Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Cheesecake

Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe ~ this mile high, super creamy cheesecake is a spectacular way to end a holiday meal!

Paula Deen’s epic pumpkin cheesecake is legendary in the South!

What better recipe to make in honor of the diva of all things buttery, gooey and cheesy than cheesecake? Paula Deen the personality inspires strong feelings; you’re either charmed by her southern twang and her butter-lovin’ shtick or can’t stand it. I’m ok with it. I find her genuine and easy to watch. Her life story is inspiring. She dealt with the death of both parents and an early divorce while she was still quite young. She suffered panic attacks that kept her housebound, and found solace in cooking for her family. After a second divorce she was forced to find a way to bring in income and she started a catering company called The Bag Lady. She cooked meals in her home and her sons delivered them. She eventually opened a restaurant, The Lady and Sons, which is now a Savannah Georgia institution. This led to cookbooks and successful  tv shows, all based on her down home personality and classic approach to southern cooking.

That said, her heavy Southern cooking style is not mine, and I’ve never been tempted to try her recipes. This will be my first. Although I’ve made cheesecakes in the past, I’ve always kind of  thought of them as involved projects. They aren’t part of my usual repertoire. But this experience has changed my mind. If you have the pan and you think to pick up the cream cheese and sour cream, cheesecake is easier than most desserts.

But I’ll tell you the real reason I chose to make Paula’s Pumpkin Cheesecake…

Not because I love pumpkin, not because it’s perfect for the holidays, and not even because I can pop the whole thing in the freezer and pull it out when I need it. No, here’s the real reason I chose to make cheesecake this week…

my new KitchenAid mixer! Aint she a beaut? I don’t want to brag, but while she was whirling away at the cream cheese I was pouring myself a cup of coffee. While she incorporated the eggs, I checked my email. And as she folded in the pumpkin and sour cream I spread some cherry jam on my toast.

Of course I did have to mix up the graham cracker crumbs, pour the batter into the pan, and pop it into the oven. Sheeesh, cheesecake is a lot of work,

I garnished the top of the cake with sugared cranberries. Mine are just decorative, and I’ll show you how to make them in tomorrow’s post.

Apart from the cosmetic issue, this cheesecake was delicious and creamy. I’m glad I made it and realized that cheesecake isn’t all that complicated. I recommend this for your holiday table.

3.65 from 31 votes

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe ~ this mile high, super creamy cheesecake is a spectacular way to end a holiday meal!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Yield 12 servings
Author Sue Moran



  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted salted butter


  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 15-ounce can pureed pumpkin
  • 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Set oven to 350F
  • To make the crust, in medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside.
  • For the filling, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
  • Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Cook's notes

  • The recipe is unclear about where to spread the crumbs.  In the video, here, Paula just dumps the crumbs in the bottom of the pan and presses them in.  But when she is cutting the finished cake, there are crumbs up the side. (I hate when they tell you to do one thing, and then show you a finished product that is clearly done a different way)  If you want crumbs up the sides as well, you will need more crumbs. I used almost double the recipe, but as you can see my crust was a little heavy.
  • This cake, like many cheesecakes, cracks after it's baked.  Mine developed a cavernous crack.  Paula's recipe never mentions the possibility of cracking, even though many of the online reviewers reported the problem.  I think that's a major flaw since most people would be most likely making this cheesecake as an occasion dessert.  You'd want to know if it was  going to have a huge unsightly gash in the middle of it.  So, my point is, if you want to make this cheesecake, be prepared to glaze the top with something to hide the crack.  I used sweetened sour cream, ( 1 cup sour cream whisked with 1/4 cup powdered sugar) but I also think a chocolate ganache would be delicious.
  • To prevent the cracking, try baking your cheesecake in a water bath.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Don’t forget to pin this gorgeous Pumpkin Cheesecake!

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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Tracie O’Leary
    January 6, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    5 stars
    I have made this several times and I get rave reviews each and every time. Some of the reviews say that Paula never mentions the cheesecake might split or crack, well its obvious that cheesecake tends to crack so just put it in a water bath before you back it. Mine never cracks.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2019 at 9:22 am

    this was absolutely a hit for thanksgiving. I ended up cooking mine an extra 10 mins….I couldn’t decide it it was actually done due to the jiggle in the cheesecake. Ha. I’m an inexperienced baker! It was PERFECT and rich. Will 100% make this again. I didn’t really care that it cracked, and did not top it with anything.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    I made this last year and it cracked. This year I put it in a water bath and no cracks! It still is delicious either way!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2019 at 11:58 am

    I agree with the woman above ! The picture is misleading ! If you follow this recipe you Will Not have enough crust for the sides of a 9 in springform pan ! I think I will use a Hot Water Bathe next time as mine cracked

  • Reply
    Lisa Walker
    November 27, 2019 at 11:40 am

    5 stars
    I’ve made this cheesecake for Thanksgiving for over 10 years and use a pecan praline topping to hide the cracks. My family love it!

  • Reply
    Jacqui al-Guweiri
    November 23, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    I’ve made this cheesecake 5 times and avoided cracking by baking it in a water bath at 350 for 1 1/2 hrs, Turned out beautiful and creamy every time.

  • Reply
    Joan fellows
    October 31, 2019 at 11:10 am

    I followed this recipe exactly and per directions at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and it not only shrunk at the sides it had deep cracks on the top! I haven’t served it yet! Could the temperature be a miss print?

    • Reply
      October 31, 2019 at 11:44 am

      No, the temperature is correct Joan, could your oven be running hot? The cake does crack, as I mentioned in the post, and that’s why I used the sour cream topping for this one.

