Unlike most recipes that stuff cream cheese into a pumpkin cookie, my Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies star a soft and chewy graham cracker cookie base topped with the creamiest pumpkin cheesecake. It’s like eating a slice of pumpkin cheesecake… without a fork!
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Pumpkin, meet cheesecake. Cheesecake, meet cookies. Now that everyone is acquainted it’s time to join forces for the most festive dessert of the fall season: Pumpkin cheesecake cookies.
The setup on this one is simple: A Graham cracker cookie is topped with tangy pumpkin cheesecake filling, which is then baked, cooled and topped (again) with homemade whipped cream and a pinch of pumpkin pie spice. And the result is a fork-free version of classic pumpkin pie, sans all the time and elbow grease it takes to make pie crust.
What’s to Love
- Buttery graham cracker base, just like classic (no-bake) cheesecake.
- Soft and chewy texture.
- Creamy, pumpkin-spice cheesecake filling.
- They’ll be on your dessert table in 30 minutes or less!
FOR THE COOKIES
- Graham crackers: The foundation for the cookie base. One sleeve of graham crackers is equal to 9 crackers, which will yield 1 ¼ cups of crumbs.
- All-purpose flour: It works in harmony with the graham crackers to create a cohesive and delicious cookie base.
- Baking powder: A leavening agent that helps the cookies rise and become soft and cake-like in texture.
- Unsalted butter: Softened butter makes the dough pliable and easy to work with, resulting in a tender and buttery cookie. You’ll know your butter is softened when it’s easily pressed but still holds its shape.
- Light brown sugar: Adds sweetness and moisture to the cookie dough.
- Egg: A binding agent that helps hold the dough together.
FOR THE CHEESECAKE FILLING
- Cream cheese: Forms the luscious and creamy filling, providing a tangy and rich flavor.
- Egg yolk: Adds richness and enhances the creaminess of the filling, making it silky smooth.
- Canned pumpkin purée: Infuses the filling with the quintessential fall flavor. Use pure pumpkin purée instead of pumpkin pie filling. This ensures an authentic and customizable pumpkin taste without added sugars and spices.
- Sugar: Sweetens the filling, balancing the tanginess of the cream cheese and complementing the pumpkin.
- Vanilla extract: Enhances the overall flavor. Homemade vanilla extract works great!
- Pumpkin pie spice: This spice blend elevates the entire recipe, infusing the cookies with the essence of a classic pumpkin pie. You can make your own homemade pumpkin pie spice by combining 3 tablespoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ginger, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 1.5 teaspoons allspice and 1.5 teaspoons cloves. Store in an airtight container.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet.
- Crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs. This can be achieved by using a food processor or placing the crackers in a sealed bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. They should be the consistency of flour. Transfer the crushed graham crackers to a large bowl then stir in the flour and baking powder.
- Cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
- Add the egg, then mix in the graham cracker mixture.
- Scoop and indent. Using a small cookie scoop or two spoons, scoop about 2-tablespoon mounds of the dough onto the cookie sheet. Press your thumb (or use the back of a spoon) into the top of each mound to form a small indentation.
- Make the cheesecake filling. Add all of the filling ingredients to a bowl and beat until well combined.
- Pipe the filling into the center of each cookie. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag or sealable plastic bag then pipe about 1 ½ teaspoons of the mixture into the center of each cookie.
- Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until the cheesecake is set.
- Room Temp Ingredients: Make sure your cream cheese and butter are at room temperature for smoother blending and better incorporation into the dough.
- Graham Cracker Consistency: Crush graham crackers to a flour-like consistency for an even and cohesive cookie base.
- Properly Creaming Butter and Sugar: Creaming butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes) is important because it incorporates air into the mixture, which means your cookies will be soft and tender.
- Cooling: Allow the cookies to cool on your baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cooling on the baking sheet helps maintain the cookie’s shape and structure before transferring it to a rack.
If you love this recipe, don’t miss my Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies recipe! It stars the same soft and chewy graham cracker cookie base but instead of pumpkin cheesecake, this version is filled with tangy classic cheesecake and topped off with fresh fruit.
Because this recipe contains cream cheese, I recommend storing the cookies in an airtight container in the fridge; they’ll keep for up to 5 days. Just be sure to let them come to room temp for a few minutes before serving to enhance their flavor and texture.
Common Recipe Questions
You can mix the dough by hand and use a handheld mixer to mix the cheesecake filling.
Absolutely! This graham cracker cookie dough is quite forgiving. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
You can spoon the filling, but a piping bag (or a sealable plastic bag) provides a neater and more controlled application.
Yes, however fresh pumpkin purée often contains more moisture than the canned version so it’s very important to drain it really well, otherwise the cheesecake mixture will be too runny and won’t set.
Ready to keep the pumpkin party rollin’? Don’t miss more of my favorite pumpkin recipes!
- Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispies Treats
- Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Muffins
- Pumpkin Banana Bread
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip with Pie Fries
- Pumpkin Spice Pretzel Bites
For the cookies:
- 1 sleeve graham crackers (See Kelly’s Note)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
For the cheesecake filling:
- 5 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Homemade or store-bought whipped cream, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- In the bowl of a food processor, blend the graham crackers until they are finely crushed and are the consistency of flour. Transfer the crushed graham crackers to a large bowl then stir in the flour and baking powder.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat until well combined then add the graham cracker mixture and beat just until combined.
- Using a small ice cream scoop or two spoons, scoop about 2-tablespoon mounds of the dough onto the cookie sheet, spacing the mounds about 2 inches apart. Press your thumb (or use the back of a spoon) into the top of each mound to form a small indentation.
- Clean out the stand mixer bowl then add the cream cheese, egg yolk, pumpkin purée, sugar, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice and beat until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag or sealable plastic bag then pipe about 1 ½ teaspoons of the mixture into the center of each cookie. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until the cheesecake is set.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Top each cooled cookie with a dollop of whipped cream and serve immediately.
- One sleeve of graham crackers is equal to 9 crackers, which will yield 1.25 cups of crumbs.
- Crush graham crackers to a flour-like consistency for an even and cohesive cookie base.
- Creaming butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes) is important because it incorporates air into the mixture, which means your cookies will be soft and tender.
- Because this recipe contains cream cheese, I recommend storing the cookies in an airtight container in the fridge; they’ll keep for up to 5 days. Just be sure to let them come to room temp for a few minutes before serving to enhance their flavor and texture.
- ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
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Recipe adapted from Food Network.