5 from 9 votes

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars

There seem to be two schools of thought about Thanksgiving desserts. Those who must have pumpkin pie and those who avoid anything pumpkin, other than the spice mix. I am squarely in the pumpkin camp and so is my whole family, but if you or someone you love is not, these Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars are the perfect way to ease into using the Thanksgiving essential and give a loving gesture to those who adore pumpkin.

The base of these bars comes from Michelle Lopez’s new book Weeknight Baking, which is made up of great recipes that are quick and easy enough to fit into everyone’s busy schedule, even at the holidays. I added the swirl of pumpkin, which is also super easy and fast, but makes them just right for this week. Michelle has lots of great ideas for jazzing up the cheesecake bars and once you see my technique for swirling, you can add your own flair. You can easily make these in time for the big Turkey Day and I suggest making a double batch, so you have leftovers to snack on and stick into school lunches. 

Watch me make these cheesecake bars on my Instagram.

Thank you Michelle for sending me the book, it is so lovely and fun to bake from! 

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars | ZoeBakes

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars

I know pumpkin can be a divisive flavor, even inside families. Grandma may love it. Uncle Bob may hate it. But pumpkin is sure to end up on most Thanksgiving tables. I love these bars as a pumpkin compromise because they are a great way to ease into the Thanksgiving essential, and give a loving gesture to those who adore pumpkin.
5 from 9 votes
Course: Dessert
Author: from Michelle Lopez’s book Weeknight Baking



  • 1 1/2 cups (165g) graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tbsp (90g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp (30g) sugar
  • Pinch salt

Cheesecake batter 

  • 1 1/2 cups (350g) cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (112g) sour cream (crème fraîche or greek yogurt also works) room temperature

Pumpkin swirl

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree roasted and pureed or canned
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice blend
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • To make the crust: Heat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square cake pan with a sheet of aluminum foil that goes up the sides.
  • Mix together all the ingredients and press it into the prepared pan. Bake for about 10 minutes or until just toasty and golden brown.
  • To make the filling: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I really like the rubber edged attachment for this. Less scraping the bowl), mix the cream cheese on low speed until smooth. Add the sugar and mix until incorporated, scrape the bowl often. Add eggs one at a time, scraping bowl between them. Mix in sour cream.
  • Separate out 1/2 cup of the filling into a bowl and add pumpkin puree, spices and vanilla. Place the pumpkin cheesecake mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip or a squeeze bottle.
  • Pour the remaining plain cheesecake over the baked crust and shimmy to settle it flat. Pipe the pumpkin cheesecake over the top of the plain in a zigzag pattern, then draw a toothpick through it in the opposite direction to create the swirly or marbled pattern.
  • Bake in a water bath (this will help keep the shape of the swirls) for about 30-35 minutes until the cheesecake is set, but still wobbles in the center. Cool completely on a wire rack, then chill in refrigerator until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight (I cheated and after they were room temperature, I put them in the freezer for 45 minutes and cut them.)
  • Use the overhanging foil to lift the bars out of the pan. To cut the cheesecake dip a sharp knife in hot water.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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41 thoughts to “Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars”

    1. These look amazing! How far in advance could I make these bars? (Hoping to get a good head start on thanksgiving prep)

  1. With so many demands on our time these days, a book quick delicious dessert recipes would be very welcome.

    Thank you for the chance to win this book.

  2. Is the one cup of filling for the pumpkin swirl correct? That made so much that it basically covered all the other filling rather than allowing for a marbled pattern (and I didn’t use it all). Not sure if I made a mistake somewhere or if that was supposed to be a smaller measurement.

    1. Hi Kayla,

      My apologies, that was the amount for the larger pan I baked! Thank you for letting me know. I hope you still enjoyed the cheesecake bars and will try it again!

      Thank you! Zoë

  3. Love to bake, but don’t always have time. This book sounds like the perfect solution to that problem! The pumpkin cheesecake swirl bars look wonderful. They might have to be added to the Thanksgiving menu.

  4. This recipe was wonderful! I baked two of these today! The first one I forgot the eggs ‍♀️. Either way it baked beautifully and was easy to fit into my day! Enjoying it tonight for Friendsgiving! Thank you!

  5. These are beautiful. Two of my favorite things, cheesecake and pumpkin pie together. I can’t wait to make them for the upcoming holidays. Thank you for a chance to win a new baking book for my library.

  6. Ok, very beautiful bars. Hope I can figure out how to make such pretty swirls. Now I really want to read the rest of the recipes from “Weeknight Baking“. Thanks for a chance to win a copy!


  7. These pumpkin swirl bars look scrumptious and look forward to baking them. And I thing the raspberry swirl Debbi suggested sounds great also.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  8. I don’t see a video. Is it on a different page? I want to make these with gluten free graham crackers. Do you think this works? I’ve done it to other cheesecake recipes.

    1. Hi Debbie, Here is the video, it’s on Zoe’s Instagram page. If you have had luck with gluten free graham crackers in other cheesecake recipes, it should work here as well, but since Zoe hasn’t tried it, we can’t say for sure. Happy baking!

  9. 5 stars
    Holy cow these are delicious. They are silky smooth. The perfect amount of sweetness paired with the tang from the sour cream… SIMPLY AMAZING. Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! The graham crust was perfect. I used baked Kabocha squash instead of pumpkin and the bars were addicting! Everyone loved them. Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. 5 stars
    Beautiful presentation and tasty, too! I made the pumpkin swirl cheesecake recipe using cupcake liners to serve at a neighborhood block party. The individual desserts look amazing. We love them!

  12. The video for this dessert no longer exists. Would it be possible to put it up again? It helps get the swirls right.
    Thanks, Marcia

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