So, the other day, my eldest daughter ran up to me while I was in the middle of a food photography session in the kitchen. It seemed urgent. When I bent down to her level, she whispered ever so softly in my ear, “Mommy, can we have cheesecake for dinner, please?”
I took a moment to think about it. Cheesecake for dinner… it was an interesting proposition, and something I never got to enjoy when I was her age. Hmm…
So, did we really have cheesecake for dinner? I’ll leave that to your imagination 😉
This mini cheesecake recipe is for days when you have cheesecake cravings but want to skip the hassle of baking a full one. Yes, I love a good slice of New York cheesecake, but those require a lot of attention to detail. And what about the possibility that they might sink or crack in the oven after you’ve put in SO much work?
Now, imagine bite-sized cheesecake baked in mini muffin cups. There’s a graham cracker crust, a creamy cheesy batter, and a tangy strawberry compote. Sounds yummy, eh?
If you’re not sold yet, they bake quickly (10 to 12 minutes), taste just like the real deal, and they’re fun! When it’s time to eat, just pop these little cuties in the mouth. What’s not to love?
Follow this mini cheesecake recipe and maybe everyone in your household can enjoy a bit of cheesecake for dinner tonight. Enjoy!
Similar to this mini cheesecake recipe is Strawberry Cheesecake Bars! They’re larger and have a chocolate Oreo crust, along with strawberry sauce.
For the graham cracker crust:
- Graham crackers – Use a food processor to pulse the graham crackers into crumbs.
- Sugar and kosher salt
- Unsalted butter – Melted. You can also use salted butter if you prefer.
For the cheesecake filling:
- Cream cheese – Help your cheesecake reach its creamiest potential using full-fat cream cheese; you will not regret it! Bring to room temperature.
- Sugar and kosher salt
- Pure vanilla extract
- Sour cream – If possible, use full-fat sour cream. Bring to room temperature.
- Eggs – Bring to room temperature.
For the strawberry compote:
- Strawberries – Hulled and diced small. The best types of strawberries are overripe. (Check out my full strawberry compote recipe for extra tips and tricks!)
- Granulated sugar
- Fresh lemon juice
How To Make Mini Cheesecakes
Step 1: Make the strawberry compote. Stir strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice together in a medium saucepan then bring to a simmer. Continue on a low simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and cool.
- Pro Tip: Make sure to keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
Step 2: Preheat the oven to 325°F and add mini cupcake liners to your cupcake pan.
Step 3: Make the graham cracker crust. Whisk graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in melted butter until fully combined.
Step 4: Place about 1 teaspoon of graham cracker mix into the bottom of each liner.
Step 5: Then, make the cheesecake filling. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend the room temperature cream cheese on medium speed for 1 minute until smooth.
Step 6: Mix in the sugar on low, then blend for 1 more minute on medium speed. Mix in vanilla and salt until combined.
Step 7: Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly and scraping down sides between each addition.
Step 8: Mix in the sour cream until fully combined.
Step 9: Scoop cheesecake batter on top of the crust (I use a 1 oz cookie scoop, but an ice cream scoop works too). Then, bake for 12-15 minutes. When done, the cheesecakes will look set.
Step 10: Let mini cheesecakes cool on a rack for an hour then transfer them to the fridge to cool the rest of the way.
Step 11: Top each one with strawberry compote and serve.
Once you’ve made this mini cheesecake recipe then you can try Apple Pie Stuffed Cheesecake or Berry Cheesecake Galette! More fruit/cheesecake combo recipes that I can’t get enough of.
Expert Tips + Tricks
This mini cheesecake recipe is beginner-friendly and always turns out well. Here are some tips to make sure your cheesecakes are baked to perfection!
- How to make sure your cheesecake doesn’t crack – As a rule of thumb, your cold ingredients should be brought to room temperature to allow them to combine thoroughly. This will result in a better texture in the final bake.
- How to make a graham cracker crust that doesn’t crumble – The consistency of your graham cracker crust should be wet enough to clump together, yet not too dry that it crumbles. Adjust the consistency by pressing in more melted butter to make it stick together, or add more graham cracker crumbs if the crust is too wet.
