No baking needed to create this simple and delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball! This fun dessert “appetizer” is packed with pumpkin pie-inspired flavors, filled with milk chocolate toffee bits, and coated in miniature chocolate chips.
If you love pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, you will go crazy for this pumpkin dessert ball!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball
Come fall time, my boys know just about everything we eat (and drink) is going to include pumpkin. So when we swapped our usual weekend chocolate fondue night for this Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball, they weren’t too surprised. Luckily, they all love pumpkin-filled treats too!
This fun dessert ball is the perfect thing to serve for a fall get together — it’s such a unique treat and everyone we’ve served it to always goes crazy for it.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball ingredients
- Spice cake mix: Our absolute favorite cake mix to use in these cheesecake ball is Betty Crocker’s® Super Moist Spice Cake Mix. It’s got a great flavor, a good amount of seasoning, and there is pudding in the mix, which helps thicken this cheesecake ball and add softness.
- Cream cheese: I suggest full-fat cream cheese for this Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball. When using lower-fat cream cheese, it doesn’t hold together as well and can actually get a bit watery.
- Unsalted butter: Since the cake mix does have salt in it, use unsaltedbutter so the total amount of salt in this cheesecake ball can be managed.
- Pumpkin pie spice: This is a delicious combination of warming spices (including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice). It can be found among other spices in the grocery store, or you can make your own!
- Cannedpumpkin: Use pure canned pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling has a lot of added ingredients, as opposed to pure pumpkin which is just pumpkin.
- Sugars: Powdered sugar adds sweetness, and also gives a light texture to this Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball. The brown sugar adds a deeper molasses flavor, but we don’t add too much to avoid an overly grainy cheesecake ball.
- Vanillaextract: This ingredient contributes a subtle flavor addition.
- Toffee bits: Milk chocolate English toffee bits bring such a great flavor and texture to the dessert.
- Coating: The whole ball gets rolled in a delicious coating of miniature chocolate chips, but you could also roll it in crushed pecans, toffee bits or crushed graham cracker/cookie crumbs if you prefer.
Be sure to use room-temperature cream cheese and butter. It’s really important that the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature. Don’t melt the butter or cream cheese, though, or this Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball won’t set up properly. Leave cold ingredients out for 45 minutes to an hour, or use some of these tricks to bring them to room temperature quicker.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball dippers
While I’m partial to a nice big spoon…here are a few of our other favorite things to dip into this Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball:
- Regular grahamcrackers or cinnamon graham crackers
- Golden Oreos® or Golden Oreo Thins (If you love chocolate and pumpkin together, regular Oreo cookies are also amazing!)
- Biscoff® cookies
- Pretzels/pretzel thins
- Sliced apples (like Granny Smith, Fuji, or Honeycrisp)
How (and why) to heat treat the spice cake mix
Spice cake mix is one of the ingredients in this Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball. While normally, the cake mix is heated to a high temperature during the course of baking it, and that kills any potential bacteria that may be in the flour, this cheesecake ball isn’t baked, so that means it contains “raw” flour. If you are concerned about this, I recommend heat treating the cake mix to ensure any potential bacteria are killed. There are two options for heat-treating your mix.
- Use the microwave: Add the spice cake mix to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in bursts of 30 seconds, stirring in between each burst. Take your time stirring well to make sure none of the mixture burns. Use a thermometer to test the mixture in a few places to make sure it has reached 165 degrees F throughout all the mixture. (If you get less than 165 degrees, return the flour for another burst of 30 seconds).
- Or treat it in the oven: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. and line a large sheet pan (with sides) with a nonstick liner or parchment paper. Spread the cake mix on the pan and bake, removing and stirring the mix every 1 and 1/2 minutes. Every time you remove the cake mix to stir, test it with the thermometer. As soon as it reaches 165 degrees F, it’s safe to use in the recipe.
Why heat treat the spice cake mix? Any time grains are used in an uncooked form, there is a small but real risk of salmonella or E. coli bacteria being present…and that is a health concern. This is one reason why we’re warned not to eat raw cookie dough. Baking cake mix according to package instructions, kills any bacteria, but since we’re using the cake mix in its uncooked form, we play it safe and heat treat it to remove any potential bacteria.
Notes on heat treating the spice cake mix
- Let the mix cool completely before using it, because hot spice cake mix will make the degrade the consistency of the Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball. Place the pan with the cake mix in the fridge or freezer to quickly bring it to room temperature.
- Break up any clumps with your fingers and discard any stubborn clumps that won’t break up. Don’t scrape it up any cake mix that may stick to the sides or bottom of the pan– it’s most likely overcooked.
- Discard any discolored sections of cake mix, as they will make the dip taste burnt (we want the heat-treated spice cake mix to look just like it did before heat treating it — the appearance shouldn’t change at all).
Use leftover pumpkin in one of these recipes
- Soft-baked Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting
- Maple-glazed Pumpkin Scones
- 7 Layer Pumpkin Barswith chocolate chips, toffee, and coconut
- Soft Pumpkin Cookieswith chocolate chips
- Pumpkin Créme Brûleéwith caramelized sugar on top
Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball
Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball
- 1package (8 oz.; 226g)full-fat cream cheese(See Note 1)
- 1/2cup (8 tbsp; 113g)unsalted butter
- 1teaspoonvanilla extract
- 1teaspoonpumpkin pie spice
- 1/3cup (74g)canned pumpkin(not an entire can)
- 1cup (114g)powdered sugar
- 2tablespoonspacked brown sugar
- 1 and 1/3cups (177g)spice cake mix(See Note 2)
- 1/2cup (87g)toffee bits
- 1cup (170g)miniature chocolate chips
- Dippers: apple, Biscoff cookies, gingersnaps, vanilla Oreos, etc.
- Optional: orange food coloring
CREAM CHEESE AND BUTTER: In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer (or in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment), beat together the room temperature (do NOT melt) cream cheese and butter until completely smooth.
OTHERINGREDIENTS: Once smooth, add in the vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, canned pumpkin, powdered sugar, brown sugar, food dye (if desired for a more intense orange color), and pumpkin spice cake mix (See Note 2). Beat until all ingredients are well incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape the sides.
TOFFEE: Stir in the toffee bits. The mixture is fairly wet and might not seem like it will come together, but it firms up a lot in the fridge!
WRAP: Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and transfer the mixture into the center of it. Tightly wrap and form into a ball (again, it doesn’t form perfectly here, but it will be easier to shape once it is firmer!)
CHILL: Chill for 2 hours or until firm.
SERVE: Once firmed and chilled, remove from the fridge. Place miniature chocolate chips on a plate and unwrap the pumpkin ball onto the chips. Roll around and use your hands to press chocolate chips all around the ball. Serve with your favorite cookies/crackers, apple slices, etc.
Note 2: If you are concerned about the flour in the spice cake mix, I recommend heat treating it first. There are two options for heat-treating your mix:
- Heat treat it in the microwave: Add the spice cake mix to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in bursts of 30 seconds, stirring in between each burst. Take your time stirring well to make sure none of the mixture burns. Use a thermometer to test the mixture in a few places to make sure it has reached 165 degrees F throughout all the mixture. (If you get less than 165 degrees, return the flour for one more burst of 30 seconds).
- Heat treat it in the oven: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan (with sides) with a nonstick liner or parchment paper. Spread the cake mix on the pan. Bake the cake mix, removing and stirring it, every 1 and 1/2 minutes. Every time you remove the cake mix to stir, test it with the thermometer. As soon as it reaches 165 degrees F, it’s safe to use in the recipe.
We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.