These Creamy No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are made using a buttery graham cracker crust, homemade whipped cream, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, and lots of warm fall spices. They're a fantastic make ahead dessert recipe that is perfect for sharing and can be prepared in just 20 minutes.
Pumpkin cheesecake is one of my all-time favorite fall desserts. It's rich, creamy, sweet, and filled with delicious fall flavors. But, a true pumpkin cheesecake can be a bit of a project.
Enter these no bake pumpkin cheesecake bars.
Can you really make cheesecake without an oven? Yes, yes you can! And I'm here to show you how.
A combination of homemade whipped cream, cream cheese, and 8 hours of refrigeration is all that's needed to make a rich, creamy, and velvety smooth no bake cheesecake filling.
These easy pumpkin cheesecake bars are ideal for all of your fall parties. In fact, they make a great addition to any Thanksgiving dessert table. Even better, since they need to chill in the refrigerator to set, they're perfect for making ahead.
>> Looking for more no bake recipes? Try this No Bake Peanut Butter Fudge recipe.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- No Bake- No oven required - just put it all together and refrigerate. It's that easy!
- Creamy- Cream cheese, whipped cream, and pumpkin puree come together to make a rich, luscious, and creamy fall dessert.
- Real Whipped Cream- So light, fresh, and delicious, using real whipped cream in these pumpkin cheesecake squares really makes them shine.
- Make Ahead Friendly- Since they have to be set overnight in the refrigerator, pumpkin cheesecake bars are the perfect make ahead dessert.
- Perfect for Parties- This recipe is made in a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish, meaning it makes plenty to share with all of your family and friends. These pumpkin cheesecake bars yield 24 small squares, but you can also do 12 squares if you want larger portions.
Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Graham Crackers- I use whole sheets of graham crackers that I pulverize into graham cracker crumbs myself. However, feel free to use store-bought graham cracker crumbs instead.
- Pumpkin Puree- For convenience, I like to use canned pumpkin puree for this recipe, but you can also make your own if you prefer. Make sure you use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
- Cream Cheese- Full-fat cream cheese works best in these no bake pumpkin cheesecake bars. The fat helps to stabilize the filling, allowing it to hold its shape. I always use Philadelphia brand cream cheese.
- Heavy Whipping Cream- Make sure you keep the heavy cream chilled until just before whipping for best results. Homemade whipped cream is light and fresh without being overly sweet.
- Brown Sugar- I like to use a little brown sugar in both the crust and in the filling to add a warm sweetness throughout the cheesecake bars.
- Warm Spices- Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice are all quintessential fall pumpkin pie spices.
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make these no bake pumpkin cheesecake bars.
Step 1: Make the crust. Using a food processor or a plastic bag and rolling pin, crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Pour the graham cracker crumbs into a large mixing bowl. Add in the melted butter, brown sugar, and kosher salt. Stir well to combine (I like to use my hands for this).
Step 2: Press the crust into a baking dish. Spread the graham cracker crust evenly into the baking dish. Firmly press down on the crust, packing it into the bottom of the pan and slightly up the sides. I recommend using the bottom of a clean measuring cup.
Step 3: Make the whipped cream. Pour the cold heavy whipping cream into a large mixing bowl (if using a hand mixer) or into the bowl of a stand mixer. Starting with the beaters on low to medium speed, begin whipping the heavy cream. As it thickens, you can increase the speed of the beaters. Beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Step 4: Mix the pumpkin, cream cheese, and spices. In a large mixing bowl or in a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and pumpkin puree together until smooth. Add the brown sugar, vanilla extract, and spices and stir until well combined.
Step 5: Fold in the whipped cream. Add the prepared whipped cream to the pumpkin cream cheese mixture, gently folding it into the filling until smooth and uniform in color. Pour the filling into the baking dish and spread evenly over the crust. Refrigerator 8 to 12 hours or until fully set.
Tips and Tricks
- Make ahead. Both the crust and the cream cheese pumpkin filling can be made and stored separately up to a few days ahead of time. Alternatively, you can make these no-bake pumpkin cheesecake bars completely in advance and store them in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve.
- Use cold heavy whipping cream. Better yet, place your bowl and beaters in the freezer before making whipped cream for the best results. Cold whipped cream whips up more quickly and has a better consistency.
- Soften the cream cheese. Softened cream cheese blends more easily with the pumpkin puree than cold cream cheese. To avoid having pieces of solid, unmixed cream cheese throughout your pumpkin bars, it's best to let it come to room temperature for an hour on the counter before using.
- Line the baking dish with parchment paper. While I don't always use this trick myself, lining the baking dish with parchment paper can make removing the pumpkin cheesecake bars easier. Allow the parchment paper to hang over the edges so you can lift the bars out once they're done setting.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few ways you can customize these no bake pumpkin cheesecake bars to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Graham Crackers- Try Nilla Wafers, Biscoff, Oreos, gingersnaps, shortbread cookies, or animal crackers. For a lower-carb alternative, try using crushed walnuts or pecans to replace some of the graham crackers.
