pumpkin cinnamon cheesecake paleo recipe dessert

Pumpkin Cinnamon Cheesecake

As the weather is changing I’m leaning towards recipes that call for pumpkin, apples, cranberries and the like and am craving time in the kitchen to make lots of warm food for my family.  Along those lines, this Pumpkin Cinnamon Cheesecake is a winner.  This gluten free dessert doesn’t last long around the boys and their friends.

With so many healthy and nutritious ingredients, this pie style cheesecake could almost be part of the main course, though I prefer to save it for an after dinner treat in our house as I enjoy the dessert and tea ritual at the end of a meal (the boys love to make tea every evening and are now old enough to hold the kettle of hot water after it has boiled; they are growing up).

For those of you looking for a standard pumpkin pie, I do have a recipe for that dish in my gluten free cookbook, The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. While the recipe below is casein lactose free if made with the right type of yogurt, the Pumpkin Pie recipe in my book is completely dairy free and is another family favorite.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Cheesecake
Serves: 8
  1. Fill the bottom of a baking dish with a little less than ¼ inch of water
  2. Cut pumpkin in half, remove seeds, and place face down in baking dish
  3. Roast pumpkin in the oven for 45-55 minutes until soft
  4. Allow pumpkin to cool and scrape flesh into a bowl, then measure out 2 cups
  5. In a food processor, combine 2 cups pumpkin, strained yogurt (minus the whey which was strained out), agave, vanilla and lemon juice and process until smooth, about 1-2 minutes
  6. Process in cinnamon and salt
  7. Pour batter into a 8-inch springform pan
  8. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes, until firm
  9. Remove from oven, cool and serve

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Robyn O’Brien, another local author.  She penned an amazing book that is on my must read list called The Unhealthy Truth and gave me a copy to give to one of you.  Leave a comment for this Friday Freebie before next Wednesday and I will draw one of your names out of a Yankees hat to determine who wins.

Oh and don’t forget about Nourishing Days Food Roots for October! Submit a post about what you’re doing to find your food’s roots.

UPDATE: This giveaway is now over. The winner of The Unhealthy Truth was Danielle. Thanks to everyone who participated!


  1. Kathy says

    Can I substitute organic pumpkin (already in the can from the grocery store)? I also want to try your pumpkin bread recipe and was wondering the same for that recipe. Has anyone substituted canned pumpkin for these recipes, and if so, does it work well? And are there any modifications to be made? Thank you.

  2. Kristin says

    I noticed it says “pie pumpkin”. I feel a little stupid for asking, but does this mean that I should look for a certain type of pumpkin? I’ve never made anything like this so I am very clueless but I would love to try this recipe.

  3. Brynn says

    I recently bought your cookbook on recommendations from a co-worker who’s kids went to pre-school with your kids and from my NP. I was really excited to break out a good gluten free recipe for pumpkin pie, but thought I should give a test run first since my boyfriend and I will be the only two gluten free people at his family’s Thanksgiving and his family has some misgivings about our “strange diet choices”.
    Unfortunately, it just isn’t turning out…and I’ve tried it twice! I know it says you don’t respond to comments, but I’ve put all my eggs in one basket or into one pie in this case and I don’t have a back up plan. There were some easily fixable issues that ensued at the preliminary composition of the pie (not enough crust for 9 1/2 pan and too much filling), but those were easily modified and over come. What I am completely befuddled with is how to not burn the recommended pie crust on page 79 when trying to fully cook the filling at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes? I pre-cooked the almond flour pie crust and allowed it to cool and it was not over toasted. Then when it came to the filling it seems to be done only when the crust is completely beyond recovery, i.e. chard. I tried it last night in my boyfriend’s oven and the switched to my mom’s oven (convection) tonight. What am I doing wrong? I can’t seem to break the code on this one and it seemed like such a nice idea to have an almond flour crust (especially since I am allergic to rice-of all things). Any help would be gratefully received.

