Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Whisking Wolf
by Whisking Wolf
16 servings
1 hr 30 min

Two of fall's best flavors, pumpkin and cheesecake, swirl together in these scrumptious dessert bars. Smooth and creamy and warmly spiced, the marbled filling sits atop a buttery graham cracker crust sliced into bars for a bite-size indulgence.

Fall is in the air.

Not in Florida, but maybe somewhere a thousand miles or so north of the Sunshine State. I envy the lucky bitches living in climates where the leaves change color because they get insta-worthy scenery and chilly days to bundle up with knee-high boots and cozy knits.

Instead, I get hair-frizzing humidity.

Since I can’t wear layers this close to the equator, my fall fix comes from layering pumpkin in so many drinks and dishes it’s borderline disturbing. To clarify, I don’t mean Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbuck’s–which are made with zero pumpkin, by the way. Rather in my house, pumpkin is added to pancakes, granola, smoothies, ravioli, cinnamon rolls, popcorn, yogurt and toothpaste.

Okay, the toothpaste part isn’t true but you get the orange, squash-y point. I love an array of pumpkin spiced foods and the best pumpkin-y food of all is a twofer of fall favorites: pumpkin swirl cheesecake bars.

I could write an autobiography on recipes I ruined and this damn dessert almost got it’s own chapter. But after several failed attempts (read: burned, cracked and hard-as-concrete crust), tweaks and twerks the recipe is now pumpkin cheesecake perfection.

These bite-sized bar indulgences are smooth and creamy with warm, subtle spices meant for this time of year. Plus all that pumpkin cheesecake deliciousness is swirled and stacked on a buttery graham cracker crust.

All I can say is Y-U-M! And be forewarned, one taste of these swirled cheesecake bars and you’ll be snubbing pumpkin pie this holiday season.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Recipe details
  • 16  servings
  • Prep time: 30 Minutes Cook time: 1 Hours Total time: 1 hr 30 min
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Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers (about 13 sheets)
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
Cheesecake Filling
  • 16 ounces full fat cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla pure
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour unbleached
Pumpkin Swirl
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Graham Cracker Crust
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang for ease of removal.
Pulse graham crackers in a food processor for 15 seconds until fine crumbs form.
Add melted butter and sugar and pulse a few more times until combined.
Add graham cracker mixture to the prepared baking pan and press until an even layer forms. Take care to avoid overpacking crumbs.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Cheesecake Filling
Beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and lump free. Approximately 3 minutes.
Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.
Add flour until incorporated then set aside while you prepare pumpkin swirl.
Pumpkin Swirl
In a large bowl, whisk all pumpkin swirl ingredients until combined.
Add 3/4 cup of the cheesecake filling to the pumpkin filling and stir until well mixed.
Preheat oven to 320 degrees.
Spread 1 cup of cheesecake filling onto warm graham cracker crust and level with a spatula.
Drop dollops of pumpkin swirl filling on cheesecake layer in a random pattern. Alternate pumpkin swirl dollops with dollops of remaining cheesecake filling then gently swirl the two mixtures together using a chopstick or wooden skewer to create a marbled pattern.
Bake for 1 hour. Cheesecake will be slightly jiggly in the center, but will firm up as it cools. Do not overbake.
Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool at room temperature for 1 hour.
Cover and place baking pan in the refrigerator to chill for a minimum of 3 hours. Remove bars from pan using parchment to lift them out then slice with a sharp knife, wiping blade between cuts for clean lines.
Store leftover bars covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Full fat cream cheese is recommended for the cheesecake filling. Reduced fat can be substituted if you're counting calories, but fat free absolutely cannot.
  • If you don't have pumpkin pie spice make your own concoction by combining equal amounts of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves and ground allspice. Store excess in a sealed container at room temperature.
  • A chopstick or wooden skewer works best for the swirling. Use a gentle motion to achieve the marbling effect. Swirl as much or little as desired.
Whisking Wolf
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  • Dee Dee on Oct 16, 2020

    what are the pumpkin swirl ingredients? recipe doesn't specify...

    • See 1 previous
    • Dee Dee on Oct 16, 2020

      Much better...thanks, can't wait to try