This Creamy Layered Pumpkin Dessert is a wonderful make-ahead holiday dessert choice. A dreamy cream cheese layer and a vanilla and spice infused pumpkin layer on top of a sweet ginger snap crust.
Happy fall, friends. Believe it or not, we are just 5 weeks from Thanksgiving! It’s time to start looking for inspiration for that holiday menu. Whether you are hosting this year or you’ve been given the task of bringing a dessert to a holiday potluck, this Creamy Layered Pumpkin Dessert is a fabulous choice.
You may know this easy, fall-inspired dessert as pumpkin lush or pumpkin delight. It’s a nearly no-bake layered dessert that involves less effort than pie baking and makes enough to serve a group. It’s also made a day in a advance and after a quick garnish, it is ready to slice and serve.
But the number one reason to get this luscious dessert on your menu is that it is absolutely and undeniably delicious!
Table of contents
While it’s just not Thanksgiving here without at least a couple of pies, adding an easy 13- x 9-inch dessert recipe to the mix ensures there will be enough for everyone and you might even be lucky enough to end up with some dessert leftovers. Always a good thing the day after!
- Ginger Snap Crust: I use a box of store-bought Nabisco Ginger Snap Cookies and they work perfectly. There are more than you need for this crust in one 16-ounce box, leaving you with some to snack on. You’ll also need granulated sugar and melted butter.
- Cream Cheese Layer: Cream cheese, granulated sugar, milk, and whipping topping, like Cool Whip create the cheesecake-like layer.
- Creamy Pumpkin Layer: A can of 100% pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling), instant vanilla pudding mix, milk, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.
- Topping: Additional whipped topping, crushed gingersnap cookies, and chopped walnuts for crunch.
What sets this recipe apart is the ginger snap crust. Crushed ginger snap cookies give this dessert a fall-inspired punch with the flavors of ginger, cinnamon and molasses.
This crust is so much more flavorful than a plain graham cracker crust and really drives home the holiday vibe.
How to Make Layered Pumpkin Dessert
- Ginger Snap Crust: Using a food processor, crush the gingersnaps into a fine crumb. Add the sugar and then the melted butter and pulse until well combined. Transfer the mixture to an ungreased 13- x 9-inch baking dish and use your hands to pat it down into a firm, even layer. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in 350 degree F oven and allow to cool completely before adding the layers.
- Cream Cheese Layer: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and milk in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add 1 cup whipped topping and mix again for about a minute until combined.
- Spread: Use an offset or rubber spatula to spread the mixture evenly over the completely cooled crust.
- Creamy Pumpkin Layer: In a large, clean mixing bowl, whisk the pumpkin, dry pudding mixes, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and milk until well combined.
- Spread: Spread the pumpkin layer over cream cheese layer.
- Topping: Carefully spread the remaining whipped topping over the top of the pumpkin layer. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Sprinkle with crushed ginger snaps and chopped walnuts before serving.
Nuts: You can substitute any type of nuts you like for the walnuts. Pecans, almonds, or cashews would all be delicious.
Toffee Bits: Sprinkle crushed toffee bits on top with the crushed gingersnaps.
Coconut: Incorporate toasted coconut within the layers or as a topping.
Ice Cream Sauce: Drizzle caramel sauce over the top for a decadent touch.
This Creamy Layered Pumpkin Dessert holds up really well for up to 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. The crust will soften a bit but it is still delicious. Just cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate promptly after serving.
More Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love
Creamy Layered Pumpkin Dessert
For the Ginger Snap Crust
- 45 ginger snap cookies, (I use Nabisco) 2 ⅓ cups finely crushed ginger snaps
- 5 tablespoons sugar, see notes below
- ½ cup butter, melted
For the Cream Cheese Layer
- 12 ounces cream cheese (regular or ⅓ less fat Neufchatel), softened (1½ (8 ounce) packages)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons milk, divided
- 8 ounces whipped topping (like Cool Whip), thawed, divided
For the Pumpkin Layer
- 15 ounces canned pumpkin puree, (not pie filling)
- 2 (3.4 ounce) packages Jello Vanilla Instant Pudding
- 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
For the Topping
- 4 ginger snap cookies, coarsely crushed
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts, optional
Ginger Snap Crust
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the ginger snaps in the bowl of a food processor and process until they are crushed into a fine crumb. You should end up with about 2 ⅓ cups of ginger snap crumbs. Add 5 tablespoons sugar and pulse to combine. Pour in the melted butter and pulse until well combined. Transfer the mixture to an ungreased 13- x 9-inch baking dish and use your hands to pat it down into a firm, even layer.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or just until crust is fragrant. Remove from the oven and cool completely before adding the layers.
Cream Cheese Layer
- Add the cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar, and 2 tablespoons milk to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well combined. Add 1 cup whipped topping (reserve remaining whipped topping for top layer) and mix again for about a minute until combined. Use an offset or rubber spatula to spread the mixture evenly over the completely cooled crust.
Creamy Pumpkin Layer
- In a large, clean mixing bowl, whisk pumpkin, dry pudding mixes, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and remaining 2 cups milk for about 2 minutes or until well combined. Spread over cream cheese layer.
- Top with remaining whipped topping and carefully spread it out over the top of the pumpkin layer. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Sprinkle with crushed ginger snaps and chopped walnuts before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.