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slices of cheesecake with strawberry topping on a silver plates with a fork

My friend Christina (from the crazy popular and completely delicious blog Dessert for Two) has a new cookbook called Sweet & Simple. The name actually doesn’t do this beautiful cookbook justice. Christina, can we change it to *Extra* Sweet and *Extra* Simple?

Sweet & Simple cookbook by Christina Lane

I wanted to share a recipe from her cookbook because the focus of her books—and blog—is small batch baking. Not something we usually focus on over here, so I figured you’d absolutely LOVE something new. And something that doesn’t leave enough leftovers to feed an army. Leftovers that taunt and haunt you until you eat every last cookie. Eeeeeeat meeee. What? Um, what were we talking about?

Flipping through the picture-filled book, my eyes immediately landed on this creamy small batch cheesecake. Such a thing exists? Yes, it absolutely does. And the best part is the cheesecake is made in a loaf pan—something you may already own. No matter how you slice it, a loaf cheesecake is pretty cool!

cheesecake in a loaf pan cut into slices
overhead image of cheesecake batter in a pink bowl with a spatula

This is the kind of dessert we all love eating: creamy, thick, and rich cheesecake that’s not overly sweet with a crazy thick and buttery graham cracker crust. I got 5 glorious slices, which is perfect when there’s only 2 of us. By the way, if you need a larger cheesecake that is just as easy to prepare and bake, you’ll love this easy cheesecake pie.

You only need a handful of ingredients like cream cheese, graham crackers, sugar, and an egg. Vanilla and a squeeze of fresh lemon add just enough flavor. Don’t worry, you don’t taste the lemon. It just complements the tart cream cheese.

The crust is a graham cracker crust, only scaled down. I added a little more butter than her original recipe because mine was pretty crumbly. I blame the super dry weather.

overhead image of cheesecake baked in a loaf pan
strawberry sauce dessert topping in glass jar

Any excuse to add a condiment and I will. I made strawberry topping for the cheesecake! I made the entire recipe for it and had a little extra after the cheesecake was gone. Can I admit it’s *really* good just with a spoon? Christina has a version of this cheesecake on her blog as well—and she topped hers with homemade cherry topping. Give hers a try if you like cherries and cheesecake.

slice of cheesecake with strawberry topping on a silver plate with a fork

I encourage you to check out Christina’s latest cookbook! She has 2 others as well, both of which focus on small batch baking and cooking. These dishes and desserts are perfect for date night and Valentine’s Day next week. I had the pleasure of meeting Christina last year and we immediately hit it off. Her down-to-earth, kind nature radiates through her blog and social media. Check her out!

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slices of cheesecake with strawberry topping on a silver plates with a fork

Creamy Small Batch Cheesecake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours
  • Yield: 5 slices 1x
  • Category: Cheesecake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

If you don’t want to make a big regular cheesecake, try this easy creamy small batch cheesecake with only 5 slices!


Ingredients

Scale

Crust

  • 1 and 1/3 cups (160g) graham cracker crumbs (about 1011 full sheet graham crackers)
  • 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon (12g) granulated sugar

Cheesecake

  • two 8-ounce blocks (454g) full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • optional for serving: strawberry topping, cherry topping, or even salted caramel!

Instructions

  1. Lower the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the cheesecake from the pan. Set aside.
  2. Mix all of the crust ingredients together. Pour into prepared loaf pan and using medium pressure, press the crust mixture down with your hand so it’s compact in the pan. Bake the crust for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the edges and top.
  3. While the crust is pre-baking, prepare the filling. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until completely smooth. Beat in the sugar, egg, vanilla, and lemon juice until completely combined and smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed.
  4. Pour the batter on top of the warm crust and smooth into an even layer. It will look like a lot of cheesecake batter, but it will sink down as it bakes.
  5. Bake the cheesecake for 40–45 minutes, until the entire surface is set. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cheesecake should come out *mostly* clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Once cool, refrigerate the cheesecake for 4 hours and up to 1 day.
  7. Remove the chilled cheesecake from the pan using the overhang on the sides. Slice and serve with optional toppings, if desired.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Make this cheesecake ahead of time and let it sit in the refrigerator for up to 1 whole day in step 6. You can also make the filling and pre-bake the crust ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate both for up to 1 day before continuing with step 4. Cheesecake can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Melamine Icing Bowl SetHearts and Arrows SpatulaUSA Bakeware Loaf Pan | Farberware Loaf Pan | Eat Dessert First Fork
  3. Non-US Readers: Don’t have graham crackers where you live? Use 180g ground digestive biscuits instead (about 12 biscuits), with the same amount of butter, and add 1 extra Tablespoon (12g) of sugar. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the pre-baking time, as digestive biscuits are not quite as crispy-crunchy as graham crackers. And from what I understand, spreadable cream cheese sold in a tub in countries outside of the US is a little different from the spreadable cream cheese in the US. It’s thicker, sturdier, and more solid and should be OK to make cheesecake. I have no experience with it, but this is what I’ve heard from other non-US readers.

