now, if you do come, watch your purse, you don´t want it getting stolen like the purse of one of Bush´s twin daughters. I just heard about it, it´s hilarious. She had like 10 secret service agents there!

  7. deb

    Beckik – Frankly, I didn’t get that at all. Maybe older springforms are the same whether the base is inverted or not, but mine would not seal right upside down. I should have mentioned I just ignored that, and just lined the baking tray below the cake with foil because it did leak a little. It seems inevitable, with pumpkin being so wet and stuff. In addition, it took my big one quite some time to set, though of course, that’s probably my oven. Really make sure you bake it until it doesn’t wiggle in the middle.

    1. Kat

      I didn’t initially wrap my springform in foil and it leaked butter from the crust onto the heating coil in my electric oven. It flames and was quite exciting. So I had to pull my cheesecake out after 20 min, cool the oven so I could clean the mess up and returned the cheesecake to the oven. Looks like it’s rising just fine still (whew) and now my oven is cleaner. Mental note: Stop believing my springform seals after all these years and just wrap the bottom in foil. Can’t wait to eat this on Thursday.

  8. Deb, You have turned me on the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook and I have to tell you…EVERYTHING I have tried in it, from tonight’s Pumpkin and Pecan Pies, to the cheese ball, spiced nuts, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce…is AMAZING! Even the ice cream for above mentioned pecan pie is fantastic!!! Thank you soooo much!!! It’s my new ‘go to’ book! Well, it and you of course :)

    1. Christina

      You say, “ Want to make even fewer cheesecake squares? You could halve the recipe (but use a full yield of the crust) in an 8×8-inch square pan.” The recipe calls for 3 eggs…what is the proper half of that? Everything can be done by weight or measure, but half an egg has always confused me…Thanks! Looks great!

      1. deb

        For half an egg, I will either 1. Just add a yolk instead of the whole egg, 2. Whisk a single egg until thoroughly combined and pour in half, just eyeball the amount, don’t drive yourself crazy measuring, 3. Round up. I suspect, my hunch here, is that 2 full eggs won’t mess up the recipe but I’ve only done the 1.5 eggs so far.

      2. Amanda

        A fun hack here is since you aren’t using the full can of pumpkin, use 2 tablespoons more to take the place of the half egg. Pumpkin is a decent egg replacer anyway. I did this for Thanksgiving and it was one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever eaten!!

  9. jaybee

    if you’re looking for something different for dessert that’s pumpkiny, try the recipe for Pumpkin Tiramisu in the Nov Bon Appetite. I just made it for tomorrow and we were fighting (literally!) over the beaters and the spoon. Major yummy!!

  10. Mrs.JuiceBox

    I am making a sweet potato casserole for my MIL this thanksgiving (may I mention the FIRST THANKSGIVING AS A MARRIED COUPLE THAT I AM HOSTING FOR BOTH FAMILIES…yes, I am stupid) and I cannot get it to have that “punch” I want. Any suggestions?

  11. Tanya

    Hello Deb, I just wanted to say what a great site this is. Love the recepies and your tips are really useful. Thanks especially for putting up the tools page – great help for us on the other side of the pond!

  12. Deb,
    Your third picture, it looks a little runny in the middle? Was it, or is it just my eyes? I tried to make a pumpkin swirl cheesecake a few weeks ago. I followed the recipe and after chilling for 4 hours in the fridge, it was really runny in the middle. I think it was due to the pumpkin, probably needed longer to cook. But I was so disappointed. Do you have any troubles with pumpkin cheesecakes?

  13. newgrandma

    HELP! – I ran out and bought the ingredients, poured the wine, turned up the opera and made this lovely cheesecake. Got up in the middle of the night to move it from rack to fridge…and the pan popped …cheesecake no longer …now I am left with what I could scrape up without the top layer of floor. It’s been chilling in in a big bowl…any creative ideas ..for serving this mess?

  14. Tara

    That’s so funny, Wednesday night (the day before Thanksgiving) I had all the ingredients to make a pecan pie and a pumpkin pie. Well I started with the pecan pie and while that was in the oven, I started getting everything together for the pumpkin. Well, it was at that point that I realized I only had 1 pie pan (i forgot that last year I bought the crusts already in the little foil pans but I didn’t think to get those again this year for some reason. ) Since, for me, it’s just not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, I brainstormed as to how I could get away with still making it. After much rummaging through my cupboards I remembered I had a muffin pan. So I cut out rounds of my pastry and gingerly shoved them into the greased muffin pan, filled the cups with the pie filling and baked for about 35 mins. After they cooled, I topped each pumpkin cup with a swirl of fresh homemade whipped cream. Everyone everyone was actually impressed with them and they were really tasty!

    And to top it all off, on Thanksgiving, my husband and I stopped by his brother’s house before our dinner at my parents and my sister-in-law had bought a boxed kit at the store that has everything you need to make little pumpkin cups! I had no idea such a thing existed but I was pretty proud of my ingenuity. :)

  15. sorry it took me so long but I made this on Thursday morning and it was the BEST CHEESECAKE I’VE EVER TASTED! My whole family ranted and raved! It was awesome! Thanks! I did overcook the cheesecake but not on purpose and it turned out just perfect! I didn’t turn over the bottom of my pan because both sides have this diamond shaped design so it wouldn’t have mattered anyways. Also, it wouldn’t seal as well either.
    Thanks so much Deb!

  16. Laura

    I found this recipe on the epicurious website a few years ago and have made it every Thanksgiving since. Way better than pumpkin pie! Nice website; I found it when a friend forwarded your pumpkin bread pudding page. I’m planning to try that now.

  17. I love this recipe! My husband made it last year and used ginger snaps instead of graham crackers for the crust and it gave it a great zing! Happy Thanksgiving!

  18. jgrab

    Oh my gawd, just looking at the pictures of this cheesecake make me feel kind of dirty. even though i’ve decided not to include it in my bakefest for tomorrow (i’m the dessert guy) i just can’t stay away, i keep coming back to this page in sheer fascination. i think it sets a standard to which i will someday aspire…at this point i am such an amateur cook that i can’t even justify purchasing a springform pan, which i had to google by the way cause i didn’t know what it was. anyway, i am attempting some pumpkin cheesecake bars, to which i slyly added some bourbon, and the pumpkin bread pudding (with bourbon) and perhaps an apple crisp/umble (can i add bourbon to that too?). anyway i am officially a fan. happy thanksgiving! wish i was eating at your house…

  19. Casey

    I don’t have a question. I just found your website today and wanted to tell you how much I love it!!! The recipes and pictures look amazing. My favorite part is your writing, you make everything sound beautiful, tasty and exciting. Thanks, I needed that.

  20. Jeannette

    deb, i was looking at this EXACT recipe on epi and now that you have it on your site………. i HAVE to make it. it’s like… a SIGN or something. i swear your site reinforces every cooking thought i have.

    should i blame you for the extra pounds added onto my midsection? :)

  21. Dana

    OK, so I realize you posted this a year ago, but THANK YOU! We’re headed to my in-laws for Thanksgiving, and my MIL doesn’t cook, let alone bake, so I am INSISTING on making this when we’re there. I’ll have to haul my springform pan on the 8-hour drive, but thankfully it doesn’t take up much space!

  22. I made this tonight for a work party Tuesday. and when I went to cut into it, realized the center which felt cooked enough before I added the topping, is now suddenly not cooked enough. It’s got a more pudding like texture in the center. My reputation is in jeopardy! Is there any way to save this? Can I put it back in the oven for a bit (with the topping completed, remember)? Can someone recommend a quick and easy substitute? Help! :(

    1. Janine B Duffy

      Made it before a few years ago with great success. Today I used the food processor, baked it, and when I took it out of the oven to put the topping on, it cracked in 5 places and all the topping plummeted inside the middle.

  23. deb

    Sounds like it is quite underbaked. I don’t think that the topping will hold up as well if you pop it back in the oven but it is probably better than a raw cheesecake. Otherwise, you could cut the uncooked core out and pretend that you’d *meant* to make a tube-shaped cheesecake.

  24. Victoria

    Hi Deb, this is my first attempt at a cheesecake, and I was wondering, if I wanted to make 2 smaller cheesecakes, would the bake time change at all, or would it still be 50-60 minutes in the oven? Thanks!

  25. deb

    It will really depend on what size/thickness you’ll be making them, but since there is no exact science to scaling baking times, it would be best to just start check it 20 to 30 minutes in and every five or 10 minutes after that.

  26. Anna

    Hi Deb! I saw the suggestion for using gingersnaps instead of graham crackers for the crust a little ways up in the comments. And then I saw Pioneer Woman’s post about her pumpkin gingersnap cheesecake… How do you think gingersnaps would work with this one? I love the idea!

  27. Jen

    I just pulled the cheesecake from the oven… I didn’t have bourbon and at the last minute borrowed some from neighbor. It really gave the batter/sour cream an awesome flavor. Mine cracked a bit on the top at the end. I baked it for almost 60 minutes as the middle was still jiggly at 50 minutes, but the sour cream hid the cracks. Deb, which is more important, jiggle in the middle or cracked, possibly overcooked? I cannot wait to taste this tomorrow! I am loving your site – thanks for the inspiration! PS – I also made the flourless chocolate torte – it really deflated in the middle, but still looks ok. Hopefully the glaze will help :)

  28. deb

    Hi Jen — Cracked doesn’t equal overcooked. It’s just something that happens due to the nature of a custard like filling getting baked. (Some bakers bake cheesecakes in a gentle water bath to avoid this. I am incredibly lazy and prefer using the delicious sour cream topping to hide the craters.) What’s more important is that the center seems pretty set. It can jiggle a bit when bumped — think Jell-O — but you don’t want any indication that it’s really more a liquid center, with a splash-like movement.

  29. Kitty

    This was a great hit last night. Thank you so much. Honey Maid now sells graham cracker crumbs for those who want uniform crumble. Also, it took a little longer than 60 minutes for mine to set. It took more like 80 minutes probably due to my oven but it came out wonderful. A keeper for next year.

  30. jen

    thanks, deb. your cheesecake was unbelievable. you are right, the sour cream hid the cracks, and at one hour, it was perfectly set. oh, and the bourbon? yum, yum, yum. do you need a roommate?

  31. Amy

    I made this for Thanksgiving…FANTASTIC! The layers make it beautiful. I was happy to see it came out as pictured here. I love the crumb crust. With some bites the topping took away from the yummy pumpkin flavor in the center…wonder if there would be a way to adjust it. Suggestions? I am not a baking queen…yet!
    This is definitely a keeper though…thanks!

    On a general note: I too love your photos and writings. It does make everything look amazing. My friend is the one that turned me onto your site. I am very pleased and plan to try many more recipes.

  32. Deb this was such a beautiful addition to my thanksgiving feast this year. I would not change a single thing, it came out absolutely perfect. The overwhelming compliment was “I don’t even like cheesecake and I can’t get enough of this.” Thanks as always for the great recipes and beautiful pics that inspire me to recreate them!

  33. Moreen

    My yoga teacher brought this delicious bit of “health” food to our Thanksgiving table. I agree w/Nicole, above. I’m not a big cheesecake fan and this was scrumptious. Can’t wait to make it to take to a holiday party next week!
    She told me about your site and I’m sure I’ll now be a frequent visitor…thanks.

  34. this is no longer urgent, given it is late january and all, but i attempted this recipe for pumpkin cheesecake with bourbon sour cream topping for my first christmas as a married lady this year. i have cooked for the in-laws before (the last 2 thanksgivings were MINE!!!) so my reputation, at least i hope, is not in jeopardy.

    this recipe for was given to me this year by my stepmother. my dad just passed in march and she informed me that he loved to make this cake and had made it dozens of times since it was first published in 1990.

    well, i had never used a springform pan nor had i attempted a cheesecake before. it came out perfectly except i had the same problem as one of your other readers–the inside was undercooked. i have a newish kenmore pro oven that seems to be spot on temp-wise and the center jiggled slightly as promised, i left it in the oven for at least 70 minutes and the innermost 2 1/2-3 inches were still runny. i tried to salvage it after chilling for a day and a half (i didn’t know it was underdone until we sliced into it), but the top just burned after it came up to temp.

    i don’t have the heart to tell my stepmom about the cheesecake tragedy– any suggestions?

  35. deb

    Hey there — Unfortunately, it sounds like you definitely took it out of the oven too soon. And unfortunately (again) not everyone’s ovens are calibrated correctly; what takes 50 minutes in one will clearly take much longer in yours. (You might want to buy an inexpensive oven thermometer to check it, especially because you’re having raw/burning issues.) The only advice I can give for the future is that with this and any other cake you bake, use doneness as a measure of when you should take it out and not baking times. Good luck!

