We pulled out a few of our favorite EatingWell tricks to achieve plenty of creaminess in our pumpkin cheesecake without all the saturated fat of a typical recipe: nutrient-packed canned pumpkin and pureed nonfat cottage cheese replace some of the cream cheese. A touch of pumpkin pie spice warms up the flavor. For the crust, shop the natural-foods section for gingersnaps without any hydrogenated oil. Simple toasted walnuts are an elegant garnish. Or try making candied walnuts. Just be careful not to eat all of them before they make it to the cake!

Katie Webster
Source: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2011


Recipe Summary

7 hrs


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Tightly wrap the outside of the pan bottom and sides with heavy-duty foil to help keep the water bath from leaking into the cake. Put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath.

  • Grind cookies and 1/3 cup walnuts to a fine meal in a food processor. Drizzle in oil and process, scraping the sides as needed, until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Place the pan in a roasting pan and set aside. Clean the food processor.

  • Beat cream cheese, granulated sugar, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until the spice is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until completely smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides occasionally. Beat in vanilla.

  • Process cottage cheese in the food processor until completely smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides once. Gradually beat the cottage cheese and pumpkin puree into the cream cheese mixture on medium speed. Scrape down the sides and beat a final time to make sure no streaks remain. Pour the batter into the crust.

  • Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come 1 inch up the side of the springform pan to create a hot water bath for the cake. Carefully transfer the roasting pan to the oven. Bake the cheesecake in the center of the oven until it's set around the edges but the center still jiggles slightly, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.

  • Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Let the cake cool in the water bath until the water is room temperature. Coarsely chop the remaining 2/3 cup walnuts. Toast them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the water bath. Remove the foil. Place the nuts decoratively around the edge of the cheesecake. (Alternatively, turn the nuts into Candied Walnuts and decorate just before serving; see Variation.) Refrigerate, uncovered, until very cold, at least 4 hours. Wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight if desired.

  • To serve, remove the sides of the pan. Transfer the cheesecake to a cake stand, if desired.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Equipment: 9-inch springform pan

Variation: To make Candied Walnuts: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil; coat with cooking spray. Combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large heavy skillet. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2/3 cup walnut halves, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. Turn the mixture out on the prepared baking sheet, spreading in an even layer. When completely cooled, break into clusters.

Nutrition Facts

308 calories; protein 10.3g; carbohydrates 32.7g; dietary fiber 1.8g; sugars 22.4g; fat 15.8g; saturated fat 5g; cholesterol 70.1mg; vitamin a iu 5826.6IU; vitamin c 1.7mg; folate 39.5mcg; calcium 107.1mg; iron 1.8mg; magnesium 35.8mg; potassium 270.4mg; sodium 305.2mg; thiamin 0.1mg; added sugar 19g.

Reviews (1)

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2 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
Delicious light creamy Delicious light cheesecake. Enjoyed even by someone who doesn't particularly like cheesecake or pumpkin. I used Mi-Del gingersnap cookies which contain whole wheat flour and the crust was a bit more heavy than it may have been with traditional gingersnaps. I also made the candied walnuts that decorated the cake for a lovely presentation. I don't have an electric mixer so did it all by hand so it probably wasn't as smooth as the recipe intended but this recipe is a keeper and I will make it again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
A Smooth Creamy Delight Who knew non-fat cottage cheese could be so delicious and creamy? This cheesecake was easy to make and tasted just as sinful as a full-fat cheesecake. I did drain some of the liquid out of the cottage cheese before processing. I also used a fresh pumpkin that I baked in the oven (then measured out 15 oz on a kitchen scale) and the triple-ginger cookies from Trader Joes. In fact I bought ALL ingredients at TJs. My convection oven set at 325 degrees cooked the cheesecake in about 45 minutes much shorter than the 1.5 hours in the recipe. Read More