Crazy for Crust

No Bake Pumpkin Dessert

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I mean, really. No-Bake layered lush desserts are probably one of the best things ever. They’re amazing in summer when it’s too hot to cook – but they’re a great party dish all year round, which is why I’ve been itching to make one with pumpkin!

Make a no-bake pumpkin dessert to have your fall flavors while it’s still hot outside!


No Bake Pumpkin Dessert - the best pumpkin lush!

As you can probably imagine, I do a lot of grocery shopping. I do a big shopping once every week and I still often have to stop once or twice for things I forgot (or just realized I needed because I wasn’t planning to make two banana bundt cakes to make them perfect or I needed butterscotch pudding cookies right this second and have no pudding mix).

{I often relate myself to Doug the Dog from Up. I have lots of Squirrel! moments when it comes to what I want to make.}

Sometimes I wonder what the cashier thinks of me when I unload an entire cart full of groceries onto the conveyer belt. Often I’m buying several sacks of sugar and flour and four different kinds of M&M’s alongside a weeks’ worth of produce. Or I have Jordan with me and they wonder where my other 5 kids are because I’m spending $200 on groceries.

Or they wonder why I need 5 cans of pumpkin in July.

No Bake Pumpkin Dessert - the best pumpkin lush!

This No-Bake Pumpkin Dessert is in the style of a lush or a lasagna dessert. I never quite know what to call them, so I just stick with “dessert” like I did for my lemon and mocha mud pie versions.

A lush or no-bake dessert is created by layering a crust with two or three different flavors that are a pudding consistency. I make mine in a 9×9″ baking dish and I always make in when I know I have people coming over.

Because if left to my own devices, I’d eat the entire thing. #truestory

This pumpkin dessert has four layers of fabulousness: crust, pumpkin, cheesecake, and whipped topping with chocolate shavings.

You’d eat the entire thing too, wouldn’t you?

No Bake Pumpkin Dessert (1 of 10)

How do you make a fabulous no-bake pumpkin dessert?

  • My crust is made of Rold Gold® Original Pretzel Thins. I love pretzel thins – they’re our favorite snack and I always have them in the pantry. The crust needs a binder, which is usually butter, but for this recipe I used Smart Balance Spread with EVOO. The crust isn’t a solid crust like a pie crust is; it’s looser and adds good texture to the dessert. In fact, the pretzels soften up just a touch and it ends up tasting like you’re eating pumpkin pie!
  • The pumpkin layer is made with pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla pudding mix. It layers nicely on top of the pretzel crust. I had a feeling pumpkin + pretzel would be amazing together, and I was right.
  • The cheesecake layer is made with PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese that’s mixed with sugar, vanilla, and some whipped topping. Then the whole thing is topped with more whipped topping and garnished with some grated Hershey’s chocolate bar. (Did you know that pumpkin and chocolate go really well together?)

I got all of my ingredients at my local Safeway. We all have our favorite grocery stores, and Safeway is my favorite for sure. I’ve been shopping there all my life, except for the few years we lived in Arizona. Those were the “dark years” – I missed my Safeway! (If you live in Southern California, you’ll know Safeway as VONS.)

Safeway is one of those stores I love to walk into. I know that I’m going to get great lunch meat from the deli, the produce is going to be fresh (and last!), and I know I’m going to save money because I always use my Just4U savings. And with all the shopping I do, I really, really need lots of savings!

If you love Safeway as much as I do, you should go enter their Summer Sweepstakes to win a $100 store gift card. There are 5 winners daily! That will buy you all the ingredients for this pumpkin dessert, and your weekly groceries too. (Unless you’re me, that is.)

No Bake Pumpkin Dessert - the best pumpkin lush!

This no bake pumpkin dessert was seriously my favorite lush to date. The pumpkin and cheesecake layers go well, obviously, because those two flavors are total BFFs. The pretzel adds a texture and a flavor to the pumpkin you didn’t realize would go so well, and the chocolate is the perfect garnish.

It’s an especially great pumpkin dessert for Sacramento in August, because it’s still over 90 degrees. It’s going to be that way until October, so this way I can enjoy my pumpkin without the added A/C bill. But you can believe I’ll be serving this at Thanksgiving too. No Bake Pumpkin Lush Dessert: the new pumpkin pie!

