Small Batch Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with an Oreo crust are a creamy dessert for two baked in a muffin pan. Serve this black and orange dessert for Halloween or as a Thanksgiving For Two dessert.
When it comes to decorating desserts for the holidays, well, let’s just say I know my weaknesses.
Some bakers are a natural at decorating. They can pipe buttercream roses, turn cupcakes into pumpkins, and flawlessly pipe royal icing onto sugar cookies.
Mine usually look like a five-year-old made them.
With Halloween coming up, I wanted to share something festive.
I am not a spooky Halloween kind of girl. I don’t like gore. I don’t like fright. I like cute black cats that like to cuddle and jack o’ lanterns with funny faces. Certainly no spiders.
This year I decided to stick with my baking strengths and make Small Batch Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with an Oreo crust.
This mini pumpkin cheesecake recipe is very creamy and taste like pumpkin heaven. I really like how they turned out black and orange because not many foods can give you that natural black look.
I’m not opposed to food coloring, but my hands get very, uh, colorful when I do use it.
Not only are they black and orange for Halloween, they also make a great Thanksgiving for two dessert.
Oops did I say the T-word before November? Ahh well hopefully you can forgive me after you eat a few of these cheesecakes.
Looking for more flavors? Check out my Easy Mini Cheesecake Recipes post where I list all of my recipes for mini cheesecakes in one spot.
What pan do you use to bake mini cheesecakes?
Typically regular sized cheesecake is baked in a springform pan because they’re delicate.
However, for mini pumpkin cheesecakes I baked them in a muffin tin (Amazon affiliate link) because it’s a common baking pan almost everyone has.
Yes, there are special mini cheesecake pans with removable bottoms, but I didn’t want to buy a specialty pan.
I haven’t tested this recipe in one of those cheesecake pans, but I feel like it would still work. Quantity may vary.
How do you get a cheesecake out of a muffin tin?
Because you don’t use a springform pan, you have to gently remove the mini cheesecakes from the cupcake pan.
I use paper liners so they don’t stick to the pan. It’s up to you whether you want to remove the liners before serving or let whoever is eating remove their own. It’s really up to how you want to present them.
Don’t have paper liners? Grease the pan so they don’t stick then use an offset spatula or knife to gently pop them out.
Ingredients for Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Mini cheesecakes are made up of a few easy ingredients:
- Cookie crumbs: I used Oreo to make it black and orange for Halloween, but you can also use graham cracker or gingersnap crumbs. I use a food processor to crush into crumbs.
- Butter: Needed to bind the crust
- Cream cheese: It’s not cheesecake without cream cheese! Make sure you’re using full-fat cream cheese. The low fat and fat free versions have more water in them and may be too watery after baking.
- Granulated sugar: Adds a bit of sweetness to balance out the tanginess of the cream cheese
- Egg: As with all baking recipes, use a large egg.
- Canned pumpkin: It wouldn’t be pumpkin cheesecake without the pumpkin! I use canned for the most consistent results, but you can also use homemade pumpkin puree.
- Vanilla: Adds flavor to the batter
How To Make Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
First, start with your crust.
Mix together your cookie crumbs and melted butter. Then add roughly 2 tablespoons to each paper liner and press down to form a bottom crust.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until the crust no longer looks wet. This will help crisp up the crust before the cheesecake filling is added.
While the crust cools, make the pumpkin cheesecake filling.
Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until super smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Then beat in the egg, being careful not to overbeat the batter.
Finally, add the pumpkin and vanilla for flavor.
Transfer the batter to your cookie crust. Bake at 325F degrees for 20-25 minutes.
How do you know when a mini cheesecake is done?
Mini cheesecakes are done baking when the edges are set, the center doesn’t look wet and is mostly set with some wiggling, and internal temperature reaches 150F degrees.
They’ll puff up a bit but will deflate and flatten when cooling.
Do you need a water bath for mini cheesecakes?
Mini pumpkin cheesecakes do not need a water bath because they’re small enough to evenly bake in the middle without overbaking the top.
