Healthier Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

November 17, 2011

I promise that once Thanksgiving has come and gone, I will return to posting things that aren’t filled with pumpkin. But my love for the stuff is still going strong, and I intend to keep baking with pumpkin until Turkey day arrives.

Last weekend I spent a little time scouring magazines looking for recipes for our family Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you all, but on Thanksgiving I prefer to indulge responsibly. There is nothing I hate more than the “oh my gosh I feel so full I want to die” feeling. It’s really less about calorie consumption and more about how I feel after eating a huge meal and the days following. Also known as Thanksgiving hangover.

When I spotted a recipe for Pumpkin-Almond Cheesecake in Cooking Light’s November issue, I knew I had to give it a try. Instead of making the almond cake that was intended as the bottom layer, I used a crispy graham cracker crust and poured the lightened up cheesecake mixture atop.

I was expecting to be a bit underwhelmed by the dessert when I threw in a block of low-fat cream cheese, Greek yogurt and very little sugar. But to my surprise and delight it was awesome. Smooth, rich-tasting and lightly sweet, Joey and I both ate a piece without feeling stuffed afterward. Things only got better when I calculated the nutrition information for the bars and found that when you make it into 12 servings, each serving only has around 190 calories. Not an ultra low-calorie dessert, but hardly a gut-busting indulgence, either.

Healthier Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light magazine
For Crust:
*1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
*2 tablespoons sugar
*3 tablespoons butter, melted

For Filling:
*8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
*1/2 cup sugar
*3 large eggs
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
*1/3 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*Preheat oven to 300°F. In a small bowl, combine the crust ingredients until well combined. Press the crust mixture evenly into an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Set aside.
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Add in the vanilla, pumpkin, Greek yogurt and cinnamon and beat until smooth and incorporated.
*Pour filling mixture into prepared crust pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched. Cool completely on a wire rack. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 8 hours. Makes 12 servings

Approximate Calories per serving: 190

Happy Baking!



  • Reply Kim November 17, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    These look so good Madison! I’m in pumpkin overload, I just have a million pumpkin recipes I want to try and fall is sneaking away so quickly.

  • Reply Jess November 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I’m all about the pumpkin now too, made pumpkin pancakes last week. let the pumpkinization continue on! p.s. these look amazing, i love the addition of greek yogurt, so smart.

  • Reply Becky @ Skinnyfat Girls November 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    There is just no such thing as too much pumpkin this time of year, and never enough cheesecake ANY time of year! Those look delicious!

  • Reply Lauren at Keep It Sweet November 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Don’t stop with the pumpkin, I still love it:-) These look delicious!

  • Reply Amanda November 9, 2012 at 3:34 am

    I just made these bars last night. The only thing I did different is that when I doubled the recipe, I used 1 bar of low fat cream cheese and 1 bar of regular cream cheese and I used nonfat greek yogurt. I also added some pumpkin pie spice in addition to the cinnamon. It turned out fantastic!! My husband love it, as well, and I have a feeling we will be making this into a pie for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Thanks for the recipe!! 🙂

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