    • Maggie says

      Very late on the reply, but I thought it might help someone else. If you are adding the almond crust, after the pre-bake I would recommend adding thin (just wide enough to cover the edge of the pie and over the edge) aluminum strips around the edges of the pie crust to keep it from overcooking. If it’s not brown enough you can take the foil off for the last 10 minutes or so. Or invest in one of the pie crust rings. Also, the coconut oil cooked out of the crust and into the bottom of my oven, so definitely put something underneath.

  4. stephen says

    FYI, I used exactly 4 cups (before straining) of yogurt for this recipe and it was definitely too much. Came out runny and tasting like plain yogurt. I’m assuming a ‘quart’ is referring to weight – like a regular 32-oz (by weight) tub of yogurt. That’s not actually 4 cups by volume…4 cups used up probably 70% of a 64-oz tub that I had. Will try it again with much less yogurt next time :)

  5. Jody says

    Hi, This recipe looks great! Has anyone tried making this with coconut yogurt, preferably unsweetened? I’d like to try that. Also, I’m not clear on the straining technique, if someone would be willing to explain. Is whey what is left over after straining? I would also want to substitute liquid stevia or xylitol for agave. If anyone has done that and has an idea on proportions, I’d love to hear. Thanks!

  6. kayla says

    Sounds DELICIOUS!!! i cant wait to make it, but what could i use as a yogurt substitute to make it dairy free as well?

  7. says

    This looks like a recipe my website subscribers would love to see. Would you be willing to share this recipe as a guest post on my website? I’d offer a link back to your blog, of course!

  8. says

    I’m really excited to try out your recipe. Your cinnamon pumpkin pie cheesecake looks so good. I’m working through my lunch right now so I’m dying of hunger. Maybe you could mail me some of your dessert. That would work perfectly.

  9. Anne says

    This looks good, I’ll try it soon… BUT-

    You shouldn’t throw out the whey! Whey is so nutritious! There are many things you can do with it. I make beet kvass with it, use it in smoothies, put it in hot cream cereal… it’s too healthy to just throw away!

  10. jessica says

    OMG! I made this pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving and it was amazing. Yes, it is very tart, probably not sweet enough for the average sugar addicted American palate. However, I gave up sugar and overly sweet foods a while ago and this was very delicious. Thanks for another great recipe!

  11. Kelly says

    After trying this recipe, I’m afraid I cannot recommend it. It looked and smelled wonderful coming out of the oven. I had a little extra batter so I cooked it in a ramekin and couldn’t wait to dive in. I was so surprised when I tasted how TART it was. It literally puckers the lips. While the lemon juice might be part of the problem, I think it’s the yogurt is the primary culprit. If it were a lemon-based pie it would be perfect, but for a pumpkin cheesecake it does not taste right. Alas, I will not be making it again.

  12. says

    I made this last night and like a few others, couldn’t wait for the yogurt to strain. So I added one egg for binding and used maple syrup instead of agave. The texture and flavor were perfect – so much better than cream cheese. I wanted to make a crust for a GF holiday class I’m teaching at Whole Foods, so I crushed pecans with teff flour, palm sugar and coconut oil. It’s a winner!

  13. says

    I love pumpkin cheesecake. I especially like that this one calls for no flour or cookie crumb base. Naturally gluten free and easier to make in general. I will probably try this with our bees’ honey, of course. :-)

    Thanks, Elana!

  14. Susan R says

    I used a butternut squash. It came out of the oven smelling and looking wonderful. But my family won’t eat it…it’s just too tangy. :( I might try whipping some sweetened cream later to top it-that might help them.

  15. Rosy says

    The greek yogurt was tangy! It set up well, but did take about 15-20 longer than the recipe as written. I am gonna try this next time I make it with Sweetpotatoes. Yummy!

  16. Robyn Baldwin says

    My son’s favorite flavor is pumpkin. Last Thanksgiving we had pumpkin in just about every dish we made. This dessert will make a great addition to these year’s dinner table. Thanks so much. As a side note, I wonder how Greek yogurt would taste to this . .hmmmmm.

