These No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars have a rich, creamy, spiced pumpkin cheesecake filling atop a gingersnap crust. They're flavorful, delicious, and the best make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert!
One of the best parts of a holiday meal is dessert, right? Where you end up with entirely too many desserts and everyone gets to sample everything that jumps out to them - like these No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars.
These little no bake pumpkin cheesecake bites are SO rich, creamy, and delicious. They have flavorful, spiced pumpkin cheesecake filling that sits on a gingersnap crust. Topped with a little whipped cream and cinnamon sugar, and it's a holiday dessert everyone is reaching for.
Oh, and the most convenient part? These no bake pumpkin cheesecake squares need to be made ahead! If you're making for Thanksgiving, go ahead and prep these on Tuesday or Wednesday, then cover and let them set in the fridge until it's time for dessert. The only work you'll need to do on Thanksgiving is cut, garnish, and serve!
If you're looking for more holiday treats, try my pumpkin crumble bars, biscoff truffles, and cinnamon chocolate chip cookies.
Why This No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars Recipe is SO Good!
- It's luxuriously creamy and rich.
- There's no skimping on flavor, with extra pumpkin pie spice, vanilla bean paste, a gingersnap cookie crust, and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top.
- They're the perfect make ahead dessert!
- No bake = more oven space on busy holidays!
- They're insanely delicious.
For a full ingredient list with quantities, please check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Gingersnap cookies are the base of these no bake pumpkin cheesecake squares, with a gingersnap cookie crust.
- Butter is needed to bind the crust together.
- Pumpkin puree is drained, which sounds strange, but helps prevent excess moisture in the bars, keeping them extra creamy and rich.
- Cream cheese is mixed with the drained pumpkin for the basis of the cheesecake filling.
- Heavy whipping cream is whipped to fold into the cheesecake mixture.
- Powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla bean paste (or a high quality vanilla extract) are used to sweeten and flavor the no bake pumpkin cheesecake filling.
For complete instructions, please check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
- Process the gingersnap cookies and butter into a fine crumble.
- Firmly press the gingersnap crumble into a prepared pan for the crust.
- Whip the heavy whipping cream and set aside.
- Drain the pumpkin puree.
- Add drained pumpkin to cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice and mix to combine.
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake mixture.
- Spread pumpkin cheesecake filling on top of the gingersnap crust and refrigerate overnight.
- Slice into small, square bites and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar to serve.
Expert Tips & FAQ
Gingersnap Crust Tips
- When processing the gingersnap crust, the finer the crumb the better the crust!
- Ensure the crust is spread evenly in the pan, and that you press it firmly together so it stays together when serving.
How to Drain Pumpkin Puree
- Draining the pumpkin sounds super strange, I know! But you'll be able to remove anywhere from ½ to ⅔ cup liquid from the pumpkin, which will result in a denser, richer, creamier no bake pumpkin cheesecake filling.
- If you have cheesecloth, or a cheesecloth bag or nutmilk bag, that will make the process easy. Add pumpkin puree to the bag, then squeeze the liquid out over an empty bowl or sink.
- You can also use a clean dishcloth to hold the pumpkin as you drain it.
- I don't recommend paper towels - every time I've tried draining with paper towels, no matter how gentle, the paper towels eventually rip from the moisture and squeezing, and pumpkin puree comes through.
- The squeezed pumpkin juice can be discarded or tossed in a smoothie or something like a butternut or vegetable soup.
- You'll have drained about ½ to ⅔ cup liquid out of the pumpkin.
- The drained pumpkin should have a play-doh like consistency.
No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling Tips
- Use room temperature cream cheese. It will blend better and smoother with the other filling ingredients.
- Fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake mixture carefully. The pumpkin cheesecake mixture is very dense, so it'll take a few minutes! Be patient and keep carefully folding in the whipped cream, and eventually you'll have a homogenous rich and airy no bake cheesecake filling.
- How long do you wait to cut no bake cheesecake bars? No bake cheesecake needs to set overnight, or at least 4 hours.
- You can try freezing the no bake cheesecake for 30-60 minutes before cutting, to help get more even cuts. (But don't serve frozen - the crust is too hard!)
- Wipe the knife clean between cuts for smooth, clean cuts.
- Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, garnished immediately prior to serving.
- Use cool whip for a stabilized whipped cream if you need a little extra time with presentation and serving.
- I like to cut into 36 bite-sized servings, as many people tend to take smaller servings of a larger variety of desserts from a holiday dessert table. You of course can cut into however many servings you prefer.
Substitutions & Variations
- Cool whip can be substituted for the heavy whipping cream. You obviously won't need to whip the cool whip, and you'll want to use two cups cool whip.
- Graham crackers can be substituted for gingersnaps. You'll need about 12 graham crackers. You can also add a little pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon to the graham cracker crust for a little extra flavor, too.
- For a lighter option, neufchatel cheese can be substitute for cream cheese. (It's found right by the cream cheese, and may also be labeled as "⅓ less fat" or "reduced fat" cream cheese.)
- If you don't have vanilla bean paste, you can use a high quality vanilla extract.
- If you're feeling a little fancier, try making a homemade whipped cream topping. You can flavor it with honey or maple, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and/ or vanilla.
Storage, Freezing, & Reheating
No bake pumpkin cheesecake squares need to be refrigerated. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Leftovers can also be frozen. I like to flash freeze on an open-air baking sheet for 1-2 hours. Then wrap in plastic wrap and return to the freezer for up to 3 months. Unwrap, then thaw in the fridge for a few hours when ready to enjoy.
Supplies You'll Need
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No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- 30 gingersnap cookies
- 5 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 cup pumpkin puree drained
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream cold
- 16 ounces cream cheese (2 x 8oz packages)
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
- whipped cream
- cinnamon sugar
Prepare the Crust:
- Line a 9x9" baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place gingersnap cookies into the bowl of a food processor. Process until the gingersnaps have turned into a fine crumb, about 1-2 minutes. Add melted butter and process another minute, until you have a fine crumble.
- Transfer the gingersnap mixture to the prepared pan. Use a spatula or clean fingers to firmly press it into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
Prepare the Cheesecake:
- To eliminate excess moisture in the cheesecake filling, drain the pumpkin. To do so, place pumpkin in a cheesecloth bag or in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze repeatedly, until a significant amount of liquid has come out. The drained pumpkin puree should have a play-doh-like consistency. Set the drained pumpkin aside.
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream in a large bowl until it has formed stiff peaks (about 1-2 minutes). Set aside.
- In another large bowl, add cream cheese, drained pumpkin, powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla bean paste (or a high quality extract). Mix on medium high, or until the mixture is thick, smooth, and creamy.
- Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin cheesecake mixture. The cheesecake mixture should be very dense, so this will take a few minutes, just carefully keep folding it until you have one smooth, thick mixture.
- Evenly spread the pumpkin cheesecake mixture on top of the crust and smooth the surface.
- Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours until set.
- For clean cuts, you can place the no bake pumpkin cheesecake in the freezer for 30-60 minutes before cutting. Most importantly, wipe clean your knife between every cut. You can cut the cheesecake into however many servings you'd like, but as this is a very rich dessert, I like to cut into 36 bite-sized pieces.
- Just before serving, top with additional whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Enjoy!