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.

MY OTHER RECIPES

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!!

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.

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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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!

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23 comments on “Pumpkin Lush”

  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.  

  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

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

  11. What is pumpkin puree?

  12. Would it work out well if I did doubke the recipe? Used a 9 x13 plan?

  13. Hi, Avery. I have made other recipes that you have posted and never been disappointed. I was going to make your pumpkin lush cake for a co-worker’s birthday with my preschool class and surprise her with it. There’s just one thing. She doesn’t like chocolate. Is there something I can replace for the chocolate chips? Would butterscotch chips work or would you have another suggestion?

    • Thanks for the compliments on my recipes!

      I think butterscotch would be a great substitute or not sure if white chocolate is still chocolate to her, but that would be nice as well. Sometimes around this time of year you can even find pumpkin-spice chips too. But your first thought of just doing butterscotch is easy. LMK how she likes it!

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