These no bake pumpkin cheesecake bars are easy to make, creamy, and packed with pumpkin flavour! The thick brown sugar graham crust has a touch of pumpkin spice. They are topped with fluffy whipped cream and more pumpkin spice. The cheesecake base uses whipped cream (no cool whip) to make it fluffy and creamy.
Why you will LOVE this recipe:
- Pumpkin: These no bake pumpkin cheesecake bars are packed with pumpkin flavour! There’s pumpkin spice in the crust, filling, and sprinkled on top. The cheesecake base has a whole cup of pumpkin puree.
- Easy to make: No bake cheesecakes are so easy to make, especially this one! There are a good amount of steps involved but they are very straightforward.
- Texture: The cheesecake is ultra creamy on a thick and crumbly graham cracker crust base. The whipped cream is so fluffy on top!
For another no bake fall cheesecake bar recipe - you have to try these caramel apple cheesecake bars!
How to get a perfectly set no bake cheesecake each time
- Make sure the cream is whipped to stiff peaks. This will help thicken the cheesecake filling considerably! Otherwise the filling won't hold its shape.
- Use full fat cream cheese. Low fat cream cheese has a higher water content which will make the cheesecake watery and prevent it from setting.
- Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 8 hours or overnight. This helps it set and will also allow the flavours to develop making a rich and flavourful cheesecake.
If you want a baked pumpkin cheesecake, make these pumpkin cheesecake cookies!
What is the best pumpkin to use
For convenience and consistency I use canned pumpkin puree. You can definitely use a homemade puree, just make sure that it is pretty thick - like a thick greek yogurt. Either strain out the extra liquid with a couple of layers of cheesecake or reduce it on a stove.
Make ahead and storage
This cheesecake needs to set at least overnight in the fridge, making it the perfect make ahead dessert. Just like this swirly pumpkin cheesecake roll.
I like to decorate with whipped cream right before serving so that it doesn't get ruined in the fridge.
The cake will keep well refrigerated in a cake container for up to four days. To freeze the leftovers, wrap tightly and freeze for up to 2 months.
For another perfect make ahead dessert, try this pumpkin creme brulee.
Full steps and ingredients in recipe card below. But read through these for all the tips you will need for success!
Graham cracker crumbs: I buy pre-crushed graham crackers but you can crush them at home in a bag with a rolling pin or a food processor.
Butter: Melted and cooled butter goes into the crust. Do not substitute with oil – it won’t hold its shape. Use a good quality real butter for the best flavour.
Pumpkin puree: You can use a canned pumpkin puree or a thick homemade puree. You want it to be as thick as greek yogurt. Strain through a cheesecloth or reduce it in a pan on medium low heat until you get that thick consistency.
Cream: Use 35% or heavy cream and whip until stiff peaks. This will help add lift and help set your cheesecake. Don’t use the stuff in cans, that won’t work at all.
Cream cheese: Use a full fat cream cheese for the best results. I love to use Philadelphia original bricks (not sponsored, just obsessed). Don’t use a low fat one because it has a higher water content and your cheesecake won’t set.
Lemon juice: this is going to brighten up the cheesecake flavour. I like to use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavour.
Pumpkin spice: If you don’t like pumpkin spice you can use cinnamon instead. If you don't like cinnamon, add cardamom, nutmeg, and a touch of cloves to taste. Or make your own pumpkin spice.
Step by step
Step 1 - Make crust. Mix graham crumbs, sugar, salt, and pumpkin spice in a large bowl. Add melted butter and stir well. Spread crust into the bottom of lined 8” square pan. Pack it tightly with the bottom of a measuring cup or glass. Set aside.
Step 2 - Whipped cream. Beat the whipped cream until stiff peaks. Set aside in fridge.
Step 3 - Cream cheese. Beat cream cheese, sugar, and salt until completely smooth. Add vanilla, lemon juice, pumpkin, and pumpkin spice. Beat until smooth.
Step 4 - Fold cream & chill. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake just until incorporated and no streaks remain. Transfer to cheesecake crust and smooth the top. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. For extra clean cuts, freeze for 1 hour before cutting.
Step 5 - Cut into bars. Lift the cheesecake out of the pan using the parchment paper. Transfer to a cutting board. Trim any uneven edges and cut into 12 bars. Wipe the knife clean after each cut.
Step 6 - Whipped cream swirl. Whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip (I used a Wilton 1M). Pipe swirls on top of each bar. Sprinkle the tops with pumpkin spice and serve.
To ensure the cheesecake is perfectly smooth, I like to have the cream cheese extra soft. Cut it into cubes and let it sit at room temperature for an hour or two. This will make it easier to mix it with a hand whisk (or you can always use an electric mixer). Beat the cream cheese with sugar until it is perfectly smooth before adding the rest of the ingredients.
The flavours in the cheesecake develop the longer it sits in the fridge and it gets creamier, richer, and more firm. It has to sit for at least 8 hours or even better – overnight. This makes it the perfect make-ahead dessert.
I have not tried to use cool whip instead of heavy cream in this recipe. I prefer the texture of whipped cream inside no bake cheesecake and don’t recommend using cool whip because it may also make the cheesecake overly sweet.
Canned whipped cream won’t work because it melts right away. Whipping cream will keep its stability for much longer. You will end up with a sloppy and runny cheesecake if you use canned whipped cream.
To help your cream whip to stiff peaks, keep it in the fridge right up until you work with it. It needs to be completely chilled. It also helps to chill the bowl and whip that you will be using to help the process.
Freeze the cheesecake an hour before slicing so that it firms up as much as possible. When slicing, make sure to use a large sharp knife and wipe the blade between each cut. A clean blade will cut much smoother.
More pumpkin spice recipes:
Check out my best pumpkin desserts for more easy pumpkin recipe ideas.
No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- 8" or 9" square pan (or round pan) see notes
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 ⅓ cup graham cracker crumbs (350g)
- ⅔ cup butter melted
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream cold
- 16 oz cream cheese room temperature (500g)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice more if desired
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream cold
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- Prepare 8" or 9" square baking pan by lining with parchment paper (SEE NOTES). I used 2 strips of parchment paper layer out like a cross to get handles to help me lift the cheesecake out.
- Mix graham crumbs, sugar, salt, and pumpkin spice in a large bowl. Add melted butter and stir well.4 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, 2 ⅓ cup graham cracker crumbs, ⅔ cup butter melted
- Spread crust mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Pack it tightly with the bottom of a measuring cup or glass. Set aside.
- Beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks. Set aside in fridge.1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Beat cream cheese, sugar, and salt until completely smooth. Add vanilla, lemon juice, pumpkin, and pumpkin spice. Beat until smooth again.16 oz cream cheese, ¾ cup granulated sugar, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- Carefully fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake just until incorporated and no streaks remain.
- Transfer to cheesecake crust and smooth the top. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. For clean cuts, freeze for 1 hour before cutting.
- Lift the cheesecake out of the pan using the parchment paper. Transfer to a cutting board. Trim any uneven edges and cut into 12 bars (4x3). Wipe the knife clean after each cut.
- Whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip (I used a Wilton 1M). Pipe swirls on top of each bar. Sprinkle the tops with pumpkin spice and serve.1 cup heavy whipping cream, ⅓ cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice