Pumpkin Delight is the perfect make-ahead dessert this holiday season. You’ll love the real pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices in this easy dish. On a crust of pecan shortbread, it has layers of sweetened cream cheese, thick pumpkin filling, and whipped cream.
Fall is the perfect time of year to make all your favorite pumpkin desserts.
If you have a leftover can of pumpkin after your holiday baking is done, this recipe is a great alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread recipes.
Disclosure – I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.
Key to Success #1 – Finely Chop the Pecans
One element that significantly contributes to Pumpkin Delight’s current success is the crust.
It serves as a strong, nutty base for a fantastic dessert.
The shortbread crust that forms the base of this easy-to-enjoy dessert is incredibly soft.
Combine butter, all-purpose flour, and nuts to make the shortbread crust.
When I talk about butter, I mean real butter! Not margarine at all.
Real butter creates the softest shortbread crust.
Finely chop the pecans in this recipe using your favorite chopping method.
Your crust will hold up better if you finely chop the pecans.
To save time and energy, I use a small electric chopper to finely chop the nuts.
Spread the crust mixture into the bottom of a greased baking dish then bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes.
The lower baking temperature ensures that the crust will not be overbaked.
Key to Success #2 – Soften the Cream Cheese
My favorite layer of all the “delight” layered desserts on our website is definitely the cream cheese layer.
Everything else is built on this flavorful base.
The cream cheese layer is ultra-rich and creamy and adds a lot of flavor to the dessert.
For the cream cheese layer, you’ll need an 8-ounce block of cream cheese, a cup of powdered sugar, and two cups of Cool Whip whipped topping.
This is a deviation from the standard delight recipe.
We’re repurposing a little bit of the Cool Whip in the pumpkin layer on this one.
Cream cheese will be easier to mix into a recipe if you allow it to soften to room temperature.
The simplest approach to softening cream cheese is to let it sit on the counter for 1-2 hours.
Remove the outer box but keep the foil wrapper in place.
If you’re short on time, microwave the cream cheese to soften it.
Try microwaving on the defrost setting for 20-30 seconds to take the chill off of it.
Key to Success #3 – Use Pumpkin Puree, Not Pumpkin Pie Filling
The key to the pumpkin filling layer is starting off with a can of pumpkin puree.
This is pure 100% pumpkin.
It’s not pumpkin pie filling, which has spices and preservatives added to it.
We’re adding our own spices so we need to stick with 100% pure pumpkin puree.
Next, add three small boxes of vanilla pudding mix.
You can substitute any mild-flavored pudding mix, such as white chocolate or cheesecake pudding mix.
Also, add two cups of milk along with the spices.
I like to use my hand mixer for this step because it makes things super quick.
Blend the mixture until it is fully combined then stick it into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes until the pudding firms up.
Finally, blend in 1 cup of Cool Whip to make the pumpkin filling nice and fluffy.
Save this Pumpkin Delight recipe to your favorite Fall Desserts board or your Pumpkin Recipes board.
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped, divided
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large tub whipped topping, divided
- 15 oz pumpkin puree
- 2 cups milk
- 3 small pkgs (3 oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 tsp cinnamon, divided
- 1 tsp nutmeg, divided
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter (melted), 1/2 cup finely chopped pecan, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Press into a greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Cool completely.
- In a small mixing bowl, blend together 8 oz cream cheese, 1 cup of powdered sugar, and 2 cups of whipped topping. Mix well and pour into the cooled crust.
- In a medium mixing bowl, blend together pumpkin puree, 3 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding, 2 cups of milk, 1 tsp of cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Blend well then chill until firm, about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of whipped topping and blend until thick and smooth. Spread over the cream cheese layer.
- Top with remaining whipped topping. Garnish with 1/2 cup chopped pecans, if desired. Chill overnight before serving.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 199Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 249mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 2g
Nutrition Information Provided For Educational and Informational Purposes Only.