No Bake Pumpkin Dessert - the best pumpkin lush!

Just make it. Believe me – you’re gonna love it!

4.24 from 13 votes
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Servings: 10 servings

No Bake Pumpkin Dessert

Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
Easy to make, this no-bake pumpkin dessert has 4 layers of fabulous flavor!


  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 2 tablespoons butter — room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 3.4 ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree — not pumpkin pie mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese — softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 8 ounces Whipped Topping — Whipped Topping
  • 1/2 XL Hershey Bar — grated (for garnish)


  1. Place the crushed pretzels in a large bowl. You want them coarsely crushed, not fine crumbs. Stir in 2 tablespoons of sugar and then work in the butter until no big chunks are left. You may need to use your hands for this step. Place in the bottom of a 9x9” baking dish. Chill until ready to use.
  2. Wipe out the crust bowl, then add the pudding mix to the bowl. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice and mix until smooth. Carefully pour and spread over the crust. The crust isn’t solid, so you need to be careful it doesn’t get mixed into the pumpkin layer.
  3. Place the cream cheese in the bowl and beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Add 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla and beat until combined. Fold in half of the whipped topping. Spread over pumpkin layer.
  4. Spread the remaining whipped topping over the top of the cream cheese layer and top with grated chocolate. (To make the chocolate shavings start with a cold chocolate bar and grate it with a box grater over the top of the whipped topping.)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: no-bake

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 slice) — Calories: 229, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 312mg, Potassium: 160mg, Carbohydrates: 30g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 16g, Protein: 4g, Vitamin A: 85.2%, Vitamin C: 1.2%, Calcium: 7.6%, Iron: 7%

Mocha Mud Pie Dessert

Mocha Mud Pie Dessert (7 of 7)

Lemon Dessert

Lemon Dessert (3 of 6)w

Frozen Pumpkin Meringue Pie

Frozen Pumpkin Meringue Pie (3 of 8)w

Sweets from friends:
Chocolate Lasagna by CenterCutCook
Double Berry Cheesecake Lush Dessert by Tidy Mom
Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip by Something Swanky


This post was sponsored by Safeway, but opinions are 100% mine. I really do love Safeway and I shop there almost every week! And seriously. Sign up for Just4U. It’ll change the way you shop!

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  1. It is 6 am and I fo’ realz have a pumpkin item in the oven right now. WHY OH WHY DID I NOT SEE THIS FIRST. Turning on the oven is a death wish right now. Loving this easy, salty and sweet dessert! Pinning 🙂

  2. I’ve stopped wondering if cashiers think I’m crazy. My cart looks seriously insane. It’s full of healthy whole grains, veggies and fish. And TONS of candy. Sometimes they ask me if I’m having a party. I’ve just gotten used to saying yes.
    This dessert looks amazing! You have serious photography skills, because I can see every textural nuance. Love it! Summer and fall mixed together, mm!

  3. What a great no-bake dessert, Dorothy! I’ve never tried a pumpkin one before, so you can bet I’m trying this one out. And I love the pretzel crust!

  4. Yum! I love desserts like this; sometimes simplicity is best!

  5. Loving that pretzel crust!! Cannot wait to break out the pumpkin soon!

  6. Oh my goodness girl. This looks so delicious that I wish I could go pumpkin picking right this second so I could make this with fresh pumpkins. Fall can’t get here soon enough!

  7. This looks really luscious! I love the pretzel crust and that it’s no-bake. The contents of my grocery cart have been the subject of a few conversations, especially when one half vegetables and yogurt and the other is all sugary items…Thanks for including Smart Balance in the crust layer; we use it and I’d always wondered if it could be substituted in some recipes like this for the butter.

  8. I love Dug from UP and I constantly feel like that in the grocery store! This desert looks delicious. Sweet and salty always takes the cake in my book and ANYTHING pumpkin! The fact that this is no bake, what a win! Thank you so much! Pretzels Thins are now on my grocery list!

