Delicious handheld cheesecakes are a well-loved party dessert, move over cupcakes! Mini cheesecake cups are also the perfect treat when you don't want to bake a whole cheesecake. Step-by-step photos help you bake along!
This is one of those recipes that I have been making for years but I have never published it on CBQ! Don't ask me why, because we adore these mini cheesecakes. I have made them for countless parties, I even made the mini cupcake size cheesecakes for my sisters wedding.
I think it's safe to say we love cheesecake in my family, I have over 25 recipes on my website check out all my cheesecake recipes here.
Let's get to the recipe.
Luckily you don't need too many ingredients for these cheesecakes.
- Graham Crackers. You will need the graham crackers to be finely crushed OR you can buy premade graham cracker crumbs. Other options would be digestive biscuits or vanilla wafer cookies.
- Granulated Sugar. The sugar will be used in the crust and in the cheesecake batter.
- Butter. You'll only need a small amount melted.
- Full Fat Cream Cheese. It is extremely crucial that the cream cheese is completely softened to room temperature. You can do this quickly by placing the foil-wrapped bricks of cream cheese in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes, you want softened cream cheese but not liquidy cream cheese!
- Sour Cream. Sour cream adds richness and moisture to the cheesecake.
- Heavy Cream. Adding heavy cream to the cheesecake batter also adds moisture and softens the texture.
- Pure Vanilla Extract. If I have some on hand I prefer to use a vanilla bean pod or vanilla bean paste just to get those beautiful vanilla bean flecks. The vanilla extract works great too!
- Lemon Zest. I like to use a small amount of lemon zest just to brighten the flavor but not overpower the cheesecake.
- Eggs. The recipe calls for two whole eggs and one additional egg yolk, they all need to be at room temperature.
Mini chocolate chips would be a great addition to the cheesecakes I would use ½-3/4 cup of chocolate chips and toss them in 1 teaspoon of flour. The flour will help the chocolate chips not sink.
You could leave the cheesecakes at that but who doesn't love a topping. Here are some ideas
- Homemade Whipped Cream
- Salted Caramel Sauce
- Fresh Fruit- Strawberries, Blueberries, Cherries
- Cherry Pie Filling
- Melted Peanut Butter or chocolate ganache
- Lemon Curd
Check out all my cheesecake baking tips here.
First things first let's preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners, then set the muffin tin aside. This recipe makes 15 cupcake-size cheesecakes or you can do all mini cupcake-size cheesecakes and it will make closer to 60 mini cupcake sizes. OR you can do 12 cupcake sizes and about 15 mini cupcake sizes.
Now start with the graham cracker crust. In a small bowl combine the crushed graham cracker crumbs and sugar.
Once the sugar is evenly distributed into the graham crackers add the melted butter and mix until a wet sand texture is formed.
Make sure you scrape the bowl so all crumbs are moistened.
Using a tablespoon scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of crumbs into each cavity and use the bottom of a round clean spice jar or your fingers to press the crust tightly.
Bake the crusts for 4-6 minutes to set the crust, and slightly brown it. Let cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer beat the cream cheese for 3 minutes on medium speed.
I have also seen people make the cheesecake filling in a food processor but I always use a handheld electric mixer.
The cream cheese should be smooth with no lumps.
Add the granulated sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. This will loosen up the batter, as pictured below.
Next, you'll add the sour cream, heavy cream, lemon zest, and vanilla extract, mix until combined.
Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is evenly combined.
Finally, add in the eggs one at a time, mix until no yolk remains.
You should have a creamy cheesecake batter with no lumps.
Pour the cream cheese mixture into each muffin cavity, I like to use a 2oz ice cream scoop and fill ⅔rds of the way.
Now for cheesecakes, I normally bake the pan in a water bath but for these individual ones, I just place a large roasting pan or a 9X13 pan filled with warm water on the rack below the cheesecakes. So if your oven is three sections I put the water bath on the lowest rack and the cheesecakes on the middle rack to bake. I do the water bath below because a cupcake tin is quite shallow so it would be easier for water to accidentally get into the pan.
