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The best tools for making pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin cheesecake is a lightly spiced, creamy dessert that riffs on familiar flavors, welcoming fall with its tangy-sweet punch of cinnamon, bright lemon and sweet cream cheese. The technique for making pumpkin cheesecake is the same as the traditional, and making it at home is easy. You’ll need a great recipe and a few tools to get the job done. 

Steps for making the perfect pumpkin cheesecake

Prepare the pan

Cheesecakes of all kinds are cooked and chilled in a springform pan. This pan consists of a round base enclosed by sides that spring open when a latch on the side is flipped. 

Some bakers grease the pan’s sides and bottom, then line it with parchment paper, while others rely on butter or cooking spray alone. Whichever you choose, it’s important to be meticulous so your cheesecake releases easily.

If you are baking your cheesecake in a water bath, you’ll also need to seal the bottom of the springform pan with two layers of aluminum foil. This is added protection against water leaking into the pan as you bake it.

Make the crust

The crust is one of the most important parts of the cheesecake. It can be pressed into a disk on the bottom of the pan or up the sides to fully encase the creamy filling. 

Crusts are usually a mixture of graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, a little sugar and even some salt. These are easy to adjust to accommodate gluten-free and vegan diets by subbing gluten-free graham crackers and plant-based butter.

Mix the filling

Making sure all ingredients are fully blended is critical in baking a perfectly creamy cheesecake.

Recipes vary, but most have a few ingredients in common, including:

  • Cream cheese
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice or zest
  • Vanilla extract

Depending on the variety, you may also add eggs, sour cream or heavy cream. All ingredients should be at room temperature for easy mixing, and they should be beaten well before they are poured into the waiting pan.

Bake the cheesecake

To prevent cracks, cheesecake is baked in a water bath (also called a bain-marie) in a low oven.  Add hot water to a large pan that is bigger than the diameter of your springform pan. You can also place the springform pan first, then carefully pour water around it. 

Follow the baking directions for the recipe you select. Your cheesecake is done when it  has a slight wobble in the middle.

If you go the non-traditional route and make your cheesecake in an Instant Pot, you’ll need a special insert to ensure the perfect bake.


Cooling your cheesecake completely is critical. This sets the filling and gives it the famous texture.

Different types of cheesecake

When people think of cheesecake, not everyone envisions the exact same kind of cheesecake. And with good reason — there is more than one style. Some have to do with differences in the ingredients, while others are unique in their preparations.

  • New York-style: This cheesecake is dense and creamy. It uses extra cream cheese and is mixed with a generous amount of cream. New York cheesecake also uses additional eggs to bump up the richness.
  • Traditional: Regular cheesecake is creamy like its big-ity counterpart, but it uses sour cream to provide an extra tang and lighten up the filling. The texture is silky, creamy, and less dense.
  • No-bake: No-bake cheesecake is lightened by a variety of ingredients that can include ricotta and yogurt. The crust is pressed into the pan, the batter is poured and the cheesecake is placed in the fridge to set.
  • Basque: This cheesecake has an entirely different texture and finish. The center is smooth and rich, but the outside is baked until the sugars in the filling caramelize to create a “burnt†look and a slight bitterness that cuts the richness of the filling.

Fresh vs. canned pumpkin

No matter the style, pumpkin is the shining star of this rich and creamy dessert. But is fresh or canned pumpkin better?

  • Fresh: Fresh pumpkin requires more work but has a rustic flavor that works well in savory desserts. The flavor can be inconsistent, though.
  • Canned: Canned pumpkin is easy to use in desserts, and the choice of professional chefs for its smooth, consistent flavor. Make sure to select one with no additional ingredients.

Everything you need to make pumpkin cheesecake

Best Morgenhaan Lifetime Measuring Cups And Spoons Set

Morgenhaan Lifetime Measuring Cups and Spoons Set

This 13-piece set features measuring cups and spoons. Measurements are stamped onto the handles and cups for easy reading. The spoons are narrow enough to fit into spice jars, and the cups have smaller markings when you need less.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Wilton Excelle Elite Non-Stick Springform Pan

Wilton Excelle Elite Nonstick Springform Pan

The 10-inch pan has a textured bottom that makes for easy release. The latch is smooth, closing securely and opening easily. It is nonstick, and it comes with a 10-year warranty.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer

KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer

For perfectly smooth cheesecake batter, this has 10 speeds that range from a slow stir to a vigorous whip. It includes a flat beater, dough hook, pouring shield and wire whip. It comes in 13 colors. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Hamilton Beach Electric Hand Mixer

Hamilton Beach  Electric Hand Mixer

If a stand mixer isn’t in your budget, this six-speed hand mixer is a good option. The stainless steel beaters are stored underneath the mixer, and the mixer has enough power to process large batches of cheesecake filling.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Farberware Bakeware Nonstick Steel Roasting Pan

Farberware Bakeware Nonstick Steel Roasting Pan

It’s a heavy-duty steel pan that fits a 10-inch springform pan for use as a bain-marie. It comes with a  removable chrome-plated rack and is safe in the oven to 450 degrees. The handles are riveted for security.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Best Happy Belly Organic 100% Pumpkin

Happy Belly Organic 100% Pumpkin

This case of pumpkin is certified organic. It has no added sugar and is kosher. The pumpkin is grown and packed in the U.S., and it comes with a one-year guarantee.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Violife Just Like Cream Cheese

Violife Just Like Cream Cheese

This vegan cream cheese is free from gluten, soy and nuts. It has no preservatives and is free from genetically modified organisms.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Pamela's Products Honey Graham Crackers

Pamela’s Products Honey Graham Crackers

Pamela’s offers certified gluten-free graham crackers that can easily swap in for regular graham crackers for those avoiding gluten. They are also dairy-free and kosher. This pack of two is enough to make one large cheesecake.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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