  9. There’s no denying the fact that I would lose all self control around a pan of this. Oh my WORD, it’s got everything I need to make me happy (well, except for bacon) 😉

  10. This looks delicious! I’m digging that pretzel crust! I just pulled out my pumpkin yesterday and I can’t wait to eat all the pumpkin!! 🙂 I totally know what you mean about the grocery store – I always feel crazy with two purchases where the second is always full of sugar and everything unhealthy. They always ask if I’m baking something and I’m like, yea, try 150 thousand things. And it’ll probably change before I get to them all, so I’ll be back 🙂 I’ve never been to or even seen a Safeway. 🙁 I don’t know if they have them in the South. Bummer.

  11. I cannot even believe this is no-bake! It looks so…complicated?! but it’s not. Omg love love love!! And the pretzel crust and salty-and-sweet oh wow, just WOW! Love this, Dorothy! Of course will be pinned many times to many boards 🙂

  12. Ahh.. I have been looking for a no-bake pumpkin recipe and I think I have just found it! This looks so delish; crunchy salty pretzels, smooth pumpkin filling , silky cheesecake and fluffy topping. Heaven on a plate! Pinned!

  13. I love this creamy, dreamy pumpkin dessert! It’s perfect right now when it’s still warm out but I’m craving pumpkin like nobody’s business. 🙂

  14. I never would have thought to combine pumpkin and pretzels! Yum!

  15. What a beautiful combination of flavors and textures. You gotta love no bakes!

  16. This looks great. Before you came along I used to use fresh pumpkins (after Halloween they used to be free) and I would cook and puree them and freeze in measured amounts so they’d be ready for pies during the holidays. I never thought of a no bake dessert with them. Sounds heavenly.

  17. Love pumpkin! Ready for fall, and love your no-bake ideas!

  18. You totally had me at pretzel crust. This looks amazing!

  19. Ooooh loving this no bake recipe! Looks ooey gooey and delicious!

  20. I’m here to support your crazy pumpkin habit — you go girl, we need your kind around here making the world a better place for pumpkin desserts, even in the middle of August 🙂

  21. Yay for pumpkin!!! I am so ready for fall!

  22. I’m loving all these beautiful creamy layers of yumminess! The pretzel crust sounds fantastic and I can’t believe it’s no bake too! Pinning – love this!

  23. Wow. This looks… interesting? Coming from NZ, I can’t quite work out America’s thing about pumpkin. I think your pumpkin must be different to ours, because this would taste terrible if I made it! What does your canned pumpkin have in it? Spices? Flavourings? I would love to give it a go, but I have never seen canned pumpkin in our supermarkets.

    • Canned pumpkin is just pumpkin – no spices, flavorings, or sugar. It’s what you’d get if you peeled, cut, and cooked an actual pumpkin for pie. That’s why I always add sugar and seasoning to it – to make it not just plain pumpkin. You can substitute equal parts of actual cooked pumpkin from scratch if that’s all you have, but the texture might be different. In this recipe it shouldn’t be an issue, but in baked goods it can cause a little liquid difference since canned pumpkin is a uniform product and cooking your own isn’t. 🙂

  24. Can you use canned pumpkin pie filling for this recipe or does it have to be pumpkin puree?

  25. Pretzel, pumpkin, and cheesecake…this is the dessert of my dreams! Haha! I was totally laughing at the squirrel comments and the grocery store trips…girl, we are so the same. I try not to make eye contact with my grocery store cashiers for fear of seeing judgement at all the sweets stuff I buy versus the real food. 🙂

  26. Yum!!! I don’t keep instant pudding or Cool Whip. So – I made some vanilla pudding, decreasing the amount of milk to make it thicker, and stuck it in the freezer to chill quickly. For the Cool Whip, I whipped heavy whipping cream and added vanilla and powdered sugar. Otherwise, I kept to the recipe. It was quite tasty!! We all ate two helpings. Thanks for a cool, delicious dessert. 🙂

  27. This looks simply amazing!!

  28. This looks yummy! I’m assuming the recipe uses a 15oz. can of pumpkin, and not the larger 28oz. can, right?

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  30. Hi there,

    Is there another cracker I can substitute for the ones you have listed? We don’t have them here 🙁

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