Pumpkin cheesecake bars start with a sweet graham cracker crust and are topped off with two layers of cheesecake! These impressive bars look like they took a lot of work, but they’re so simple and bake up creamy and perfect every time!
Did you know that I was a grown woman the first time I ever tried a cheesecake?
Also, did you know that an awful lot of my blog posts start out with me confessing that my parents sheltered me from delicious food? Seriously, mom and dad, whyyyyyyy. Meatballs, sloppy joes, meatloaf, casseroles, cheesecake, BROCCOLI…never had any of those until I was an adult.
My husband is a big ol’ cheesecake fan, so I quickly learned to make cheesecake at home. It’s actually pretty easy and these pumpkin cheesecake bars are nice because you don’t need any special pans. We’re skipping the springform pan and using a 9×13 casserole dish instead. Easy peasy.
Why I love this recipe:
So, obviously, pumpkin is a big factor in me loving this one. We love pumpkin everything, but especially pumpkin cheesecake!
I also really like how impressive this looks with the pretty layers of crust, plain cheesecake, and pumpkin cheesecake. No one has any idea that this is actually super simple.
Which brings me to: this is actually super simple. I like easy. You guys do too, I bet.
How to make graham cracker crust:
To start, whip up your graham cracker crust. Did you know that you can buy a box of graham cracker crumbs rather than buying a box of actual graham crackers and grinding them up yourself? Love it!
Anyway, stir together your graham cracker crumbs, a little extra sugar, and melted butter and then press that mixture into a 9×13 baking dish.
I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the crumbs in there nice and tight and smooth.
Pop that in the oven for 5 minutes while you prepare the filling.
How to make pumpkin cheesecake bars:
For the cheesecake layers, we’ll start with three bricks of cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.
You want your cream cheese to be room temperature to ensure that it whips up nice and evenly. We don’t want chunky cheesecake, friends.
You can see little chunks in my mixture above – the cream cheese wasn’t quite warm enough. My cheesecake turned out fine, but it’s really best to let that cream cheese sit out longer.
After that mixture is well combined, pour half of the cheesecake over the prepared graham cracker crust.
To the bowl with the remaining half of the cheesecake mixture, add in some pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice.
See how easy that is? The same base for each layer keeps it extra simple.
Pour the pumpkin cheesecake gently into the pan. Do your best to pour it evenly over the other layer of cheesecake so that you have nice even layers.
These pumpkin cheesecake bars bake in just 40 minutes.
How to keep cheesecake from cracking:
This little trick is the best and it works for me every time!
When your cheesecake bars have baked for 40 minutes in the oven, the center should be just slightly jiggly.
Turn the oven off and crack the door. Let the cheesecake set in the oven for another 45 minutes. This allows it cool nice and slight and helps prevent cracking.
This trick works with other recipes as well…bake until just slightly jiggly, turn the oven off and crack the door, and let it cool nice and slow.
More cheesecake recipes you’ll love:
Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake: Such a stunning cheesecake and it’s so smooth and creamy!
Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars: We love pecan pie and it’s only better when you add cheesecake!
Cinnamon Cheesecake: The crust on this one is made of Biscoff cookies. Swoon.
Sopapilla Cheesecake: These bars are seriously so good and they start with a can of crescent dough!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
For the crust
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared baking dish and bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Pour half of the batter into the prepared crust.
- Add the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice to the remaining batter and stir well to combine.
- Gently pour the pumpkin mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer in the pan, taking care to pour it evenly over the entire pan. Gently spread the batter over to the edges with a rubber spatula, as needed.
- Bake for 40 minutes at 325 degrees or until the center is just slightly jiggly. Turn the oven off and crack the door. Let the cheesecake sit in the warm oven for 45 minutes.
- Remove to the counter to cool completely before transferring to the refrigerator. Serve cold.