Bake for 17-20 minutes, the middle of the cheesecake should jiggle just a little bit. Open the oven door and place a wooden spoon to keep the oven door ajar. Let the cheesecakes cool in the oven for 20 minutes. Then place the tray on a wire rack to cool for 30-45 minutes, they should cool completely. After cooling cover the tray with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, these would be great to make the night before too!
Decorate the cheesecake with a drizzle or sprinkling of the desired topping, I love using fresh berries. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Mini cupcake-size cheesecakes
To make mini cupcake-size cheesecake use a mini muffin pan and mini cupcake-size liners.
For the crust, I use a 1 teaspoon size scoop of crust and once it's pressed in tightly bake for 3-5 minutes then fill each cavity with 1 tablespoon scoop of cheesecake batter. Bake for 8-10 minutes until just set then turn the oven off and prop the door open and let cool in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Then remove from the oven and let the cheesecakes cool on a wire rack on the counter for 30 minutes then wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least three hours.
Making ahead of time
These cheesecakes are perfect to make a day or two before. I would advise adding the whipped cream or toppings right before serving just so they look as perfect as possible.
More cheesecake recipes
You cannot beat a large classic vanilla bean cheesecake!
Peanut butter is perfectly combined with cream cheese for an extra creamy dreamy peanut butter cheesecake!
Cheesecake swirled into brownies to make cheesecake brownies is a family favorite!
This red velvet cheesecake is so rich in color and flavor, you will swoon over it!
Cheesecake for breakfast is always a good idea, try my friend's Lemon Cheesecake Rolls!
★★★★★ Please let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a star rating and comment below!Print
- 1 cup Graham Crackers, crushed
- 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
- 4 Tablespoons Butter, melted
- 16oz Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
- 132 grams (⅔ Cup) Granulated Sugar
- 2oz (¼ Cup) Sour Cream, at room temperature
- 2oz (¼ Cup) Heavy Whipping Cream, at room temperature
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste or 2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Zest
- 2 Large Eggs + 1 Large Egg Yolk, at room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C and line two 12 cup muffin pan with liners 15 cupcake liners.
- In a small bowl combine crushed graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar. Once evenly combined add melted butter to crumbs. Mix until a wet sand texture is formed.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon of crumbs into each cavity and use the bottom of a round clean spice jar or your fingers to press the crust tightly. Bake for 4-6 minutes to set the crust. Let cool on a wire rack and reduce oven temperature to 325F/ 163C.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer beat the cream cheese for 3 minutes on medium speed. It should be smooth with no lumps. Add the granulated sugar and beat for another 2 minutes at a low speed. Add the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon zest then mix until just combined. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is evenly combined.
- Add in the eggs one at a time and mix at a low speed until just no yolk remains. You should have a creamy batter with no lumps. I use a large cookie scoop to pour the cheesecake batter into each muffin cavity.
- Place a large roasting pan or 9X13 pan with warm water on the lowest rack in your oven then place the cheesecake tray above it on the middle rack. This water bath will help keep the oven moist for a gentle bake.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes, the cheesecake should look set and the middle of the cheesecake should jiggle just a little bit. Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon and let the cheesecakes rest in the oven for 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for another 40 minutes or so. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 4 hours. These would be great to make the night before too!
- Decorate cheesecake with a drizzle or sprinkling of the desired topping.
- For mini cupcake size cheesecakes use 1 teaspoon size for the crust, pack tightly then bake for 3-5 minutes. Then add 1 tablespoon size for the cheesecake batter. Bake for 8-10 minutes until just set then turn the oven off and prop the door open and let cool in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Then let the cheesecakes cool on a wire rack on the counter for 30 minutes then wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least three hours.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cool/ Chill Time: 5 Hours
- Cook Time: 20
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: mini cheesecake recipe, cheesecake cups, indivudal cheesecakes