Pumpkin Lush — An 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!!
Easy Pumpkin Lush Dessert Recipe
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.
Pumpkin Lush Ingredients
To make this pumpkin cream cheese dessert, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Cream cheese
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Instant vanilla pudding mix
- Pumpkin puree
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)
- Toffee bits
- Mini chocolate chips
How to Make Pumpkin Lush
This almost no-bake recipe for pumpkin lush is a cinch to make! The full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post, but here’s an overview of the recipe:
- Mix together the simple graham cracker crust, then press into a foil-lined 9×9-inch baking dish.
- Bake the crust just until set, about 10 minutes.
- While the crust cools, beat together the powdered sugar and cream cheese. Turn the mixture into the cooled crust.
- To the same bowl you made the cream cheese mixture in, add the instant pudding mix and cold milk.
- Stir until thick, then add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and beat to incorporate.
- Gently fold 1/2 cup whipped topping into the pumpkin mixture. Then, spread it over the cream cheese layer.
- Top with remaining whipped topping, sprinkle with toffee bits and chocolate chips, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
Can I Double This Recipe?
Yes, you may double the ingredients and assemble the pumpkin lush in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Can This Recipe Be Made in Advance?
Absolutely! The pumpkin lush will last up to 5 days in the fridge, so make it as far in advance as you need.
This recipe for pumpkin lush couldn’t be simpler, but there are still some ways to customize the dessert.
- Use pumpkin spice pudding mix instead of vanilla pudding mix. 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. Just made sure to use INSTANT pumpkin spice pudding mix.
- Swap out the chocolate chips with butterscotch chips, or just use extra toffee bits.
- Use another sweet cracker or cookie rather than graham crackers.
- Use lite cream cheese rather than full-fat. Just make sure to buy the kind of cream cheese that’s sold in a brick, not the spreadable variety that comes in a tub.
Tips for Making This Pumpkin Lush Recipe
Pumpkin puree: Note that this recipe calls for pure pumpkin puree and NOT canned pumpkin pie filling (which is pre-sweetened and spiced).
Pudding mix: Likewise, you MUST use instant vanilla pudding mix. Cook and serve will not work!
Graham cracker crumbs: You can make your own by crushing graham crackers in a food processor or gently crush them in a zip-top bag using a rolling pin. Or you can make your life easy and buy pre-made graham cracker crumbs.
Pin This Recipe
An 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!!
- 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.
Storage: Dessert will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 533Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 209mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 2gSugar: 39gProtein: 5g
More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes:
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!
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Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Bread — Pumpkin bread that’s like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!
Pumpkin Caramel Poke Cake — Easy and the BEST pumpkin cake ever! Two kinds of caramel sauce, toffee bits, chocolate chips, whipped topping and more!
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!
I been wanting to make s OP me kinda Lush for awhile and I’m not a fan of lemon. Thus looks awesome. Made it fir thanksgivjng. Hope it tastes as good as it look. All th filling tasted great while I was making it. Thanks for the great holiday recipe.
Thanks for the 5 star review and I am sure it will be a family favorite!
Hi, Avery! I have made some of your other recipes and have never gone wrong. I’m going to make your pumpkin lush recipe with REAL pureed pumpkin for a coworker’s birthday. The only thing is that I can’t use any nut ingredients for the topping, as toffee has. I was wondering if I can replace the toffee for something else with the chocolate chips? I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks! 🙂
Then I would probably just omit. I think with the chocolate chips, if you can’t use toffee, then I think just the chips alone are fine.
Is it safe to eat the raw puree?
Can this be made ahead of time and frozen?? I am due any day now but am bringing this for Thanksgiving. Don’t want to be stuck in the hospital having a baby and not be able to make it the day before.
I would say make in advance if it’s the choice of having it or not, based on your baby. Obviously fresher is always best but do what’s practical here. Congrats!!
I made this for a company potluck. it was a huge hit! I struggled spreading the cream cheese layer on the graham cracker crust so i just ended up mixing those layers together and spreading them out which was much easier. It tasted fantastic and i was asked several times for the recipe. I will definitely be making this again.
Glad it was a huge hit and that you will definitely make it again!
Did you have any issues with the chocolate and toffee chips sinking after leaving it in the fridge overnight? Would it be better to sprinkle these on right before serving?
also- wondering what will happen if i don’t line the pan with foil. will this stick really bad? can i just spray with a nonstick spray?
Use the foil, you’ll be happier later when it’s not making a huge mess.
And I don’t have any issues with sogginess but you could always sprinkle on later if you’re concerned.
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!
Would it work out well if I did doubke the recipe? Used a 9 x13 plan?
I haven’t personally done that but I’m sure you would be to double and make in a 9×13.
What is pumpkin puree?
Averie would it be possible for someone to make a “frozen kind” pumpkin whoopie pie ?
You could probably freeze this to the point of nearly frozen but still scoop-able so you can eat it in a very chilled state.
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!
I never heard of a lush, but this sounds amazing!
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!
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!
I love that make lush desserts. A few people have said they’ve never tried them but glad I’m not the only one!
hey girl this looks so yummy!
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!
I have never made a lush before, but I need to! This looks so delicious!
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 :)
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”.
I loved that this was light and didn’t have the heaviness of a cheesecake. Like seriously had to donate most of it or I would have eaten most of it!