Keywords: cheesecake, small cheesecake

slices of cheesecake with strawberry topping on a silver plates with a fork

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Sally, would this recipe fit in a 6 inch springform pan?

    1. Hi Kris, we haven’t tested it but don’t see why not. Let us know if you try!

      1. Hi Trina, I decided to bake it in the loaf pan! Crust is baking now. My crust was not very moist when I put it in the oven, hoping when I go to slice it tomorrow night it will adhere to the cheesecake filling! I am baking a day in advance too!

      2. I made this today in my 6-inch springform. The bake took closer to an hour, checking every 5 min after it hit 45 min. I let it cool in the oven with the door propped open, and there was no collapse or cracking. Now getting rave reviews from the cheesecake fans in my family as they enjoy and watch the great holiday classic, Die Hard. Absolutely beautiful recipe with cwonderful flavor and texture.

  2. Wonderful recipe…
    I have a toaster/convection oven and a 7.5 x 10.5 cake pan
    (Farberware toaster oven set).
    I added .. 8oz of cream cheese, 1/4c. sugar, and 1 egg yolk to increase the batter just a tad (following original ratio). Bake as directed or until cake is puffed evenly across top.
    Perfect amount of creamyness and sweetness. I have tried one other recipe after discovering this jewel and have decided to never stray from this recipe again.
    Thank you for sharing this with us!

  3. Sally’s baking addiction is the best, i’ve been using all you recipes each time I want to make a new cake recipe, i’m guaranteed excellent results.

  4. Welp. I made this once. This was my first ever cheesecake and it was so delicious that I can’t see how I can ever make another cause I wanted to eat all of it.

  5. I live in the UK and I’d like to try this recipe. Your recipe calls for a 9 x 5 in loaf pan. Is this the same as a 1lb loaf pan or a 2lb loaf pan?

    1. Hi Angel, it should be about the same as a 1lb loaf pan.

  6. Help! Cake has been in oven for 55 mins at 325 on bottom 3rd rack, in a 9×5 pan and still liquid in center…

    1. Hi Chris! Did you make any changes to the recipe? Make sure you’re using full fat block style cream cheese for this cheesecake recipe. Otherwise it may just need more time to bake!

  7. We loved this cheesecake! I made no changes. It was easy to make and delicious. I used Comstock cherry pie filling.

  8. I want to do 1/2 cr.cheese and half Ricotta. OK? I do not like dense cheesecakes AT ALL. Then I might as well eat the brick cheese, right? That will work right? Thank you
    Please respond as soon as possible; it it the 9th and 8;37AM Wednesday.

    1. Hi Sarah, you can try 1/2 cream cheese 1/2 ricotta cheese. Hope you enjoy it!

  9. Hello, Sally’s team! Thanks for sharing wonderful recipes! By the way how does this recipe differ with the one that has sour cream and needs a water bath? Thank you!

    1. Hi Shelia, yes, this one is slightly different — written for a smaller batch and to not require a water bath. Let us know if you give it a try!

      1. Hi, Lexi! I did try this recipe and I must say it’s very easy and simple! I love it! No complex techniques involved and the flavor and texture are amazing. Perfect for beginners like me. Thanks and more power to the whole team!

  10. Hi sally! What temperature do i need in order to bake big batches of cheesecake?
    Like if i bake 3 sets of 8” round pans in one oven, should i be using a higher temperature?

    1. Hi Kathia, we recommend baking them at the same temperature, but be sure that all of the layers fit onto the same oven rack without being overcrowded (and don’t bake them on different level racks). Also keep in mind that ovens sometimes have hot spots, so some layers may brown more quickly than others.

