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?
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!
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.
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.
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!Print
Creamy Small Batch Cheesecake
- Prep Time: 35 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 6 hours
- Yield: 5 slices
- Category: Cheesecake
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
If you don’t want to make a big regular cheesecake, try this easy creamy small batch cheesecake with only 5 slices!
- 1 and 1/3 cups (160g) graham cracker crumbs (about 10–11 full sheet graham crackers)
- 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tablespoon (12g) granulated sugar
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove the chilled cheesecake from the pan using the overhang on the sides. Slice and serve with optional toppings, if desired.
- 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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | 9×5-Inch Loaf Pan | Food Processor or Blender (for graham crackers) | Glass Mixing Bowl | Spatula | Parchment Paper
- 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
Reader Comments & Reviews
I followed your directions as closely as I could and this came out perfectly. It was moist, delicious and as someone else wrote, you’re not endlessly eating cheesecake for days. We loved it. Thanks for sharing this Sally!
Hi Sally, I made this. I wanted to try something different, so I made it in a six-inch cake pan with a removable bottom. Then I cooked it in my Instant Pot on high presure for 45 minutes and let it release pressure naturally. It turned out light and fluffy and delicious, but I think if I do it again, I may add an extra egg because it didn’t have quite enough structure this way. I’m sure if I had followed your recipe baking instructions it would have been fine.
This has become a staple in our house. Two of us are dieting but my husband isn’t. I find it’s just enough for him. We wrap some wedges for freezing. He will take one out before dinner to have in the evening. Yesterday, I added grated Orange zest from one orange along with 1.5 tablespoons of fresh squeezed orange juice, omitting the lemon juice. He said it was bright and refreshing on a cold winters day. The added liquid did not affect the texture or the baking time. Thank you for a great recipe!
Deeee-lish! I made this for my husband’s birthday since it’s just the two of us during COVID, and it’s perfect. So few ingredients, but so incredibly creamy.
Mine was perfectly baked in 35 minutes, in a convection oven. I do think I overbaked the crust though – had it in for a little over 20 minutes, not really thinking to adjust for the convection. While I loved the crunch, it was difficult to get my fork through – ended up just picking up the slice with my hands and biting into it haha.
Definitely keeping this recipe.
The cheesecake filling was perfect, so satisfying. The base was a little too crumbly, and a little thicker than I would prefer. next time I would reduce the graham cracker crumbs to 1 cup. But very delicious and easy, I’ll be making it again soon!
Can I make this cheesecake in an aluminum (throw away) loaf pan?
Hi Patti, we can’t see why not. Enjoy!
i made this today and the crust did not hold together. I followed the directions and everything seemed fine till i removed it from the pan. What could have gone wrong. Thanks
I made this, followed the exact recipe and it turned out perfect. Used chilled canned cherries as a topper. Cheesecake was very creamy; not too sweet, not too tart. Graham cracker crust baked up nice and crunchy. Thanks Sally. I will definitely make this again.
Normally cheesecakes need a water bath, you didn’t use one here, is it because of the size and less cooking time?
Hi Mariam, No need for a water bath here. There isn’t as much surface area like a full cheesecake so it’s less likely to crack! We do use one in this full size Classic Cheesecake.
My husband said this was the best cheesecake he’s ever had so I gave it 5 stars, but I had a bit of a problem with the baking. It took a good hour plus to get a clean toothpick and I wasn’t sure what you meant by *mostly*. Could I have taken it out a bit earlier and would it have set more in the fridge? It just wasn’t clear to me, or maybe I missed something in the instructions.
Hi Caryl, by mostly clean, I mean that the toothpick can have a couple moist crumbs/pieces of cheesecake filling on it, but not be completely covered in wet cheesecake batter. Does that make sense? Even with a few moist crumbs on the toothpick, it sets up nicely in the refrigerator.
Hi sally! I was wondering can I change the cream cheese into mascarpone cheese ? Thankyou!
Hi Rizca, You could try to replace half of the cream cheese with mascarpone, but I wouldn’t replace all of it.
Would I be able to incorporate the blueberry swirls from the blueberry swirls cheesecake recipe here?
Omg Sally I made this last night and it’s perfect ! I had no graham crumbs available so I used peanut butter cookies instead, still delicious! The filling is just the right sweetness and a bit tangy at the same time. This will be my go to small batch recipe from now on. For the strawberry topping can I substitute fresh/frozen strawberries for strawberry preserve? Thanks !
So glad you enjoy this smaller version of a full size cheesecake! You can use strawberry preserves as a topping, yes!
This was my first time ever making a cheesecake. It was actually easier than I thought it would be. Easy directions to follow and not to much ingredients. My family loved it and the size was great! I have been trying a lot of your recipes since we have been stuck at home because of the quarantine and it really has helped the time pass. You are awesome!