What kind of crust do mini cheesecakes have?
As you can see from the photos, I made mini pumpkin oreo cheesecakes for the color.
However, you can most definitely use graham cracker crumbs for a traditional crust or even gingersnap cookies for a more holiday flavor.
If you’re not using Oreos, you will need to add extra melted butter. Oreos have the cream filled centers which help with binding, so you don’t need as much butter.
What can I top cheesecake with?
The best garnish for this mini pumpkin cheesecake recipe is homemade whipped cream.
If you’re feeling really decorative, you can make little jack o’ lantern faces or chocolate spider webs on top for Halloween.
How long do mini cheesecakes last in the fridge?
Cheesecake can last up to 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Although with this small batch recipe, they’ll likely be gone before then.
Can mini cheesecakes be frozen?
Yes, mini cheesecakes can be frozen before you garnish them.
First place them in a single layer on a baking sheet or plate then freeze until firm, about 1 hour. This prevents them from sticking to the plastic wrap and to each other.
Next wrap each cheesecake individually in plastic wrap then place in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 1-2 months.
Why do mini cheesecakes sink in the middle?
Chances are if your mini cheesecakes sunk in the middle after cooling, the middle is underbaked. When it’s underbaked, it’s not strong enough to support the top.
Another possible reason is you overbeat the batter especially after adding the egg, incorporating more air than needed.
This air will cause the batter to rise too much then sink as it cools.
How do you keep mini cheesecakes from sinking?
As mentioned, sinking likely happened if your cheesecake is underbaked. Make sure the edges are set, the center doesn’t look wet and is mostly set with some wiggling, and internal temperature reaches 150F degrees.
Why is my cheesecake lumpy?
If your cheesecake batter is lumpy, chances are your cream cheese and egg are too cold.
Make sure they sit out at room temperature until no longer cold to the touch. I let my ingredients sit out about 2 hours or so, but it’ll depend on how cold your kitchen is (think summer vs. winter).
If your cream cheese is still too cold, microwave (without the foil wrappers!) in 5-10 second increments until no longer cold to the touch. Be careful you don’t accidentally melt it!
To warm up the egg, place it in a warm bowl of water and let sit for about 15 minutes or until no longer cold to the touch.
And finally if you’re using leftover canned pumpkin, make sure it’s also at room temperature.
What to do if my cheesecake batter is lumpy
Unfortunately no amount of beating will smooth out the lumps. And the lumps certainly won’t melt while baking.
Sometimes you can use a blender to smooth out the lumps. This method may incorporate too much air, which could cause the cheesecake to crack. However, you can cover the cracks with a garnish.
Sometimes you can run the batter through a strainer. You may lose some of the batter in the process, but at least it’ll be smooth.
More Mini Cheesecake Recipes
Here are more small cheesecake recipes for two:
- 1 cup chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (such as Oreo)*
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted*
- 8 ounces (1 block or 8 tablespoons) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature and not cold to the touch (do not sub fat free)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature and not cold to the touch
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 recipe Small Batch Homemade Whipped Cream
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a muffin pan with 6 paper liners. If not using paper liners, grease with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs and melted butter until moistened and clumpy.
- Press roughly 2 tablespoons crumbs into the bottom of each paper liner. Bake 10 minutes or until set and no longer looks wet. Cool while you make the filling.
- In a large mixing bowl on high speed, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Beat in the egg for 1 minute or until smooth (do not overbeat). Beat in the pumpkin and vanilla.
- Divide the filling among the paper liners. They should be filled to the top. Bake 20-25 minutes or until tops and edges are firm, the center slightly jiggles when moved, and internal temperature is 150F.
- Cool for 1 hour at room temperature then cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before garnishing
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.
*Don't want to use Oreos for the crust? Substitute graham cracker or gingersnap crumbs. You may need to add an extra 1 tablespoon melted butter if the crumbs aren't holding together.
Looking for more recipes like this? Check out my full list of Easy Mini Cheesecake Recipes.