candy-corn-for-really-lucky-grown-ups Recipes

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.

Update: “Deb, Help!” — I just never know when to say when, do I? I can’t help but notice the onslaught of Googling for “can I put vanilla in cranberry sauce” and “how long is gravy good for,” not to mention a slew of emails I’ve responded to this week, and, wel, well, I aim to please. If you run into a cooking question between now and oh, noon on Thanksgiving, drop me a comment and I’ll do my best to either respond to it or direct you to another person or site that can. I’m no expert, but hey, that’s never stopped me from mouthing off before. If you’re lucky, one of my much-smarter readers will chime in, too. Ask away!

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2003

Serves 12 to 14

For crust
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounce), finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For topping
2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
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.

Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat 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 to room temperature before serving.

Do ahead: Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days.

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230 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.

  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 :)

  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! :(

  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.

  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!