I had a little issue with the butter to graham cracker ratio for the crust. It was still extremely dry so I added another TBSP or more. It was tough to get it to stick to the parchment paper! Once I figured that out, the filling was incredibly simple. And OH. MY. This recipe is so delicious. 100% the best cheesecake I have ever had, and 3 other people that polished off the small pan agree!
Hi Sally, thank you so much for all of the wonderful recipes! I had two questions regarding this recipe before I attempt to make it:
-Why did you opt out of using sour cream in it, (maybe because it’s a smaller version of a regular cheesecake?)? Would I be able to incorporate sour cream into the recipe somehow if I have it on hand?
-Secondly, can I substitute an almond flour crust for this recipe instead of the classic graham cracker crust?
Thank you 🙂
Hi Selin! Thanks so much for asking. This isn’t my recipe (it’s from a cookbook!). It’s a super creamy cheesecake, but has that slightly stiff and sturdy texture of classic New York Style cheesecake. Adding a touch of sour cream is fine, but it really doesn’t need it. I don’t have an almond flour crust recipe on my website, but if you have one you love and it works well with cheesecake, you can certainly use it here.
I will be making this today and wanted to say my old bread pan, that looks the same as yours, still makes delicious recipes and I’m sure it will continue to do so. Looking forward to seeing how amazing this will taste!
I have made this twice now and I love it. Perfect size so your not eating cheesecake forever. And yes I bake it in a pan that looks like yours also, that’s what happens to bakeware when it’s well used!
I’ve saved your delicious looking recipe for cheesecake for two. It’s apparent you’re a lady of multitalent in the kitchen. I have to tell you, though, that I’m really put off by the rusty, dirty looking pan in which you baked your cheesecake. You won’t need to publish my observation, I just wanted to let you know how one person viewed it.
Hi! I’m literally in the middle of this baby cooking! However, I missed the part about moving the rack down.. So I’ve had it middle rack.. I’m 45 min into the bake and I find that my toothpick is still coming out gooey.. but the top has finally set. I’m not sure if you’ll see this within the next few minutes.. but I’m wondering if by having it middle rack the baking time may take a bit longer..
But I can tell you it looks, smells and the wet batter tastes delicious!!
I made this yesterday for my husband’s birthday treat, and we just finished a slice each.
– the quantity is good, plenty to enjoy but not so much that we struggle to store it in the fridge
– the ingredients list is delightful, I only had to buy biscuits and cream cheese with everything else coming out of panty staples
– the recipe was easy to follow, I have never attempted a cheesecake before but had no problems with this
– the outcome was smooth, creamy and delicious
I will be making this dessert for Valentines Day. I would like to make an OREO crust instead – how many oreos would i need to use?
Hi Jaclyn! You can swap Oreo cookie crumbs (grind up the entire Oreo, cream and cookie) for the graham cracker crumbs. I can’t say off the top of my head how many Oreo cookies you’ll need. I’m guessing around 15. You can skip the sugar. Butter measurement stays the same.
So easy and tasty! Hit the spot for a cheesecake craving without tempting me to eat a whole cheesecake. My crust was still quite crumbly even with 3T butter. I’ll definitely be keeping this recipe around!
For Thanksgiving, I made this cheesecake as a base. Added cinnamon-spiced apples, the crumb topping from your Apple Crumb Cake, and your salted caramel. Everyone loved it! My boyfriend (who went to culinary school), said it was the best cheesecake he ever had! Perfect serving size, too. I can’t wait to make this cheesecake again.
I made this the other day and loved it! I’d been looking for a simple, easy, small batch recipe for cheesecake and found yours to be the most straightforward. My result was great, butI don’t know why mine never sank down! Not a bad thing, but yeah it was a thick cheesecake. Delicious, but thick. I wonder if I used too much cream cheese? I live in Canada and bricks are 250 grams which works out to a little more than 8 ounces. Almost 9, actually. And maybe I whipped the mixture a bit too much… I used a pretty huge loaf pan so I don’t think that was it. Weird. Oh well! Will definitely make again. Thanks!
Hi Erica, It was likely from using that much cream cheese, but I’m so glad you loved it!
I was searching for a small cheesecake recipe for long and finally found this one and gave it a go and honestly my search for a delicious, creamy cheesecake ends here. This was so good. Have made it several times already and every time people give me compliments over it. Thank you so much for this recipe!❤
Can I make this as party finger food, in mini muffin cups (about 1-2oz size)?
I can’t see why not!
This is literally the best cheesecake I’ve ever made! I always use this for a quick dessert when friends are coming over, the lemon gives it the perfect flavor it’s so good! Soo creamy! Everyone needs to make this!
Do you think I could make this in a 9 inch pie dish?
You sure could! It won’t be a very tall cheesecake though.
I love how the slices look like they came out of a regular, circular cake pan, but it was actually made in a rectangular pan! This is such a cute recipe and so perfect to make for just my mom and I. Thanks so much for sharing!