  36. noni

    Deb re your comment 38. I’m no expert based on my own experience, but acc to what I read in Cook’s illustrated, cracking does happen through overcooking.
    Here’s what they write:

    “Why do cheesecakes crack and how does a water bath prevent overbaking?

    Some cooks consider a cracked top an integral part of cheesecake, but we disagree and believe that it is actually an indication that the cake is overcooked. Two months of making cheesecakes proved that cakes baked beyond 160 degrees almost always cracked…

    Benefits of a Water Bath

    Many cheesecake recipes specify that the cake be baked halfway submerged in a water bath, or what the French call a bain marie. The theory is that a water bath moderates the temperature around the perimeter of the pan, preventing overcooking at the edges. To figure out exactly what’s happening, we prepared two identical cheesecakes and baked one directly on the oven rack and the other in a water bath. Both were removed from the oven when their centers reached 147 degrees. The cake that had been baked in a water bath was even-colored and smooth; the other cake was browned and cracked…

  37. noni

    They also printed a technique claimed to be able to repair a cracked cheesecake

    “Uncracking Cracked Cheesecake
    Even when every precaution is taken, the occasional cheesecake will develop unsightly cracks. Susan Secrest of Drexel, N.C., has discovered a simple method for repairing them.

    1. Remove the sidewall from the springform pan while the cheesecake is warm. Wrap a cloth ribbon snugly around the cake, preferably one that covers the sides completely (about 3 inches wide for most pans).
    2. Secure the ribbon with a binder clip, and leave the ribbon in place until the cake has cooled completely.

    There’s an illustration online (do a searach for the title) or- I think – January 1, 2006 magazine

  38. deb

    Hi Noni — Thanks for your comment — very helpful! Unfortunately, I have to trim it down. I cannot legally post large passages of copyrighted content, only paraphrases. (For the same reason that if someone copied this post on another site, I would expect them to take it down.) Thanks again.

  39. noni

    ah, sorry, I was not sure about that. Just wanted you to see it anyway. you have so many great recipes, im enjoying reading this blog

  40. Mae

    Wow this cheesecake is so good! Thanks to the other readers’ comments, I made sure that the middle did not wobble and it came out nicely. I might have to freeze half of it just to restrain myself.

  41. Jenny

    Made this a couple weeks ago, with freshly baked(/microwaved, ahem) sweet potatoes. (Grocery store didn’t have canned pumpkin, unfortunately.) But it still turned out AMAZING. I added cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice to the crust, too. Living with 2 male roommates, it was gone within 3 days, which always feels good. :) Thanks!!

  42. Julie

    Question – I was thinking of making this for an upcoming party but want to make bars instead (easier to cut & serve on a dessert tray) – do you think I can just make as directed in a 13 x 9 pan – just watch the time? I assume it would probably bake faster. I’ve never made cheesecake bars/bites so I don’t know if they need a different type of batter. Thanks!

  43. matthew

    I used this recipe as a base for some pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes with dark chocolate espresso gingersnap crust (with honey-roasted cashews and olive oil substituted for the butter). I used whipped cream cheese instead of sour cream (because that’s all that I had and I hate sour cream), and added a little vanilla, cinnamon, and aged whiskey to the topping. I also substituted honey for the granulated sugar, and fat-free half and half for the cream. I originally planned on making this because I had a sugar pumpkin from the farmer’s market sitting around, and made my own puree the night before. They turned out perfect– not too sweet, very creamy, and with a savory bite from the coffee and dark chocolate (not to mention they’re actually pretty healthy if you use healthier ingredients).

  44. matthew

    also, cosmic cowgirl:

    if you find that your cheesecake is undercooked in the middle but getting close to done around the edges, you should try covering the top of the pan with tinfoil (while being extremely careful not to let it touch the batter). the waterbath technique is another way to make sure the cheesecake cooks evenly, because the water absorbs heat energy from the edges, allowing it to remain as cool as the rest of the cake (where otherwise the metal edges would cause the outside rim of the cake to become much hotter, due to the low specific heat of metal compared to water or air).

  45. M

    Hi Deb,
    This is a stupid question, but did you bake the pecan garnish with the topping or just add them at the end?

    Thanks! I can’t wait to try this ~

  46. Daniela

    I really love your receipts, but most of them seem to contain canned ingredients. I live in a small rural village in The Netherlands with plenty of farms around and I can buy almost anything but it isn’t canned. I’ve never even heard of canned solid-pack pumpkin, but I do buy fresh pumpkins from a local pumpkin farm. How do I make fresh pumpkin taste like a canned solid-pack one? And normal black beans like canned ones, because I fancy the pumpkin and black bean soup too?


  47. betsy

    deb, i love your website! I am in cairo, egypt and am doing thanksgiving for about 40 people. I wanted to make a pumpkin cheesecake, but there are no graham crackers or pecans here. Can I made this recipe with a gingersnap crust?

  48. Becky

    This looks delicious; exactly what I was looking for!
    I am planning on make this while visiting a friend (limited cooking equipment) and was wondering if you have had success making this in a (gasp) store-bought graham cracker crust instead of a springform pan?

    1. deb

      I don’t believe it would have the right volume. Springforms are quite deep. Also, the idea of using a springform is that you can pop off the sides, since you can’t flip cheesecakes out of cake pans otherwise. However, if you start with a store-bought crust, you might try halving the filling volume…

  49. betsy

    I am in Cairo, Egypt and am doing thanksgiving for about 40 people. I wanted to make this pumpkin cheesecake, but there are no graham crackers or pecans here. Can I make this recipe with a gingersnap crust?

  50. Megan

    Deb, this recipe sounds amazing! I am curious about trying to convert the recipe to cupcakes for a Thanksgiving finger food themed party this weekend. Any hints on how I would go about that?

  51. deb

    The issue with putting a cheesecake batter in cupcake molds or another standard cake pan is that you won’t have the springform sides which are pretty essential for getting a cheesecake cleanly out of the pan. There are options, such as this mini-cheesecake pan (the bottoms pop out, so the “cupcakes” come out cleanly) or if you want to make bars, maybe a springform-sided cake pan like this or this. Otherwise, you can use regular cake or cupcake pans, it will just be very difficult to get the cheesecake out in one piece.

  52. Cristina

    Hi Deb, I want to make this for Thanksgiving, do you think I should make one before to try? I live in Istanbul and don’t have bourbon, can I use Rum instead?

  53. oh no!
    i’m a total novice here, giving this thing a whirl. bringing it to my parents for tomorrow’s feast. the top looks like it might be burning … it’s been in there for an hour now, but the center might still be jiggling. i can’t figure out how much jiggle is too much jiggle … help!

  54. oh, and another thing: the cheesecake has risen right up over the sides of the pan. so now i’m not sure how to add the sour cream topping. is this normal? i followed the directions exactly… thanks!

  55. deb

    See my suggestion in comment #38 about Jell-O-like jiggles versus splashy ones. Cheesecakes often puff when they bake… it should settle in the 5 minutes it cools before you add the topping.

    1. Sarah

      I’m planning to make this tomorrow and just realized I only have creme fraiche, not sour cream. Do you think I could use the creme fraiche for the topping? Looks delish! Thanks!m for the help!

  56. PRK

    Help! I put 3x the amount of pumpkin accidentally! Is there any way I can fix it? I just put it in the oven and am hoping for the best!

  57. Susan

    I made this cheesecake yesterday for Thanksgiving and it was perfect. We loved it and everyone of our guests just raved about it. I was also a little unsure about the jiggle, but it didn’t have the appearence of sloshing under the top skin that formed, so I took it out to top it. In my haste to get it done, I forgot to let it rest before putting the topping on. If that weren’t enough, I didn’t have enough sour cream, so I used some mascarpone cheese and added some heavy cream to it to make up the difference! It was thicker than all sour cream would have been so it was a little difficult getting it on the jiggly cake. It worked in spite of me! Thank goodness and thank you for sharing this recipe with us.

  58. Shelley

    I bookmarked this cheesecake a few months back and patiently waited for Thanksgiving to arrive. This was my first attempt at cheesecake and I followed your instructions exactly and it came out perfectly! I candied some pecans with some left over bourbon and sugar and cinnamon, then chopped them really well and sprinkled them over the top instead of the plain pecan halves. This really added an awesome flavor and a nice crunch. So thankful for all of your wonderful recipes!!

  59. Heather

    I just made this for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit!! Everyone loved it and I will be adding it to my holiday tradition. THANK YOU!

  60. Rebecca

    I don’t have a springform pan, so used a glass 8×8 baking dish lined with foil. I cut the foil extra long so there would be tabs I could use to pull the whole thing out after it had been refrigerated. It worked pretty well, except that I had a bit too much cheesecake filling for the pan and the foil stuck to the pan a little (I think some of the butter from the crust leaked through the foil) but I got the cheesecake out in one piece and it was delicious. Also, I didn’t use the sour cream topping (I baked it in a water bath so there were no cracks), so if you plan to use the topping you will definitely need a pan bigger than 8×8.

  61. Lisa

    Hi Deb. I wondered if you had any suggestions for replacing heavy cream? It’s only 2T, and I know that an entire container of cream won’t get used up in my apt. Thanks!

  62. Kathleen

    This cheesecake is delicious. The only problem was that it made too much and I have now eaten entirely too much cheesecake in the last few days (even though I frozen half!) and shared the cheesecake with others. It is very rich and so only a small slice is required. Also I opted not to make the sour cream topping because I am not really a fan of those on cheesecakes. Instead I made a fresh bourbon whipped cream (1/2 cup heavy cream beat until soft mounds form, then 1 T sugar and then you fold in 2 1/4 tsp bourbon.) I found the recipe online and it worked beautiful and covered the crack. I would use more bourbon next time though in the cream. I will say as far as the cheesecake, I could not taste the bourbon but it was still absolutely wonderful.

    Also, I attempted to follow one of the commenter’s instructions and swapped ginger snap cookies for graham crackers. Although delicious, it didn’t stay together well and was “weeping” butter when you cut it. It might have been the brand I used however because it had real crystallized ginger in it. Anyway, I would stick with the graham crust if I did it again.

    Thanks so much, Deb. This cheesecake was an absolute hit. I might make a smaller one next time for the sake of my waist line however. :)

  63. Victoria

    Have you heard about the “pumpkin shortage” this season? I wanted to make this cheesecake (I made it last year and it was utterly AMAZING), but I could ONLY find Libby’s canned pumpkin pie mix. Any suggestions on how to substitute that for the canned pumpkin?? I’m assuming I can leave out the spices, but what about sugar? Think that will make a difference?

  64. Heather

    So I finally baked my first cheesecake (this one). I had a friend with me for moral support. I had not read all the directions all the way through (you had me at Bourbon) so I didn’t realize all the setting times. We started around noon on Friday, stopped at one point to make grilled cheese sandwiches and then stopped again to buy more cream cheese. I had only picked up one 8 oz package of whipped cream cheese. On the second trip we got two 8 oz packages of regular cream cheese (they didn’t have whipped). I wonder if the different types make a difference in the cake? The good news, at a few minutes before 8am this morning I had my first slice with a fresh cup of coffee. Soooo good!
    PS. I have noticed that pumpkin has gone up due to the bad crops they’ve had in the last two years. I suggest buying at least 4 cans to ensure some dessert for next winter (they have a shelve life of about 2 years).
    Happy St.Patricks!

  65. amy

    i just made this cake for a sunday birthday brunch potluck. i always need to up the decadence ante so i put some ganache on top. too much? probs! but won’t those layer look pretty? i make it in an 8.5″ SF so it’s even a bit more stacked looking. i am in love with it and i haven’t tasted a bite!

  66. Nina

    LOVED this recipe! I love a thicker crust so I doubled it. It was soo good that I’ll admit, I ate some for breakfast!

    Thank you for sharing this yum recipe!

  67. Deidre

    This was honestly one of the best things that I have ever made. I brought it to a late Thanksgiving potluck, and everyone was blown away. Thanks for sharing!

  68. Fabulous as usual. I love that the topping covers cracks, so easy to make it look good! I flipped the bottom of the springform but I’m too scared to try to take the cheesecake off the base, any tips?

  69. Eileen B

    It’s in the oven right now. Our Thanksgiving is over for this year (Oct 12) and we made punky pies with Potimarron pumpkins from my garden for that occasion but I had some leftover cooked pumpkin and wanted to use it up. 1/2 hour in and it already smells divine. I didn’t have bourbon liqueur so I used Canadian whisky instead.

  70. Louis

    Mine is in the oven, but I think next time I definitely need to double the crust. Mine was downright see-through in spots. How long do y’all let cream cheese soften? I had mine on the counter for over an hour(while cooking other things) and my batter still looked a tad lumpy.

