Say Cheese! How to Upgrade Your Cheesecake

We didn't think cheesecake could be improved upon either.

Instead of serving up traditional pumpkin and apple pie this Thanksgiving, spring for a new treat – cheesecake. Take a traditional cheesecake recipe that’s super easy and customize it with your favorite fall flavors for the holidays.

Trust us, your guests will go wild.

Start with the Basics
The key to any of the recipes and ideas below is a good old-fashioned cheesecake. Nothing fancy. Yet.

Make the cheesecake mix below and fold in your favorite flavors or simply top the classic recipe with whatever you’d like.

Basic Cheesecake Recipe

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 premade graham cracker crust


  1. Preheat oven to 325 F
  2. Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs and mix until barely blended
  3. Pour cheesecake mixture into crust
  4. Bake 40-45 minutes until the center is set (a toothpick comes out clean)
  5. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours until completely cool

Now for the Fun Part
Now you get to choose your add-ins and toppings! We took inspiration from our favorite holiday pies for these variations, but you can mix in whatever you want.

1. Apple Pie Cheesecake

Mix in a tablespoon of cinnamon with the filling and bake the cheesecake as directed.

1 apple, peeled and sliced thin
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small bowl, toss the apples, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon to combine. Cool and top the cheesecake.

2. Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree

Whipped cream. Preferably from a can. Like grandma used to make.

3. Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Just use the standard cheesecake recipe. The magic for this one comes from the topping.

3/4 cup pecans
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions: Evenly divide pecans over the cheesecake batter. In a medium bowl, whisk the corn syrup, brown sugar, butter and vanilla to combine. Pour mixture over the pecans. Top the basic cheesecake and enjoy.

4. Other Yummy Add-ins

This idea of customizable cheesecakes doesn't have to just be for Thanksgiving! Here are a few other cheesecake flavors that are great year-round.

Filling Ideas:

Add 1/2 cup of the following mix-ins to the basic cheesecake recipe above for a fun spin:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Crushed up chocolate sandwich cookies
  • Chocolate chips
  • Peanut butter chips
  • Malted milk balls
  • Orange segments
  • Chopped-up strawberries
  • Chopped-up candy bars
  • Coconut
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanut butter cups

Tip: Combine a few of these ingredients. You can’t go wrong, really. It is cheesecake after all.

Topping Ideas

Check out all of the delicious cheesecake topping ideas we could come up with here.

How do you do cheesecake? Log in and then submit your own recipe!



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