We’re coming in hot with a very last-minute Thanksgiving dessert recipe! The idea came to me when I was exasperated by yet another failed attempt to make maple-sweetened pumpkin pie. I opened the refrigerator and spied some leftover pumpkin purée next to a block of cream cheese.
Here we are, with no-bake treats that taste like pumpkin pie and cheesecake had a baby. They work because we serve them in individual cups, so they don’t have to retain a sliceable shape.
These pumpkin treats feature a mousse-like blend of pumpkin purée, Greek yogurt, and pumpkin spice. We top the pumpkin base with a creamy, tangy blend of cream cheese and Greek yogurt. Each layer is naturally sweetened with maple syrup.
Both mixtures will thicken up if you have time to chill these for an hour or more in the fridge. Top your cups off with a simple blend of toasted pecans and graham cracker crumbles, and you’re ready to go.
Happy Thanksgiving from Cookie and Kate! If you’re looking for more last-minute Thanksgiving recipes or the perfect gift, we have you covered.
This recipe is best made with thick pumpkin purée (plain purée, not pumpkin pie blend). I recommend Whole Foods 365 or Libby’s brand of pumpkin purée. Don’t buy the Farmer’s Market brand, which is significantly more watery.
You’ll also want to use the thickest plain yogurt you can find. Siggi’s yogurt is my favorite for this purpose, since it’s even more thick than standard Greek yogurt (to the point that it could almost pass as labneh).
You’ll need 8 very small cups, or shooters, for this recipe. Glass cups are fun because they show the layers. Ramekins will work, too. To yield 8 desserts, each cup will contain just over 3 ounces.
Here are options available at major retailers (these are affiliate links):
- Crate and Barrel’s Bitty Bite Short Glasses (shown here)
- 3.25-ounce Duralex Picardie Glass Tumblers, available at Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table or Amazon (you could use up to the 7.75-ounce glasses if you just don’t fill them to the top)
Please let me know how you like this simple dessert in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Looking for more Thanksgiving-worthy treats?
- Gluten-Free Apple Crisp
- Lemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil Shortbread
- Naturally Sweetened Pecan Pie
- Peanut Butter Oat Cookies
- Pumpkin Pecan Polvorones
- Spiced Oatmeal Cookies
You can find more Thanksgiving recipes here, from vegetarian main dishes to healthy sides and more.
Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 8 cups 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Food processor
- Cuisine: American
This easy no-bake pumpkin dessert recipe will be a hit at your Thanksgiving table! It’s made with real pumpkin, Greek yogurt, cream cheese (1 block total), and maple syrup. Recipe yields 8 small desserts, and you will need 8 small glasses to contain them.
- ⅓ cup pecan halves
- 2 graham crackers (1 sheet), broken into 1″ pieces*
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin spice blend
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into 1” cubes
- ½ cup thick, plain whole-milk yogurt (either Siggi’s brand or Greek yogurt)
- ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 can (15 ounces or 1 ⅞ cups) pumpkin purée (I recommend Libby’s or Whole Foods 365 brand)
- ½ cup thick, plain whole-milk yogurt (either Siggi’s brand or Greek yogurt)
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice blend
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- First, make the pecan and graham cracker topping: Toast the pecans in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer the pecans to a food processor and add the broken graham crackers and pumpkin spice blend.
- Process the mixture for about 10 seconds, until the pecans and grahams are broken into tiny pieces (you may need to break up a few persistent pieces between your fingers, to avoid turning the mixture into nut butter). Transfer the mixture to a bowl and wipe out the food processor with a clean tea towel for the next step.
- To make the cheesecake mousse: In the food processor, combine the cream cheese (6 ounces of it), yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom as necessary. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. It’s ok if a bit of it remains in the food processor for the next step.
- To make the pumpkin mousse: In the food processor, combine the pumpkin purée, yogurt, the remaining 2 ounces of cream cheese, maple syrup, pumpkin spice blend, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom as necessary.