  17. Nora says

    I was just wondering what types of tea you have with your children after dinner.

    I love pumpkin, just had pumpkin pancakes the other day. Can’t wait to make the cheesecake, my kids will love it!

  18. Rolinda says

    Is there any other taste bud tantilizing dessert in fall than pumpkin pie? Delish. Since finding myself to be glutin sensitive your website has been such a great resource. Thank you Elana!
    Happy “Canadian” Thanksgiving!

  19. Kristin Del Mul says

    I used soy yogurt but it didn’t separate at all so I just used it as is and added an egg in case it needed more binder since the yogurt was not as thick. It set up fine.

  20. A says

    @Danelle – I was also feeling too lazy to wait for the yogurt, so I made it last night with a Greek-style yogurt (it’s actually Turkish, since that’s what I can get here) of 3.5% fat. I used 1 cup since that’s what someone commented she had left of the yogurt after letting it drip.

    The taste is good, and the consistency is fine as well, although it required more cooking–45 minutes for an 8″ pan when I cooked only half the recipe. I just cooked it until the center was slightly wobbly and then let it set overnight. I haven’t actually cut into it yet, but it came out of the pan well and seems firm.

  21. Christina says

    Yummy! I’ve got a butternut squash ready to use right now. I love how your recipes are so simple that many of the ingredients are things I already have on hand. Thank you :)

  22. Diane says

    Yum! Have you ever tried this with silken tofu instead of yogurt? How many cups of yogurt do you get once you strain it of the whey?

  23. says

    That looks so good. And the book sounds incredibly interesting. As someone who has suddenly, inexplicably developed numerous food allergies almost seemingly overnight, I’d love to find out more.

  24. Jenna says

    I am so stoked about this recipe!! I wish I could make it tonight!! :) I have been craving both pumpkin & cheesecake – Now I can have them together! I will be making this baby soon! :) Thank you, Elana!!

  25. Susan R says

    I’ve been trying to help out 18 y.o. g/daughter who just moved in adjust to our WOE. This will definitely help her along the right path. :) The giveaway sounds awesome!

  26. ~M says

    This recipe looks great, but don’t toss the whey! For those of you who eat grains or beans, a few spoonfuls of whey, along with water, can be used to soak those foods to make them more digestible (similar to the soaked nuts in Elana’s granola recipe). For those who are dairy-free, you can use raw apple cider vinegar (like Bragg’s) or lemon juice instead of whey.

  27. Diane says

    Oh, this looks so good! I have been wanting to make cheesecake with coconut milk yogurt cheese. And adding pumpkin, agave and cinnamon makes it even better!! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  28. says

    Hi Elana! This recipe sounds great! I am going to be making it soon! But don’t discard the whey from your yogurt, you can use it soak grains and beans – making them easier to digest!

    The book sounds very interesting. Thanks for giving us a chance to win it!

  29. Danelle says

    Yum! I think I’ll try greek yogurt, since I don’t have the patience to strain regular yogurt.

    Thanks so much!

  30. Becky St John says

    Mmmm! This Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe sounds delicious! Can’t wait to bake this one. It seems like a great one for Thanksgiving.

  31. says

    I’ve been on a punpkin kick lately too! And I just got permission to add a few cranberries back into my diet (my first fruit in 10 months!) so I’m super excited to try some recipes that include fresh cranberries too!

    Hubby and I have a date to go to Borders tomorrow while the baby is with Grandma…and your book is at the top of my wish list! I hope it’s in stock!

    Thanks for hosting the book giveaway and keep the great recipes coming!

  32. says

    This sounds lovely. I’m intrigued by the use of yogurt rather than cream cheese, I’d imagine this would be much healthier – and I love pumpkin!

