This creamy gluten free pumpkin cheesecake is the best pumpkin cheesecake recipe for the holidays! It is full of delicious fall flavor, making it perfect for any fall gathering. This cheesecake tastes like it came from an expensive bakery, and nobody will know it is gluten free.
This is the cheesecake recipe I couldn't wait to share with you. I have never been able to get pictures of this cheesecake before it was cut into and eaten. Every year, we drive to our family celebration for Thanksgiving. This gluten free bourbon pumpkin cheesecake has been our contribution for YEARS.
This recipe was given to Mr. Fearless Dining from a close friend years ago (10 years?). My husband "fearlessly" converted it to gluten free.
Mr. Fearless Dining makes this cheesecake every year with the kids. The kitchen is trashed...one year ago, they even managed to get the pumpkin on my kitchen ceiling! It is totally insane, but the flavor of this cheesecake is totally worth the mess.
You will love each and every creamy bite of this creamy gluten free pumpkin dessert! If you love dessert as much as we do, check out all of the gluten free cake recipes on the blog.
This pumpkin cheesecake recipe is gluten-free, soy-free, and has a nut-free option (omit the pecans.) I have not tested a dairy-free option.
Why This Cheesecake Is The Best:
- This is an incredible bakery-quality cheesecake! It tastes like you spent a lot of money buying it! Nobody will know it is gluten free!
- There are three layers to this gluten free bourbon cheesecake. The gingersnap layer, the pumpkin layer, and a creamy sour cream layer. They all combine perfectly and make this gluten free dessert the best!
- You can vary the sweetness depending on whether you use a gluten free graham cracker crust or a gingersnap crust.
For this recipe, I used canned organic pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is usually the best for pumpkin desserts like this because it is so smooth. If you prefer to make your own pumpkin puree, it must be blended super smooth!
How To Roast A Pumpkin For Baking:
- Preheat your oven to 375º F.
- Take a small sugar pumpkin and cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds. (I like the smaller sugar pumpkins for roasting because their flesh softens and is not as stringy as a large carving pumpkin.)
- Brush olive oil onto the inside of each pumpkin half. Place the pumpkin halves in a baking pan facing upwards.
- Place the baking pan in the oven and roast for 40-45 minutes until the pumpkin halves are soft.
- Remove the pumpkin and allow the pumpkin to cool.
- Use a spoon to scrape the roasted pumpkin out and put it into a Vitamix or blender. Add a little water (quantity depends on how thick you want the pumpkin puree to be) so that it purees smoothly. (You can also use a mixer if you prefer, but the blender will make the pumpkin puree smoother.)
Tips For Sucess:
- Do not put the hot cheesecake into the refrigerator to cool. It is important to cool it to room temperature first, as described in the recipe directions.
- I do not recommend using fat-free or low-fat cream cheese or sour cream. It will impact the texture of the cheesecake.
- Gluten Free Gingersnaps or Graham Crackers - If you like a less sweet crust, combine both! Note, I love Mi-Del brand gluten free gingersnaps, but really check the package because they also make non-gluten-free, and the packages are similar!
- Light Brown Sugar - This recipe is very specific; for some reason, we have only used my husband's friend's suggestion. You could use dark brown sugar...we just haven't tried it.
- Butter - Use unsalted butter.
- Eggs - Use size large.
- Pumpkin Puree - Use canned pumpkin (preferred) or follow my directions above if you use freshly roasted pumpkin. Do not use pumpkin pie filling.
- Heavy Cream - Do not substitute half and half.
- Pure Vanilla Extract - I do not recommend imitation vanilla.
- Bourbon - There is just a tiny bit in this cheesecake recipe. If you prefer no alcohol, you can leave it out.
- Sugar - Use granulated sugar. Don't substitute with coconut sugar, or it won't come out the same.
- Cornstarch - You can also use arrowroot starch if you are avoiding corn.
- Ground Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Salt - Always triple-check to ensure the spices are gluten free!
- Cream Cheese - I recommend using full-fat cream cheese because it is best for this cheesecake.
- Sour Cream - Use full-fat sour cream so your topping is creamy.
Gluten Free Cheesecake Crust Options:
If you don't like gluten free gingersnaps, there are lots of other great cookies you can use instead of gingersnaps:
- Crushed gluten free Oreo Cookies. Several companies make these, including Trader Joe's, Glutino, and Goodie Girl.
- Gluten free vanilla wafers.
- Gluten free graham crackers.
- Gluten free oreo style cookies. The chocolate cookies and cream would taste great with pumpkin.
If you are making a tiered cake or a cheesecake, these springform pans are good to use. They make it really easy to get the cake out. It also comes with precut parchment paper liners.