  71. Crystal K

    It’s in the oven right now, just 2 minutes to go before it’s done. I ended up adding a bit more sugar to the filling because it tasted a little on the sour side and not dessert-y enough. And I didn’t have the liquor so I added some molasses to the sour cream topping. Tasted good off the spoon!

    I’m making it for my girlfriends 30th b-day. The celebration is in two and a half hours…hopefully everything sets before then (it’s been a while since my last cheese cake).

  72. Pamcakes

    THIS WAS SUCH A HIT! I made a little extra of the graham cracker crust…since I know that’s my favorite part of a cheesecake. I didn’t have any bourban on hand, so I used whiskey. I too added just a tad more sugar to the topping. Baked it in a cold water bath. Waited patiently for it to cool overnight….and the next day for dinner it was the star of the show. SO DELICIOUS. Thanks, Deb!

  73. Aislinn

    I made this for a dinner party using homemade cream cheese. I have unsuccessfully been trying to make pumpkin cheesecake for years. This recipe is spot on and turned out perfectly. I will be making this again next week for Thanksgiving. The only change I made was to use a gingersnap crust instead of a graham crust, but otherwise this is a great recipe (and very simple to make too!)

  74. MaryM

    Did I miss something? Recipe doesn’t seem to indicate when sugar/cornstarch etc. is mixed in – to pumpkin mixture, to cream cheese ??
    Confused in MI

  75. MaryM

    Nevermind. Went to the Epicurious site, where the Add in was in the same paragraph, so it was completely obvious to me. Sorry for the comment!

  76. Dana

    Made this last night for an early Thanksgiving party and it was PHENOMENAL! I used cinnamon graham crackers in the crust because they’re what I had and the crust was the best part. I baked it for around 75 minutes, just checking every 5 minutes or so after 50 minutes to make sure there wasn’t much wiggle. It barely moved when I touched it, but was still super creamy in the middle. This will absolutely become a Thanksgiving staple around my house!

  77. RachelG

    MMMM…This was wonderful! I used the gingerbread graham crackers they have seasonally and omitted the pecans (my husband can’t eat them) and the crust was fabulous. I uses a bit more bourbon than called for. Took about 70 minutes and could probably have gone another 5-10 mins, but it was still quite acceptable. The cheesecake is so creamy with the essence of pumpkin pie. I was skeptical about the sour cream topping but it really worked and I’m glad I went with it! Definitely will make again

  78. Mia

    I baked the Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake for Thanksgiving, but I replaced pecans with walnuts, which complimented the crust and the pumpkin cheesecake. My family was impressed! Thanks!

  79. Carrie

    I don’t love pumpkin pie but my family does so I thought this would be a good compromise. We all absolutely loved it and will be making it every year now! I was a little nervous about making it because I had never baked a cheesecake before. But your instructions were perfect and it turned out amazing!

  80. Kim

    Made this yesterday for Thanksgiving and it was quite the hit. I’ve never made a cheesecake before so was nervous about the undertaking. I started panicking when it took nearly 80-90 minutes for the center to cook entirely, but it turned out perfect. The bourbon in the cour cream topping is just amazing. I had to omit pecans due to a nut allergy in the family but will definitely add them in future versions. Also, I would double the crust amount as the crust was really delicious and there wasn’t near enough of it on the bottom of my cheesecake.

  81. RachelG

    Just for anyone who hasn’t made cheesecake before (I hadn’t in a few years!) Make sure you let the cream cheese come up to room temp! I didn’t wait long enough and my first round came out w/ little lumps in the batter. I was hopeful that they would bake out, but halfway through baking I could see it wasn’t going to happen! I didn’t want a cheesecake with little lumps everywhere, so I tossed it… and out to the store at 1030pm the night before thanksgiving to get 3 more bricks of cream cheese for me! I was up until 2am making the next cheesecake, but it was totally worth it! I learned my lesson the hard way :)

  82. Andrea

    So another recipe of yours has earned me raves. Furthermore, and even more surprising, I really liked this. I don’t even like cheesecake, and by the way I had never made a cheesecake before, but it came out beautifully and it’s extremely addicting. Thank you!

  83. Kristen

    I made this cake for a Christmas party, and it was a huge hit. I did replace the sour cream topping with one made with bourbon, whipping cream, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The cake wasn’t overly sweet like a lot of pumpkin cheesecake recipes are….just perfect! Thank you so much!

  84. Mandar

    I made this into mini cheesecakes for Thanksgiving this year. I didn’t halve the recipe, so I ended up with about 3 dozen (would have been 4 dozen if we weren’t eating some as I was making them). Perfect amount for my dad’s large family. They were amazing! By the time I got out of work, they were almost all gone!

  85. Ilona

    This cake turned out perfectly, and actually was best after having been refrigerated for 2 days – a great one to make in advance of a special dinner. Great recipe, thanks!

  86. Alex

    I’d really like to find an awesome recipe for a bourbon pumpkin pie. with fall coming up pumpkin pie is my boyfriend’s favorite addiction and he loves bourbon. Any suggestions?

  87. Mary K.

    This worked nicely for me in jumbo-size aluminum muffin liners (with the paper liner left in) placed on a baking sheet. Not the prettiest presentation, but if you peel the liners off veryvery carefully after cooling the cheesecake stays mostly intact. Halving the recipe yielded 12 cupcakes that baked in 35 minutes.

    And if anyone else has a smittenkitchen so tiny and lightly equipped that it lacks even a handheld mixer (can’t be just me in this dire situation?!?), letting the cream cheese get a little warmer than room temp — 1 hr 15 mins on the counter, for me — makes it easy to whip it up smoothly and creamily with just muscle power.

  88. michelle

    I just made this, and it’s sososo delicious! I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and it turned out really well. I also just baked it in a regular cake pan and had enough left over to make 12 mini cheesecakes (in a muffin pan). I agree with other comments that say to double the crust, since I think that was my favorite part of the cheesecake!

  89. Courtney

    I’d like to try this recipe for Thanksgiving this year (yes, I start researching Thanksgiving recipes several months in advance, dessert in particular) but would be making it in a 7″ springform pan. In the past I have been able to cut cheesecake recipes in half and there seems to be enough volume to make the cheesecake the right size, but I’ve never tried to half a recipe that called for 3 eggs. Am I better off with one egg or two?

  90. I just made this for a Canadian expat Thanksgiving in London and had to make some changes due to local availability and patriotism. I’m not one of those people who comments on recipes about how I changed them all the time, but in case anyone else is in the same boat:

    – I couldn’t find canned pumpkin at my supermarket (it is available here, but not as much of a staple), and we wound up baking frozen diced butternut squash and pushing it through a sieve for the puree. It worked beautifully, no one could tell the difference.
    – I also used amaretti instead of graham crackers (which I couldn’t find) in the crust and cut the white sugar since they’re so sweet – this worked fine.
    – I also – since we’d made promises about maple before finding this recipe – subbed the white sugar in the batter for maple syrup.

    It still came out beautifully – people raved, one girl said that she doesn’t even usually like cheesecake but she liked this. I will definitely do this again! Maybe in Canada, with canned pumpkin, which would make the whole process a lot less labor-intensive.

  91. Karen

    The recipe says to cover the cheesecake if you want to make it in advance. Should I put plastic wrap directly on the cake? Seems like it might make it less pretty… Thanks!

  92. deb

    When I make cheesecake in advance, I leave it in the springform and cover that with plastic or foil. There’s usually enough space up top (between the ring and cake top) that it doesn’t get messed up.

  93. Karen

    Thanks so much for responding! I really appreciate the advice! Also, if I decided to go with a ginger snap crust, I am thinking I should leave out the extra sugar that the recipe calls for, but still leave the pecans. Any thoughts? I am planning my first thanksgiving meal, and what my in-laws to really be wow’ed.

  94. Meg

    I made this last night, for a family dinner today. I wanted to make something with pumpkin given that it’s the season for it, and in England we don’t seem to have the pumpkin madness that a lot of my American friends tell me about (pumpkin in everything!) so it’ll be something a little different to try. Naturally, they didn’t sell tinned or sweet pumpkins at my local shops, just Halloween field pumpkins, so I bought a couple of munchkin pumpkins (they’re meant to be sweeter and less stringy) and used their pulp, so hopefully it’ll taste okay when we eat it later :)

  95. Sarah

    I used this recipe to make squares to bring to a couple of Halloween parties. I doubled the crust to fit a larger dish, used toasted pecans and cinnamon graham crackers. Buttered a 9×13 glass dish, lined it with parchment, cut the corners to wrap smoothly, and buttered the parchment to make sure the cheesecake would come out of the dish easily. I made the filling as is, though added a extra tblspoon or two of Elijah Craig. Baked it in a water bath (the dish fit into a large roasting pan) for 60 or so minutes until my finger tapping yielded a cake that was a little jiggly but not splashy. Added an extra tblspoon or two of bourbon to the sour cream topping, too. Chilled overnight, removed from pan, cut into 1″ squares, and topped with pecan halves. To. Die. For.

  96. betsy

    Hi Deb, there appears to be a pumpkin shortage here in Cairo. All I can find is pumpkin pie cans. Can I substitute that for the solid pumpkin? Would I use less spices? This dish is always a hit at thanksgiving and would like to make it again! Can you help?

  97. Kati

    I made this last year for thanksgiving and everyone loved it. The only thing I changed up was the sour cream on top and instead used whipped cream with bourbon. Oh, and I roasted the pumpkin myself which was so freaking easy and made the whole thing so fresh. Great recipe and I cannot wait to make it again this year!

  98. Chelsea

    Just wonder, I completely forgot the bourbon at the store. How much would you say that affects the delicousness of this recipe? I am super excited to make it, and was going to start in the morning, so I still have time to get the booze. Just wondered how necessary it is! Thanks :)

  99. Mia

    Is it possible to make the filling ahead of time and keep it in the fridge? I’m thinking like 2 full days before I bake it, which would be 1 full day before serving….

  100. Debra

    Is there a standard temperature a cheesecake should be to indicate “done-ness”. I thought I read someone mention 147 degrees.

    I hate second guessing things like “how much jiggle is too much jiggle”. I’d rather just stick in my instant read thermometer. If there is a standard temp, I will attempt this for my husband’s company party next week.

  101. deb

    Hi Debra — Wow, I hadn’t heard of using an internal temperature before but I really, really, really love the idea (I use it for bread and meat, why not cheesecake? More fun that stressing over whether it jiggles enough.)

    I did some Googling and it sounds like 147 could be about right. Though, there is some disagreement. AllRecipes says 160 to 165, but that sounds too high to me. Across many other sites, I saw the number 150, suggesting you don’t go over it. I’m making this cheesecake (of course!) again this week and I’ll try the internal temperature test and report back. But I won’t be able to tell you how it went until Friday, since we won’t eat the cake (and I cannot see if it’s correctly baked through) until Thursday night.

  102. Such a great recipe. My gingersnap crust was a little thin, so I might do time and a half on the crust next time. I made it three days ahead, everything but the sour cream topping, put saran wrap directly on the top to keep it moist. Then I did the sour cream the morning of, didn’t bake it, just let it firm up again back in the fridge.

    Sooo good. Thank you for bringing this into my life, Deb!

  103. deb

    Hi Lindsay — I checked mine today at 149 degrees, and it seemed too wet. A tester came out with loose batter attached. So, I kept it in a bit longer and of course it had three cracks in it before I even got the sour cream on (which, luckily, hides all cracks).

  104. Alison

    I have this in the oven right now and it is very exciting. I’m nervous about over/under-baking it. Next time you make a cheesecake, can you take a video of the jiggle test? I just tried to look it up on YouTube with no success. Though actually internal temperature is a brilliant idea as well.

  105. Christine McEntire

    I came across your site after googling “pumpkin cheesecake”. I made this yesterday to serve today and Thanksgiving Dinner and it was phenominal! Everyone couldn’t say enough and a few people even commented that it looked like it came from a bakery! Two things – the recipe says 50 to 60 minutes cook time. Mine took more along the lines of 75 minutes. There was a small crack in the middle but it was minimal. I also used whipped cream instead of sour cream. I still added the sugar and bourbon and simply refrigerated it overnight in lieu of cooking for 5 minutes. Before serving I sprinkled the top with choppe pecans. Loved it! We’ll be making this again and again.