- To assemble, transfer about 2 ounces (¼ cup) of the pumpkin purée to each of your 8 cups. Top each with about 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of the cream cheese mixture—you might have a bit leftover; just divide it between the cups. Top each with about 1 tablespoon of the pecan and graham cracker topping.
- Serve immediately, or better yet, cover and refrigerate for later (they’ll thicken up somewhat over time, which I like—they’ll keep for up to 2 days in the fridge).
If you don’t have a food processor: No problem. Just chop up the pecans and graham cracker, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the pumpkin spice blend. You can whip together the cream cheese and pumpkin mixtures with a hand mixer or a whisk.
*Make it gluten free: Buy certified gluten-free graham crackers, or use ½ cup pecans and omit the graham crackers entirely. (This is also a good trick if you don’t want to buy a box of graham crackers just to use 1 sheet.)
Make it nut free: I think toasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) would be nice in place of the pecans. Or, omit the nuts and use 4 sheets of graham crackers instead.
These cups look so fun not just for Thanksgiving but for any Fall/Winter dinner party! I’m dairy-free, but confident this would work with a thick coconut yogurt and non-dairy cream cheese & will try it that way soon :)
Kate! This post isn’t about this recipe, but wanted to tell you I made the Liquid Gold dressing from your cookbook yesterday and it was amazing! We both loved it and I can see it’ll be on regular rotation at our house. I haven’t made a recipe of yours yet that we didn’t love. Thank you for your awesome recipes and Happy Thanksgiving to you.
I can totally relate to pie failed attempts. But this is brilliant! It’s not only easy, simple, and yummy, but I can salvage the ingredients, so no waste and I don’t feel bad. Thank you.
Dr. Clara :)
I was looking for a last-minute dessert for Thanksgiving, and this one was a hit! I substituted pepitas for pecans to accommodate food sensitivities and served the dessert in small glass tumblers. Everyone loved it, including non-vegetarian friends.
We served this after making three other recipes for the holiday (Vegetable Paella, Baked Ziti with Roasted Vegetables, and Chickpea Noodle Soup) and they were all a success. I’m a longtime fan of your recipes, and this one was no exception. I’m already planning to make this recipe again by popular demand.
Sorry that a maple-sweetened pumpkin pie has eluded you! Have you tried adapting Deb’s pumpkin pie recipe? I tried it with maple syrup this week because several readers indicated it had worked for them in the comments. In fact, I did even swaps of coconut milk for the heavy cream as well as maple syrup for the granulated sugar, and it turned out perfectly textured.
I made the pumpkin mousse and topped it with granola and toasted pecans. Perfect for dessert…and breakfast!
I love it! Thanks for sharing, Kathy.
Your recipes are great. Have you ever thought of developing or “borrowing” some recipes for vegan cheese ? Though vegetarian for a number of years, I really just made the connection to the pain and suffering that is required to create cheese. Help !
Thanks, Lila Groonell
If you want turely thick pumpkin, roast your own. I roast, remove the skin, then squeeze the pumpkin flesh in a clean kitchen towel(while still warm) before pureeing. As for the sugar substitute in your pie recipe, could you use maple sugar(just less of it) instead of maple syrup?
Thanks for sharing, Kristin! I would love to use canned pumpkin to make it more attainable for most readers. Maybe next year. :)
I haven’t tried it, but you might give this pumpkin pie recipe a shot: https://www.heynutritionlady.com/naturally-sweetened-pumpkin-pie/
She uses dates and maple syrup to sweeten.
Thank you for sharing!
This recipe was amazing! Super simple and delicious! Thank you for this post
You’re welcome! I hope you loved it.