How To Make Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake:
Step 1: The first step is to let the cream cheese warm to room temperature. It will make blending it so much easier.
Step 2: Add the gluten free gingersnaps and/or graham crackers to a food processor. Grind them to a fine texture.
Hands down this non-stick spray is amazing. It is totally inexpensive and it will save your gluten free cakes and muffins from sticking!
Step 3: Invert the bottom of a 9-inch springform and then lock on the side ring. Spray gluten free baking spray or oil on the springform pan to prevent sticking.
Step 4: Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press the crumb mixture down evenly onto the bottom of the pan and ½ inches up the side of the pan. Chill the crust for 1 hour.
After the crust is finished chilling, set your oven rack to the middle position in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F degrees.
Step 5: Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined. In another bowl, stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
Step 6: Add the room temperature cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
🔑 Sandi says: I use my Vitamix to blend all of the liquid ingredients. It makes your cheesecake filling and layers super smooth! It is also a nice time saver!
Step 7: Pour filling into the crust. Smooth the top with a large spoon, then put the springform pan in a shallow baking pan. This is to prevent leaks from going to the bottom of the oven.
Step 8: Bake the gluten free cheesecake until the center of the cheesecake is just set, about 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer the cheesecake to a rack and cool for 5 minutes. Do not remove it from the springform pan.
Step 9: Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a large
Step 10: Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Cool the cheesecake completely in the springform pan on a cooling rack for about 3 hours.
Step 11: Cover with plastic wrap and move the cheesecake to the refrigerator. Chill it until the cheesecake is cold, at least 4 hours.
Step 12: Remove the side of the springform pan and bring the cheesecake to room temperature before serving. Add pecan halves as a garnish.
I personally have not used dairy-free cream cheese in this recipe, but that doesn't mean it can't be attempted. I would recommend a firm dairy-free brand like Tofutti or Kite Hill. If you try it, please post a comment and let me know how it turned out! (*Note: You would also want to use a dairy-free sour cream for the top layer.)
Yes, it is easy to make this recipe nut-free by garnishing it with something besides pecans.
This cheesecake will keep fresh for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Store in an airtight container.
You can freeze this cheesecake whole or in slices. I recommend slicing the cheesecake and flash-freezing the slices. Once the slices are frozen, you can put them in a freezer bag.
"Made this for Thanksgiving and my family loved it! Definitely need to make it the day before. The steps take time but it’s worth the effort. Halved the sugar in the pumpkin layer and it was great, not too sweet."Victoria T.
More Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes:
If you love pumpkin, you will want to try this thick and creamy gluten free pumpkin mousse recipe too!
- Gluten Free Pumpkin 7 Layer Bars
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Bundt Cake
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Madeleine Cookies
- The Best Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes
Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
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For The Crust:
- ¾ cup gluten free gingersnaps or Graham crackers (*see note)
- ½ cup pecans
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups pumpkin puree (*see note)
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup light brown sugar (*see note)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream (*see note)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon bourbon optional
- ⅓ cup cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (*see note)
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 24 ounces cream cheese (*see note)
Creamy Sour Cream Layer
- 2 cups sour cream
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
For the Crust:
- Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.
- In a food processor, grind the gluten free gingersnaps or graham crackers.
- Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and ½ inch up side of the pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.
- Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350° F
For the Cheesecake:
- Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined. (You can also mix in a Vitamix.)
- Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a large bowl.
- Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
- Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks).
- Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
For the Sour Cream Layer:
- Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 minutes.
- Cool cheesecake completely in pan on the rack, about 3 hours. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of the pan and bring to room temperature before serving.
- Garnish with pecans around the edge of the cheesecake.
- You can use gluten free gingersnaps or graham crackers to make this crust. We tend to use a combination of both, so the crust is a little less sweet. Other options are gluten free Oreo-style cookies, or combine ½ cookies and ½ almond meal if you would like to add a little protein.
- I prefer to use canned pumpkin. If you want to roast your pumpkin, I include directions in the post. Do not use pumpkin pie filling.
- The recipe calls for light brown sugar, but you can also use dark brown sugar. I don't recommend substituting coconut sugar because it has a different melting point.
- If you cannot eat corn, you can substitute arrowroot starch for the corn starch.
- I recommend using full-fat cream cheese and sour cream to keep the delicious level of creaminess.
- Store this cheesecake in the refrigerator. It will keep fresh for up to 4 days. You can also freeze this cheesecake. I recommend slicing the cheesecake and flash freezing the slices. Once they are frozen you can put them in a freezer bag.
Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn't test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.
Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.
This post was updated from an old November 2019 post with more recipe details.
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