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Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

Dress up your holiday table with this smooth, rich gluten free pumpkin cheesecake. It’s made with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, a pumpkin cookie crust, and covered in rich chocolate.

Dress up your holiday table with this smooth, rich gluten free pumpkin cheesecake. It's made with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, a pumpkin cookie crust, and covered in rich chocolate.

When I first made this cheesecake, back in 2011, it had chocolate swirls. They were actually quite pretty, but they did complicate things a bit. Pour half the cheesecake filling into the pan, dollop on the chocolate, finish with the rest of the filling. Then swirl. Baking a proper cheesecake can seem intimidating enough without adding swirling and dolloping to the mix.

Dress up your holiday table with this smooth, rich gluten free pumpkin cheesecake. It's made with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, a pumpkin cookie crust, and covered in rich chocolate.

If you want to unmold a proper cheesecake, though, you will need a springform pan. I have bought many springform pans over the years, but the Kaiser enamel-coated nonstick pan is the very best. Nothing sticks to it so it unmolds quickly and easily without any greasing. Plus, it doesn’t leak, and I’ve mistreated it by slicing on the base with a knife, and there isn’t a scratch on it.

You can of course make this in a 9-inch deep dish cake pan. Not everything has to be picture perfect!

Dress up your holiday table with this smooth, rich gluten free pumpkin cheesecake. It's made with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, a pumpkin cookie crust, and covered in rich chocolate.

I have many recipes for crispy cookies here on the blog. They each have their individual charms when it comes to turning into crumbs for a cheesecake crust. I have even used crispy chocolate chip cookies as a cheesecake crust (and recommend them highly).

We had just made pumpkin snickerdoodles, and I had a few dozen in my freezer. They’re not a crispy, but rather a chewy cookie. So I decided to try turning them into crumbs in my miniature food processor (love. that. thing.). And the results speak for themselves. You can use chewy cookies for crumbs! And I think you should.

Dress up your holiday table with this smooth, rich gluten free pumpkin cheesecake. It's made with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, a pumpkin cookie crust, and covered in rich chocolate.

One more detail about baking this lovely pumpkin cheesecake: you should bake it in a water bath for the most beautiful top, without a crack in sight. But you really don’t have to. A water bath helps the cheesecake to bake at a very consistent temperature, gently. Sudden changes in baking temperature cause cracks in your cheesecake. But the cracks taste just the same as the smooth pieces. If you needed permission to bake with reckless abandon, cracks and all, you just got it. Don’t let anything stop you from baking this deliciously rich gluten free pumpkin cheesecake. Go forth and bake!

Dress up your holiday table with this smooth, rich gluten free pumpkin cheesecake. It's made with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, a pumpkin cookie crust, and covered in rich chocolate.
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Prep time: Yield: 1 9-inch cheesecake

Ingredients

For the crust
1 1/2 cups (225 g) gluten free crunchy cookie crumbs (this time, I actually used my pumpkin snickerdoodles and it was fabulous)

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake filling
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons (18 g) all purpose gluten free flour blend (I used Better Batter)

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

1 tablespoon (21 g) unsulphured molasses

3 eggs (150 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (225 g) pure pumpkin puree

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*

For the (optional) chocolate topping
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

*To make your own pumpkin pie spice, combine 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease well a 9-inch springform pan and wrap the bottom tightly with aluminum foil. Set out a roasting pan large enough to fit the springform pan.

  • In a large bowl, place the cookie crumbs and melted butter and mix until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the prepared pan. Set the pan aside.

  • In a large bowl with a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the cream cheese and flour, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and the molasses, and beat until well-combined. Add the eggs, vanilla, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, and mix until well-blended and smooth. Scrape the filling out of the bowl and on top of the crust in the prepared pan. Spread into an even layer.

  • Place the cheesecake in the center of the roasting pan and place it on the center rack of the preheated oven. Fill the roasting pan with hot water until the water reaches about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Close the oven door, and bake for about an hour, or until most of the cake is set, but the center is still somewhat loose when shaken from side to side. Turn off the oven, crack the oven door a bit, leaving the cake inside. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and chill until ready to serve. Unmold the chilled cake and loosen the bottom from the pan. Transfer carefully to a serving platter.

  • To make the optional topping, place the chopped chocolate in a small, heat-safe bowl. Place the heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Allow to sit for a few minutes until the chocolate begins to melt, then stir until melted and smooth. Pour over the entire cake or individual slices. Slice with a hot, wet knife for clean slices. For even cleaner slices, freeze the cake a bit before slicing.

  • Original recipe published on the blog in 2011 (!). Recipe simplified, chocolate topping added, all photos and text new. 

Love,
Nicole

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  • Jennica

    Good Morning, Nicole! I am so excited you posted this because I just loathe pumpkin pie, but have to make it anyway for the family…now I can have my own dessert! Quick question though- will one batch of your graham crackers be enough, or should I double it?

