Pumpkin Cream Cheese

pumpkin cream cheese

The other day I was perusing the refrigerated section of Trader Joe's and I saw a little tub of pumpkin cream cheese. The tub looked up at me with its beady little eyes and said, "I dare you to make your own pumpkin cream cheese, Tracy."

pumpkin cream cheese

Clearly I showed that tub who's boss!

If you've got extra pumpkin puree hanging out in your fridge, you can put it to good use with this recipe. Pumpkin cream cheese tastes just like a subtly sweet pumpkin cheesecake. Sounds good, right? It pairs perfectly with: crackers, gingerbread, graham crackers, cookies, bagels, you name it. Now if only I could convince Cooper to try some. His stubbornness just means more for me, right? I totally win this battle.

And we're off!

Gather your ingredients. Plop your softened cream cheese in a bowl. Add vanilla.

pumpkin cream cheese

Here comes the pumpkin! And then maple syrup enters the picture.

pumpkin cream cheese

STIR! And now add in the brown sugar.

pumpkin cream cheese

SPICE TIME! Ginger & cinnamon!

pumpkin cream cheese

Stir stir stir. Put the cream cheese into the fridge for about an hour.

pumpkin cream cheese

Spread some on crackers.

pumpkin cream cheese

Smear some on a slice of gingerbread.

pumpkin cream cheese

Or eat it directly from the bowl. Choose your own adventure!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese

makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or agave)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cover bowl and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before using.

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  • jenny
    October 27, 2011

    Wow. I was just 5 minutes ago perusing the new Martha where they made pumpkin butter. My husband loves pumkin muffins with cream cheese filing, so mythought was "why not pumpkin cream cheese?" I look at google reader and you had already done it. Perfect!

  • October 27, 2011

    This sounds heavenly! Awesome idea!

  • October 27, 2011

    I just made pumpkin spice bagels-this would go perfectly!

  • October 27, 2011

    Talk about perfect timing to click over here; I have a half can of pumpkin just sitting on my counter waiting to be used. This will be the highlight of my bagel this afternoon. Thanks for sharing!

  • marci
    October 27, 2011

    wow, Tracy, you are genius. This homemade cream cheese is a contender! none of that sissy store-bought tub! ;-) Looks so thick, and is a gorgeous color. I can't wait to make this - I have all the ingredients, too!! thank you!

  • October 27, 2011

    I bought that pumpkin cream cheese from Trader Joe's a few weeks ago...and must admit that most of it made it into my mouth directly from a spoon, rather than on a bagel. Can't wait to try your version!

  • October 27, 2011

    Holy moley, this looks amazing! This would be perfect on a pumpernickel bagel with my morning chai latte. Thanks Tracy!

  • jenny
    October 27, 2011

    the cream cheese looks yummy, but I must admit that I'm pretty fixated on that nice, thick slice of gingerbread...

  • October 27, 2011

    Whoa. Just. WHOA! That is monumentally amazing!

    Excuse me while I got out and make this RIGHT NOW.

  • October 27, 2011

    i want to dip graham crackers in that pumpkin-y goodness.

  • October 27, 2011

    Goodness gracious. I need to make this. And then eat most of it all by myself while watching t.v.


  • Michi Hernandez
    October 27, 2011

    Mmmmm... This sounds so good. Coincidently I have all these ingredients in my kitchen too!

  • October 27, 2011

    I like your pumpkin spirit! I want to unlock the mysteries of TJ's corn relish (the corn + chile in the salsa section). That stuff rocks my world.

    • October 27, 2011

      oooh! i must try that. Maybe I can help you figure it out!

      • October 27, 2011

        Yes! That would be awesome! I recently made red pepper relish (September Everyday Food! also obsessed), which was my first relish so I was thinking that could be a good starting point for a TJ corn relish hack.

  • Becky
    October 27, 2011

    I am sooo gonna make this for the weekend. Smeared all over bagels....glorious! Thank you for sharing!

  • October 27, 2011

    Ooh, gorgeous! Great idea!

  • October 27, 2011

    just finished a delicious tub of said trader joes pumpkin cream cheese and was totally thinking there has got to be an easy way to make this! can't wait to try your recipe and thanks so much for sharing! ps...do you have a recipe for gingerbread too?! yums!

