The best classic gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake with a buttery graham cracker crust. It’s rich, smooth, pumpkin spiced, and made with healthier ingredients like Greek yogurt and pumpkin puree. The perfect Holiday dessert!
the best gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake
Does anyone else love pumpkin desserts? Because I am a huge fan, especially during fall! I’ve been loving these soft gluten-free pumpkin cookies and this pumpkin carrot cake. But, if you know me, I am a huge cheesecake fan, so I needed to make a pumpkin-spice-flavored one. So, say hello to the best healthier pumpkin cheesecake recipe that’s gluten-free and easy to bake!
This gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake has all the best cozy autumn vibes. It’s warmly spiced with pumpkin pie spice, soft, creamy, and perfectly sweet. But I have to admit, my favorite part about the whole cheesecake is the homemade gluten-free buttery graham cracker crust. It melts in your mouth!
This recipe is easy, delicious, and super flavorful. The filling is made with regular or low-fat cream cheese, Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, and a few other simple and healthy ingredients. The crust has only two ingredients: gluten-free graham crackers and melted butter.
This pumpkin pie cheesecake is everything you want in a dessert. Seriously, everyone will love this recipe, and no one will be able to tell it is gluten-free!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- You can’t tell this pumpkin cheesecake is gluten-free.
- It’s rich, sweet, and decadent.
- It’s lightened up with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
- The gluten-free graham cracker crust has no added sugar and melts in your mouth.
- Easily make the graham cracker crumbs with or without a food processor.
- Each slice has 8 grams of protein.
- The filling is creamy, smooth, and pumpkin spiced.
- Any level baker can make this easy recipe.
- It’s the perfect dessert for the Holidays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
- Try these classic vanilla mini protein cheesecakes next!
The taste and texture
This gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake is warmly spiced, perfectly sweet, and has the best buttery graham cracker crust. The main flavor comes from the pumpkin pie spice.
This pumpkin cheesecake has the same texture as a classic cheesecake. The filling is soft, creamy, and silky, and the crust is slightly crisp and melts in your mouth. The best cheesecake!
Gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake calls for a handful of simple, healthier baking ingredients. You need gluten-free graham crackers, butter, Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, low-fat or regular cream cheese, and a few other pantry staples. Trust me when I say this is the BEST pumpkin cheesecake you’ll ever eat. Here is a list of everything you need so you are prepared:
- Graham Crackers: Grab your favorite gluten-free graham crackers. We’ll crush them into crumbs to make a very simple, two-ingredient, no-sugar-added graham cracker crust.
- Butter: I love using salted butter, but you can use unsalted too. This helps form the crust and gives it the best buttery flavor.
- Cream Cheese: Use low-fat (also called Neufchatel) or regular cream cheese. This gives this cheesecake a super smooth and creamy texture.
- Greek Yogurt: I like to use plain Greek yogurt, but you can also use vanilla. This replaces the sour cream most recipes call for. For the creamiest pumpkin cheesecake, I recommend using 2% or 5% greek yogurt, but you can certainly use 0% too.
- Pumpkin Puree: Don’t confuse this with pumpkin pie filling; they are not the same! Pumpkin puree is just canned pumpkin. The only ingredient is pumpkin.
- Granulated Sugar: To sweeten this delicious pumpkin cheesecake.
- Eggs: This recipe calls for eggs and egg yolk. Don’t forget the egg yolk because it really helps make this gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake creamy.
- Vanilla Extract: For flavor.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: For the most delicious fall pumpkin flavor. It also gives this cheesecake that classic zing. I left instructions below on how to make your own with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and a few other spices.
- Arrowroot Starch: You can also use tapioca flour or cornstarch. This helps thicken the filling.
Kitchen tools required
Here is a list of kitchen utensils you will need to make this gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake:
- 9″ Springform Pan
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- Food Processor or Rolling Pin
- Aluminum Foil
- Roasting Pan (for the water bath)
- Measuring Tools: 1 teaspoon, 1 Tablespoon, 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup.