  106. I knew this was the place to come for a great holiday cake. It turned out perfectly–the sour cream topping gave it a subtle tang that blended well with the pumpkin. I was worried when I mixed the bourbon in (I used Wild Turkey) because it smelled so overpowering, but once the alcohol baked out, the bourbon flavor complimented the spices and textures exquisitely. I think it could have used a bit thicker crust, I ended up using walnuts instead of pecans in the graham cracker crust and it turned out pretty tasty. I thought the ginger snap crust was too adventurous, but now that I’ve made it I must try it. I garnished with pecans and sprinkled it with cinnamon. I then served it with vanilla bean ice cream… a sacred moment. It was beautiful and tasted amazing, and I will definitely make it again. Thanks for the recipe!

  107. Michelle

    Delicious! I used the Chicago Metallics pan you mentioned and ended up with almost 3 dozen adorable mini cheesecakes (I ruined a few getting used to the pan)! For those who are interested, I only chilled the crusts for 20 minutes (I figured smaller equals less time.. ) in my oven they took about 30-35 minutes to achieve the “jell-o” type jiggle mentioned, and used almost twice the amount of crust that a 9-inch cheesecake would (not to mention a double-dose of Maker’s Mark in the topping! yum!). Because I didn’t have pecans on hand, I used almonds in the crust and decorated the tops with candied pecans that I’d broken up in a food processor. So cute! Will definitely be making this one again

    It took forever with only one mini cheesecake pan though–7 or 8 hours from start to finish, not counting the 2 hours that the cream cheese sat out before I started (cut up into pats, on a plastic plate, and far away from my granite counters because it was cold this morning)! I had plenty of down-time of course, but really never enough to leave the kitchen. Others might be advised to use more than one pan if going the mini-cheesecake route… or to just be prepared for the time commitment :)

  108. Grace

    I make your silky smooth pumpkin pie every year and it’s always a huge hit! This year I doubled the recipe but there was so much filling left over still after two pies, that I thought I would switch things up a bit by turning the rest of it into this delicious cheesecake! Is that too rebellious? How might you go about doing that in a way that wouldn’t upset the cheesecake gods (you don’t want to get on their bad side)? Thank you!

    Hope you had a tasty Thanksgiving!

  109. Marissa

    I have now made this recipe twice, getting hooked after the first time. It is definitely my most favorite cheesecake recipe ever, the best I have ever made, and not having to tweak it the slightest bit. I also can’t wait for your cookbook to come out, I will be one of the first ones to buy it!

  110. Sara

    My dad is a big cheesecake fan and not pumpkin pie so I made this AND your pie recipe this year. My husband and I just finished off the cheesecake last night and he is still raving about how good it was. His favorite part was the crust and I have to agree. The nuts really make it wonderful!

  111. Abigail

    My first cheesecake, and this has gotten nothing but rave reviews. Thanks for your very detailed instructions — I was terrified of cheesecake but it turned out to be easy.

  112. Deb, I have to say this. I REALLY dislike cheesecake. I hate the slightly sour taste the cream cheese gives it (except that I LOVE cream cheese). But I made this cheesecake–sort of–and loved it. My variation? Cut your recipe in half, layer that into a pie crust, then layer pumpkin pie filling to the top and bake. Amazing. It makes believe there’s hope for cheesecake.

  113. Joanna

    I wanted to make a slightly less massive version of this cheesecake, and I found that using 2/3rds of the recipe for filling and topping was perfect. I kept the full crust (since I was still using a 9″ springform pan), and the finished product was about an inch thick and served eight. I had made the full version before and had trouble getting it to cook all the way through in my oven, but this smaller version cooked perfectly in about an hour. I’ll definitely make this again!

    1. deb

      Hi Malka — If you don’t use the crust, how do you usually bake your cheesecakes … pudding-style, so you can just scoop them or do you manage to butter your baking dishes well enough that you can remove them in slices? My only cheesecake experience is with crusts, so I can only give limited advice, but you can probably follow the technique for any other crustless cheesecake you’ve made here.

    2. Pam

      I didn’t use pecans in my crust so I had less volume so there was only enough to cover the bottom of the pan. It was easy enough to eat without getting the crust. Although I have to say I don’t like cheesecake or crust and I haven’t been able to stop eating either of this one! It was so easy and got rave reviews. (Also I used vanilla instead of bourbon in the topping because I was worried that it wouldn’t cook out enough and there were kids at the party).

  114. Kathleen

    I cant wait to make this for my future inlaws for Thanksgiving. I have been following your blog for 2 years now, and I look forward to meeting you when you come to Bridgewater, NJ!

  115. Alicia

    Hello Deb!! I am so excited to see you in Austin at the end of November!

    I am about to make this for a work Halloween social and I just had to comment that the cheesecake reminds me of those fall candy corn candies (not in taste of course). You know, the ones with the brown bottom, orange middle and white tops, I think they are called Indian Corn? Such a perfect fall recipe in flavor and in tradition.

    Oh! And btw! The challa bread came out perfectly! Thanks for the quick response!

  116. summer killingsworth

    What are the odds I can sub the graham crackers for Wheat Germ somehow? Just got back from grocery madness and dreading going back…

  117. judy

    Just made this tonight for tomorrow’s feast. It turned out beautifully and though I haven’t taken a bite yet, I had a small preview when I tasted the batter before putting it in the oven – yum! Followed the recipe to a tee. Can’t wait to try it for myself and to serve it to our guests!

  118. Tegan

    So I made this for Thanksgiving this year. It went in the oven for about 90 minutes before I was worried about overbaking and took it out despite still jiggling a lot. Should have read the comments and seen that “jell-o like” jiggles are fine. It still turned out super tasty and everyone loved it, but I definitely am going to try again and take it out earlier and I’m sure it’ll be life-changing. :)

  119. Terry

    Made this for Thanksgiving. Having made cheesecake before I took it out at the appropriate time. It was amazing. Substituted Jack Daniels vanilla liqueur and it worked well. Deb, I find myself using your recipes regularly and they never let me down. Your new cookbook is at the top of my Christmas list! Have a great holiday season.

  120. M

    Hey Deb!
    I love your website. The recipes are amazing and the pictures are really nice!
    I made this twice last year, and everybody loved it.
    I was wondering if I can replace pumpkin with some other fruit (specifically, mango). I’m making this cheesecake for my parents in law and I already bought the ingredients, but I just found out that my father in law doesn’t like pumpkin.
    I could try another kind of cheesecake (I’ve also made your New York cheesecake recipe), but I really like this recipe in which the pureed fruit is mixed in with the cheese (as opposed to just adding a fruit topping).

    1. deb

      Hi M — Glad you enjoyed the cake. I’m a bit nervous to recommend another substitution as you really want something that is very pumpkin flesh-like and I’m not positive that mango will bake up the same way. Mashed roasted apples or pears might (only if not too wet). If you try anything else, let us know as I’m sure others will be excited to try your adaptation. (P.S. I have a mango-topped key lime cheesecake in the archives. I made them as minis but it makes a great full-sized cheesecake too!)

  121. Brian

    I made your Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake this weekend and it was an amazing success. I came across your site looking for something more than just pumpkin pie and your recipe sounded perfect. I will definitely be on your site more often now looking for new ideas. I appreciate it!

  122. Katherine

    The cheesecake was devoured, Deb. Seriously, devoured. The fam wants it again for Christmas, however a person attending is a recovered alcoholic, so I will not be using bourbon or any alcohol. Do you have any suggestions of anything else to add to create the lovely flavour, as well as the texture it gave the graham cracker crust? I’ll be seeing you in Brooklyn in a few weeks- can’t wait!

  123. Brooke

    Just made this for my husband’s birthday, everyone loved it! I left out the bourbon, per his request, and made a ginger snap crust, which was really great with the pumpkin. Baked perfectly in 60 minutes, and it was my first cheesecake ever to not crack!

  124. Lauren

    I made this amazing cake for a Top Chef competition at work.. the secret ingredient was pumpkin. It was the first cheesecake I ever made so I was nervous about embarrassing myself when the judges cut into it, but i won the competition!!! And trust me my nurse co-workers are tough competition! I will totally be making this again. Thanks Deb, I’m 26 and just starting to cook. I make your recipes all the time now and I feel like you are teaching me how to cook!

  125. Susan

    Dear Deb – I am brand new to SK. Just read about you in the NYT. Congrats on all your success. I happened to be looking for a dessert for my Xmas day family party so trolled thru your site looking for something that would serve 12-14 people. Found your pumpkin cheese cake recipe that had added bonus of being a make-ahead (leaving me more time for fun and family on Xmas day.) It was a synch to bake, kept beautifully in my fridge for a day, and was an absolutely delight to serve and eat at the big celebration. Your hint to flip over the the base of the spring form pan and bake it on the underside was clever (so much easier to serve that way). The cheesecake filling was not too sweet and actually had a lovely light texture (not a doorstop cheese cake). Pumpkin flavor can be dull and monotonous on its own, but in this recipe is nicely balanced by the tang of the sour cream, the butter nut crunch of the graham cracker crust, and the aromatic kick of bourbon. Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

  126. Sarah

    I made this last night and had it for breakfast this morning! It was exactly what I wanted! And what I will be making for Thanksgiving:) Thanks for such wonderful recipes! I love that so often no matter what I am craving I can find a recipe on your site (last week it was zucchini bread) and know it will not be too complicated to make and will taste great!!

  127. Tara


    I’ve been making quite a few of your recipes lately between the book amd website (love both!!). My next up is this cheesecake. Last December, after buying 12 blocks of cream cheese that I ended up freezing when I decided to go with a lighter Italian version, I froze the 12 blocks. What s your opinion? Can you freeze and then use cream cheese and, if so, how long can you freeze it?

  128. I am about to make this for the second time for my Dad’s birthday (first time was for Christmas last year – huge hit). I have heard that beating the filling for cheesecakes longer can give you a lighter texture, something I’d like, but can you “over-beat” it?

    1. deb

      Henri — I’m not sure that beating will have a huge effect on cheesecake. Something I haven’t tried, but might be worth fiddling with, is separating an egg or two, beating the egg whites until stiff, then folding them back into the cheesecake batter at the end, trying not to deflate them too much. Whipped egg whites lighten batters pretty well.

  129. Lizzie

    Deb! My roommate and I just made this for a baking contest and we won a dinner for two at 1789 house (awesome restaurant in the Georgetown area of DC). Love your website and this recipe was amazing!

  130. Mary W.

    Evening, Deb! I love this recipe – made it a few times now – but I always get confused with the following step: “Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.” Do you cool the cheesecake in the turned-off oven or out in the open? I’ve heard that cooling a cheesecake immediately out of the oven can cause cracks. But I was uncertain if you cool it entirely for three hours in the oven. I’ve varied the cooling method every time I’ve made this, with different successes/failures, and wanted to clarify. Thank you!

  131. deb

    I always cool mine outside the oven. Sometimes cracks happen (long before that) but the sour cream hides it here, so it doesn’t matter. However, if you prefer your usual cheesecake-baking method, I see no reason you cannot use it here too.

  132. HACB

    Love this recipe. I’ve made it a few times in the past with great success.

    This year we are traveling on Wednesday afternoon to our Thanksgiving destination. Do you think I can make it on Tuesday, let it cool on the counter the requisite hours, and then should I put it in the freezer or fridge if we aren’t eating it until Thursday evening?

    And, if it will keep well in the freezer- how far in advance do you think I can make it?

    Thank you!

    1. deb

      I always make this a day or so in advance. It can be kept in the fridge for a few days, safely. I haven’t frozen it before but if you’ve done so successfully with other cheesecakes, no reason it cannot work here too.

  133. Megan

    Hi Deb! I make this cheesecake every year, and it’s amazing. It seems like everytime I bake it though, the outside of it gets more browned than normal, and the crust seems to stick. Will baking it in a water bath or wrapping the outside in foil fix this? Also, is there a great springform pan you would recommend? Thank you!

    1. deb

      Megan — I don’t have a favorite springform, though I do in general love those gold touch pans from Williams-Sonoma (not sure if they make a springform). If the crust seems to be sticking, you can lightly spray the springform with nonstick spray oil before pressing in the crust. If it’s browning too much before it bakes through, try baking it at a lower temperature. It will take longer, but should be more evenly. Hope that helps.

  134. Laura

    How long do you think this cake will keep in the fridge? I’m bringing to Thanksgiving on Thursday and trying to figure out if I can make it today (Sunday) and keep it in the fridge. Thanks!

  135. Ewan

    Seems forgiving…I double the bourbon to give it a stronger flavor..cooked two of these now and they are a big hit with everyone..especially the kids…they act a little crazy afterwards but I swear it’s just because of the sugar..

  136. Elizabeth

    This is delicious–made it last year for a Thank’o’ween party. But now I’m at my mother in law’s house–it’s her first holiday without her husband, who died in August–and I was planning to make her your marbled pumpkin cheesecake tart, but forgot that the recipe was in the COOKBOOK and not on the BLOG. So I forgot to pack the cookbook. Any way I can get that recipe or an approximation thereof?

