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Pumpkin Trifle (easy recipe)

Meet your new favorite, super easy to make pumpkin dessert! This trifle screams fall with layers of pumpkin cookies, cheesecake, and whipped cream. It comes together in no time and the different components can be made ahead. I love to make it with a few homemade ingredients, but you can use store-bought ones and have a last-minute pudding that will delight everyone.

  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings



For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

For the pumpkin mixture:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, homemade (or canned), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spices


All components can be made up to 2 days ahead and keep refrigerated (cream and pumpkin mixture) or in jars or tins (crumbs). 

Make the crumbs: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Tear apart in chunks 8 soft cookies or 2 bread slices. 
  3. Put in a clean cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until they're crisp and darkened in color. The time depends a lot on the size of the pieces so check them regularly and move them around so they toast better. 
  4. Let cool while making the rest of the dessert. 

For the pumpkin mixture:

  1. Mix the pumpkin puree with the cream cheese until smooth. 
  2. Add half the powdered sugar (1/4 cup) and the spices, and integrate well. 
  3. Taste and adjust sugar or spices to your palate. Reserve. 

For the whipped cream:

  1. Beat cold cream with the rest of the powdered sugar (1/4 cup) until medium peaks form. 
  2. If making ahead keep refrigerated, and covered. 

To assemble:

  1. Have ready 4 individual glasses. 
  2. Put a layer of crumbs in the bottom of each glass.
  3. Add a few tablespoons of cream but don't spread it the sides.
  4. Top with 1/4 of the pumpkin cheese mixture. 
  5. Top with a whole whoopie (or 1/2 slice of pumpkin bread) and gently press down. 
  6. Top with the rest of the cream and crumbs, dividing evenly among glasses.
  7. Refrigerate for an hour or two before serving. Freezing is not recommended.


  • Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperature, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier.
  • Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust. 
  • Cream: dairy products vary in the percentage of water and content. My experience is that the more water, the less they hold and the easier they curdle. If this happens, change brands and buy the best one you can afford.
  • Make ahead: I recommend making it several hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld. Some components can be made ahead, like the crumbs, cake or soft cookies, and the pumpkin cheese mixture.
  • Toppings: besides the last dollop of whipped cream and pumpkin cake crumbs, you can use edible flowers, leaves, pumpkin seeds, or a fresh berry to add color to the trifle. 
  • Spices: use your favorite pumpkin spice mix, homemade or store-bought. I make my own with (all ground) 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Occasionally, I add a pinch of ground cloves.
  • Whoopie cookies: this dessert is the result of leftover whoopie pies. They are like soft pumpkin cookies, and I use them in 2 ways here: soft as they are originally made (without the filling), and crunchier by tearing them up and drying them in the oven, like bread crumbs. You can also use this Pumpkin Bread recipe or pumpkin bundt cake or spiced pumpkin cake, both without the frosting.
  • Shortcut:
    Store-bought pumpkin bread instead of the whoopie cookies.  
    Gingersnaps, use them crushed instead of the crumbs. 
    Pumpkin pie filling, canned, use it alone instead of the cheesecake pumpkin mixture that goes in the middle of the trifle. 
    Cream, I know there are canned creams that can be used, such as Cool Whip.
  • Crumbs: what we need to do to make crumbs is to dry out the pieces of cake or whoopies rather than toast them. So that they stay crunchier longer. So it's as easy as tearing the soft cookies or cake pieces, putting them in a clean, dry cookie sheet, and baking them at a low temperature. How toasted and crunchy you want the crumbs is up to you. Keep in mind that unless you evenly cut the pieces, they will toast differently. I like that.
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Chilling time: 1 hour
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Mixing + Layering
  • Cuisine: International


  • Serving Size: 1/4
  • Calories: 356
  • Sugar: 25.7 g
  • Sodium: 113.3 mg
  • Fat: 21.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.8 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 5.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 63.2 mg

Keywords: pumpkin trifle