- Pumpkin Puree- Use canned or homemade pumpkin puree. You could also reach for other squash purees such as butternut squash or acorn squash.
- Cream Cheese- For a lower-fat alternative, try using Neufchâtel cheese. Additionally, you could try using a dairy-free cream cheese alternative.
- Heavy Whipping Cream- Cool Whip can be used in place of the homemade whipped cream, although it will be a little sweeter. Canned whipped cream melts too easily and will not work well in this no bake cheesecake.
- Brown Sugar- Use granulated sugar or coconut sugar or a combination of either with molasses. And while I haven't tried it myself, you can try replacing the brown sugar with maple syrup or honey. However, the filling may end up too wet using liquid sweeteners.
- Spices- Reach for a pumpkin spice blend instead of the individual spices, if preferred. You'll need 2 teaspoons. In a pinch, just 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon and a ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg can be used.
- Gluten-Free- Swap the regular graham crackers for gluten-free graham crackers to make gluten-free no bake pumpkin bars. Don't forget to double-check all labels to ensure each ingredient is truly gluten-free.
- Dairy-Free- Try replacing the butter with dairy-free butter, the cream cheese with dairy-free cream cheese, and the whipped cream with a dairy-free whipped topping. I haven't tested this myself so let me know how it goes if you do!
- Egg-Free- This recipe is naturally egg-free, which is perfect for those with an egg allergy.
What to Serve with No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Whipped Cream or Frozen Whipped Topping
- Ice Cream
- Caramel Sauce
- Candied Pecans or Walnuts
- Sautéed Cinnamon Apples
- Crushed Graham Crackers
How to Store
- Refrigerator- Wrap the baking dish tightly in plastic wrap or use a fitted lid to cover. Store the bars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezer- For longer storage, store the bars in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. I do not recommend using the freezer to set the pumpkin cheesecake filling.
Frequently Asked Questions
No bake cheesecake bars can hold their shape because the whipped cream stabilizes and aerates the cream cheese filling. Refrigerating the cheesecake for at least 8 hours allows it to firm up and set.
If your cream cheese isn't warm enough, you may have a hard time getting it to blend well with the pumpkin puree. To avoid lumps of cream cheese, allow it to come to room temperature on the counter for about an hour before mixing.
Yes! In fact, these bars are best made at least a day before you want to serve them since they take about 12 hours in the refrigerator to fully set. You can make these no bake cheesecake bars up to 3 days before serving.
I do not recommend setting these no bake cheesecake bars in the freezer. It's best to let them set in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Then, you can store them in the freezer. Defrost them in the refrigerator for the best results.
More Fall Dessert Recipes
- Deconstructed Apple Pie
- Strawberry Apple Crisp
- Spiced Acorn Squash Bread
- Maple Syrup Chocolate Chip Cookies
No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- Food processor optional
For the Crust
- 15 sheets graham crackers
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup (packed) brown sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream chilled
- 16 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup (packed) brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
For the Crust
- Using a food processor or a plastic bag and rolling pin, crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Pour the graham cracker crumbs into a large mixing bowl. Add in the melted butter, brown sugar, and kosher salt. Stir well to combine (I like to use my hands for this).15 sheets graham crackers, 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, ¼ cup (packed) brown sugar, ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Spread the graham cracker crust evenly into the baking dish. Firmly press down on the crust, packing it into the bottom of the pan and slightly up the sides. I recommend using the bottom of a clean measuring cup.
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- Pour the cold heavy whipping cream into a large mixing bowl (if using a hand mixer) or into the bowl of a stand mixer. Starting with the beaters on low to medium speed, begin whipping the heavy cream. As it thickens, you can increase the speed of the beaters. Beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside in the refrigerator.1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- In a large mixing bowl or in a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and pumpkin puree together until smooth. Add the brown sugar, vanilla extract, and spices and stir until well combined.16 ounces cream cheese, 1 cup pumpkin puree, ½ cup (packed) brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon cloves, ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- Add the prepared whipped cream to the pumpkin cream cheese mixture, gently folding it into the filling until smooth and uniform in color. Pour the filling into the baking dish and spread evenly over the crust. Refrigerator 8 to 12 hours or until fully set.
- Storage: Cover tightly with plastic wrap or fitted lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months (after chilling).
- Do not freeze no-bake cheesecake bars until after they have fully set in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
This recipe did not disappoint! I loved the no bake idea. Such a great fall dessert. I will definitely be making this agin. Thank you for this wonderful recipe 🎃. Delicious!
Ashley Petrie says
Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed 🙂