    And my thanks to you are VERY appropriate at this time of year, since I’ve fed my family and friends REPEATEDLY from both your blog and your cookbook–so thanks, and I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  137. Kiran

    Deb, I baked this cheesecake last year for the first time and again last night. Thank you so much! I can’t wait to dig into it tomorrow! And I’m especially grateful for your do ahead notes. :) Happy Thanksgiving.

  138. Shannon

    Making for the first time tonight (also my first cheesecake) and just realized after I popped into oven that I forgot to put the heavy cream in…hope it still turns out!

  139. Juliana

    We just ate this hours ago (I am coming out of my food coma now) and it was a HUGE hit! Thank you so much for the delicious recipe. I loved the crust, the consistency, and the incredible topping. I do wish there was more bourbon-ness, and am wondering how much more bourbon I could add without messing up the process of it setting properly. Perhaps bourbon-candied pecans on top? (We did use lots of pecan halves in concentric circles on top to make a nice design, so maybe this is the easiest answer). Any suggestions would be great though!

  140. Rashida

    Wonderful! Definitely the hit of the party. I did change one thing: I added a bit of cream cheese to the topping to minimize the sharpness of the sour cream. The effect was less pungent contrast. The tastes melded much more smoothly. Yum!

  141. Ivan Sirota

    I’m in the process of making you “jacked-up banana bread”.

    We really like Gingerbread (flavor creme) Oreo cookies, Mug Diet Root Beer, and (plain) cheesecake; of course, not all at the same time.

    I have often toyed with the idea of making a (normal-style) cheesecake, but simply-flavored with the creme from the center of Gingerbread Oreo cookies; however, I am unable to figure out how much Oreo Gingerbread creme filling might replace an equal amount of creme cheese in any given (standard) cheesecake recipe. Perhaps you can review this rather Odd request and make a suggestion?

    Also, I have often wished to make a (normal-style) cheesecake, but simply-flavored with Mug Diet Root Beer. Once again, I am unable to fathom how to obtain the “flavor” of Mug Diet Root Beer. I have thought of lightly boiling a can or two (down) to obtain the “liquor-flavor” from two actual cans of Mug Diet Root Beer, but cannot decide if this will really work or not. Once again, perhaps you can offer a suggestion?

    Thank you, Ivan

    1. deb

      Ivan — I suspect that reducing it will give you what you’re looking for, but also, a lot of sweetness so make sure to adjust the sugar accordingly. I believe that root beer extra can also be purchased, and I also vaguely remember a friend have a booze called “Root” a few years ago that could be mixed with seltzer to make a boozy grownup root beer-like cocktail.

  142. ssin16

    This was my first cake ever baked from scratch so I was pretty scared, I had promised it for potluck dessert dish so stakes were high. In the end turned out great, similar texture as the pictures posted here. I did have to leave in the oven for extra 20 minutes as I was really worried it might be undercooked. Next time I will get an oven thermometer to take out the guess work around “jiggle”. Most of it was eaten up at the dinner party and I only had a single slice left for me in the end. Thanks for this wonderful recipe and beautiful pictures that motivated me to make this cake over others.

  143. Meagan

    I’ve had this recipe bookmarked since the summer to try for Thanksgiving. What a delicious find; this cheesecake is divine. My family wants it again next Thanksgiving too! I didn’t realize all of our regular bourbon had been consumed, so I used American Honey instead. I ended up using 2 tablespoons of American Honey, since it is less potent than regular bourbon, in the sour cream topping in order to get the taste I wanted. I’ve had this recipe bookmarked since the summer to try for thanksgiving. What a delicious find!

  144. ellen

    I’m about to make this for Christmas Day. We will have kids and non-drinkers in attendance so I’m searching for a substitution for the bourbon that would be more interesting than vanilla but I’m coming up blank. Maybe maple syrup???

  145. SG

    Apologies for the slightly off-topic question, but I have a question about the pumpkin cheesecake tart in your book, and this seemed like the closest recipe. What would happen if I combined the pumpkin and cheesecake batter from the outset? I know I would lose the marbling effect (but my marbling wasn’t that impressive, so I don’t care that much), but would the taste and texture work? The cheesecake was *amazing* and my guests loved it, but I’m looking for a way to simplify it to make it more appealing to make more often. Thanks.

  146. Made this last night. Adding my comment even though this is an old post! :) I took this to a party and people looooooooved it. “This is SO GOOD” they said. Yay! Thought people might be interested to know that I substituted gluten free ginger snaps from the store in place of the graham crackers (gluten free husband) and kept the pecans and sugars… the crust seemed to be everyone’s favorite part. Yay!

  147. FlourandYolk

    Love this recipe! Making it for a second time for my family this year. Is there a way to keep it from caving in the middle? It seemed to be too much batter for my nine inch springform (had to bake it almost double the time – oven issues -sigh) so was thinking of doing it in my 10in? Thoughts on this?

    1. deb

      FlourandYolk — Hm, I haven’t had mine collapse. Well, all cheesecakes puff a bit and deflate, but it shouldn’t cave. Yours really caved? You can absolutely, btw, bake this in a water bath which can improve custardy texture, usually prevents cracking and might possibly limit the puff-and-deflate factor. I don’t bother with this one (the sour cream will cover any cracks, after all, and I am lazy) but you can follow the baking directions here and they’ll work just fine.

  148. Ellen

    I am a beginner at baking and tested a bunch of recipes this weekend to see what I’d make for Thanksgiving. This is the clear winner! The crunch of the sweet crust is so good paired with the creamy pumpkin filling and tart sour cream.

    If you have a chance to see this, I do have a couple of questions:

    1) Can I make the crust and filling two days ahead (to be baked one day ahead) of serving? Do the crust and filling lose… goodness?… if I leave them in the fridge for the extra day?

    2) The crust was so delicious – especially the crunchy parts, which I got near the sides and edges. Is there a way to ensure the bottom of the crust gets the same satisfying crunchiness? It was a little soft on mine.

    Thank you Deb and happy Thanksgiving!

    1. deb

      Ellen — 1. Yes, but I’d keep the filling separate so not to sog the crust, or risk it. You can keep it in a Tupperware-ish container, pour it in right before you bake it. 2. I think the bottom crusts always get a little soft with cheesecakes, or I’ve found that to be the case. Happy baking!

  149. KC

    I’ve made this cheesecake just about every year since you’ve posted it!Thank you. I love it and want to bring it to a Thanksgiving party this weekend. But, I now live in Istanbul. I found a local replacement for everything but cornstarch and brown sugar (also no molasses unless its pomegranate or grape flavored or maple syrup). Will it be a disaster if I leave out the cornstarch and use white sugar instead of brown?

  150. Carole G.

    D E L I C I O U S. I used fat free cream cheese and sour cream. I’m trying out other desserts as this Christmas there will be 12 more adults at our table. This will be added to my sweets table beside my Bûche de Noel, Neaman Marcus cookies and my mom’s date and nut meranges. Also some fresh fruits and nuts.

  151. Meagan

    This was just…okay. Which is the first time ever one of your recipes has been short of amazing for me. With such an awesome and flavorful ingredient list I was surprised that it just wasn’t super interesting or particularly tasty. Im 98% sure I did everything correctly, BUT I am cooking in the Czech Republic where I can’t read Czech ingredient labels to save my life and could have had something slightly off.

  152. I have this in the oven as I type. It, too, is jiggly in the middle and I’m now going on 20 minutes over the suggested bake time. I have made dozens of cheesecakes in my lifetime and find that the suggested recipe bake times rarely are sufficient. Instead of following the recipe to a “T”, try adding 10 minutes at a time until the cheesecake is set. It’s always worked for me. And the beauty is that cheesecake doesn’t dry out like a regular cake so you have less to risk by extending the bake time. I’m confident that this will be a new holiday favorite.

  153. Sue

    I did a trial run for this recipe a week before Thanksgiving. I used chocolate graham crackers, which was delicious. There was no room for the topping; I realized that I had used the full can of pumpkin (15 ounces instead of 12). When I made it again for Thanksgiving, I didn’t know what to do with the leftover pumpkin, so I made an extra little cheesecake in a small Corning Ware baking dish, which made a nice surprise for my elderly house-bound neighbor. The baking dish has to become the serving dish, since the only way to get it out is on your fork. Everyone wanted a copy of the recipe, and I’ve emailed it to family and friends.

    I can’t decide whether to try the cappuccino fudge cheesecake or the chocolate peanut better cheesecake. I probably will substitute a real nut butter for the peanut butter, maybe almond, maybe I can make some pecan butter.

  154. Heather

    This might be a silly question, but would cognac be good in this instead of bourbon? I have a little cognac at home, but I’d have to make a point of buying bourbon, which wouldn’t get used any more than the cognac that’s been in my cupboard for years (booze is super expensive here too).

  155. Sarah

    Hello from Singapore Deb! All I can find is Libby’s easy pumpkin pie mix which has sugar syrup, salt and spices listed in the ingredients alongside pumpkin. Can I substitute that for the solid canned pumpkin? Would I use less spices and sugar? Please can you help? Only noticed this after I got home having bought all the ingredients today. Thanks!!

  156. Beth

    This was originally in Gourmet magazine November, 1990. It was the cover recipe! ANd I’ve been making it every year since. It’s a showstopper!

  157. Stefanie

    Hi Deb, if I bake a pumpkin pie on Wednesday, do I have to refrigerate until Thursday? I rarely bake and never know what the rules are. :)

  158. Kim

    Hi Deb, I made this last year in a 9″ pan as you recommended. I have access to a 9.5″ pan this year. How would the baking time and ingredients change, if at all? Thank you!! Fabulous recipe :)

  159. Bailey

    Hi Deb, I follow you on instagram and noticed you said this recipe could be made up to a week in advance. Then I saw your note on the actual recipe which says can only be kept up to 2 days in advance. Which note should I follow?

  160. Beth S

    I asked the same question and Deb replied the website is being extra cautious. Just took mine out of oven, it cooked for the full 60 minutes.

  161. Gail

    If I am making it ahead of time and refrigerating, should I keep it in the springform pan or remove it and then refrigerate? Also have to transport to another home for Thanksgiving. Thanks!

  162. Andrea

    Hi Deb, delicious recipe!! I made this cheesecake last year and it was great, but it was a bit too dense for me. Do you have any suggestions about how to make it a bit lighter?

  163. deb

    Jen — It should be just fine here. Something you can do, however, to thicken it up is cook it a little on the stove, stirring, and puree it again for a more can-like texture. But for your purposes here, as long as it’s not very wet, shouldn’t be an issue.

    To keep in fridge — You can keep it in the springform pan. Sometimes, because I’m a little bonkers and always bring this with me to dinner still in the springform, I’ll remove the ring once it’s very cool, wash the ring, then put it back on so when you unmold it somewhere else, the running-the-knife-along part is already done.

  164. Missy

    I apologize if someone has already asked this … But can you substitute walnuts for the pecans? After shopping at 4 different stores I got home only to realize I forgot pecans :( I’d really rather not go back to the store (there’s a major winter storm out there) but I will if I have to! — Pecanless in Montana

  165. Jesse

    I tried making this today with home made pumpkin puree.
    After baking it for 60 min, the center is still soft and I see wrote a bit of water on my cookie sheet. I put a foil sheet over the top and bake for another 30 min. The center is still very soft but the top is getting burnt. I must be doing something wrong. :(

  166. Gillian

    Hi deb, I read thru most of the comments and did not see this question but apologies if I some how missed it. I thought for sure that I had a 9 inch springform pan, but I just took a look at my pans and it appears that I only have a 10 inch and an 8.25 inch pan. Any advice on which one might do better for this recipe before I make it for thanksgiving? Many thanks!!

  167. deb

    Making this a week in advance — You can! The estimate in the recipe is very conservative. I get scared of the food police. But cheesecake is perfectly good in the fridge for a week if you want to plan ahead. (And especially safe for 5 days, when I made the announcement on getting a start on this one.)

    Gillian — Bigger. It will probably overflow in a smaller pan.

    Jesse — The leakage you might see is more likely to be butter/fat/oil than water and can happen with springforms; very few don’t leak at all. It shouldn’t have any effect on the final cake unless it you see actual batter slipping out. As for it not being baked through, yes, foiling the top is the best way if it’s getting too brown.

    Walnuts for pecans — Absolutely.

    Make in a 9.5-inch vs. a 9-inch pan — Probably no difference at all. It might be done 5 minutes sooner, but there’s no precise science to it.

