Pumpkin Lush Dessert is made with a graham cracker crust bottom, a sweet cheesecake layer, a layer of creamy pumpkin, and topped with a layer of whipped topping.
This pumpkin lush recipe is so much better than boring pumpkin pie and it is perfect for the holidays.
What is a Lush dessert?
I am sure you have heard of ”Lush” desserts like Chocolate Lush or Lemon Lush. These desserts are also called “delights” like Chocolate Delight. They are known for their layers of goodness.
The layers usually are some sort of cracker/cookie crumb crust/bottom (maybe even a shortbread bottom), a cheesecake layer, the main flavor layer and then topped with a sweet whipped topping.
This pumpkin lush recipe has a graham cracker crust bottom, a sweet and easy cheesecake layer, the pumpkin spice layer and then is topped with whipped topping. It is an easy dessert that is always a crowd pleaser.
NOTE: This Pumpkin Lush recipe uses Whipped Topping (Cool Whip) in a few of the layers as well as for the topping. You will need 1 container (16 ounces) and then will use some of the whipped topping from this container for the layers and the topping.
How To Make the Graham Cracker Crust Layer for Pumpkin Lush
Graham crackers, butter and sugar are all you need for the graham cracker crust for this Pumpkin Lush Dessert.
You will need about 13 crackers of finely crushed crackers. There are usually about 9 sheet/crackers in a sleeve of graham crackers, so you will need about 1 1/2 sleeves of crackers.
To get the graham crackers finely crushed you can use a food processor, or you can put the in a zip top bag and crush the crackers with something heavy.
Make sure your graham crackers are crushed fine.
Mix the graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and white sugar. Brown sugar works great too.
Press the buttery crumbs into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Firmly press on them so they are good and compact.
TIP: A heavy drinking glass or the bottom of a spoon pressed on top of the crust works perfectly for getting it good and firmly packed down.
Bake your crust for 7-10 minutes until it is warmed and a bit golden on top. Then take it out of the oven and let the crust cool.
How To Make the Cheesecake Layer
Make the cheesecake layer while the graham cracker crust is baking.
A stand mixer works best to make the cheesecake layer, a hand mixer will work too.
Using the whisk attachment, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
Next, gently mix in some of the whipped topping.
Spread the cheesecake mixture on the cooled graham cracker crust.
TIP: It can be tricky spreading the thick cheesecakes layer. Drop the cheesecake mixture in small amounts all over the graham cracker crust. Spread the cheesecake layer on the crust spreading it only going ONE direction at a time. If you go back and forth you will pick up the top layer of the graham cracker crust. (Not a super big deal but you will end up with bits of crust in the cheesecake layer).
Put the pan in the fridge to let is chill while you make the pumpkin layer.
How to Make the Pumpkin Layer for Pumpkin Lush Dessert
In a medium sized bowl add the vanilla pudding with heavy whipping cream. Mix the pudding and heavy whipping cream together. It will be thick.
Next, in a separate bowl add your can of pumpkin purée (make sure it is not pumpkin pie filling).
Then, mix your vanilla pudding mixture in with the pumpkin purée.
Next, add the pumpkin spice. You can add more if you want the pumpkin spice flavor stronger. Mix it in well.
Finally, gently fold in some of the cool whip with the pumpkin mixture. Then spread it on top of the cheesecake layer.
Finish it off with the last of the whipped topping (Cool Whip).
OPTIONAL: You can sprinkle some pumpkin spice seasoning or cinnamon on top, drizzle caramel sauce on top or add chopped nuts to the top. I like to keep mine simple.
Serving Pumpkin Lush Dessert
This dessert needs to chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. It will cut better and stay together better the longer it has been in the fridge. Overnight is even better to get it good and chilled.
When it is ready to serve, cut the lush into pieces/slices and enjoy! You can get 12 good size pieces out of a 9×13 pan.
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Pumpkin Lush Dessert
- 9×13 baking dish
Whipped Topping ( Cool Whip)
- 16 oz. whipped topping *Cool Whip – you will use this in a few layers and for the top of the dessert
Graham Cracker Crust Layer
- 13 sheets/whole graham crackers *about 1 and 1/2 sleeves/packages
- 8 tbsp butter *1 stick, melted
- 1 tbsp white sugar *brown sugar works too
- 16 oz. cream cheese *softened, 2 blocks
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup whipped topping *Cool Whip, take it out of the 16 oz. container
- 1 Box (5.1 oz.) Instant Vanilla Pudding
- 1 1/2 cups heaving whipping cream
- 1 can (15 oz.) Pumpkin Puree *make sure it is not pumpkin pie filling
- 2 tsp Pumpkin Spice *add more to taste
- 1 cup whipped topping *Cool Whip, take from the 16 oz. container
- Whipped Topping *use the remaining Cool Whip
- Pumpkin spice, caramel sauce or nuts can be added to the top if desired *these are not included in nutritional calculations
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat your oven to 350 ℉. Grease a 9×13 baking dish
- Finely crush the graham crackers. The easiest way to do this is to put the crackers in a food processor. If you do not have a food processor, you can put the crackers in a zip top bag and crush them with something heavy. Make sure they are finally crushed.
- In a bowl add your melted butter, the crushed graham crackers and sugar. Mix well.
- Press the graham cracker crumb mixture into the bottom of the greased baking dish. Press it down firmly so it will stay together when the dessert is cut and served. *A heavy drinking glass or the bottom of a spoon pressed on top of the crust works perfectly for getting it good and firmly packed down.
- Bake the crust in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the top gets a little golden brown. Let it cool after it’s done baking.
- Make the cheeecake layer while the crust bakes!In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (a hand mixer works too) add your cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix it well.
- Add 1 cup of the whipped topping (Cool Whip) and gently fold it into the cream cheese mixture.
- Spread the cheesecake layer on top of the cooled graham cracker crust.NOTE: Spreading the thick cream cheese layer can be tricky. Gently spread it going in one direction at a time!!! If you go back and forth you will pick up/break off the top of the graham cracker crust and it will spread with the cream cheese mixture. It’s not a big deal if this happens…but if you want to avoid it, only spread it in one direction!
- Put the baking dish in the fridge to chill the cheesecake layer while you make the pumpkin layer.
- In a bowl add your vanilla pudding mix and heavy whipping cream. Mix well. It will be thick!
- In a separate bowl add your pumpkin purée. Then add the whipped cream mixture to the pumpkin purée and mix well.
- Add your pumpkin spice (add more to taste if needed). Mix it well.
- Gently fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping (Cool Whip).Spread this on top of the chilled cheesecake layer.
- Spread the rest of the whipped topping (Cool Whip) on top of the pumpkin layer.
- OPTIONAL: You can top it off with a sprinkle of pumpkin spice, cinnamon, caramel sauce or nuts!
- This dessert needs to chill in the fridge for at least three hours. Overnight is preferred. After the desert has chilled, cut it into pieces and serve!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and should only be used as an approximation.