These creamy pumpkin swirl cheesecake bars with a cinnamon shortbread crust are delicious and easy to make! They are a perfect fall dessert.
Today I share my pumpkin cheesecake bars that look beautiful with a swirl besides being delicious. Steps are easy; this recipe comes together easily.
Below you’ll find my tips on how to make a cheesecake without cracks which you can use in any cheesecake recipe.
First, let’s start with the ingredients.
Ingredients you’ll need
You can find the exact quantities at the bottom of my post, in the recipe card.
- Pumpkin Puree-It should be pure pumpkin puree not the pumpkin pie filling.
- Cream cheese-I use full-fat block cream cheese. It should be room temperature.
- Sugar-I use granulated sugar both in the dough and cheesecake filling.
- Cornstarch-I use a little cornstarch to prevent cheesecake cracking.
- Vanilla extract-I use pure vanilla extract.
- Yogurt-I use full fat yogurt to add a little tangy flavor and to make a creamy cheesecake. Yogurt may leave some liquid as it stays at room temperature. I discard that liquid before using it.
- Egg-I use large eggs in the filling.
- Spices-I use cinnamon in the crust and cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in pumpkin cheesecake part.
- Flour-I use flour to make the crust.
- Butter-I use unsalted butter while making the dough.
Step by step instructions
I place the yogurt in a small cup and set aside.
First I make the shortbread crust.
I mix the flour, cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl until combined.
Then I add the melted butter on top and stir with a spoon.
I spread the mixture into an 8-inch (20cm) square oven-proof dish that is lined with parchment paper and bake for almost 15 minutes until it slightly changes color.
While the crust is baking and cooling, I make the cheesecake filling.
I usually use a whisk but as I already have 2 cheesecake posts with this method, I decide to show you how to make it with a mixer. You can use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment if you like. The important point is not to overwhisk the mixture to avoid cracks while baking.
I place the cream cheese and sugar in a medium-large bowl and stir at medium speed until creamy. Once creamy, I stop to avoid overwhisking.
Then I add the cornstarch and stir. Next I mix in the yogurt (I discard any excess liquid) and vanilla extract. (If there is too much liquid in the yogurt, I remove the liquid, measure the yogurt again and add some yogurt as needed. If there isn’t much liquid, I simply remove the liquid and use the yogurt.)
Once combined I add the eggs one at a time. To avoid over whisking, when I add the eggs, first I press on them with the whisk/handheld mixer to let them break and then continue to whisk.
I place almost 1 and ¼ cups (300 grams) of the cheesecake mixture into another bowl. Next, I add the pumpkin puree and spices on top(first I mix all the spices in a cup before adding to the batter so I can evenly distribute them into the mixture) and stir with a spatula. This step is important. I take my time and make sure that it is completely combined.
Finally, I pour some of the plain mixture with intervals and then place the pumpkin mixture to the empty spaces. So this is similar method I use in my marble cake loaf. Then I add the second layer by placing the opposite mixtures on top. I keep some batter in the bowls as I may need to add on top as the last touch.
I make swirls with a knife. First I make a letter “Z” starting from the left upper side to the right upper side. Then I go from bottom left to top and top to down, like making a continuous “M”. And then I go from one side to the other side. You don’t have to do this step like I do as there is no right or wrong way of doing swirls. In the end, if there is too much plain batter, I add pumpkin batter on top. If there is too much pumpkin batter I add plain batter on top.
You can pour one batter first over the crust and then add the other batter on top and make swirls but the method I use makes a marble effect in the cheesecake.
I bake it for almost 25 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake is jiggly. You should check the oven after 20 minutes to avoid overbaking. After 25 minutes if the middle is too liquid, it means you should bake longer.
When the cheesecake is baked, I keep the cheesecake in the turned-off oven for 25 minutes, and open the door a little to avoid a sudden temperature change.
Sudden temperature changes can create cracks. But you should keep in mind that if you overbaked the cheesecake and the middle is not jiggly, then if you keep it in the turned-off oven, it will continue to bake a little which can create cracks too.
So it is important to turn off the oven when the middle is jiggly.
First I let the cheesecake cool at room temperature and then keep it in the fridge for at least 6 hours to set before slicing.
I cut it into 16 slices.
You can keep totally cooled cheesecake bars in the fridge for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
I love hearing from you! If you try this recipe or my other recipes please leave a comment and give a star rating!
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars
- 170 grams (1 and ¼ cups) all purpose flour, dip and sweep
- 105 grams (½ cup) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 115 grams (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 453 grams (16 oz) cream cheese, block style, room temperature
- 105 grams (½ cup) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 80 grams (⅓ cup) full fat yogurt*, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 110 grams (½ cup) pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat the oven to 350°F(177°C). Grease 8 inch (20cm) square oven-proof dish and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper, about 2 inches(5 cm) of overhang on each side.
- Place the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl and stir.
- Add the melted butter and stir with a spoon until combined.
- Spread the mixture into the oven-proof dish. You can use your hand or the back of a spoon to spread it evenly. You can lightly flour the spoon to avoid it sticking to the flour-butter mixture.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes or until it slightly changes color. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 325°F(165°C).
- Start to prepare the filling while the crust is in the oven. You can use a whisk or a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat cream cheese and sugar in a medium-large mixing bowl until it looks creamy. If you are using a whisk, you should be aware that the mixture stays in the middle of the whisk first but as you continue to whisk, the mixture starts to become creamy. You should gently tap the whisk to the side of the bowl so the cream cheese mixture drops into the bowl. If you are using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer beat at medium speed until it is creamy. Use medium speed on other steps too. Don't overbeat.
- Add the cornstarch and stir until just combined.
- Add the vanilla and yogurt, beat until just combined.
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat until just combined.
- Place 1 and ¼ cups (300 grams) of the cheesecake filling into another bowl. Add the pumpkin puree on top. Mix the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger before adding them to the mixture so they can evenly combine. Stir the mixture with a spatula.
- Pour some of the plain mixture with intervals and then place the pumpkin mixture into the empty spaces. Add the second layer by placing the opposite mixtures on top. Keep some batter in the bowls as you may need to add on top while making the swirls.
- Make swirls with a knife. This is how I make it in this recipe: I make a letter “Z” starting from the left upper side to the right upper side. Then I go from bottom left to top and top to down, like making continues “M”. And then I go from one side to other side. You don’t have to do this step like I do as there is no right or wrong way of doing swirls.
- Bake for almost 25 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake is slightly jiggly. Check the oven after 20 minutes to avoid overbaking. After 25 minutes if the middle is too liquid, it means you should bake longer.
- When the cheesecake is baked, keep it in the turned-off oven for 25 minutes and open the door a little to avoid a sudden temperature change. Keep in mind that if you already overbaked the cheesecake and the middle is not jiggly, then if you keep it in the turned-off oven, it will continue to bake a little which can create cracks too. So it is important to turn off the oven when the middle is slightly jiggly.
- Let the cheesecake cool at room temperature completely and then keep it in the fridge for at least 6 hours to set before slicing.