I have a delicious pumpkin pie recipe sweetened only with maple syrup. Sometimes I use half maple syrup and half honey and it bakes up just as good. I cannot remember if I’ve used all honey in the past but “all honey” may work too. I bake this pie every year for Thanksgiving. E-mail me if you would like the recipe! Thank you for your recipes without refined sugar. I am trying to cut-out refined sugar and find it difficult to locate dessert recipes that do not use it. Trying to substitute honey and/or maple syrup is tricky. I am not sure what other substitutes for refined sugar are healthy. For instance, coconut sugar: I’ve read it’s healthy but then I read it is just like refined sugar (??) When I have substituted c.s. for refined sugar in cookies, it makes them sandy and fall-into-pieces crumbly: not a good texture. I do use and like regular dairy, eggs, regular flour (sometimes wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat) and butter! That’s another reason I like your recipes- you still incorporate those items, but give lots of substitution options for others! Thank you!
The pumkin section came out in a juice consistency? When you put the cream layer on it just plunks down into the pumpkin mix. Any ideas on what went wrong? They are chilling in the fridge now, but you pics show the pumkin layer more of a whipped consistency?
Hi Jon! That shouldn’t happen. It sounds like your pumpkin was very watery. What brand did you use and did it seem to be more on the watery side?
Can this be placed in a pie pan or does it need to be doubled first?
Hi Kristen, that is an interesting idea! I haven’t tried it. It may work, but likely a thiner layer. It is easily doubled so you could make another batch to get it to your desired result. Let me know!
Anastasha @ alltooyummy
oooh this looks so yum! going to try it this weekend
Tried this for my family w gluten intolerance and just uses GF Graham crackers. My little cousin gave it 10/10.
I’ll be honest, I was expecting a sweeter, more intense flavor but it was still good. It was more like a pumpkin flavored Greek yogurt. Still a very satisfying treat though. I think next time I’ll use more spice and let it sit in the fridge for a while.
Hooray! That’s great to hear, Jessie. I appreciate your review.
These are exactly what I am looking for as the grand finale of a lightened up and socially distant Thanksgiving dinner. I’m wondering if light cream cheese and/or 2% Greek yogurt would be worthwhile substitutions for the whole milk versions. Does the consistency depend on the full fat? Thank you very much for all of the fantastic recipes!
I love it! Yes, the consistency will be impacted as lower fat tend to be not as thick and lack some of the richness. Let me know what you think if you try it!
thanks for doing desserts that are less than 30 carbs instead of those with all processed sugar that is above 60 carbs. I feel these are decadent enough!
I’m going to get some Siggis today just to make this. I am looking for satisfying treats and this sounds great.
I hope you loved it! Thank you for your review, Susan.
this recipe looks great but I wanted to ask you if you could try making a vegan cheesecake.
Hi Zara! I don’t have one in the plan right now. But maybe something I address sometime.
Yummy! Saved this for sure, so I can make it to the latest during the Halloween season! :)
But also any time of the year a great dessert!
Love the way how clean and bright your page is! Make me just want to scroll through anything <3
Lots of Love, Jula (from the dark London)
Fantastic! I’m glad you enjoyed it, Jula.
I made this for thanksgiving. It was a huge hit! People loved that it wasn’t too huge a serving and that it wasn’t super sweet. One person asked me for the recipe.
Would def make again.
I’m glad they were a hit, Kendra! Thank you for your review.
Has anyone tried this as a Trifle? I have a beautiful bowl and would love to make this in layers.
Thank you so much for this fantastic dessert. It was a big hit!!!
I’m glad you loved it, Karen! I appreciate your review.
I’m, not a vegetarian. It probably never will be. I certainly see the benefits (health, environment, humane treatment of animals). I, therefore, make a concerted effort to seek out vegetarian recipes. But, I’m not willing to sacrifice taste. Your website has the most delicious vegetarian meals. I tried some recipes on your site and was really happy I tried them. It’s the only cooking website that I have bookmarked and the only one that I recommend to friends. Thanks for this fantastic blog.
again, perfect, such a treat as it was made just for me, I’m becoming loyal fan, great job!
I’m glad you enjoy these!