Skip the oven and whip up big fall flavor with a quick and easy recipe for No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits starring crushed graham crackers, silky pumpkin cheesecake filling and DIY whipped cream. They may look impressive, but come together in just 40 minutes!
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Now that we’re closing in on one of the biggest food holidays of the year, it’s crunch time. Are you just starting on your Thanksgiving menu, or are you the type that’s had it set since last December? We have the usual savory favorites every year (hello, Crescent Roll Veggie Bars!) but tend to get a little more experimental when it comes to sweets. There are just too many good ones to try!
However, I will always appreciate a dessert that’s no-bake. Because with so many different dishes rotating in and out of the oven, why add a finicky pumpkin pie or cheesecake to the traffic jam? This is why I say: Sideline the pie dough and trade the forks for spoons. No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake is the answer to all of your holiday entertaining needs.
Not only do these parfaits feature three distinct layers of crunchy graham crackers, tangy pumpkin cheesecake and fluffy whipped cream, but they also:
- Can be made a day (or two!) in advance and assembled before serving
- Satisfy the holiday need for all things pumpkin
- Do double-duty as dessert and tabletop décor
If individual servings aren’t happening in your house, feel free to create one giant trifle-style dessert with a big ol’ serving spoon for scooping. There’s really no wrong way to eat pumpkin cheesecake, right?
For all those in need of additional ways to satisfy pumpkin dessert cravings, don’t miss my tried and tested recipes for Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting, Pumpkin Pie Dip with Pie Fries and Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s make-ahead.
- It’s made up of just 9 store-bought ingredients.
- It feeds a crowd (we’re talking 10 servings).
- People love individual desserts!
- Heavy whipping cream: This will help form the light, airy base of the no-bake pumpkin cheesecake. You want the cream to be cold, so it whips up quickly.
- Confectioners’ sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, sweetens and enhances the texture of both the whipped cream and the cream cheese filling.
- Vanilla extract: A good bit of vanilla extract is needed here—because pumpkin + vanilla = a no-brainer!
- Cream cheese: Forms the creamy, tangy base of the cheesecake, contributing to its dense and satisfying texture. You’ll want to use full-fat cream cheese here for the best flavor.
- Pumpkin pureé: Don’t use pumpkin pie filling. Instead, get 100% canned pumpkin.
- Instant vanilla pudding: The pudding helps to instantly thicken and set the no-bake pumpkin cheesecake.
- Whole milk: Whole milk will add the best flavor, but you could use 2% if needed (just not skim—it’s dessert after all!).
- Pumpkin pie spice: This bottled spice mixture is made up of ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. If you don’t have it, you could always mix up your own using these spices.
- Gingersnap cookies or graham crackers: Crushed cookies or crackers add the crust layer to this no-bake cheesecake. Instead of gingersnaps, you could try Amaretti cookies or Biscoff cookies.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Whip the heavy cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Transfer the cream mixture to a mixing bowl, then wipe the stand mixer’s bowl clean.
- Make the no-bake cheesecake. Swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment. Add the cream cheese, pumpkin, instant vanilla pudding, milk and pumpkin pie spice to the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix until combined. Then, fold half of the whipped cream in and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Layer the parfaits. In individual serving glasses or dishes, layer the crushed cookies or crackers and cheesecake filling. Then, divide the remaining whipped cream among the dishes and serve.
- For Crushed Cookies (or Crackers): To easily crush cookies or crackers, you can simply pulse them in a food processor. Alternatively, place them in a large zipper-lock bag and hit them with a rolling pin or meat pounder until evenly crushed.
- Stiff Peaks: When whipping the heavy whipping cream mixture, you’ll want it to achieve stiff peaks. This means that when you lift the whisk out of the mixture, the cream retains its stiff shape.
- Go Individual or Big: You can serve these parfaits in small, individual dishes or layer the no-bake pumpkin cheesecake in a trifle dish and have guests scoop out their portions.
You can make all of the components up to a day ahead. Just keep them in separate airtight containers and assemble the parfaits when you’re ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Oh man, what a tough question! Both are delicious. No-bake cheesecake doesn’t require you to turn on an oven, which can be ideal for busy holiday meals when the oven is taken over by the main course and side dishes.
An easy way to thicken no-bake cheesecake filling is to use instant vanilla pudding, which has gelatin in it and will help to set and thicken things instantly.
To my knowledge, you can’t buy it—but it’s incredibly simple to make. My no-bake pumpkin cheesecake calls for just heavy whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, cream cheese, pumpkin, whole milk, instant vanilla pudding and pumpkin pie spice.
- Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip
- Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
- Easy Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
- Strawberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, at room temp
- 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin pureé
- 1 (3-oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- Gingersnap cookies or graham crackers, crushed
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk it on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl then wipe out the mixing bowl.
- Attach the beater blade to the stand mixer.
- To the clean mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and beat until smooth then beat in the pumpkin puré, vanilla pudding, milk and pumpkin pie spice until combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Fold in half of the prepared whipped cream then refrigerate the mix for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to overnight.
- When ready to serve, layer the crushed gingersnap cookies and pumpkin cheesecake filling. Top with the remaining ½ of the prepared whipped cream and serve.
- To easily crush cookies or crackers, you can simply pulse them in a food processor. Alternatively, place them in a large zipper-lock bag and hit them with a rolling pin or meat pounder until evenly crushed.
- When whipping the heavy whipping cream mixture, you’ll want it to achieve stiff peaks. This means that when you lift the whisk out of the mixture, the cream retains its stiff shape.
- You can serve these parfaits in small, individual dishes or layer the no-bake pumpkin cheesecake in a trifle dish and have guests scoop out their portions.
- ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.