How to make gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake
I love how easy this gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake recipe is to make! For best results, I recommend using a water bath. Here are super detailed step-by-step instructions with pictures for visual reference. The full recipe and ingredient measurements are at the bottom of this page in the recipe card.
Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9″ springform pan (I like using butter). Now, wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan in 2 layers of large pieces of aluminum foil. Note: a water bath ensures the perfect cheesecake without cracks; I recommend using it!
Next, add the graham crackers to a food processor and pulse until they are crumbs. Then, add in melted butter and pulse until combined. You can also use a plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin until they are crumbs, then mix the crumbs and melted butter in a bowl.
After that, add to the bottom of the springform pan, and use your fingers or the back of a measuring cup to flatten it into an even layer. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Then, let it cool for 5 – 10 minutes while you make the filling.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and boil a kettle of water.
While the crust cools, add cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and beat with a handheld electric mixer until smooth for about 1 – 2 minutes. Add greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, vanilla extract, pumpkin spice, and arrowroot powder. On the lowest setting, mix again until smooth for 30 – 60 seconds. Scape the sides of the bowl as needed. Do not overbeat, but it must be smooth.
Now, add the cheesecake pan inside a large roasting pan. Then pour the cheesecake filling onto the cooled crust and use a spatula to smooth out the top. Pour the boiling water into the large roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake at 325ºF for 45 – 55 minutes or until the filling is just set – it should jiggle slightly (like jello) but look firm and set.
Finally, turn the oven off, open the door, and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for about 1 hour in the water bath before transferring it to the fridge. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remember to keep cheesecake chilled before serving, top with whipped topping dollops, and enjoy!
Expert baking tips for cheesecake
Only use room-temperature ingredients. It’s best practice to bake with room-temperature ingredients. This ensures that your pumpkin cheesecake filling is perfectly smooth and has the right texture. If you use cold ingredients, the bake time will increase, and the filling won’t be as smooth.
Do not over-beat the cheesecake batter. Do not over-mix your filling, or else the cheesecake will be tough and not silky smooth.
Bake it in a water bath. This ensures a super creamy and smooth cheesecake without cracks. It also prevents the cheesecake from sinking in the middle. Trust me, it is worth the extra effort!
Don’t open the oven until the bake is done. If you open the oven before the 45 minutes is up, you will release all the steam in the oven, and your cheesecake might sink in the middle from the stark temperature change.
Let your cheesecake cool for 1 hour. You MUST let your gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake set in the fridge before serving – if not, it will be warm and too liquidy. It is best to make this cheesecake a day before and allow it to chill overnight.
How to make the perfect cheesecake without cracks
- Use a water bath! I know it might seem daunting to bake a cheesecake in a water bath for the first time, but trust me when I say it’s not hard, and it will ensure the perfect cheesecake without cracks. Just look at my pictures!
- Let the cheesecake cool! It is super important to let your cheesecake cool in the oven for an hour before placing it in the fridge to chill for 4+ hours. If you skip this step, the cheesecake will likely sink in the middle and crack.
- Don’t overbake! If you overbake your cheesecake, it will crack. The filling should jiggle slightly (like jello) but look firm and set.
Here is a list of the best ingredient substitutions for this gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake. I only recommend swapping 1 – 2 ingredients so the original recipe doesn’t completely change.
- Plain Greek Yogurt: You can use vanilla Greek yogurt instead.
- Gluten-Free Graham Crackers: If you are not gluten-free, you can use regular graham crackers.
- Cream Cheese: You can use low-fat Neufchatel cream cheese too.
- Salted Butter: You can use unsalted butter, vegan butter, or coconut oil.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: You can easily make your own pumpkin pie spice if you need to by mixing together 3 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of ginger, 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg. Just make sure you use 1 tablespoon.
- Pumpkin Puree: You can use butternut squash puree, sweet potato puree, or acorn squash puree. Don’t use pumpkin pie filling!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a food processor to make the graham cracker crust?
No, you do not need a food processor to make the graham cracker crust. You can use a bag and a rolling pin too. I left instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Can I use regular graham crackers?
