No-Bake Pumpkin Delight

published Nov 8, 2023
No-Bake Pumpkin Delight Recipe

Packed with four dreamy layers of pumpkin mousse, creamy cheese, fluffy whipped cream, and toasted pecans, this no-bake dessert will be the hit of Thanksgiving.

Serves9 to 12

Prep35 minutes to 45 minutes

Cook1 minute

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No-Bake Pumpkin Delight on display.
Credit: Kelli Foster

Pumpkin delight is truly the seasonal dessert that has it all — and you don’t even have to turn on your oven for this one! Not only does this tall, layered dessert look beautiful and impressive, but it’s also totally delicious. Impossibly creamy without being too sweet or too rich, this dessert has a buttery, cinnamon-spiced graham cracker crust with layers reminiscent of no-bake cheesecake and lush pumpkin mousse, plus a thick blanket of whipped cream on top. 

It’s worth noting that there are a number of steps in making this dessert, so it’s not exactly “quick to throw together,” yet I promise that each step is easy to follow.

What Is Pumpkin Delight?

Following in the steps of our summery strawberry delight and caramel apple delight, pumpkin delight is a seasonal spin on this popular no-bake layered dessert. Here, there are four tall layers to be exact — five, if you count the pecan topping. 

This dessert is built on a spiced graham cracker crust and topped with layers of sweetened cream cheese, easy pumpkin mousse, and whipped cream. Then, just before serving it gets dusted with ground cinnamon and sprinkled with chopped pecans.

Credit: Kelli Foster

Key Ingredients in Pumpkin Delight

  • Graham crackers. This is the star ingredient for the base of the dessert. You can also use graham cracker crumbs as a substitute.
  • Unsalted butter. Melted butter is what holds the graham cracker crumbs together to form a sturdy base.
  • Cream cheese. Full-fat cream cheese is the best option for this dessert. It gets used for the bottom layer, which is reminiscent of no-bake cheesecake, as well as the pumpkin layer.
  • Pumpkin purée. Good news, you won’t have any leftovers. This recipe uses a full can of pumpkin.
  • Powdered unflavored gelatin. A packet of unflavored gelatin stabilizes the pumpkin layer.
  • Heavy cream. Lightly sweetened whipped cream is used in almost every layer. It lightens up the cream cheese layer, gives the pumpkin layer a mousse-like texture, and makes for a dreamy top layer.

If You’re Making Pumpkin Delight, a Few Tips

  • Use a pan at least two inches tall and don’t forget to line it with parchment. This pumpkin delight is tall, so it needs some support until it’s fully chilled. Be sure to use a standard 8×8 baking dish, which is about 2-inches tall, and don’t overlook the parchment slings. Using two parchment slings helps support the top layers of the pumpkin delight, and makes it a breeze to remove the dessert from the baking dish.
  • Allow ample time to soften the cream cheese. Plan on at least 45 minutes for the cream cheese to soften. It’s helpful for two reasons: it makes the cream cheese much easier to whip until it’s light and fluffy, and makes it easier to evenly fold in the whipped cream without totally deflating it.
  • Use pumpkin purée. You want purée, not pumpkin pie filling (which is much looser) for this recipe.
  • Clean the knife between slices. The beauty of this dessert is that not only is it positively delicious, but those layers are totally stunning. Wipe the knife between each slice to keep those lines clean for a perfect-looking dessert.

No-Bake Pumpkin Delight Recipe

Packed with four dreamy layers of pumpkin mousse, creamy cheese, fluffy whipped cream, and toasted pecans, this no-bake dessert will be the hit of Thanksgiving.

Prep time 35 minutes to 45 minutes

Cook time 1 minute

Serves 9 to 12

Nutritional Info


  • 16 ounces

    cream cheese

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 12

    full-size graham crackers (about 6 1/2 ounces), or 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    ground cinnamon, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 2 cups

    cold heavy cream

  • 1 cup

    powdered sugar, divided

  • 4 teaspoons

    vanilla extract, divided

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    powdered unflavored gelatin

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)

  • 2 teaspoons

    pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/4 cup

    pecans (optional)


  1. Place 16 ounces cream cheese on the counter. Let sit at room temperature until softened, about 45 minutes. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan that’s at least 2 inches tall with 2 sheets of parchment paper, positioning them perpendicular to each other, so that the parchment hangs at least 2 inches over all 4 sides of the pan to form a sling.

  2. Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl in 20-second bursts until mostly melted, 40 to 60 seconds total (it will melt completely as it sits). (Alternatively, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.) Set aside to cool slightly.

  3. Break 12 whole graham cracker sheets into rough pieces and place in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Add 2 tablespoons packed light or dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Process until the crackers are the texture of sand, 20 to 30 seconds. Add the butter and pulse to combine, 6 to 8 (1-second) pulses. (If using graham cracker crumbs, just stir 1 1/2 cups crumbs, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, kosher salt, and butter together in a medium bowl.)

  4. Transfer the mixture to the baking pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or your fingers to press the crumbs into an even layer, making sure to reach the edges and fill the corners. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

  5. Place 2 cups cold heavy cream and 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Beat with the whisk attachment on high speed until stiff peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to another bowl.

  6. Place the cream cheese, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of the stand mixer (no need to wipe clean). Beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed until light and very fluffy, scraping down the sides with a flexible spatula halfway through, about 3 minutes total.

  7. Transfer half of the whipped cream (about 2 cups) to the cream cheese mixture and gently fold together with a flexible spatula until just combined. Dollop half of the cream cheese mixture (about 2 cups) into the baking dish and spread into an even layer.

  8. Place 3 tablespoons water and 2 1/2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin in a small microwave-safe bowl and whisk well to combine breaking up any lumps. Microwave on HIGH power for 5 seconds. Whisk until the gelatin is dissolved.

  9. Add the gelatin mixture, 1 (15-ounce can) pumpkin purée, the remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, and remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla extract to the remaining cream cheese mixture. Beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed until fluffy and smooth, about 30 seconds.

  10. Dollop over the cream cheese mixture in the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Spoon the remaining whipped cream over the pumpkin layer and spread into an even layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

  11. When ready to serve, coarsely chop 1/4 cup pecans if desired. Grasping the excess parchment, transfer the pumpkin delight slab to a cutting board. Sprinkle with the pecans and dust with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Cut into 9 to 12 pieces, wiping the knife between each cut for cleaner cuts.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.