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.

3.77 from 34 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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    Leave a Reply

    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
        Renee Green
        November 24, 2021 at 9:21 am

        You may have over beat putting air bubbles in it

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