    • Nicole

      Hi, Jennica,
      Yeah, most pumpkin pie isn’t my favorite, either. I really like the recipe in the cookbook, but that’s pretty much it.
      One batch of graham crackers is plenty. You’ll even have a few left over for snacking. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Pamela G

    Nicole….warmest Thanksgiving wishes to you and your family.
    Thank you for insuring our GF Thanksgiving will be the best!
    -Scott, me, GF Molly and my step-dog Harley

    • Nicole

      Who knew there was a step-dog, Pam?!
      Warmest wishes to you and yours, too. Have a very happy one.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Mary J

    I live in Norfolk, Va..where can I buy GF Graham Crackers??? I’ve looked in quite a few stores and no luck

    • Nicole

      Hi, Mary,
      There is a recipe for GF Graham Crackers in my cookbook. If you don’t have the book, you can make and use the recipe for Nilla Wafers here on the blog. There’s a link to it in the post.
      xoxo Nicole

  • This looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Tanya

    Wow, girl, you are killin’ it for the last few days. I can’t keep up.

    How can I keep my girlish figure (NOT) with all these yummy recipes that I MUST try!?!?

    You make being GF awesome!!

    • Nicole

      Tanya, you made my day. Thank you so much for this: “You make being GF awesome!!” You make blogging awesome. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Peggy

    I wish I had the time to make this for this Thanksgiving but no worries, Christmas is just around the corner & this will be an awesome dessert to impress everyone with! Nicole, you are the bestest friend a gf gal could have!!! Thanks for all you do for all of us!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    • Nicole

      Hi, Peggy,
      I know! I went back and forth about whether or not to post this today, but there is still time! You’re right, though. The holidays do not end with Thanksgiving. ‘Tis the season! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your lovely family.
      xoxo Nicole

  • USA Pan Pie Pan will work great for this as well! :)

    • Nicole

      You bet, Amanda. It’s linked to right in the post. :)
      Nicole

  • Maria

    Nicole!!! You’re my hero!!!
    I’m so happy to have your recipe in time for the festivities!!! One question, do you think it would be ok to replace the sour cream with mascarpone like in your original cheesecake recipe? Thanks again!
    ~Maria

    • Nicole

      Okay? It would be heaven-sent! That would have been my preference, but I thought people might not have that on hand, and I knew it was down to the wire….
      You’re very welcome. :) Happy Thanksgiving!
      xoxo Nicole

      • Maria

        Dear Nicole,
        Mascarpone is a staple in the fridge ever since I first made your awesome (best ever!!!) cheesecake. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Gotta say you’re a very special reason to say Thanks this year!
        ~Maria

        • Nicole

          Dear Maria,
          Right back atcha. I’m thankful for your graciousness. :)
          Happy Thanksgiving!
          xoxo Nicole

  • Princess Tea L on Facebook

    TY Nicole, Happy Thanksgiving! Xo

  • Jennifer Polay on Facebook

    I just put this in the oven, I hope it comes out great, I may have slightly overfilled my pie dish but I am a total novice!! FYI the recipe doesn’t say when to put in the pumpkin puree so I just put it in with the sugar, eggs etc… I hope that was right!!

  • Oh, thanks for the recipe. I’m printing out as I type this comment ;) :) This is my first gluten free Thanksgiving :) :) I’m really excited. I’m still challenged in the baking department, but I purchased a gluten free pumpkin pie from Whole Foods ;) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

    • Nicole

      Hi, Heather,
      I hope your first GF Thanksgiving turned out well. I’m sure it went off without a hitch!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Peggy

    I made my pum-cake for Thanksgiving this year & I have a request to make it again for Christmas so there will be at least 2 desserts I can enjoy if I’m quick enough. Once others realize that my desserts taste as good as anything else on the table, it disappears quickly. Will be making the Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake & my pum-cake. Doing a happy dance!

    • Nicole

      So glad you’re having so much success, Peggy! I bet your desserts were better than anything else on the table. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Hi, Jennifer, you’re absolutely right! The recipe was missing a step. Thank you! I have updated it — and yes, you did the right thing! So glad you didn’t leave it out. :)

  • Jennifer Polay on Facebook

    It turned out delicious!! I made the crust out of smashed Chex cereal & it was great too. I had leftover batter so this morning I made them into muffins. Can’t wait to try them!!! :)

  • Mare Masterson

    I am not a pumpkin pie fan, at all, and was going to make the pumpkin butter cake this year. So here is my question to you: Which do I make — this pumpkin cheesecake, or the pumpkin butter cake?

    I may even forgo apple pies this year and do apple custard (fka apple crack) cake instead! Just for something different!

    • I would make this cheesecake, Mare, and use less of the pumpkin pie spice than directed (maybe half). It has less of an intense pumpkin flavor than the pumpkin butter cake!

      • Mare Masterson

        Thanks!

  • Jennifer S.

    are you kidding me right now? this looks like the manna from heaven to me. well done friend!

  • Misty

    Is there a reason that you use pumpkin puree, rather than the pumpkin butter you have been recommending lately for many of your recipes? Would it work as well? I made a couple of batches of it….

  • Mari Ross

    I made this for Thanksgiving dinner and it was outstanding! Rave reviews from everyone. Thank you so much for such a delicious recipe.

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