A rich, creamy pumpkin-spiced cheesecake filling and buttery graham cracker crust make these pumpkin pie cheesecake bars the perfect fall treat!
The leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp and cool, and all the best holidays are just around the corner. But that brings up an important question: what will you make for dessert?!
Whether it’s Thanksgiving or game day get-togethers with friends, we all need some go-to treats for fall and these pumpkin cheesecake bars are one of mine. They’re basically what would happen if you combined pumpkin pie and cheesecake into a single dessert!
The best part about these pumpkin pie cheesecake bars (well, other than the cozy flavour!) is how easy they are to make. No need to fuss with a springform pan or worry about cracking. Just mix up the filling, pour it over a simple graham cracker crust, and bake until perfectly set. The hardest part is waiting to eat them!
Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Bars Recipe
Here’s what makes these pumpkin cheesecake bars a standout:
- Vegan. Most cheesecake recipes are full of dairy—and if they’re vegan, you have to soak cashews and blend them to get that creamy texture. This recipe is made with simple plant-based swaps that match the flavour, richness, and creaminess of dairy without all the hassle.
- Creamy, rich texture. These pumpkin cheesecake bars have exactly the texture you expect from traditional cheesecake. You really won’t believe they’re completely dairy-free!
- Perfect for fall. With warm pumpkin spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves mixed with creamy pumpkin puree, these cheesecake bars are sure to put you in a cozy fall mood.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
For the Crust
- Vegan graham crackers – Some graham crackers contain honey, so be sure to check the label.
- Vegan butter – Melt the butter in a small saucepan or microwave.
For the Filling
- Pumpkin puree – Be sure to use canned pumpkin puree, not pie mix, which is sweetened.
- Pumpkin pie spice – You can use individual spices if you’d like, but measuring out of a single pumpkin pie spice jar makes things easier!
- Vegan cream cheese – Whatever brand you like best will work here.
- Vegan sour cream
- Vanilla extract – To enhance the overall flavour of our pumpkin cheesecake bars.
- Dairy-free cream – Or full-fat coconut milk.
What Can I Substitute for Pumpkin Puree?
In recent years, there have been pumpkin shortages that make finding canned puree a challenge at times. Luckily, canned butternut squash puree is a great substitute for pumpkin in most recipes, including this one. You won’t even notice the swap!
How to Make Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Bars
Get ready for the perfect fall dessert! Here’s what you’ll need to do.
- Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a square baking pan with foil.
- Pulse the crackers. Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Add the sugar and salt and pulse a few more times to mix.
- Add the butter. Pour the melted butter into the crumb mixture and pulse again until the crumbs are wet.
- Form the crust. Transfer the graham cracker mixture to the prepared pan and press it into an even layer.
- Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is just golden and fragrant.
- Prepare (again). Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and set a roasting pan filled with water on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Mix the pumpkin and spices. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- Beat the cream cheese. Add the cream cheese and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until it’s creamy. Scrape down the bowl.
- Finish the filling. Beat in the remaining cornstarch, sour cream, vanilla, and salt, then turn the mixer to low speed and add the cream. Fold one-third of the cream cheese mixture into the pumpkin mixture.
- Assemble. Dollop alternating blobs of cheesecake and pumpkin filling on top of the graham cracker crust. Tap the pan a few times to level, then use a knife to swirl the top.
- Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is barely jiggly.
- Cool and chill. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Then, cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.
Tips for Success
Follow these pointers for perfect pumpkin pie cheesecake bars.
- Use room temperature ingredients. If you use cold vegan cream cheese and sour cream straight from the fridge, your filling may come out lumpy and not mix together well.
- Let the bars chill before serving. Unlike other baked goods that are delicious straight out of the oven, warm cheesecake is…not good. You really do need to chill these bars overnight so they can firm up.
- Swirl gently. When swirling the pumpkin and cheesecake batters together, be careful not to mix them too much or you’ll end up with a muddled color instead of distinct swirls.
Want to switch up this recipe? Here are a few ideas:
- Make it gluten-free. Simply use gluten-free graham crackers or make your own crust using crushed gluten-free cookies. Gingersnaps would be great!
- Top with caramel sauce. Drizzle some homemade vegan caramel sauce over the bars after they’ve chilled for an extra decadent treat.
- Add a streusel topping. For some added crunch, sprinkle a simple streusel topping of flour, sugar, cinnamon, and vegan butter over the filling before baking.
These pumpkin pie cheesecake bars are delicious on their own, but you can also dress them up with some toppings. Here are a few ideas:
- Whipped coconut cream. Whip up some chilled coconut cream and dollop it on top of the bars.
- Candied pecans. Roughly chop some candied pecans and sprinkle them over the bars for added texture and sweetness.
- Dust with cinnamon. For added warmth and flavour, dust the tops of the bars with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon before serving.
How to Store
Store leftover pumpkin pie cheesecake bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
To freeze, allow the bars to cool completely before wrapping them tightly with plastic wrap and then placing them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
More Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas
- Sweet Potato Pie with Canned Yams
- Southern Pecan Pie Recipe
- Maple Divinity Candy Recipe
- Vegan Chocolate Chess Pie
- Sweet Potato Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Bars
For the crust:
- 5 1/2 ounces vegan graham crackers 160 grams
- 2 tablespoons sugar 25 grams
- pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter melted 42 grams
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree room temperature 122 grams
- 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 4 tablespoons corn starch divided 32 grams
- 16 ounces vegan cream cheese room temperature 454 grams
- 3/4 cup sugar 150 grams
- 1/3 cup vegan sour cream room temperature 80 grams
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup dairy free cream or full fat coconut milk, room temperature 80 ml
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil.
- Place the graham crackers into a food processor and pulse until it is reduced to fine crumbs.
- Add the sugar and salt and pulse 1-2 times to mix together.
- Add the melted butter and pulse again until combined into a mixture resembling wet sand.
- Dump the graham cracker mixture into your prepared pan and spread it into an even layer. Use the flat bottom of a measuring cup to pack down the cracker crumbs.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until just golden and fragrant. Remove from the oven and let cool while you make the filling.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Place a roasting pan filled with water on the bottom rack of the oven.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Whisk together until well mixed and set aside.
- Add the cream cheese and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until creamy. Scrape down the bowl.
- Add the remaining cornstarch, sour cream, vanilla and salt and beat again on medium speed until incorporated.
- Turn the mixer to low speed and add the cream. Mix only until just combined.
- Divide the cheesecake batter, adding 1⁄3 of the cream cheese mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Fold them together with a whisk until they are combined into a light orange filling.
- Dollop alternating blobs of cheesecake and pumpkin batter on top of the graham cracker crust. Tap the pan a few times to level the filling. Use a knife to swirl a design into the top, taking care not to cut into the crust at the bottom of the pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the edges are set and the center is just barely jiggly.
- Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate overnight before slicing.