Pumpkin Lush

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.

Pumpkin Lush - EASY layered dessert with a graham cracker crust, cream cheese, pudding, PUMPKIN, whipped topping, chocolate chips, and toffee bits!! A little bit of CRUNCH with lots of fluffy CREAMINESS!!

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.

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Pumpkin Lush - EASY layered dessert with a graham cracker crust, cream cheese, pudding, PUMPKIN, whipped topping, chocolate chips, and toffee bits!! A little bit of CRUNCH with lots of fluffy CREAMINESS!!

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.

Pumpkin Lush - EASY layered dessert with a graham cracker crust, cream cheese, pudding, PUMPKIN, whipped topping, chocolate chips, and toffee bits!! A little bit of CRUNCH with lots of fluffy CREAMINESS!!

Print Recipe

Pumpkin Lush

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. To a large, microwave-safe bowl add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the graham crackers crumbs and toss lightly with a fork to coat crumbs evenly.
  4. Turn mixture out into prepared pan, forming an even, smooth, flat crust layer by tapping crumbs into place with a spatula or your fingertips.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and beat to incorporate.
  10. Add 1/2 cup cup whipped topping and beat to incorporate.
  11. Turn pumpkin mixture out over cream cheese layer, using a spatula to smooth it.
  12. Evenly spread the remaining 1 1/2 cups whipped topping over the pumpkin layer.
  13. 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.
Only Eats

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19 comments

  1. This does have a lot going for it and looks creamy (and luscious )! I like desserts with cream cheese and pudding–the texture isn’t as dense as cheesecake yet the pudding gets a little more “oomph”.

  2. I have never heard of a Lush, but this sounds like something my mom used to make., but lemon like your moms. Must be a midwest thing?

    • I think it’s kind of a midwest thing and also potlucks and church basement specials. Because most of the fruity ones start out with a storebought diced up angel food cake, a can of crushed pineapple, and a tub or two of cool whip :)

  3. I have never made a lush before, but I need to! This looks so delicious!

  4. Maybe a Minnesota specialty? It does have a midwest vibe, but I’ve also never heard of a lush. I would be tempted to double the recipe–it would be a great potluck dessert!

    • Ok well I do have another California/blogger friend who makes lushes so I know they do exist outside of the midwest but yes they’re totally a potluck special. It’s really light and fluffy so a 9×13 pan would go fast!

  5. hey girl this looks so yummy!

  6. I can eat anything with pumpkin this time of year! I make a similar Lush, but I layer with chocolate graham crackers, and it disappears fast!

  7. I don’t usually comment on recipes until after I’ve tried them, but was fascinated by the “area of the country” discussion.  I’m a southerner, originally Arkansas, and have been making and loving lemon lush since 1973.  Recipe was given to me by a lovely 70 plus  year old southern lady at that time.  

    Your Pumpkin Lush sounds delicious.  I’ve saved it and am planning on giving it a whirl a little closer to Thanksgiving.  

    • I love that you’ve been making lemon lush since 1973 and know exactly what it is! I love food origin/places discussions, too!

      Hope you enjoy this one and LMK if you try it!

  8. I never heard of a lush, but this sounds amazing!

  9. I’ve personally tried this cake and it is D-LISH. I love the contrast of the light filling and the crisp crust. PS. I would totally be down for a lemon lush cake as well :P

    • I feel like our get-together was way too long ago already! And so glad you got to try this! The lemon lush, such a good memory for me because it’s one of my mom’s go-to’s!

  10. Averie would it be possible for someone to make a “frozen kind” pumpkin whoopie pie ?

  11. What is pumpkin puree?

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