Looking to bake a small cheesecake? My 6 Inch Cheesecake recipe is a creamy dessert for two ideal for any occasion. Garnish with cherry pie filling, whipped cream, and more!
I’ve had several readers ask me how to make a cheesecake in a 6 inch springform pan they had in their kitchen.
Since the requests kept coming in, I decided to buy my own 6 inch pan to develop small cheesecake recipes for you.
I originally was going to start with pumpkin cheesecake since Thanksgiving is coming up soon, but both grocery stores I’ve checked were sold out of canned pumpkin.
Guess the canned pumpkin shortage IS true this year.
Rather than drive all over Pittsburgh, I grabbed a can of cherry pie filling to make this 6 Inch Cheesecake recipe.
It’s a small cheesecake for two people with a homemade graham cracker crust.
Because it’s a plain cheesecake, you can garnish it any way you want, from cherry pie filling to blueberry jam to whipped cream. I personally really love cherry.
This recipe is fairly easy to make, but there are some tips and tricks to ensure the perfect 6 inch cheesecake. That’s why the post is a little long, but I promise it’s all worth it in the end.
No more cracked, lumpy cheesecake!
What pan do I need for a 6 inch cheesecake?
You will need a 6 inch springform pan for cheesecake. Cheesecake is delicate, so you need to remove the sides; you cannot invert a cheesecake like you would with a cake.
This is the pan I bought (Amazon affiliate link), which is a 6 x 2 inch springform pan. This small cheesecake recipe will fill the pan to the very top, but it won’t overflow.
You can also buy a 6 x 3 inch springform pan (Amazon affiliate link). That just means you’ll have slightly more pan room at the top.
This recipe will not work in a 6 inch cake pan because it’ll be too hard to remove. If you have no other options you probably could, but it may not look pretty when serving.
Have mini springform pans instead? Make my 4 Inch Cheesecake recipe.
How many does a 6 inch cheesecake feed?
You can cut a 6 inch cheesecake into 4-6 slices, which is equivalent to 4-6 servings.
I like to think of this as a small cheesecake for two people. Each person gets 2-3 slices to last them throughout the week.
I mean, when was the last time you ate *only* one slice of cheesecake?
If this is still too much cheesecake for you, check out my cheesecake for two recipe.
How to make a 6 inch cheesecake from scratch?
Cheesecake is made up of a few easy ingredients:
- Graham cracker crumbs: Graham cracker is the most traditional for the crust, but you can use any cookie crumb you want. I use a food processor to crush mine.
- 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
- Eggs: As with all baking recipes, use large eggs.
- Vanilla: Adds flavor to the batter
First combine the crumbs and butter then pat it into the bottom and up the sides of your springform pan to form a crust.
Next beat together the cream cheese and sugar until super smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Then beat in the eggs one a time, being careful not to overbeat the batter.
Finally, add the vanilla for flavor.
Transfer the batter to your graham cracker crust and place inside a water bath. Bake at 325F degrees for 65-75 minutes.
Do I need a water bath for cheesecake?
Yes, you need a water bath for a 6 inch cheesecake.
This recipe is based off of my 9 inch cheesecake recipe. With that recipe, you don’t need a water bath because it’s wide enough that the middle bakes evenly enough with the top.
However, my 6 inch cheesecake is much thicker, which means the top will brown and overbake before the middle is done.
I found this out the hard way with my first round of testing. The top was golden brown but the middle was underbaked by probably 10 minutes.
Had I continued baking until the middle was done, the top would’ve overbaked.
By using a water bath, the cheesecake will bake more evenly so the middle finishes baking before the top is too brown.
How to make a water bath
First, wrap your springform pan in foil to prevent the water from making a soggy crust. Make sure it’s tight so water doesn’t sneak in.
After filling your cheesecake pan with the batter, place it inside an 8×8 pan or larger.
Next, pour hot water into the 8×8 pan until the springform pan is halfway submerged in the water. Be careful you don’t accidentally splash water into the foil.
Now carefully transfer your pan to the oven and bake until done.