  11. If I made this in a circular 6 inch springform cake pan, what would the bake time and temperature be?

    1. Hi Emily, we haven’t tested it but we don’t see why that wouldn’t work. Same baking temperature, but we’re unsure of the exact bake time. Let us know if you try!

  12. Thank you for this recipe! It was perfect for my daughters birthday. Followed the recipe exactly with the exception that I used Digestive biscuits (UK cookie brand!) plus the strawberry sauce and it was delicious!!

    1. My husband was doing keto so I tried this. Recommend using muffin cup liners with just a sprinkle of graham crumbs on the bottom (no sugar or butter added, just the crumbs)

  13. This recipe is great! Thank you for sharing. Downside is I always want more after.
    I did have one question though, I don’t have issues with the filling and I have made this twice, but my crust is always so hard, what could I do better?
    It’s probably something as simple as not putting the crust in for as long?

    1. Hi Hollyvera, you can try slightly reducing the bake time on the crust and that should help it from hardening as much. So glad you enjoy this one!

  14. Does the temperature or bake time change for a glass loaf pan?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Lorrie, same temperature, but the bake time is usually just a bit longer for glass pans. Keep a close eye on it. Enjoy!

  15. This came out delicious! Perfect size for our family of 3!

  16. I have been using another one of your cheesecake recipes and always get compliments. I bought a 6in springform pan and I think I’m gonna give this a go in that. I hate making a huge cheesecake for 3 people to enjoy.

  17. Is there a substitute for Graham Crackers? We don’t have them where we live.

    1. Many of our readers use digestive biscuits in place of graham crackers!

  18. Hi Sally! This is my favorite cheesecake recipe but I wish I could make a bigger batch. Can I double the recipe and bake it in a round 9 inch springform pan? Do I need to change anything (temperature, baking time, etc)? No water bath please!

    1. Hi Jeni, You could likely double it but we have not tested it. For a full size cheesecake we recommend our Classic Cheesecake.

  19. I am keto so made this using monk fruit/erythritol. also made a pecan crust instead of gram crackers. I am gluten free.. the filling was thick i think because a block of cream cheese is a bit bigger in Canada. Its in the oven now. hope being so thick it comes out ok.. not a pourable batter thats for sure..

  20. Hello Sally,
    If I wanted to make this into a lemon cheesecake would I need to use both lemon zest and fresh squeezed lemon and how much would I need?

    1. Hi Jessica! You could try adding just a bit more lemon juice, but we caution against adding too much for fear that the cheesecake won’t set properly. You can certainly add some lemon zest for a stronger lemon flavor — start with about a teaspoon and then adjust for future batches depending on how lemony you’d like it. Alternatively, you could top the finished cheesecake with lemon curd. Let us know what you try!

  21. I am going to use this recipe but did not want to use the loaf pan. I have 3 – 4″ springform pans I would like to use. I plan to wrap them in foil with no water bath since they are small. Would the baking time be some what the same? Should I bake them on a sheet tray.

    1. Hi Angela, we haven’t tested it but we don’t see why that wouldn’t work. Same baking temperature, but we’re unsure of the exact bake time. Let us know if you try!

  22. Hi Sally!
    I love your recipes so much!
    I have a question about this one as I just made the crust. I can’t get it to stick together.
    (I’ve made your full recipe of Graham cracker crust many, many times and it works perfectly)
    I am just wondering if the proportions of the crust ingredients are correct?
    The ratio of butter to the amount of crumbs is my question:
    1. Here it is 3 T. butter to 1 1/3 cup crumbs. (Seems like too many crumbs for a out of butter?)
    2. In your Perfect Graham Cracker Crust recipe the ration is 6 T. butter or 1 1/2 cups crumbs.
    I’d love having you clear this up for me.
    Perhaps this is meant to have a very loose crust like I have here after baking.
    Thank you!
    Faithful Reader

    I clicked on the link that you have here where you said you halved your Graham cracker crust recipe to get this crust, but if the 1 1/2 crumbs in the link is halved, that ends up 3 T. Butter to 3/4 cup crumbs, not 3 T. Butter to 1 1/3 cups crumbs as stated here.

    1. Hi Anne! Thank you so much for asking. This is actually a recipe from another baker’s cookbook, so that is the difference you’re seeing. If it’s just not sticking together, try adding a little more melted butter and sugar (sugar helps bind the crumbs as well). Try 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter and another 1-2 Tbsp of sugar.