  168. Jessie

    Hi Deb, I made this yesterday to take to a friend’s dinner on Thanksgiving. I think it turned out well–we’ll see. It is sitting in the refrigerator, still in its springform pan. Tomorrow, when I release the side of the pan, should I attempt to remove the cheesecake from the pan’s bottom? You didn’t mention this in the recipe, so I’m thinking “no”. It does seem very risky to try to do this. What say you, cookmeister?

  169. Raven

    My boyfriend is weirdly disgusted by sour cream but not crème fraîche (???) so I’m trying this out with a crème fraîche topping!

  170. Katy

    Absolutely delicious, but I need to change something about the crust, perhaps bake it ahead? It was completely soggy. I ended up with a puddle on the baking sheet that I had placed the springform pan on and was very glad for it as I ended up with a puddle of something that was definitely not fat – it was sticky. Maybe I should have tried to remove moisture from the pumpkin? I also ended up baking it for about 80 minutes to reach the jiggle-like-jello stage, and it poofed up so much that it almost overflowed the pan which was a bit scary.

  171. Laura

    Made this for Thanksgiving this year. I almost always read every single comment on your recipes before making them, and reading these comments had me worried that I wouldn’t be able to tell when it was done or not, and that Id cut into the cake on my mother in law’s table and have liquid ooze out. Luckily, that did not happen! I cooked it for 60 min. It seemed to jiggle a little less than jello when I shook it. I figured it was likely done….and it was! It was perfect! I especially loved the crunch of the ground nuts in the crust! Everyone ate a slice and no one took a slice of pumpkin pie even! I will likely make this again for Christmas. I will double the crust, as some readers already suggested, and I will add more bourbon, since I couldn’t really taste the bourbon. I’ve only made 2 cheesecakes in my life, and both were this year from your site. I LOVE your site!

  172. deb

    Rebeca — I do not use a water bath for this. You can if you wish; but any cracks that appear (and I only sometimes get them) are hidden by the sour cream topping.

  173. Kate W.

    I made this for Thanksgiving 2015 and it turned out beautifully. I was a first time cheesecake baker and had no idea what I was doing, but your directions were clear and some of the comments below were insightful. I have a convection oven and ended up baking mine for 65 minutes at 325. I added the extra time to ensure the whole thing was cooked through. This made my crust a little harder than I would have liked, but the cheesecake itself was cooked perfectly and sliced beautifully. My family is not huge on sweets but has already requested I make this again for Christmas. Thanks for posting this and I hope you see how many years later this recipe is still touching folks!

  174. This cheesecake looks amazing, so I thought I would try it out for my thanksgiving for a large foreign crowd. I wanted to make it ahead and freeze it to cut down on my prep time, but I am bad at reading instructions, and froze it before adding the sour cream topping. I am wondering if you have any advice on how to proceed. I would still like to use something similar, but it seems like a questionable idea to top it and put it back in the oven after de-frosting. Is there a bake-free way to top it?

  175. Maura

    I’ve made mini cheesecakes in a muffin tin. I used thin strips of waxed paper, two to a muffin cup, criss-crossed to facilitate getting them out. Then used a shortbread like cookie for the base. A bit labor intensive but such fun for a party.

    This sounds delish and am planning on making it next week.

  176. Sandy Lentz

    Blew me away to see this!!! I have been making this dessert for one or the other holiday since it first appeared. (RIP Gourmet). Was not allowed to come to dinner, when my friend Barb was having it, without this cheesecake. Thanks for the wonderful memories of those Thanksgivings!

  177. Laurie

    The cheesecake just came out of the oven and looks great! A tip for warming cold cream cheese. The Philadelphia brand 8-oz bars come in sealed foil packets. I added the three sealed cream cheese bricks to a bowl with very warm tap water and let them warm up while I parepared the filling. Worked perfectly. Technique works for cold eggs, too.

  178. This looks so good. I have been making smitten kitchen recipes with my nieces at thanksgiving for almost ten years. We love your voice and your food. One of my nieces really likes “mini” food. If we were going to make this in the mini cheesecake pan you mentioned above, how would you recommend adjusting the cooking time?

  179. Janice

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

    Deb, I had an amazing Pumpkin Cheesecake with “Cognac” – Your thoughts on my substituting the Bourbon with Cognac (pros and cons)?

    Gobble! Gobble!
    Brooklyn Girl in TX

    1. deb

      If you like cognac and don’t, as my husband does, believe it is battery acid incarnate, which I suspect you do not since you’d like to make the swap, I think it definitely works here too.

  180. elizinvt

    Suppose you have an excess of frozen fresh pumpkin puree? How do you use it in recipes that call for canned pumpkin (which is much thicker)?

    1. deb

      You can cook it a bit on the stove in a saucepan, stirring the whole time, until it gets a bit thicker. Often 5 to 7 minutes of it simmering (glurping, really) will do the trick.

  181. Jenny

    So my springform is definitely larger than 9″. I want to say it’s somewhere around 10-12″. Should I not quite double the recipe (maybe 1.5x)? Or do you think it will have enough volume to make as is?

  182. Anna

    Hi Deb, making this on Sunday for some friends from the US (I am in Sydney Australia). We don’t have graham crackers here. What weight replacement cookies would I use? I know ‘what’ cookies I can use which are not the same, but will do the job, I just don’t know how many grams to use.

  183. Rachel

    Definitely forgot to bake the last 5 minutes with the topping. I’ve already started chilling it without topping. Should I back track? What will I miss out on if I add the topping to it chilled tomorrow?

    Made this in a mini-muffin tray and already tried one, they are so good!! Parchment paper strips are the key to making sure they come out clean. Can’t wait to bring them to Thanksgiving tomorrow! Thank you!!

  184. Heidi

    Every time I make a pumpkin cheesecake, it ends up leaking in the oven and producing toxic fumes! Is my crust not thick enough? Is it my cheesecake pans? Or should I just try and remember to put a cookie sheet underneath? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Why toxic fumes? My hunch is that if your springform has a few years on it (mine does!) it leaks a little. They fall or get banged up and the seal is no longer perfect and so with a crumb crust, it’s not unusual for a little butter to seep out. It usually has no effect on the final cake.

  185. I’ve never commented before but have been cooking & baking from your site for a while. I really appreciate how you make complex techniques approachable. I have to tell you about the frankenstein recipe I made for Thanksgiving yesterday that got rave reviews. I wanted a pumpkin cheesecake but was afraid this would be too hard to serve so I combined this recipe with the one for your dulce de leche cheesecake squares ( I replaced 1 cup dulce de leche with 2/3 cup strained canned pumpkin, 1/3 cup sugar and some pumpkin pie spice. Instead of the chocolate glaze I used this sour cream topping exactly. Instead of the 1/4 cup milk I used eggnog but I don’t think that changed the flavor too much. Anyway it got rave reviews even from my non cheesecake or pumpkin loving husband!! Here is a photo: (ignore the uneven crust…)

  186. Lynn

    I just made this for a Thanksgiving part 2 dinner with my inlaws, and everyone raved over it. I decided to swap out the graham crackers in the crust for gingersnaps and it was a spectacular combination, so I thought I would share the idea. Perfect fall dessert!

    1. deb

      Absolutely. However, when using other kinds of graham crackers, especially homemade, you might find you need less butter or more crumbs to pull it together, so just keep an eye on it, it’s fine to adjust it a little.

  187. stella

    Halved the recipe and made it in a muffin tin (with muffin cups) for mini cheesecakes– with mini chocolate chips. It was delicious.

  188. Yael Bercow

    How long can this cake be out of the fridge in your opinion? Also what are you’re thoughs on replacing crackers with gluten free ones?

  189. Erin

    Hi Deb and community,
    Have you ever tried making this with half the sugar. My in laws are diabetic but my husband would love this. I’m trying to find the in between. Thanks!

    1. Kate W

      If your in-laws are diabetic, the first thing to do would be to significantly reduce the starchy and sugary sides in the main dish. Instead of mashed potatoes loaded with calories or sweet potato pie/casserole, stick with roasted diced potato or sweet potato as part of a veggie medley.

      Don’t do Mac and cheese, rice, rolls, stuffing. Do ham, smoked turkey or tenderloin, roasted asparagus/green beans or Brussels, roasted potato, fresh salad greens, cheesy squash casserole with limited bread crumbs, and a dish with fresh fruit (like fruit salad or ambrosia) but no added sugar. Keep drinks unsweetened, like water, unsweetened tea and diet sodas.

      For the healthiest, most diabetic friendly recipes, look for paleo-friendly Thanksgiving dishes online.

      That alone will SIGNIFICANTLY make the whole meal much healthier for all but especially diabetic friendly. So by the time you get to dessert you have some sugar allowances.

      I would try baking it replacing all sugar with stevia as a replacement and it should be perfect. You can also reduce the amount of crust you make (because all of that is comprised of starch and sugar, which is all sugar to our bodies).

      Good luck!

  190. Stacy

    I’ve made this cheesecake every year since it was first published. Totally amazing and the star of the dessert table where ever it graces. Worth having the bourbon liquor in your cabinet for decades. 🤣🤣🤣

  191. Emily

    After making this as is I came back to it when I was searching for an apple cheesecake recipe. Substituting the pulp left over from juicing apples for the pumpkin puree makes an epic apple cheesecake! I keep meaning to turn the juice into a caramel sauce to go on top using your apple cider caramels recipe to make it a decadent plate of apple deliciousness

  192. Leeann

    Hi Deb! I wanted to make this today. I have two packages of cream cheese and one of marscapone. Could I use the marcapone instead of going to the store for more cream cheese? I have made cheesecakes before with both, but thought I’d double check with you. Thanks!

  193. I’m wondering if you recommend using raw pecans or already roasted ones for the crust? Will pre-roasted ones overcook and burn in the crust? I’m ok with extra nutty notes, but definitely don’t want burnt. I guess in the same vein, TJ has preroasted/salted pecan halves. Would that Be a good saltiness (for garnish and crust) to go with the sweet of the cake or is that too salty?

  194. Melissa

    I made this for our Friendsgiving last night and it was a hit! I’d never made cheesecake before but this turned out beautifully. I read the comments before beginning and I’m glad did, because otherwise I’d have missed that the cheesecake is done when it jiggles à la Jello and would have over-baked it. It took mine the full 60 minutes to reach that point and it was creamy and delicious when done. One thing – I am not a big sour cream fan but the topping looked so pretty that I had to try it. While it didn’t convert me, everyone else enjoyed it. Next time, I think I’ll try a bourbon whipped cream instead. Thanks, Deb!

  195. Dan

    I made this for a Friendsgiving yesterday, and it was such a hit I decided to make it again for family Thanksgiving ok Thursday. It turned out perfectly both times (well, haven’t cut into the second one yet but it looks great!)…. and I was a total newbie to cheesecakes! My oven cooks slow but about 65 minutes was needed both times to get the optimal wobble… and yes, I studied multiple YouTube videos on cheesecake wobbles to make sure I was taking it out at the correct time. This is a sure hit and I’ll definitely be making it for years to come! Thank you, Deb!

  196. Susanne Hertell

    Very excited to taste it! smells amazing!
    I have a question, can I let it cooling overnight, 7 hours and then chill it?
    Is the cooling time strictly 3 hours?


  197. Katie

    Hey Deb! I know there are a thousand comments on this but wanted to make a small note – for the granulated sugar/cornstarch mixture, the way this is written makes it seem like (for me at least) it’s unclear where it goes in. I realized on second reading it goes in with the cream cheese but I’ve made this twice now and just kind of shrug and add it at the end. Hopefully that doesn’t make a huge difference, just wanted to flag that just adding “In the same bowl, add the cream cheese…” or something would make that way clearer. Thanks so much!

  198. Lisa-Marie

    I have made the Gourmet recipe many times, not sure what is different, but this has turned out beautiful! Thank you. Good lips I with your second cookbook, I have the first and it is wonderful. Fun to have your blog in a book. Thank you.

  199. Amie (from LA)

    Deb, help! I messed up and put the granulated sugar in with the pumpkin mixture instead of the cream cheese mixture. I mixed it all together anyway and it’s in the oven now… do you think it’s destroyed?

  200. Jacqui Veta

    Is the full 3 hours cooling before refrigerating really necessary? I’d rather not stay up until 1am if I can avoid it, LOL
    Thsnk you!

  201. Jenny

    I made this for Thanksgiving. It was a lot of work and it was just meh. The filling was very creamy though. The crust was delicious but very hard to cut. Couldn’t really taste the bourbon. All in all, not worth the effort.

    1. Tiina

      My bad, didn’t read the instructions fully before asking, doh! I see that the topping is baked on at the end. Should the cake be frozen without the topping, or can it be frozen with the baked on topping too? Thanks in advance for any answers!

