Small Batch Mini Cheesecakes with a graham cracker crust are easy individual cheesecakes baked in a muffin pan. Serve with cherry pie filling as a dessert for two.
Continuing my cheesecake baking spree with a recipe I can’t believe I haven’t posted yet – Small Batch Mini Cheesecakes.
They are your traditional plain cheesecakes with a graham cracker crust then baked in a muffin pan.
Baking a plain cheesecake is like baking a blank canvas because you can top it with anything – cherry pie filling, whipped cream, chocolate ganache, blueberry jam. The possibilities are endless really.
And because this is a small batch recipe, this recipe makes 5 mini cheesecakes.
I tried to make 6 small cheesecakes but after two rounds of testing, a half dozen wasn’t happening. You can always think of it as 4 mini cheesecakes plus 1 extra to taste test.
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?
Because cheesecake is delicate to remove from a pan, you usually bake it in a springform pan because the sides remove.
However, for mini cheesecakes I baked them in a muffin tin (Amazon affiliate link) because almost everyone has this pan.
There are special mini cheesecake pans with removable bottoms, but I didn’t want to buy a one-time use 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.
Can I make mini cheesecakes without liners?
Don’t have paper liners? Lightly grease the pan so they don’t stick then use an offset spatula or knife to gently pop them out.
If they’re really sticking, try refrigerating the pan to firm them up and try again.
Ingredients for Small Batch Mini Cheesecakes
Mini cheesecakes are made up of a few easy ingredients:
- Graham cracker crumbs: Traditionally cheesecake has a graham cracker crust, so I stuck with that. You can certainly use Oreo or another cookie. I use a food processor to crush them 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.
- Vanilla: Adds flavor to the batter
Which cream cheese should I use for cheesecake?
Baking cheesecake is one of the few times where the brand of cream cheese you buy matters.
For the smoothest cheesecake possible without any lumps, you want a cream cheese without xanthan gum or guar gum. Both are stabilizers, which help cream cheese keep its shape.
This means no matter how much you beat the batter, tiny bits of cream cheese will remain. This is especially noticeable in pumpkin or chocolate cheesecake because of the color contrast.
Now if you discover your cream cheese in your fridge does have these ingredients, don’t panic! Your cheesecake will still taste delicious. It just may have tiny white specks and not look as smooth.
How To Make Small Batch Mini Cheesecakes
First, start with your crust.
Mix together your graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Then add roughly 2 tablespoons to each paper liner and press down to form a bottom crust.
Bake for about 5-8 minutes or until the crust no longer looks wet. This will help crisp up the crust before the filling is added.
Make the cheesecake filing while the crust cools.
Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Then beat in the egg, being careful not to overbeat the batter.
Finally, add the vanilla for flavor.
Transfer the batter to your crust. Bake at 325F degrees for 22-25 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 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?
Traditionally cheesecake has a graham cracker crust, so that’s what I made.
However, you can most definitely use Oreo crumbs.
If you’re using Oreos, you can cut back on the 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?
Because a plain cheesecake is essentially a blank canvas, there are plenty of ways to decorate mini cheesecakes.
As you can see in the photos, I went with canned cherry pie filling since it’s not summer. You can either buy a can or make homemade cherry pie filling.
You can also decorate cheesecake with small batch homemade whipped cream.
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.
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:
- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 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)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature and not cold to the touch
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cherry pie filling or whipped cream, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a muffin pan with 5 paper liners. If not using paper liners, grease with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until moistened and clumpy.
- Press roughly 2 tablespoons crumbs into the bottom of each paper liner. Bake 5-8 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 vanilla.
- Divide the filling among the paper liners. They should be filled to the top. Bake 22-25 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.