Pumpkin Delight (also known as Pumpkin Lush) is a luxuriously creamy, layered, almost no-bake dessert that’s impressive, feeds a crowd, and will be hit all season long!
Pumpkin Delight is the fluffy, creamy alternative to pumpkin pie! It’s splendidly cool, crazy creamy, full of pumpkin flavor, rich yet light at the same time and will have all your guests coming back for more. This Pumpkin Lush is made with a pecan Graham cracker crust layered with creamy cheesecake, silky pumpkin fluff (pumpkin, pudding + whipped cream) and HOMEMADE whipped topping all showered with toffee bits. This pumpkin dessert is easy to make, make-ahead friendly and freezer friendly for a stress-free dessert homerun!
Fall is synonymous with everything pumpkin! More pumpkin desserts not to miss include Pumpkin Dump Cake, Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, Pumpkin Bars, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Pound Cake, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread and Pumpkin Snickerdoodles.
How to Make This Pumpkin Dessert Video
INGREDIENTS in Pumpkin Delight Dessert
This nearly no-bake pumpkin dessert is splendidly creamy and glides down so easily! The ingredients list looks lengthy, but that’s because I wanted to give you the option to make everything from scratch. Also, many of the same ingredients are used multiple times in different layers. Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need (full measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
For the pecan crust:
For the homemade whipped topping:
For the cheesecake layer:
For the pumpkin fluff:
For the topping:
HOW TO MAKE Pumpkin Delight
There are just a few layers in this Pumpkin Delight recipe which create a mountain of layered YUM. Remember that you can begin working on the next layer while one sets in the freezer or bakes. In this way, the recipe prep flies by!
Step 1: Make the pecan crust
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pecans and graham crackers until coarsely ground.
- Add the sugar and butter. Process until finely ground.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes.
- While the crust cools, move onto the next step, or complete multiple layers and wait to layer until the crust cools.
Step 2: Make the whipped topping
- Combine the water and unflavored gelatin in a bowl. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then microwave for 20 seconds. You’re looking for the gelatin to be completely dissolved.
- In a large bowl, whip the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla to soft peaks.
- Turn the mixer to low, then add the gelatin mixture to the whipped cream.
- Keep mixing until stiff peaks form.
Step 3: Make the cheesecake filling
- In another bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and milk just until smooth.
- Fold in part of the whipped topping you just made. Don’t overmix it!
- Spread the cheesecake over the completely cooled crust.
- Place the pan in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
Step 4: Make the pumpkin fluff
- While the cheesecake layer is in the freezer, beat the pumpkin pudding for 2 minutes.
- Add the pumpkin puree and spices.
- Gently fold in 1 cup of the homemade whipped topping. Again, don’t overmix it so it will stay fluffy.
- Spread the pumpkin fluff over the cheesecake layer.
- Return the pan to the freezer for 10-20 minutes. The layer doesn’t need to be completely set before adding the final whipped topping layer, but the firmer it is, the more your layers will be.
Step 5: Top the dessert
- You’ll have some whipped topping left which you’ll spread evenly over the pumpkin fluff for the final layer.
- Sprinkle the top evenly with toffee bits.
Step 6: Chill before serving
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Once the pumpkin delight is firm enough, slice and serve! It’s okay if it gets messy, it will taste divine!
Pumpkin Delight FAQS
Yes! This Pumpkin Delight recipe goes by many names including Pumpkin Lush, Pumpkin Dream, and Pumpkin Lasagna.
Lush desserts are easy, chilled, no-bake desserts that are wonderfully creamy and fluffy. They are usually made with a Graham cracker crust, layered with any combination of pudding (any flavor, often combined with whipped topping), cream cheese combined with whipped topping, and finished off with whipped topping.
Yes, replace the homemade version with prepared whipped topping such as thawed Cool Whip. Use it wherever the homemade whipped topping is used.
Of course! If you have a favorite homemade vanilla pudding recipe, go ahead and use it.
Be sure to grease the bottom of the pan generously before adding the pecan crust.
Yep! This recipe tastes even better the next day as the layers have time to chill and set up.
