This dessert. Oh boy. It has everything going for it.
Lush desserts are usually made with a shortbread crust or something similar and topped with fluffy goodness in the form of pudding and whipped topping and often with some sort of fruit. My mom makes a lemon lush that’s to die for but I digress.
No lemon here. Pumpkin instead. That’s my idea of a great trade.
It’s an almost no-bake (the crust bakes for just 10 minutes) layered dessert that begins with a slightly crunchy graham cracker crust, a sweet yet tangy layer of cream cheese, a layer of vanilla pudding that’s spiked with pumpkin, topped with whipped topping, and sprinkled with crunchy toffee bits and chocolate chips.
I love the toffee bits and chocolate chips on top for a texture wakeup call. They’re a great contrast to the soft fluffiness below. And I have a thing for graham cracker crusts because they remind me of Seven Layer Bars which also adds a touch of crunch.
There’s plenty of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice for a perfect fall dessert. I used vanilla pudding because I couldn’t find pumpkin pudding. If you can find pumpkin pudding and want to boost the intensity of pumpkin flavor, go for it.
This dessert has everything going for it. It's a layered dessert that begins with a slightly crunchy graham cracker crust, a sweet yet tangy layer of cream cheese, a layer of vanilla pudding that's spiked with pumpkin, topped with whipped topping, and sprinkled with crunchy toffee bits and chocolate chips for texture. There's plenty of pumpkin flavor for a perfect fall dessert. I used vanilla pudding but pumpkin pudding would be great.
Yield: one 9x9-inch pan
Prep Time: about 20 minutes
Cook Time: about 10 minutes for crust
Total Time: 4 1/2+ hours for cooling and setting up
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 8 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened (lite okay)
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- one 3.4-ounce box instant vanilla pudding
- 1 1/4 cups cold milk (use cow's milk and not almond, soy, cashewmilk, etc. because pudding won't thicken; the box will say 2 cups but use 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- one 8-ounce tub whipped topping, thawed (fat-free or lite okay); divided
- 1/2 cup toffee bits
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a large, microwave-safe bowl add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 1 minute.
- Add the graham crackers crumbs and toss lightly with a fork to coat crumbs evenly.
- Turn mixture out into prepared pan, forming an even, smooth, flat crust layer by tapping crumbs into place with a spatula or your fingertips.
- Bake for about 10 minutes or until just set; set aside to cool for 10 minutes so you don't melt the cream cheese in the next step.
- To a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and beat with a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and combined.
- Turn cream cheese mixture out over graham cracker crust and spread it in an even flat layer using a spatula or knife. Be gentle and careful so you don't rip the somewhat fragile crust; set aside.
- To a large bowl, add the pudding mix, milk, and beat with a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and beat to incorporate.
- Add 1/2 cup cup whipped topping and beat to incorporate.
- Turn pumpkin mixture out over cream cheese layer, using a spatula to smooth it.
- Evenly spread the remaining 1 1/2 cups whipped topping over the pumpkin layer.
- Evenly sprinkle the toffee bits, chocolate chips, cover with foil and place in fridge to cool for at least 4 hours (overnight is better) before slicing and serving. Dessert will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
My FAVORITE PUMPKIN RECIPES on my blog!
My cookbook, Cooking With Pumpkin: Recipes That Go Beyond the Pie is my second cookbook and there are over 50 pumpkin recipes including sweets, savory, drinks, and a photo for nearly every recipe. I’d be super grateful if you headed over to Amazon to check it out!
Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Bread – Pumpkin bread that’s like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!
Salted Caramel Swirled-Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with a Brown Sugar-Graham Cracker Crust – If you like pumpkin cheesecake, you’ll love these rich bars! So much faster and easier than making cheesecake!
Pumpkin Caramel Poke Cake – Easy and the BEST pumpkin cake ever! Two kinds of caramel sauce, toffee bits, chocolate chips, whipped topping and more!
Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins – Easy, no mixer recipe for the softest, moistest, most adorable little muffins ever! Rich pumpkin flavor and chocolate in every bite!
Vegan Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins – You’ll never miss the eggs or butter! Easy, soft, fluffy and the best pumpkin muffins ever!
Mini Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins – Soft little muffins that pack a big punch of pumpkin flavor! Mini food just tastes better!
Oatmeal To-Go Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins – Like having a bowl of warm pumpkin oatmeal in portable muffin form! Fast and easy!
The Best Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Ganache – One of my all-time favorite cakes, EVER! This is a must-make that everyone loves!
The Best Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread – Super soft, moist, rich pumpkin flavor, and loaded with chocolate chips! Easy, no mixer recipe that’s the BEST!
Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – A thick, hearty oatmeal cookie and a soft, chewy pumpkin cookie all in one! Lots of chocolate, not at all cakey, easy, and your new favorite pumpkin cookie recipe!
Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies – No cakey cookies here! Soft, chewy, thick, loaded with chocolate and bold pumpkin flavor! Your new favorite pumpkin cookies!
Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars – Super soft and are like biting into a piece of rich pumpkin fudge! Loaded with chocolate and crazy good!