How to know when cheesecake is done baking
One of the challenges about baking cheesecake is knowing when it’s done baking.
Because cheesecake is technically a custard, it will wiggle in the middle even after it’s done. If it doesn’t wiggle, you overbaked it.
The edges should be firm and brown. Only the direct middle will still slightly jiggle.
The best way to ensure cheesecake is done baking is with a digital thermometer. The internal temperature of a cheesecake should be 150F degrees.
Of course this’ll leave a hole in your cheesecake, but you can easily cover that up with cherry pie filling or whipped cream.
It’s better to have a hole (or two) than underbaked cheesecake.
How long is cheesecake good for?
Cheesecake can last up to 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Hopefully with a small cheesecake, it’ll be gone before then.
Is it ok to leave cheesecake out overnight?
No, cheesecake must be refrigerated overnight because it is perishable with the cream cheese.
You can leave it out for a few hours while it cools down, but then you need to refrigerate it.
How do you decorate a plain cheesecake?
Because a plain cheesecake is essentially a blank canvas, there are plenty of ways to decorate a 6 inch cheesecake.
As you can see in the photos, I went with canned cherry pie filling. I bought a can because it’s not cherry season, but you can certainly make homemade cherry pie filling if it is.
Not sure what to do with leftover cherry pie filling? I have a list of 10+ Cherry Pie Filling Desserts you can make.
You can also decorate cheesecake with small batch homemade whipped cream.
To add some chocolate, cover it with ganache (learn how to make ganache with step by step photos).
Why did my cheesecake crack?
Nothing is more frustrating than spending over an hour baking a cheesecake, just to have the top crack!
Here are several reasons why your cheesecake may have cracked:
- Overbeating the batter: We all love a smooth cheesecake but overbeating the batter incorporates too much air, which causes the cheesecake to puff higher than it should. As it cools, it continues to sink then crack.Solution: Only beat the batter for as long as it takes to mix everything together. You can try to beat some of the lumps out, but if it’s too lumpy, no amount of beating will fix that.
- Overbaking the cheesecake: I get it. You want to make sure your cheesecake is baked in the middle. However, overbaking will result in a dry top, which then results in cracks.Solution: Use a water bath to ensure even baking then use a digital thermometer to determine the internal temperature reaches 150F.
- Cheesecake stuck to the pan: Sometimes the edge of the cheesecake will stick to the pan. Cheesecake naturally deflates when it cools. If it’s stuck to the pan, it’ll continue to deflate while the edges stay in place, resulting in tears and cracks.Solution: Immediately run a knife around the edge to make sure it’s not sticking to the pan.
- Opening the oven door too much: It’s ok to open the oven door when checking for doneness, but you don’t want to do it too early or too many times. Every time you open the door, heat escapes and lowers the oven temperature. Too much drastic change in temperature can cause cracking.Solution: Only open the oven door towards the end of baking when you’re checking for doneness.
Why is my cheesecake lumpy?
If your cheesecake batter is lumpy, chances are your cream cheese and eggs 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 eggs, place them 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 Small Cheesecake Recipes
Here are more small cheesecake recipes for two:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 16 ounces (2 blocks or 16 tablespoons) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature and not cold to the touch (do not sub fat free)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature and not cold to the touch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cherry pie filling, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325F. Wrap the outside of a 6x2 or 6x3 springform pan with foil.
- In a large bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Pat into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, for 1 minute each or until smooth (do not overbeat). Beat in the vanilla.
- Transfer the batter to the crust (if using a 6x2 pan, it'll fill to the top). Place the pan inside an 8x8 or larger pan.
- Pour hot water into the outside pan until the springform pan is halfway submerged in the water. Be careful you don't get water inside the foil.
- Bake 65-75 minutes or until the edges are set and brown, the center is mostly set with some wiggling, and internal temperature reaches 150F degrees.
- Remove from the oven and carefully run a knife along the edge to loosen the cheesecake. Cool 15 minutes in the water bath.
- Remove the pan from the water bath and let cool at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before garnishing and serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.