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
    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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