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Easy Pumpkin Mousse

This Easy Pumpkin Mousse is a creamy, rich, velvety, light and fluffy no-bake dessert that you can enjoy all throughout the fall and holiday season (or any time of the year)!

When you think of pumpkin desserts, pie is probably what first comes to mind. Well, this week, I’m sharing two simple recipes that are delicious alternatives to pumpkin pie. First up: pumpkin mousse!

It sounds elegant and impressive (and it is!), but it’s incredibly quick and easy to make. All you need is a few basic ingredients, about 15 minutes, and it’s ready to chill out in the fridge for a bit (which makes it perfect for making ahead).

Then enjoy it as is or – this is my favorite part – top it with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle it generously with some crunchy crumbled gingersnap cookies (the ones I shared last week would be perfect here)!

Now, I’ll admit, right up front, that this is not a true, classic mousse. That is a much longer and involved process that requires separating eggs, cooking the yolks over a double boiler, and using raw whipped egg whites.

This recipe is a variation of my Easy Chocolate Mousse, which has none of the fuss and no eggs. The consistency is wonderfully soft and airy, whereas traditional mousse can be a little more stiff and dense.

The truth? It’s basically just sweetened whipped cream with pumpkin and spices folded in. But, dang, it’s soooo good. I mean, come on. How could it not be?

And I especially love it because it’s not overly sweet, and the light texture is very welcoming after eating a big dinner…which makes it a perfect Thanksgiving dessert!

several cups of pumpkin mousse on a white napkin with spoons on the side

Ingredients you need:

  • Canned 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Whipped cream (for topping, optional)
  • Gingersnap cookies (for topping, optional)

Before you buy pumpkin pie spice, check out my recipe for Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice and then check your spice cabinet. You might already have all the spices you need to mix up a batch!

Special equipment needed:

  • Electric handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment

If you don’t have an electric mixer, no worries! Use a whisk and some good-old elbow grease (it just may take a little longer).

Here’s a look at how to make Easy Pumpkin Mousse:

Note: This is just a quick overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe with detailed instructions.

2 images; one of a bowl of pumpkin mixture with a whisk in it with text that says mix pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice, salt and vanilla; the other of cream being whipped in a bowl with an electric hand mixer with text that says whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks
2 images; one of a bowl of pumpkin mousse being mixed with a spatula with text that says fold the pumpkin mixture into the whipped cream; the other of 8 cups of pumpkin mousse with text that says spoon the mousse into dessert cups/bowls
2 images; one of a refrigerator with text that says cover, chill for at least 4 hours (I make it the day before); the other of a cup of pumpkin mousse garnished with whipped cream and gingersnap crumbs with text that says top with whipped cream and gingersnap crumbs (optional), enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • Use canned 100% pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling (those cans can look very similar). The filling is already sweetened and spiced, so your mousse would end up with too much of both.
  • I don’t recommend using fresh/homemade pumpkin puree, as it can sometimes have too much moisture.
  • Use very cold cream; it will whip up faster. You can also chill your bowl in the fridge or freezer beforehand.
  • Whip the cream just until stiff peaks form. You want this slightly thicker consistency. Stiff peaks are when you pull the beaters straight out of the whipped cream and the peaks stay standing up straight (as opposed to soft peaks where the peaks will fall over on themselves).
  • Be careful of over-whipping the cream, though! It can start to become grainy and will eventually turn into butter if you keep going.
  • When folding the pumpkin mixture into the whipped cream, be very gentle. You don’t want to deflate all of the air that you whipped into the cream, which is important to the texture of the mousse.
  • Although you can technically eat this mousse immediately, both the flavor and texture benefit from chilling in the fridge for at least 4 hours. I actually like to make mine the day before I want to serve it.
  • If adding toppings, wait until right before you are ready to serve to add the toppings. You want those cookies to be nice and crunchy!
  • Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 (maybe 4) days. The longer it sits, the more of a chance that the cream will start to break down and change the texture. So the sooner enjoyed, the better!
overhead view of 2 cups of pumpkin mousse garnished with whipped cream and gingersnap crumbs on a white napkin with spoons on the side

If you’re looking to change things up from the traditional pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, this mousse may be just what you’re looking for. You can also use it to make parfaits, trifles, and other yummy desserts!

I hope you try this Easy Pumpkin Mousse recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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small bowl of easy pumpkin mousse topped with whipped cream and gingersnap crumbs with a spoonful being taken out

Easy Pumpkin Mousse

This Easy Pumpkin Mousse is a creamy, rich, velvety, light and fluffy no-bake dessert that you can enjoy all throughout the fall and holiday season (or any time of the year)!
Print Recipe Rate/Comment Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 387
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
  • whipped cream, for topping (optional)
  • crumbled gingersnap cookies, for topping (optional)

Special Equipment

  • Electric hand mixer (or stand mixer with wire whip attachment)

Instructions

  • In a medium to large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and salt until well-combined.
  • In a separate large bowl, using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the heavy whipping cream just until stiff peaks form.
    To prevent splattering, start on a lower speed until the cream begins to thicken, then increase the speed to medium to finish.
    To test for stiff peaks, lift the beaters straight up out of the whipped cream. The peaks should stand up straight and not fall over on themselves. Be careful not to over-whip the cream, as it can become grainy and start to turn into butter!
    Note: If you don't have an electric mixer, you can whip the cream by hand using a whisk (it may take a little longer).
  • Add the pumpkin mixture to the whipped cream; gently fold in the pumpkin mixture just until combined and there are no streaks of whipped cream left.
    Be very gentle while folding; you don't want to deflate all of the air that you whipped into the cream, which is important to the texture of the mousse.
    To fold: take your spatula or spoon and gently go into the middle of the mixture (be sure to get all the way down to the bottom of the bowl), scooping up the mixture from the bottom and folding it over on itself. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and keep repeating until the mixture is combined.
  • Spoon the mousse into 8 dessert cups or bowls.
  • Cover with plastic wrap; place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to blend and the mousse to set up a bit (longer is okay…I actually like to make mine the day before I want to serve it).
  • Serve cold. If desired, right before serving, garnish each serving with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of crumbled gingersnap cookies (highly recommended!).

Notes

  • Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 (maybe 4) days. The longer it sits, the more of a chance that the cream will start to break down and change the texture. So the sooner enjoyed, the better!
  • Estimated calories are for 1 serving of pumpkin mousse only and do not include the optional toppings of whipped cream and crumbled gingersnaps. 
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