- How to bake mini cheesecakes without cupcake liners – If you prefer not to line your muffin pan with cupcake liners, simply grease the muffin pan with cooking spray before you put in the crust and cheesecake filling. This ensures they don’t stick to the pan and are easy to remove after baking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Because these cheesecake bites are so small, they should have no problem baking fully. You can tell they are done when you shake the pan and it looks set and slightly firm. Since there are eggs in the cheesecake filling, let’s err on the side of caution and be sure – the internal temperature of the cake should be 150°F.
Oreos are a fantastic substitute for graham crackers in this mini cheesecake recipe! I would process them the same way – pulse the Oreo cookies in a food processor and use unsalted butter to help them stick together.
A water bath is when you place a pot of water in the oven to provide gentle heat and ensure the food doesn’t overcook. You do not need a water bath for this mini cheesecake recipe! Because they’re bite-sized and meant to be popped in the mouth, you don’t need to worry too much about getting a beautiful texture like in a full-sized cheesecake.
You can prevent your cheesecake filling from cracking by ensuring they’re at room temperature. Another tip that always helps is to not over-mix, so use low speed on your mixer and don’t leave it running (if you have a tendency to multitask)!
If your cheesecake has too much air from being over-beaten it can sink in the middle after coming out of the oven. Using room temperature ingredients for your cheesecakes is also key for reducing risk of sunken sad cheesecake.
Recipe Variations & Optional Toppings
While I was writing this recipe for mini cheesecakes, I had so many ideas. You can apply this to regular full-sized cheesecakes, too!
For the cheesecake filling, you can add in different flavors:
- Coffee – Need I say more? Espresso powder to the rescue!
- Salted caramel – A lovely blend of sweet and salty. Add a few pumps of salted caramel syrup to the batter and voila!
- Matcha – Spoon some green tea powder into the cheese batter. I might make these for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
- Chocolate – Use chocolate chips or melted chocolate. Yum!
And instead of strawberry compote, there are many toppings you can add after the cheesecakes come out of the oven. Try using my Amaretto Cherry Cheesecake Bars recipe and following the directions from this mini cheesecake recipe for a smaller version of those!
For some texture, sprinkle sliced almonds or stick a mini pretzel in the cheesecake. Alternatively, you can drizzle some melted chocolate on top to make it look fancy! Fruits like blueberries, diced strawberries, and diced peaches also add a splash of color and sweetness to the mini cheesecakes.
Storing these mini cheesecakes is easy. Simply place each one in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Even if you are going to have them in a few hours, like for anticipated late-night munchies, they will hold their structure better if chilled.
In the fridge, they keep well for up to a week. If freezing, arrange them in a freezer-safe bag – don’t stack them. They’ll last for up to 2 months.
- 1 mini cupcake pan
- 1 set of mixing bowls
- 1 stand or hand mixer
- 1 small sauce pot
- 1 pt strawberries hulled and diced
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Graham Cracker Crust
- 6 oz graham cracker crumbs
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 16 oz cream cheese room temp
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt
- ⅔ cup sour cream room temp
- 2 eggs room temp
Make the Strawberry Compote
- Stir strawberries, sugar and lemon juice together in a medium sauce pot then bring to a simmer. Continue on a low simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Make sure to keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn. Remove from the heat and cool
Make the Crust
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and add mini cupcake liners to your pan
- Whisk graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in melted butter until fully combined
- Add about 1tsp graham cracker mix to each liner
Make the Cheesecake Batter
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend the cream cheese on medium speed for 1 minute until smooth
- Mix in the sugar on low then blend for 1 more minute on medium speed
- Mix in vanilla and salt until combined
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly and scraping down sides between each addition
- Mix in the sour cream until fully combined
- Scoop cheesecake batter on top of crust ( I use a 1 oz cookie scoop) then bake for 12-15 minutes. Cheesecakes will look set
- Let mini cheesecakes cool on a rack for an hour then transfer them to the fridge to cool the rest of the way
- Top with strawberry compote and serve
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