  33. Alena Liska says

    I am intrigued about the pumpkin cheesecake, but more about the Book: I’m going to school to become naturopath, not much money and have worked with the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients for years. Would like to read the copy, write review for Jonathan Collin and also enjoy the cheesecake


    • Lisa Torres says

      What school are you going to?? I am thinking of going to Clayton College to get my Masters and even my doctorate? I am so frustrated with Western Meds..and have had several issues with losing weight…that they only want to medicate me for…UGH..no!! I want to know whats wrong and how I can fix it nutrionally!!

  34. Judy says

    Kudos to Robyn for addressing a serious issue in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. I do believe that all the food additives are catching up to the health of this country. I believe we are the guinea pigs for companies. I am living proof of that. In my forties I developed several allergies including gluten. Sulfites are horrible to track down. The FDA doesn’t even require labeling if there’s less than 10 ppm. Why 10 ppm? Because that’s the level they’re easily tested at. Why they can’t just say if there’s ANY sulfites (or any other preservatives) they must be listed, I’ll never understand. But as a result people like me spend nights in the emergency room because of anaphylactic responses. The last time was dire and led to several weeks in the hospital and over a year out of work. Robyn should be commended for tackling such a serious problem.

  35. Lisa Torres says

    Yum…I cant wait to make it..think it will be ok to cheat and used organic canned pumpkin?? I have tried and tried to roast so many pumpkins..and we just dont end up liking them…we have a pumpkin patch in our backyard that comes up in our grass every year at this time too..LOL.. the seeds are great..but not sure why but the flesh isnt so great. My dogs ate some pumpkins my boys smashed in the backyard and now our backyard grows interesting new pumpkin species every year…..we have green, white, orange, and yellow pumpkins that have just grown.. Oh and for the food roots..make sure you add some plant derived minerals to your gardens or potted plants. I get mine from Youngevity.com if you need more info let me email me..
    Happy Fall Baking.

  36. says

    Hey Elana,
    love your style…you had enough comments already so I may not have a chance to win the book… so I love to leave a message for you… and let you know that I admire you in many ways.

    BTW, I am 100% vegan, but I usually replace what is not vegan from your recipes and enjoy them to the last peace. be veg go green http://www.lovinghut.com

  37. Risa says

    I can’t wait to try this. I made the lemon bars and scones from you cookbook last weekend and they were gone in two days! Excellent

  38. says

    I am loving your new cookbook. Can’t wait to try this yummy treat. Sounds perfect. The book, Unhealthy Truth, looks like a must read. Thanks for sharing all that you do!

  39. says

    Hi Elana,

    Thanks for the great recipe! I think you meant to say that with the appropriate yogurt the recipe would be lactose free, not casein free. :)

    Of course we’re talking about SCD yogurt, which I intend to make soon!! I’ve been thinking about pumpkin cheesecake lately… yum!


  40. Wendy says

    I can’t wait to make this. The current weather definitely makes me want to stay in and cook, especially seasonal goodies like this! Thanks, Elana!!!!

  41. A says

    This sounds very nice. I’ve been making autumn fruit dishes lately: svestkove knedliky, pears simmered in red wine (served with maple sugar caramel sauce), and roasted apples. I was planning on using pumpkin next, and this looks like just the recipe to try.

  42. Lindsay says

    My husband has read the Unhealthy Truth but I have not, so I am excited for the opportunity to win it!

    For those of you who are avoiding agave syrup, I have exchanged honey 1:1 for the agave in other recipes of Elana’s, and everything has turned out perfectly :)

  43. says

    Great! A cheesecake without eggs ;)!
    I could probably add an optional almond flour crust to it…
    Do you know how much yogurt cheese you obtain after training the yogurt overnight?
    I have some farmers cheese that I’d like to use, if I have enough…

    Thanks ;).

  44. Betsy says

    Clipping yet another of your recipes. This one will definitely be made for Thanksgiving – if I can wait that long!

  45. says

    Oh my gosh! I am so excited to try this recipe. Pumpkin cheesecake is my number #1 favorite dessert ever and to find a GF, casein-free version? Woah mama!

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