This Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake is creamy, delicious, and full of pumpkin spice flavor. The Instant Pot provides natural humidity for a beautifully risen and crack-free cheesecake.
Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake is the pressure cooker version of my indulgent oven-baked pumpkin spice cheesecake. The cheesecake that has repeatedly been requested for years every November for Thanksgiving.
It's full of delicious pumpkin flavor and makes a decadent dessert for any fall and winter occasion. Instant Pot pumpkin cheesecake is even easier to get perfect than it's oven-baked counterpart.
While cheesecake is a beautiful and classic dessert, it often sounds scary to some. But cheesecake is easy to make using the right strategy and tips (given below) and contains just a few common and simple ingredients.
The key to creating a perfect cheesecake lies within taking your time to follow the steps and tips for success precisely. Patience is a virtue when cooking not just this pumpkin cheesecake in the Instant Pot, but any cheesecake.
The majority of the timeliness in cooking a cheesecake to perfection is hands-off. It takes only about 20 minutes of hands-on time to prepare the crust and filling- the rest is chilling time.
So always make sure you have at least 1 day between baking and serving to properly allow the cheesecake to slowly cook and set fully.
*This recipe is written for an 8 quart Instant Pot using a 7 inch springform pan. For a 6 quart pressure cooker, you'll need a 6 inch springform pan. For a 10 quart instant pot, you can use either pan but you'll need to increase the amount of water used as recommended by the manufacturer.
Benefits of Making Cheesecake in the Instant Pot
- Cheesecakes need humidity. A pressure cooker provides natural humidity with the addition of water needed for the pot to come to pressure. This would otherwise be done with a water bath in the oven, which requires placing a pan of water at the bottom of the oven. So by using a pressure cooker, you get a natural water bath and lots of humidity.
- The natural humidity in the Instant Pot prevents cracking and helps make a smooth and creamy cake rather than gelatin custard-like cake.
- Allowing a natural pressure release and then letting the cheesecake stay in the pressure cooker while the temperature drops prevents the center from sinking. When baked in the oven, falling centers can sometimes be a problem if the temperature decreases too quickly. But in the Instant Pot this isn't an issue!
- Your oven won't be taken for a prolonged period. Making a cheesecake is a timely process when done properly. When using the oven, especially during the holidays, valuable oven space is taken up for a prolonged time. Not ideal when needing to also bake cookies and dinner!
- There is no leaking cheesecake to become stuck and burnt at the bottom of the oven.
- Pumpkin puree: canned or homemade. As a store bought option, Libby's is my favorite! Keep in mind that the brand of canned pumpkin or the type of pumpkins you use to make homemade puree may vary in their shade of orange. This will slightly change the orange hue of your cheesecake, but will not affect the flavor.
- Pumpkin spice seasoning: or a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves (check the recipe card for how to substitute).
- Cream cheese
- Vanilla extract
If making your cheesecake with the nutmeg seasoned crust, you'll also need:
- Crushed graham crackers
Making pumpkin cheesecake in the Instant Pot requires a few special tools.
- Silicone sling: this is best because it provides friction for the springform pan and thus, less of a chance for the pan to slide when being removed. A silicone sling is also easier to remove than a metal trivet because of it's long handles. You could, however, use a metal trivet with handles if that's all you have.
- Springform pan: for 8 quart Instant Pots, use a 7 inch round springform pan and for 6 quart Instant Pots, use a 6 inch pan. I have this set of 3 shapes for making fun shaped cheesecakes, too.
- Aluminum foil: foil is necessary to cover the cheesecake while it pressure cooks, otherwise lots of water will form on top of the cake and will be difficult to remove without ruining the cake.
Make sure you follow these simple strategies and tips for getting this recipe perfect.
- Don't rush it. Cheesecake is delicate and needs time. A natural pressure release, an hour or two to come to room temperature, and a full chill in the fridge are crucial to a perfectly creamy, crack-free cheesecake.
- The cream cheese, eggs, and pumpkin puree need to be at room temperature so they blend into the batter smoothly and don't form clumps. If you've forgotten to bring them to room temperature, microwave in 10-20 second increments.
- Always add the eggs to the batter last and beat them on low speed, until just mixed in. Beating the eggs too strongly or for too long will cause air to form in the batter, thus leading to a cracked cheesecake.
- Don't remove the side of the springform pan until after the cake has chilled. The cheesecake should naturally pull off the sides of the pan, making it less likely to stick and easy to remove. If it does stick, a knife can be used to separate the cheesecake from the sides of the pan.
- Never complete a quick release. The pressure must come down slowly, so at least a 30 minute natural release is crucial.
- Once the pressure has come down entirely, uncover the cake and let it stay in the warm pot. Cheesecakes need to come to room temperature slowly to avoid sunken centers and cracked tops. The inside of the inner pot will let this happen perfectly.
- Ideally, let the pumpkin cheesecake set overnight in the fridge.
- You may need to adjust cooking times if you live at a high altitude.