First, stick with Jell-O brand pudding. Reduced-fat brands or “healthier” brands of pudding have a tendency to bleed into the next layer. Second, freeze the dessert for 10 minutes between each layer. Finally, chill the dessert sufficiently before slicing. Ideally, pop it in the freezer for a few hours, slice, then transfer to the refrigerator.
You are welcome to use your own fresh pumpkin instead of canned pumpkin puree. My only caution is that you cannot use a carving pumpkin (like the pumpkin you carve for Halloween), but need to use a sugar pumpkin. Carving pumpkins are raised for their durability and not their taste and contain much more moisture than sugar pumpkins and also have less flavor.
How to make homemade pumpkin puree:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Cut the pumpkin in half from the stem to base.
3. Remove all the seeds and pulp.
4. Cover the cut side of each pumpkin half with foil.
5. Bake, foil side up for 1 hour OR until tender.
6. Scrape out pumpkin flesh and add to a blender
7. Strain puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove any stringy pieces
8. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
9. If your puree is extra moist, drain it on paper towels before using.
Tools Used in This Recipe
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- 1 cup pecans
- 9 whole rectangle graham cracker sheets
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 ounces block cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 ½ cups homemade whipped topping
- remaining homemade whipped topping
- 8 oz. bag toffee bits (like Heath Bits of Brickle with chocolate)
LAYER 1 – PECAN CRUST
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add pecans and Graham crackers to a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add sugar and butter and continue to process until finely ground and completely combined.
- Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 pan and pat into an even layer using the bottom of a glass. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely before using. Meanwhile:
HOMEAMDE WHIPPED TOPPING
- Stir the water and gelatin together in a small bowl; let sit 5 minutes. Microwave for 20 seconds, give it a stir then set aside.
- Add ½ cup powdered sugar, 3 cups heavy cream, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. Whip using an electric handheld mixer just until soft peaks form (the peaks flop over when the beaters are lifted.) Turn the mixer to low and slowly pour in the gelatin mixture. Mix until combined then increase speed to medium and continue mixing until stiff peaks form (peaks stand straight up when the beaters are lifted). Set aside.
LAYER 2 – CHEESECAKE
- In a separate large bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk until smooth and creamy. Fold 1 ½ cups of the whipped topping into the cream cheese until smooth.
- Spread cheesecake over the cooled crust. Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes while you make the next layer. (If the crust isn't cool yet, set aside and make the pumpkin fluff below).
LAYER 3 – PUMPKIN FLUFF
- Beat pudding and milk with a handheld mixer for 2 minutes (it will be thick). Beat in the canned pumpkin and spices, then fold in 1 cup homemade whipped topping. Spread over the cheesecake. Place in the freezer for 10-20 minutes to set.
LAYER 4 – WHIPPED TOPPING
- Spread the remaining whipped topping over the pumpkin fluff in an even layer. If the whipped topping has become extra stiff and not spreadable, it’s easy to fix by folding in additional heavy cream a couple tablespoons at a time until it’s spreadable.
LAYER 5 – TOPPING
- Immediately sprinkle toffee bits over the whipped topping.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. For the cleanest cuts, I recommend freezing for a few hours, slicing, then transferring to the refrigerator to thaw before serving. HOWEVER, I would not stress it. It's okay if the dessert gets messy – just scoop it out! It will taste incredible either way.
- Unflavored gelatin: This is a common baking ingredient and can be found next to the packages of Jell-O and pudding at your grocery store. You cannot make homemade whipped topping without it or the dessert will deflate and weep. The other option is store-bought such as Cool Whip.
- To cut clean slices: Fill a large glass with hot water. Dip the knife in the hot water before each cut, then wipe clean with a paper towel after each cut, then repeat. You can also run the knife under hot water in between cuts.
- Make Ahead: The entire dessert can be assembled up 24 hours in advance and refrigerated or frozen for up to 3 months. If making more than 24 hours in advance, freeze, then let thaw overnight.
- Storage: Store the covered dessert in the fridge for up to a week. The layers will begin to soften and may weep a bit; still so delicious, just maybe not company best after the first day.
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