      1. I froze mine in the form of individually wrapped slices (I made the 9×13 version) and it thawed wonderfully! However I did not make the topping so I can’t make any promises on that front

  202. Gail Shepherd

    This was such a hit at our house at Thanksgiving that someone begged me to make it again for their birthday a couple of weeks later. Turned out perfectly. Thank you so much!

  203. Beth Driks

    I’ve been making this yearly since it was on the cover of Gourmet in 1990! Can’t have thanksgiving without it. And why would we want to!!!! 😍

  204. Lauren

    I don’t understand when to add the sugars and spices to the filling? Just with common sense, I know to add it when you add the pumpkin pie filling, but I don’t understand why it said to mix the sugars and spices in a large bowl? Am I just missing something?

    1. My take on it is that the sugar helps break down the cream cheese when you beat it, so it’s easier to mix the pumpkin in later without getting lumps. The spices will also combine better with something thick like cream cheese than with something more liquidy like pumpkin (avoiding clumps of spices like cinnamon, which tends to form little bubbles that are dry inside), so you mix those in too. Then you add the pumpkin so it all combines smoothly.

    1. Penny

      I always do this because I like a boozy cake. I tend to bake it until pretty firm with just a slight wobble as well, simply because it transports better.

  205. I made this last week, and the taste was great, I am planning on making it again this weekend for a friendsgiving. I probably underbaked it because it seemed a little soft despite overnight chilling as well, but the crust didn’t have as much bite to it as I usually like. I think I will try par-baking the crust this time.

  206. Anna

    I make this every year and love it, but it always comes out ever so slightly soft/runny. Do you think adding a tablespoon of cornstarch (as in the junior’s cheesecake recipe that always comes out perfect) would help? Or maybe just baking it longer?

  207. Ellen

    My husband is asking for something persimmon this Thanksgiving so I was thinking of replacing the pumpkin for persimmon pulp and adjusting the spices just a bit. Do you think it would be a pretty equal substitute?

    1. Courtney B.

      Hi Ellen – I have used persimmon pulp in place of pumpkin pulp before…sometimes persimmon can be more watery. I would just be attentive to that and maybe add less of another liquid? But in general, I’ve had great results with the replacement. I’ve used persimmon pulp for Deb’s pumpkin cinnamon rolls too – it worked great!

  208. Carly

    When you say “Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.” do you mean bake the crust while you make the filling?

  209. Eve Greenfield

    I would love to convert this to an Instant Pot recipe. Any idea how to adjust the quantities/cooking time? Of course, it wouldn’t be tragic if I didn’t adjust the quantities and made individual cupcake-sized cheesecakes with any leftovers in the adorable silicone muffin cups I just bought at IKEA!

  210. Penny

    This has become a go to dessert at Thanksgiving year-after-year. I make it gluten free by subbing the graham crackers for Tate’s GF Ginger Zingers. Adds just the right amount of bite and tastes amazing.

  211. Elizabeth

    Hi! I don’t have a springform pan, and my kitchen is too tiny for purchasing such a specialty pan. What adjustments might I need if I use a cake pan instead? How about two six inch round cake pans?

    Thank you!!

  212. ASH

    This post needs an update with the videos from your ig story. I made this cake last night and all your new tips and tricks would have been so helpful. Hope you can include all the new ideas in one place on your blog that so next year when I make this I wont forget! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!

  213. Anita

    Hi Deb! Just finished making this, which I absolutely love. But, I just saw you changed it up this year. Can you add the variation to the post when you have time? Thanks!

  214. Isabella Grove

    So glad that I tried this for Thanksgiving! I followed the instructions faithfully, and it came out great. I even went out to buy high quality bourbon, even though I have the tiniest amount of Canadian whiskey that I could have used. I was very conscientious. It was worth the effort, and it didn’t even crack. The sour cream topping seemed weird to me when I tasted it in the bowl, but it’s perfect as a thin layer of tanginess to balance all that sweet richness. Thanks!

  215. I made this for TG and it was FABULOUS! 5 stars. A few tips:
    – My oven usually requires about 10 mins more compared to SK recipes. I did a total of 15 mins extra on the cake until it reached a jello like consistency in the middle. However – I forgot to add extra minutes to the crust and I wish I had because the crust wasn’t firm enough.
    – I did add the bourbon and I’m not sure I could taste it, so if you’re on the fence about adding it I’d say do it. I didn’t want a whole thing of bourbon so I went to BevMo and got a travel size which was perfect.

    Thanks Deb!!

  216. Yolanda

    I made this for Friendsgiving and didn’t have a 9″ spring form pan but you used a 9″ glass pie pan and a pyrex. My cheese cake was not as big but it was a hit! A friend’s husband asked for me to leave some of it with him so he could have some for leftovers. Thank you!

  217. I made this in bar-form for thanksgiving after seeing it on your insta-story! Absolutely amazing.

    Also, it freezes well!! I cut a couple rectangles, wrapped them individually tightly with plastic wrap (parchment between the plastic and top of the filling) and threw them into a freezer bag with the air sucked out. They thawed wonderfully! Freezing them was the only way they would survive a plane ride

  218. Dawn

    I LOVE this cheesecake. I would like to take this to a holiday dinner, only catch is that the hostess is allergic to eggs. I’ve read that silken tofu can be used as a sub for eggs. Any experience with this or words of wisdom when subbing eggs in a cheesecake?

    1. Dawn

      Update: I baked two cheesecakes, one with eggs and another using aquafaba (chickpea brine). The cheesecake made without the eggs could best be described as pumpkin cheesecake mousse. Tasted good; texture was just less firm than the cheesecake made with eggs.

  219. Leigh

    Hi there,
    I’ve made this several times and it is so good! I’m making it again for a work holiday party and noticed something. For the crust, it calls for 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar. For the filling, the recipe says 1/2 cup (but also 50 grams) of sugar. I am inclined to use 100 grams but want to be sure. For some reason I suddenly can’t remember which measurement I used the last few times! Is the filling meant to include 1/2 cup, or 100 grams, of sugar? Thank you so much!

  220. Meghan

    I’m considering using this crust for your chocolate pudding pie for Christmas eve. Would you recommend a parbake? If so, would I need pie weights (or the dry cannelli beans I’ve been using for the last six months)?

  221. Gayle

    I’ve made this a couple of times and it was great. Only problem was the second time it was definitely under cooked (runny) in the middle. Should I add a little more corn starch next time?

  222. Shannon

    Very tasty! I was out of cornstarch, so used three tablespoons of flour as a cornstarch replacement. The cake took a little longer to bake and is a bit looser/runnier than I would like, but the substitution worked in a pinch. Next time I’ll make sure to have cornstarch on hand and I might make 1.5 or 2 times the crust. The crust is so good, but it came out really thin.

  223. Gayle Larsson

    I have made this a few times, but, I have to cook it 80 minutes before adding topping. I also add just a little more cornstarch. Big hit!

  224. Margaret J Gurnett

    Do you have a favorite springform pan that you use? I am a big fan of your blog (love the Pistachio Tea Cake), and wanted to get your opinion on which brand to buy. Thank you!

  225. Joyce R.

    I cut this out of Gourmet Magazine in the 1990’s and it has become almost a tradition.
    I was noticing that you made in cupcake size and had trouble getting them out.

    I made for a buffet dinner a couple of times. I made about 24 in cupcake pan with no problem (I have 2 same side cupcake pans, recipe makes about that many.)

    Secret is that I used a foil cupcake liner. Put about 1 1/2 -2 T. of the crumbs in each one then used the other pan to press the crust into the liners. Then put the filling in, baked, topped with sour cream topping last few minutes per recipe.

    Leave about 1/4 ” of foil liner showing. Let cool and then chill well on a cookie sheet. Top each one with a pecan half.

    They flew off the desert table.

  226. Melissa

    I made this or a very similar recipe from Gourmet in about 1990, then misplaced it. So glad to see it so well updated and can’t wait to make it!

  227. Jen

    I made this last year for our first year of hosting Thanksgiving and it was a hit! We made it in a sheet pan after seeing Deb’s Instagram stories last year before she added the additional instructions. We’ve never made a cheesecake before. The recipe was easy and people said it was the best thanksgiving dessert they’ve ever had. My husband isn’t even a big pumpkin pie guy and asked me to make it again this year. We baked it for 50 minutes because I was nervous about the jiggling, but it turned out perfect so the recipe is lenient. Thanks, Deb!

  228. Kathleen

    Hi Deb! You are my favorite and have turned me into a baker. Thank you! I’ve made this for several years and will again this week. It’s so so so delicious! I’m wondering if anyone has tried halving the recipe and still using an 8 or 9 inch spring form pan. I looked through comments and didn’t spot anything on this. Would love thoughts and experiences. Thank you!

  229. Anne

    Hi Deb- Perhaps I missed something, but do the food processor instructions include putting in the vanilla somewhere? Thanks, Annie K/UWS ps- I’ve made your version of black pepper tofu twice in the last month and hereby found justification for the space the wok someone gifted me takes up in my apt. Thank you!

  230. Heather

    Hi! Looking forward to trying this, do you think it would change the texture too much if I replaced one of the packages of cream cheese with 8 oz. of ricotta?

  231. Lily

    I am a huge fan of yours and make your recipes all the time, and I have NEVER run into any issues. With this pie, however, I followed the instructions for using a food processor, and had several issues. I have a standard-size, high-quality food processor, and there is no way that all of the ingredients can fit into it. When I realized this and tried to switch to using my stand mixer, it was too late, since the cream cheese was already mixed in, and it was so cold that a KitchenAid couldn’t break it up. After letting it sit for a while and transferring it back to the food processor, the cream cheese chunks still had a hard time breaking up. Unless I did something wrong, I’d recommend warning people that they need a larger food processor, or telling people using a food processor to bring the cream cheese to room temperature.

      1. Lily

        Mine is only 8 cups, so that must be why! I didn’t even know there was a bigger size–maybe you could mention that an 11-cup processor fits the whole mixture, and if ours is smaller we should do 2 batches? Regardless, the cheesecake came out of the oven and turned out absolutely perfectly! Thank you for your quick reply and all of your hard work, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

        1. I made it following the directions in my 7-cup Cuisinart and it was fine. I was concerned at one point but there was just enough space as the cream cheese broke down and the cheesecake turned out beautifully.

          We did decide the sour cream topping overpowered the flavors of the cake. I used Daisy brand and maybe it is too tart? Next year I will likely omit the topping and make some sort of caramel or butterscotch topping instead.

  232. vhamer

    A Thanksgiving hit, thank you! Looked stunning, and the mix of silky cheesecake and crumbly crust was awesome. First homemade cheesecake, and the food processor instructions made it super easy.

    Used gingersnaps in the base and they added a great kick. May have doubled the bourbon :-)

  233. Krista

    This was absolutely the star of my dinner yesterday. Everyone loved it, and it turned out perfect. I made a grain-free pecan crust, and swapped out coconut sugar for the brown sugar and 6 T maple syrup for the white sugar. It set up perfectly, and was super light and fluffy. Wow–I’m going to make this every year, and skip all the other pies (that didn’t get eaten because every one ate this one!).
    Thank you!

  234. Lauren

    Everyone loved this! It came out great and was easy to make. I made the bar version. For anyone else wondering, I accidentally bought 2 packets (instead of 3) of cream cheese. I baked it anyway with everything else the same and it still came out great (I did have to bake it quite a bit longer, but I also live at about 8,000 ft elevation so that may be partly to blame). I used gluten free gingersnap cookies for the crust and did 2x the crust as Deb suggested for bars, and it was fantastic. I also (accidentally, like others) forgot to bake the sour cream topping so I added it on after the entire thing was cooled, I didn’t bake it again, and it was totally fine. Next time I’ll try to actually follow the recipe and I’m sure it’ll be even better!

  235. Hillary

    Made this for thanksgiving and it was a huge hit! Will make again! Does not taste like bourbon, wouldn’t know it is there, very subtle. I added some ginger snaps but wasn’t exactly sure how much to add. It would be helpful to know the total weight of the crumbs in case you wanted to do all ginger snaps or a combination. I made this well in advance of thanksgiving (made Sunday before) and it work well but the crust was soggy (still delicious, especially with the addition of ginger snaps). Not sure if that was a function of making it 5 days in advance or that I added ginger snaps to the graham crackers and a touch more butter to the crust because I added some ginger snaps. Only other thing I would note is to definitely put the springform on a sheet pan in case of leaking. Mine leaked out some butter from the crust.
    Let me know how many ginger snaps to add to crust or a weight measurement for the crumbs. Thanks for the delicious recipe!!