The likely culprit for a lumpy cheesecake is ingredients that were mixed into the batter when cold and not at room temperature. The cream cheese, eggs and pumpkin puree need to be at room temperature or slightly warmed and mixed long enough to create a smooth cheesecake filling.
When made with a graham cracker crust, pumpkin cheesecake is not gluten-free. It can be made gluten free by substituting the graham crackers for gluten-free crackers, or by making a crustless cheesecake.
This is not exactly a keto-friendly cheesecake. One slice contains about 18 grams of carbohydrates, mostly from the brown sugar.
Yes, cheesecake should always be refrigerated because it contains perishable ingredients such as eggs and cream cheese. After two hours at room temperature, bacteria begins to grow.
Pumpkin cheesecake can be frozen wrapped tightly in plastic or a freezer safe bag for up to 1 month. After this, the cheesecake will begin to lose it's quality.
Step 1: Prepare the crust. Grease a 7 inch springform pan evenly and generously with butter. Wrap the outside of the pan in foil. In a large bowl, mix the crushed graham crackers, white sugar, nutmeg, and cloves. Add the melted butter and mix well. Pour into the springform pan and press down so the crumbs hold together. Place into the freezer while preparing the filling.
Step 2: Prepare the filling. In a separate large bowl, beat the brown sugar and cream cheese on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, pumpkin spice seasoning and salt. Beat on high until smooth, about 3 more minutes. Add the eggs and mix on low until they are just incorporated, about 20 seconds. Fold any remaining egg into the batter with a spatula.
Step 3: Prepare the Instant Pot. Fill the inner pot with 2 cups of water. Insert the silicone sling and put the springform pan on the sling. Pour the cheesecake filling into the pan. Cover tightly with foil, securing the sides.
*Foods take longer to pressure cook when covered in foil. Many cheesecake recipes do not call for covering the top in foil and have a shorter cook time. However, these cheesecakes tend to develop a lot of water on the top that needs to be removed. I'd prefer cooking cheesecake for a longer time and not having to worry about water forming on the top.
Step 4: Pressure cook. Close and seal the Instant Pot lid. Set to pressure cook on high for 45 minutes. When done, complete a natural release for at least 30 minutes, if not longer.
Step 5: Let cheesecake cool. Remove the pressure cooker lid and wipe away the condensation from the inside of the lid. Carefully remove the foil covering the cheesecake pan. There may be a small amount of water on top of the cake. Blot this away with a paper towel. Keep the cheesecake in the Instant Pot and place the lid back on. Let sit for 1 hour as the temperature drops naturally and the cheesecake comes to room temperature.
Step 6: Chill the cheesecake. Remove the lid from the Instant Pot. Transfer the sling and cheesecake pan to the counter carefully. Put the cheesecake in the fridge to cool overnight, or for at least 5 hours before removing from the pan.
Step 7: Prepare for serving. Unlock the springform pan and slowly open it. If the sides of the cheesecake are stuck to the pan, slide a knife between the cake and the pan to loosen it. The cheesecake can be left on the pan's bottom to serve or transfered to a serving platter.
Top with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and pecans or walnuts before serving. Enjoy!
Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 1 cup graham crackers crushed
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 4 tablespoon butter melted
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 ¾ cups pumpkin puree or one 15 oz can
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon pumpkin spice seasoning substitution in notes
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- Grease a 7 inch springform pan evenly and generously with butter. Wrap the outside of the pan in foil. (proceed to step 3 if making crustless)
- In a large bowl, mix the crushed graham crackers, white sugar, nutmeg, and cloves. Add the melted butter and mix well. Pour into springform pan and press down so the crumbs hold together. Place into the freezer while preparing the filling.
- In a separate large bowl, beat brown sugar and cream cheese on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, pumpkin spice seasoning and salt. Beat on high until smooth, about 3 more minutes.
- Add the eggs and mix on low until just incorporated, about 20 seconds, being careful not to overmix. Fold any remaining egg into the batter with a spatula.
- Prepare the Instant Pot by filling it with 2 cups of water. Insert a silicone sling into the inner pot and put the springform pan on the sling. Pour the cheesecake filling into the pan. Cover tightly with foil, securing the sides.
- Close and seal the Instant Pot lid. Set to pressure cook on high for 45 minutes.
- When done, let complete a natural release for at least 30 minutes. Then quickly release remaining pressure. Remove the lid and wipe away condensation from the inside of the lid.
- Carefully remove the foil covering the cheesecake. There may be a small amount of water on top of the cake. Blot this away with a paper towel. Keeping the cheesecake in the Instant Pot, place the lid back on and let sit for 1 hour.
- Remove the lid from the Instant Pot. Transfer the sling and cheesecake pan to the counter carefully. Put the cheesecake in the fridge to cool overnight, or for at least 5 hours before removing from the pan.
- Unlock the springform pan and slowly open it. If the sides of the cheesecake are stuck to the pan, slide a knife between the cake and the pan to loosen it. The cheesecake can be left on the pan's bottom to serve or transfered to a serving platter.
- Top with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and pecans or walnuts to serve.