Today we bring you a healthy pumpkin cheesecake recipe.
Yes! A healthy, yet rich, decadent, and tasty cheesecake.
We bet it’s going to make jaws drop at the Thanksgiving dinner table this year! It’s also an excellent dessert for National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day (October 21), National Graham Cracker Day (July 5) and National Cheesecake Day (July 30).
Is This Pumpkin Cheesecake Healthy?
Yes, it is! Cheesecake is not something that usually comes to mind when you think of healthy foods, so how is it healthy?
Pumpkin is the biggest contributor in making this recipe healthy.
This low-calorie seasonal squash is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals while also having medicinal properties. If you’re trying to sneak more fiber into your diet, we suggest adding more pumpkin into your desserts.
For this recipe, we take advantage of the sweet pumpkin flavor to cut down on as much sweetener as possible. This helps limit the amount of sugar intake as well.
That being said, there are still 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in this recipe. This makes up about 27 grams of added sugar in total.
This may seem like a lot. But it’s actually not.
According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines, your sugar daily added sugar intake should be less than 10% of calories from added sugar. This means less than 50 grams of added sugar per day.
And since we divide the cake into 8 slices, there’s less than 3.5 grams of added sugar per slice. This makes the cake relatively low in added sugar.
A slice of our pumpkin cheesecake contains less than 15 grams of carbohydrates. This is relatively low-carb for a dessert.
So how is our pumpkin cheesecake low-carb?
Simple. It’s because we cut down on sugar.
Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. And since most desserts are filled with sugar, they’re also full of carbs.
So the best way to make a low-carb dessert is to cut down on the sugar.
We also make our cheesecake thinner than the 2 or 3-inch deep cheesecakes that you find in bakeries.
We figure for such a rich and dense cake like this, it’s best to have a smaller slice. That way you can savor every bite of our healthy pumpkin cheesecake, guilt-free.
What Goes Well with Pumpkins
Pumpkin is such a versatile fruit. It pairs well with almost anything to make a fantastic sweet or savory dish.
However, we are making a dessert today. So let’s see what ingredients pair well with pumpkin to make the best sweet treat.
Cream cheese: of course, we cannot leave out one of the main ingredients for today’s recipe. The slightly tangy, rich, soft cheese just goes perfectly with the sweet pumpkin puree.
Lemon or lime: if you want to elevate your cheesecake recipe, add fresh lime or lemon juice and zest. The fresh citrus taste cuts through the rich cheese— balancing the flavor and intensifying the tanginess.
Pumpkin pie spices: a pumpkin spice blend often contains ginger, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It adds warmth and interest to the flavor.
Garam masala: this Indian spice blend usually consists of ground cumin, nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, star anise, cardamon, and clove. This warm spice blend is suitable for both sweet and savory dishes.
Cayenne pepper: this secret ingredient will give your pumpkin desserts more depth of flavor and warmth. Remember that only a tiny pinch is enough.
Chocolate: like pumpkin, chocolate goes well with almost anything, so naturally they go well together too!
Let’s see what makes our healthy pumpkin cheesecake recipe.
For the Crust
For today’s recipe, we’re going to make a simple crust. It only requires 3 ingredients:
Unsalted butter: don’t use salted butter as it can increase your sodium intake.
Vegetable shortening: this is a vegan-friendly ingredient. And it’s low in saturated fat too.
Graham crackers: or your favorite type of plain crackers.
For the Filling
Although we don’t use too many ingredients, they work well to create the flavor of a tasty cheesecake:
Dairy: we use cream cheese and plain Greek yogurt.
Brown sugar: you can also use white granulated sugar or other sweetening alternatives.
Pumpkin puree: you can either make your own pumpkin puree or use a canned product. Make sure it’s unsweetened puree.
Eggs: they make your cheesecake richer and help it set.
Vanilla extract: this gives the cheesecake that signature sweet dessert flavor.
Pumpkin pie spice: you can also use other spices to customize the cheesecake to your taste.
Salt: although it’s a dessert, you still need a tiny pinch of salt. It helps balance out the sweetness.
Although toppings may add a few extra calories, they sure can make your desserts more appealing. Here are a few options for you:
Whipped cream: we recommend using canned whipped cream as it’s more time-efficient than making your own. Try to look for sugar-free whipped cream if you can
Maple syrup: drizzle some maple syrup over a slice of cheesecake to make it sweeter and visually more appealing.
Chocolate: if you’re feeling creative, you can decorate your pumpkin desserts with melted dark chocolate.
Tips for Making
1. Prevent Cracking
A common problem with cheesecakes is they tend to crack. Why does this happen?
This is often because your cheesecake is too airy. When you overmix the batter, it has too many air bubbles, causing it to rise and crack on top.
Overbaking or baking at too high a temperature can also make the cheesecake crack.
So how do you prevent your cheesecake from cracking? We have a few ideas:
Use room-temperature, softened cream cheese: it’s easier to mix into the batter. That way you can avoid overmixing the batter too.
Don’t overmix the batter: pay attention when you’re mixing the batter. You want to mix until the ingredients are just blended together.
Make a water bath: fill a baking tray halfway with warm water. This will help the cheesecake cook evenly without rising too much.
Wrap the bottom of your springform pan: a layer of aluminum foil keeps the water from getting into the cake.
Use an oven thermometer: this will enable you to read the temperature correctly. This can help you avoid baking at too high a temperature.
Bake the cheesecake until barely set: the middle of the cheesecake should be slightly jiggly when you move it. If you cook it even longer, you may risk making it dry, causing it to crack.
2. How to Fix a Cracked Cheesecake
If you accidentally crack your cheesecake, there are a few ways to improve its appearance:
Try to patch it: dip an offset spatula into warm water and wipe it dry. Use the spatula to carefully scrape the surface of cheesecake and fill in the cracks.
Cover the cracks: hide it under a layer of toppings like whipped cream, meringue, or melted chocolate. It’ll add a few more calories, but makes your cheesecake more beautiful.
3. How to Slice a Cheesecake
Having a hard time cutting a beautiful, neat slice of cheesecake? Here’s a few tips to make it easier for you:
Dip the knife into warm water first and wipe it dry with a kitchen towel before cutting. The warmed knife will help cut smoothly into the cake.
Wipe the crumbs off the knife after every cut with a kitchen towel. This will help you get a clean cut of cake every time.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.
Delicious and festive dessert for fall. The creamy and rich cheesecake filling is perfectly complemented by the warm and spicy flavors of pumpkin and cinnamon.