  236. Molly K

    Excellent recipe! I used my food processor and it worked like a charm. I noticed that the vanilla was missing in the food processor section of the directions; I just added it at the end. I ended up baking the cheesecake 70 minutes in total before the extra 5 minutes for the sour cream topping. I used ginger snaps instead of graham crackers and would definitely do that again. Also, the butter leaked a tiny bit so I was glad to have a pan underneath. Everyone loved the cheesecake and I plan on making this again at future Thanksgivings. Thanks again for the excellent recipe!

  237. heatherwaldroup

    Made this for Thanksgiving and it was a delight! It was also my sister’s birthday, so I wanted to have something that was Thanksgiving-y but also special, and this really fit the bill. As others have noted, I had butter leaking out, both during baking and after. I think I’ll try prebaking the crust a bit next time.

  238. Anna

    The bars (9×13) form of this turned out great, even despite some idiotic mistakes on my part. Used gingersnaps instead of graham crackers. Couldn’t find my pecans (found them 2 seconds after I put the cheesecake in the oven -_-) so I used even more ginger snaps. The crust was a bit sweet because of this (double cookies instead of cookies +nuts), so I recommend omitting or lessening the sugar in the crust if you do this. But it wasn’t sickly/distractingly sweet.

    Also, I did not read the “let it sit for 5 min” before spreading the cream cheese, so I plopped it on right after taking it out of the oven—as you can imagine, it sunk right in. So I made a sort of swirly topping with it and baked it a little extra.

    Overall, still creamy pumpkin-y goodness :)

  239. Hi Deb,

    Long time follower and lover of your blog, 1st time commentator.

    We’re longing to make an eggnog cheesecake with bourbon, and thought of this cheesecake and wondered how to convert this bourbon pumpkin cheesecake to a bourbon eggnog cheesecake. Any thoughts on if this might be an easy change over?

    Victoria, BC

  240. Hillary

    Curious if the 3 hour cooling time before putting in the refrigerator is essential or if it can be rushed into the refrigerator? Guessing maybe there would be a risk of the sour cream layer cracking? Wondering if anyone has had luck.

  241. Trisha

    We really enjoyed this the year I made it for Thanksgiving. Since then I have become a big fan of cheesecake in the Instant Pot. Any suggestions for that modification? I think I would do 2/3 the recipe since most IP cheesecakes use 2 packages of cream cheese. Other suggestions welcome!

    1. Trisha

      I followed my instincts on using 2/3 of everything and gave this a try in the instant pot. I looked at a couple of other pumpkin cheesecake IP recipes for ideas for the crust and cooking times. Those had long cooking times, so I tried 46 minutes, which was pretty close to right. The cheesecake was delicious, of course. I skipped a topping. Happy Thanksgiving!

  242. Grace

    HI! Can this be made into smaller cheesecakes? I see you made one that was 4.75″ springform pan – any idea how many you get from the recipe? Have you tried a slightly bigger size since the last update? TIA :) BTW, I’ve made the full size one and it is truly amazing!! My family won’t let me make Thanksgiving dinner without it for dessert.

  243. TangledUpInBoolean

    This was my first attempt at cheesecake, and the flavor is excellent. However, the bottom crust is completely soft. Should I consider par baking it next time? Also, I added some fresh orange juice in lieu of bourbon, but I don’t think it should have impacted the crust.

  244. LN

    This is the recipe that toppled my previous #1 Thanksgiving dessert: the Cranberry Pie with Big Pecan Crumble (also a SK recipe, because duh). Only suggestion I can over is to use Biscoff cookies if you can find them. They are more flavorful than Graham Crackers/Cinnamon Graham crackers, but more subtle than gingersnaps. Already excited to make this in a couple weeks! Om nom nom.

  245. Mariah

    Hi Deb!

    This Thanksgiving my family and I decided to do food exchange rather than a large sit down meal. And I decided that I would make smaller 6 inch versions of this, more like a tart than a full on cheesecake. I have pans that are 6 1/8″ x 2 1/8″. Approximately how many of that size would this recipe make? I think your best guestimate would be much closer than mine could ever be so any help would be much appreciated!

    Also, I saw that someone asked a similar question in October, but they didn’t respond to one of your questions, so we never got a full answer! I hope this is okay!

    Thank you so much!

  246. Carly Schiff

    Hi Deb! I am going to make this for Thanksgiving but I am a little confused about the cooking instructions. Do you cook the cake in the springform on a baking sheet for an hour, then take it off the baking sheet for 5 min with the oven on? And then turn the oven off and leave it for 3 hours?

  247. Nancy

    This is in the fridge chilling for Thanksgiving day. I thought it was pretty stress free and looks amazing. The components tasted delicious even before baking! My question is, why didn’t you do a bain marie? I followed your baking directions but am very curious why you don’t do this. Hope someone can clarify. Thanks!

      1. Jenna

        Hi Deb!

        2 questions:

        1) I’m breaking up the batter into two pans. Do I need to adjust the baking time?

        2) my springform pan doesn’t have a smooth side. Should I use parchment paper to prevent sticking!


  248. Sandy Lentz

    I’m required to make this for Thanksgiving. . Absolutely required. Not-let-in-the -door-without-it required. The notes on my (much spattered) recipe card of this recipe date it to the November 1990 Gourmet. Was it updated, then, in 2003?
    No matter. It’s spectacular!

  249. Verds

    Hello, this recipe looks delicious, but where I live (Turkey), we don’t have canned pumpkins but fresh pumpkins. How much fresh pumpkin do you think I need for this cheesecake, and do you have any tips on how to prepare it beforehand? Shall I steam it or boil it and then puree it? Thanx!

    1. Shauna

      I make this with fresh pumpkin every time, and it works great! Use the same amount of fresh as the recipe calls for canned. Just puree it, of course :) I would recommend roasting or microwaving, as boiling or steaming would introduce water that could end up making the cake soggy. Also roasting will introduce a beautiful caramelized flavor. Good pumpkins for this are butternut squash or hokkaido. Other varieties (muscat or sugar pumpkin) may require some draining after pureeing, to remove some of the water.

  250. Alana

    Okay we’re having our thanksgiving tonight and the cheesecake is just now in the oven. I’m bad at instructions (and life) and am only just now seeing that it needs to cool for 3 hours plus chill for 4. Once I finish baking it with sour cream, can I let it cool for a bit (an hour?) and then throw it in the freezer til dinner? Thanks for a great recipe.

  251. Lisa

    I am making these this year as mini cheesecakes. In muffin tins, with cupcake papers. So far so good. I want to be able to share with families we can’t celebrate with.

  252. Vanessa

    I made this tonight but my cheesecake had cracks and looks nothing like the picture.. what did we do wrong? Is it because we didn’t cook it in bath water?

  253. Brandice Harr

    I attempted this. It was my first go at a cheesecake. It did not cook fully in the center and the crust got soggy. any suggestions? I did convention bake. I also placed the springform directly on top of a baking sheet in the center rack.

    Any suggestions are much appreciated. Thanks .

  254. Cindy

    Hi Deb – Love your blog and cookbook (Everyday)! I made this for Thanksgiving this year as a compromise between pumpkin pie and cheesecake. It was only my husband and me this year, and he loves cheesecake and I love pumpkin pie. It turned out smooth, creamy, delicious. Only a hint of bourbon flavor, so next time I may add a little more. The crust was a bit thin – not sure if i spread it unevenly in the pan or not, but next time I’m going to increase the crust ingredients a little, maybe up it by 1/4 or 1/2 a recipe. I used half gingersnap crumbs and half graham cracker crumbs. I saw someone suggest using Bischoff cookies and that is a great idea worth trying. The food processor directions worked great – so smooth! thank you again.

  255. Shauna

    This is one of the best smitten kitchen recipes ever! We have made it every year since discovering it, and it never fails to wow. It’s even better than it looks (and it looks pretty dang good). Thanks, Deb!!

  256. Melaura

    For those of us without the correct pan, I halved the filling and kept the whole crust (gingersnaps!) in a pie plate and it worked well. Baked for ~35 min.

  257. Sue

    This was unbelievable. I made it for Thanksgiving and there were only three of us. My husband and daughter fought over the last piece of leftovers a few days later. Silky smooth cheesecake. I used Tate’s gingersnaps for the crust. Highly recommend. I put everything in a big food processor and it worked out great. I only used about half of the sour cream topping because I didn’t want to take away from the cheesecake. I will make this again and again and now I can’t wait to try Deb’s other cheesecake recipes.

  258. Marie

    Made a half recipe of this for our mini Thanksgiving this year and it was amazing. Used the gingersnaps for the crust & didn’t have sour cream so substituted it with Greek yogurt and worked great. Thanks for new tradition!

  259. A hint for cupcakes. Don’t use those paper cup liners. Use flat bottomed ice cream cones. Or maybe three wonton wrappers in the cupcake pan. At any rate, they are edible. When your kidlets get into school and it’s your turn to bake cupcakes, if they are in the cones or other edible container, the teacher will love you. Trust me.

  260. Julie

    Really good! (I made it with the food processor directions.) I don’t know if it strictly needs the sour cream topping, but it adds a nice contrast. I got lots of compliments and I kept saying “well, it’s a great recipe and I did follow it successfully!” (I don’t know how to take a compliment.)
    There was a lot of leakage though. Some during baking (butter from the crust?) and then more as it sat in the fridge for a couple days. The crust was mush – not crisp like I’d want. I used ginger cookies ground in the food processor… maybe next time I’ll grind them finer? There WILL be a next time.

  261. Krista

    Delicious! I had a whole sugar pumpkin that I wanted to use up, which amounted to probably 3-4 cups of pumpkin, and only 1.5 packages of cream cheese. I added some egg whites I had in the fridge, and used 2T of tapioca starch instead of cornstarch (because that’s what I had). I put about half the sugar in the crust. Turned out about halfway between a pumpkin pie and a cheesecake, and it was excellent! lovely texture and lots of pumpkin pie flavour. Thanks!

  262. Christine Markwart

    I made this recipe last year and the sour cream layer sold my husband on this cheesecake forever. I am wondering though, can I make this ahead and freeze it?

  263. Janet

    We made this in a 9″ springform pan, as directed, and it took almost 25 minutes of additional time to get the middle to reach “just set” and not “looks pretty damned liquid to me”. But other than fretting about the time – which won’t be a problem next time, because we’ll know to expect it – sweet jeebus, this was a hit! It was sublime.

    We had it chilled after Thanksgiving dinner, and it was great cold – when we had it at room temperature the next morning, we thought it more like pumpkin pie than cheesecake, both in taste and texture. The cheesecake “tanginess” seemed muted at room temperature. Just FWIW.

    Again, it’s a wonderful recipe. Definitely a keeper.

  264. Made this in a 9×13 pan. A bit thin, but easier to carry and cut to a potluck Turkey Day dinner. It was wonderful! Definitely a keeper!. Thanks for posting it. And Boy Howdy, was that sauce ever divine! ;-)

  265. Laura

    Do I need to add anything additional to the crust if I exclude the pecans? There will be a family member with a nut allergy at Thanksgiving…

  266. Anna

    For my girlies who only want to make a 1/3 recipe, the bars version of this recipe cut to one third fits perfectly in a standard loaf pan. Was the perfect size for dessert for 4 .

  267. Rebecca Maytubby

    Hi Deb,
    Happy Thanksgiving, thanks for all the great recipes!
    I’m intrigued to use the Bourbon Liqueur in this recipe, though I am only finding Bourbon Cream Liqueur at my local liquor stores in Boulder Colorado. Do you use a cream liqueur or can you tell me the brand that you like with this recipe? Much appreciated!
    Rebecca Maytubby

  268. Dianna

    Deb, I know you’re all about topping your recipes when you can and then finding one that can somehow exceed what you thought was perfection, so for next year, or perhaps Christmas, I highly suggest some version of this ridiculous pecan pie cheesecake.

    I’ve made versions of this over the last 10 years, and there’s never a bit left. I serve it with bourbon whipped cream, and to me, there’s no other Thanksgiving dessert that comes close (although your bourbon cheesecake nearly does).

  269. Liz

    I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a hit – I’ll definitely be remaking soon! The one issue I ran into is that the crust seems to have dissolved toward the middle of the pie. The sides and the first couple of inches in are beautiful, and it was packed evenly. I lost some fluid/butter in the bake, but is that what would have melted away the crumb layer with it? No one else seems to have noticed or cared but I want to improve my method if possible!

  270. Sarah

    Made with Trader Joe’s triple ginger cookies. Great flavor but I thought the crust needed to be crunchier. If I were to make again, I’d prebake the crust. This is a much less sweet cheesecake than typical. The sour cream “frosting” is a bit sour but perfect when eaten with the cake and crust all in one bite. An easy cheesecake to impress since I didn’t have to worry about cracking (which it did, but no one can see after “frosting”!). I loved that it had a hint of pumpkin and was only modestly sweet.