Made with real pumpkin and a generous dose of pumpkin pie spice, this Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake is a fun Instant Pot dessert the whole family will love. It’s creamy, dreamy, and super easy!
Easy Homemade Cheesecake in the Instant Pot!
Are you a cheesecake fan? Me too! Like, HUGE! I love classic cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake, cheesecake with strawberries, cherries, blueberries… and of course, this amazing pumpkin spice cheesecake with real pumpkin.
I almost always make cheesecake in the oven, but this recipe is a little different: you make it in the Instant Pot!
Yes, you read that right. The Instant Pot uses steam pressure to cook food. By using a trivet to keep your cheesecake pan out of the actual water in the pot, you can use that pressurized steam to make a creamy, smooth cheesecake!
It only takes half an hour of pressure cooking to “bake” this cheesecake, and from there, it’s all about chilling in the fridge until firm (and delicious!).
What You’ll Need
The ingredients for Instant Pot Cheesecake are very similar to regular cheesecake. This pumpkin version also includes pumpkin, of course, and some pumpkin pie spice. 😋 You’ll find the full recipe card with amounts and nutrition facts at the bottom of this post.
For the Crust
- Graham Crackers: Crush up some graham crackers in your food processor, or put them in a zip-top bag and use a rolling pin to smash them into fine crumbs. (Fun!)
- Melted Butter: Melted butter binds the crust mixture together and adds a ton of flavor.
- Brown Sugar: I add a little bit of brown sugar to my crust, but feel free to omit this if the crust is sweet enough for your taste without it.
For the Cheesecake Filling
- Cream Cheese: Soften the cream cheese to room temperature before making the filling for the best results!
- Pumpkin Puree: Make sure to use just pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling, which has a lot of additional ingredients and won’t work well in this recipe.
- Sour Cream: Just a bit of sour cream helps create a smooth cheesecake filling.
- Eggs: A couple of eggs plus an extra egg yolk add richness and bind the cheesecake mixture together.
- Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is finer and smoother than granulated sugar, which is good for this dessert.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: A key ingredient! Pumpkin pie spice is made of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Feel free to mix your own, or use pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice.
- Cornstarch: You can also use flour. Either way, this will help thicken and stabilize the filling.
- Vanilla: This is optional, because the filling will have plenty of sweetness and flavor from the pumpkin, spices, and other ingredients. But it does add a great depth!
- Garnishes: Optional whipped cream and/or caramel sauce are wonderful for garnishing your finished cheesecake.
How to Make Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheescake
To make this cheesecake, you’ll need to use your Instant Pot’s trivet. If you don’t have one, you can create a makeshift trivet by using several metal cookie cutters or scrunched-up pieces of foil to support the cheesecake pan.
- Make the Crust. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter. Stir it all together with a fork until it forms a crumbly “dough.” Remove the bottom of a small springform pan, line it with a piece of parchment, and re-attach it to the springform sides of the pan again. Press the crust into the pan, using a glass, measuring cup, and/or spoon to pat it down flat and even. Chill in the freezer while you make the filling.
- Make the Filling. In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and flour together for about 30 seconds. Then mix in the sugar, vanilla, and eggs, plus the extra yolk. Finally, add the pumpkin, pinch of salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
- “Bake” the Cheesecake. Pour the cheesecake batter over the prepared crust. Then pour about 1 cup of water into the bottom of your Instant Pot, and place the trivet on top. Carefully lower your cheesecake onto the trivet, lock the lid into place, and make sure the valve is set to “sealed.” Pressure cook on High for 30 minutes.
- Do a Natural Release of the Pressure. When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. Instant Pots have small indicators that rise up when the Instant Pot is pressurized, and drop when the pressure has all released from the pot. Don’t try to unlock the lid until the pressure is fully released, and always slide the valve to “vent” before you open it (watch out for steam) just to be sure.
- Cool and Chill the Cheesecake. Because the Instant Pot cooks with steam, there may be droplets of condensation on the top of the cheesecake. Use a paper towel to gently pat away any droplets, and then set the cheesecake on a rack or countertop to cool. When the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, place it in the fridge, covered, to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Serve. The finished cheesecake is wonderful as-is, or you can serve with whipped cream or caramel sauce. Either way, release the springform pan sides and place on a serving plate for easy slicing. Enjoy! ☺️
Can I make cheesecake without a springform pan?
Yes, you can! A springform pan is easiest for serving purposes, but the actual cheesecake can definitely be made in any small baking pan that’s safe for high heat and pressure.
Tips for Success
Instant Pot baking is an unusual technique, so I’ve rounded up some helpful tips here! These tips and tricks will help make sure your cheesecake turns out just right.
- Don’t Overmix the Eggs: Once you’ve added the eggs, be careful only to mix the batter until it’s just combined. You might want to mix by hand at that point. Overmixed eggs will cause air bubbles in the batter, and the mixture will puff up and then fall while cooking and cooling.
- Know When It’s Done: Once you’ve done a natural release of pressure and removed your cheesecake from the Instant Pot, give the pan a little shake back and forth. The very center of the cheesecake should jiggle slightly. If more than one inch is jiggly, the cheesecake isn’t done yet. Pressure cook it on high at 5 minute increments until it’s further set.
- Let It Cool: If the goal is to serve chilled and set cheesecake, you could probably just stick the whole thing in the fridge as soon as it’s out of the Instant Pot… right? Surprisingly, NO! It’s important to let the cheesecake cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate it. As it cools, the cheesecake is still “baking” gently, which helps it set firm.
This pumpkin cheesecake is just perfect as-is, served cold (with a cup of hot coffee, maybe?). But if you’d like to top it with something special, try one of these fabulous topping ideas!
- Heath Bar Crumbles
- Chocolate Shavings
- White Chocolate Ganache
- Dark Chocolate Ganache
- Caramel Sauce
- Dulce de Leche
- Marshmallow Creme (use a piping bag for this)
- Crushed Gingersnap Crumbles
How to Store Cheesecake
Unlike other cakes, cheesecake should be stored in the refrigerator so that it stays firm and fresh.
- Cool the cheesecake at room temperature first, and then place in airtight containers and refrigerate.
- You can store individual slices in small containers, or store the entire cheesecake on a cake plate with a fitted, airtight dome lid.
- Properly stored, cheesecake will stay fresh for up to 5 days.
Can I Freeze Pumpkin Cheesecake?
- The texture of frozen and thawed cheesecake may change somewhat, but overall, yes!
- You can freeze cheesecake in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge before serving.
Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake
For the Crust:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter in a mixing bowl. Stir with a fork to combine.
- Remove the bottom of a 7-inch springform pan, wrap in parchment, and fit back into the pan.
- Spoon the crust mixture into the pan, and use a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup to press the mixture into the bottom.
- Place the pan with crust into the freezer while you make the cheesecake batter.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and flour with a hand mixer for 30 seconds.
- Add the sugar and vanilla extract, and mix well.
- Add the eggs, and mix until just combined.
- Add the pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice, and mix until combined.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the prepared crust.
- Pour about 1 cup of water into the bottom of your Instant Pot, and then place the trivet on top. Carefully lower your cheesecake onto the trivet.
- Lock the lid into place, and make sure the valve is set to “sealed.”
- Select the Pressure Cooking option (Manual) and set the pressure to High. Set the timer for 30 minutes.
- When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. When the floating pressure indicator drops and the pressure has all released, carefully open the lid.
- Use a paper towel to gently pat away any condensation from the top of the cheescake.
- Allow the cheesecake to cool completely at room temperature, and then place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Serve with whipped cream or caramel sauce.