      • Reply
        November 3, 2019 at 8:10 am

        The trick to helping it not crack is to wrap your cake pan with aluminum foil (the bottom & up the outer sides) & place it in a roasting pan with water. The moisture helps it not crack 🙂

  • Reply
    November 4, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Do you cover with plastic wrap after cooled and freeze?

    • Reply
      November 4, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      I generally double wrap with plastic and then foil after it’s cooled Karen.

  • Reply
    joyce kruger
    November 11, 2015 at 10:15 am

    when you freeze the paula pumpkin cheesecake do you freze with the sour cream topping or put on after you deforst it

    • Reply
      November 11, 2015 at 11:24 am

      I would think it would be better to put it on after it’s frozen and thawed, Joyce.

  • Reply
    September 23, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    I think I’ll try making this in my new pressure cooker. QVC always shows them doing a cheesecake in one, so it will be a fun (and delicious) test! Love Paula Deen too – thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      September 23, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      I don’t have a pressure cooker, but it’s on my list — let me know how it turns out!!

  • Reply
    Amy L
    September 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    I just love your blog! You always post recipes that I really want to make. Thank you for all you do 🙂

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      Thanks Amy!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Oh my goodness, that looks lucious! A perfect treat for fall!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    paula definitely has a cooking style all her own, i’ll give her that! no one else can get away with such blatant butter abuse. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Gorgeous! I love pumpkin cheesecake (actually I love all cheesecake!)

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 1:30 am

    Beautiful cheesecake…and your garnish is just perfect!!! I’d love a few slices to magically appear in my fridge 🙂

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I love watching Paula’s shows…the sheer volume of baking is incredible!! this pumpkin cheesecake looks perfect…and sooooooo perfect for thanksgiving!! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I can’t recall the last time I made cheesecake, but yours reminds me that it’s been too long. It’s a beauty Sue, you did absolutely great. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    This is the prettiest cheesecake…your photos are gorgeous! I can’t believe you didn’t have a KichenAide mixer?! I held out too for the longest time and now I can’t believe I didn’t have one for the exact reasons you mentioned! That last shot is so festive!

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    November 19, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Don’t think we can buy pureed pumpkin in a can over here but it looks sesational, and don’t you just love that kitchenaid they are great!

  • Reply
    veronica from My Catholic Kitchen
    November 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

    My cheesecakes always crack. Sometimes it just does. That is why god invented toppings. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Reply
    Taryn (Have Kitchen, Will Feed)
    November 19, 2011 at 2:35 am

    This is so gorgeous – you did a wonderful job.

  • Reply
    Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen
    November 18, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I’ve got to look up Paula Deen… Who doesn’t love a good butter diva, eh?! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 1:07 am

    I make a pumpkin cheesecake every Thanksgiving! It has become a tradition in our family, but I think I’ll try Paula’s recipe this year…love the addition of the sour cream. Your cake looks fabulous!

  • Reply
    Jen @ Savory Simple
    November 18, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    This is such a beautiful cake! I really love the decorations on top.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    What a fabulous post. It’s hard to say if I like your words or pictures best 🙂 The cheesecake looks delicious and I agree with your assessment of the ease with which they can be made. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Though I don’t like to make Paula’s recipes too often (calories!), this looks like a winner!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Oh, my! That cake looks like perfection! (and probably tastes like it too!) Another must-make recipe. Thank you!

    Congrats on your new KitchenAid mixer. It’s on my list of things to get when I move. Just have to decide on the right colour.

  • Reply
    Yummy Mummy
    November 18, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Stunning! Love your photos, Sue!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    That is so beautiful,your husband must love coming home at night.
    Oh I want to learn about southern cooking so I should look her up, we love heavy cooking.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    This looks delicious. I love cheesecake, but I rarely make them. (A water bath does help prevent the cracks.) I typically drizzle or glaze mine though, so I don’t usually bother with that.

    I’m not a huge Paula fan with the southern cooking, but I am always impressed with her recipes when others make them!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ saving room for dessert
    November 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I don’t know how many times I can tell you this – but your photos are incredible! Please teach me! This recipe looks wonderful. I made a pumpkin cheesecake last year and had accidentally turned the oven off. When I went to check if it was done, I discovered my mistake. I went ahead and cooked it and it turned out tasty – but the crust was a bit soggy 🙂

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    This is definitely all Paula! And as for the disparity between how Paula made this on the show and the end product, I’m sure the kitchen staff at Food Network were just trying to make it look pretty! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    Linda A. Thompson
    November 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    This looks wonderful, and I love the sugared cranberries! One way to avoid the cracks is to bake the cheesecake in a waterbath. Just wrap your pan in foil to keep the water out, and then place in a baking dish. Fill half way with hot water and bake. A lot of cheesecake recipes include this step. However, I like the look of the whipped cream on top, so I would use it anyway!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I think I saw her make this recently….and no, they didn’t show cracks (which ALL cheesecakes have) or crust up the sides. Annoying, but we ought to be used to it, I guess.
    It really does look delicious, Sue. Your photos and presentation are perfect!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I think you turned an unsightly crack into a rather beautiful cheesecake! Love those sugared cranberries – decoration or edible, can’t wait to see how you did them. Congrats on the new stand mixer too, sounds like a great morning! I recently got one a couple months ago, don’t you love it?!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    This looks gorgeous and as Heather says very tempting!Tiyr photos make me want to grab my fork!

  • Reply
    Heather @
    November 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I just love how big and fat this is! It’s so tempting. I haven’t made a cheesecake in years, but I used to make them often because my hubby loves them. Maybe I should add this one as a surprise to our holiday table. I know I’d love a thick slice!!

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