If you are not gluten-free, you can use regular graham crackers.
Do I need to use the water bath?
I highly recommend using a water bath so that your cheesecake is smooth, creamy, and has no cracks. A water bath helps bake the cheesecake slowly, and the steam from the hot water prevents dry cracks.
Can I use low-fat cream cheese and yogurt?
Yes, feel free to use low-fat Neufchatel instead of the regular cream cheese to lighten this pumpkin cheesecake up. You can also use non-fat 0% Greek yogurt instead of 2% or 5% yogurt.
Is it healthy?
This pumpkin cheesecake is lightened up and made with less sugar and healthier ingredients like yogurt, low-fat cream cheese, and pumpkin puree. So yes, I consider this cheesecake to be healthy compared to classic recipes.
Can I make my own pumpkin pie spice?
You can easily make your own pumpkin pie spice by mixing together 3 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of ginger, 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg. Then, simply measure out to the correct amount you need for the recipe. You need 1 tablespoon for this pumpkin cheesecake.
Can I make it ahead of time?
Absolutely! Pumpkin cheesecake needs to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, so you can easily make this gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake a day or two before serving! It’s perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
What’s the best oven temperature to bake cheesecake?
It’s best to bake cheesecake at 325°F. A lower oven temperature ensures a slow and even bake.
Why did my cheesecake crack?
If your cheesecake cracked, one of three things might have happened: (1) you didn’t use a water bath, (2) you overbaked the cheesecake, or (3) you didn’t let the cheesecake cool properly before chilling. Cooling your cheesecake for an hour before chilling ensures there are no rapid temperature changes that cause the middle to sink and crack.
How to freeze cheesecake:
If you are freezing the cheesecake straight after baking, you don’t need to chill it in the fridge. Simply let it cool in the oven for an hour, remove the outer rim from the springform pan (leave the bottom on, or else it will fall apart), and wrap it in a few layers of plastic wrap and one layer of aluminum foil. You can freeze it for up to 3 months without any toppings or whipped cream. When you are ready to enjoy, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
How to store:
For best results, cover the cheesecake in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you love this recipe, try these next!
- Mini Protein Cheesecakes
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies
- Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts
- Gluten-Free Apple Cake
- Gluten Free Key Lime Pie
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Crust:
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs, gluten-free (about 10 sheets)
- 5 tbsp salted butter, melted
- 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature (regular or low fat if desired)
- 1 ¼ cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, room temperature
- ⅔ cup canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling!
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs + 1 yolk, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice, (yes Tablespoon)
- 1 tbsp arrowroot starch, or cornstarch or tapioca flour
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9” springform pan (I like using butter). Now, wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan in 2 layers of large pieces of aluminum foil. Set it to the side. A water bath will give you the perfect cheesecake without cracks – I recommend using it!
- Add the graham crackers to a food processor and pulse until they are crumbs. Add in melted butter and pulse until combined. You can also use a plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin until they are crumbs, then mix the crumbs and melted butter in a bowl.
- Add to the bottom of the springform pan, and use your fingers or the back of a measuring cup to flatten it into an even layer. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Then, let it cool for 5 – 10 minutes while you make the filling.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF. Set a kettle of water to boil.
- While the crust cools, add cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and beat with a handheld electric mixer until smooth for about 1 – 2 minutes. Add greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, vanilla extract, pumpkin spice, and arrowroot powder. On the lowest setting, mix again until smooth for 30 – 60 seconds. Scape the sides of the bowl as needed. Do not overbeat, but it must be smooth.
- Add the cheesecake pan inside a large roasting pan. Then pour the cheesecake filling onto the cooled crust and use a spatula to smooth out the top.
- Pour the boiling water into the large roasting pan until the water is halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake at 325ºF for 45 – 55 minutes or until the filling is just set – it should jiggle slightly (like jello) but look firm and set.
- Turn the oven off, open the door, and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for about 1 hour in the water bath before transferring it to the fridge. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Keep cheesecake chilled before serving, top with whipped topping dollops, and enjoy!
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