  • Jacqueline
    October 28, 2011

    uhh-mazing recipe! you are correct, this tastes just like pumpkin cheesecake :)

  • October 28, 2011

    Trader Joe's makes me feel that way a lot. :) I'm surprised I haven't turned orange yet...from all the pumpkin I've been eating!

  • Kaitlyn
    October 29, 2011

    You won't believe that I have exactly eight ounces of cream cheese for no apparent reason, and leftover pumpkin puree. Thank you!!

  • October 30, 2011

    great idea! i'd like that on a bagel!

  • October 30, 2011

    Yum! This spread looks scrumptious.

  • October 30, 2011

    gimme those crackers.

    • October 31, 2011

      THOSE are the crackers I couldn't stop eating last week! AHH.

  • Nicola
    October 31, 2011

    For those of us who NEED THIS IMMEDIATELY but live in places that don't have canned pumpkin puree readily available, should we just boil up some pumpkin, drain, then whizz it till smooth?? I feel like this would be perfect at 3am when I come home from work....

  • Kimberly
    October 31, 2011

    I was drooling about this when you first posted it, but I didn't have anything on hand to eat it with, so it went in the "make later" file. I since decided to make Joy's whole wheat molasses bread tonight, and it wasn't until I saw your recipe re-posted on The Kitchn that I realized it would probably be perfect with Joy's bread. I'll now be making both recipes tonight, so needless to say, I see a very happy belly in my near future.

    • November 1, 2011

      now that's GREAT teamworking!

  • November 2, 2011

    This looks really really good!!!!!

  • November 2, 2011

    Oh my. Just the title of the blog made me drool!! I totally have to make this! Was it just delicious to consume?! Yum! Thanks so much for posting

  • November 6, 2011

    Made this recipe a few days ago and LOVING it! I'm putting it on everything...crackers, muffins, bread....oh the possibilities! Thank you :)

    • November 7, 2011

      Awesome!!! So glad you tried it out.

  • November 7, 2011

    I must make this!! But I don't have maple sugar... do you think honey would work as a sub??

  • Nan
    November 8, 2011

    I'm going to try a fat-free, sugar-free version of this, before I get addicted to the full-octane version!

  • Darcee
    November 16, 2011

    I just made this, but my end product seems pretty runny? I'm saying something, because yours doesn't look runny at all. I used maple flavored agave syrup instead of good ole maple syrup, but other than that, followed the recipe precisely. Any ideas? It's chillin' in the refrigerator right now, perhaps that will make a difference. Oh, and also, mine is much lighter colored than yours.

    • November 16, 2011

      Peculiar! It must be your agave syrup. I know that agave is generally more runny than maple syrup. Was your cream cheese watery at all? The lightness in color might have something to do with the canned pumpkin you used. The canned pumpkin I used from Trader Joe's was a pretty bright orange. Crossing my fingers for your batch in the fridge!

      • Darcee
        November 17, 2011

        I think it was the agave I used. The cream cheese wasn't watery or over softened at all, I used Trader Joe's brand. And the pumpkin I used was from there as well. It thickened up just a smidge overnight in the fridge, but is overall still kind of thin. Tastes very good, my kids approve of it on a slice of gingerbread. Thanks Tracy!!

  • jeanne
    November 22, 2011

    I just made this Pumpkin Cream Cheese spread. Very, very good! Thanks for the recipe. I'm thinking I'll use this w/gingerbread for Thanksgiving dessert.

  • Brandi B
    November 23, 2011

    I've been meaning to write to you how amazing this recipe is! I've made it three times since you posted it and everyone continues to rave about it. Serving it with Ritz has been our favorite - that salty top is the perfect balance to the dip. Today a batch is going to the fire department inspired by Julie. Thank you for your great recipes and inspiration! BTW, I've also been eating crispy corn tortillas with avocado and lemon nonstop this past week :-) Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  • rita in mi
    November 20, 2012

    I have made this in the past, and I'll say, it's also very delicious on French toast.

  • November 25, 2012

    fabulous!!! I never buy anything I can make!!! great idea. thanks

  • April 23, 2013

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    the local Torrance production of GODSPELL. 7, which would suggest that something slightly more complex is happening.

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