Did you know you can bake cheesecake in a muffin pan? This recipe for creamy mini cheesecakes is so simple and perfect for a small crowd!
May is the month of cheesecake. How appropriate right before bathing suit season.
I shared my classic cheesecake earlier this week as the May Baking Challenge. If you’re part of a small family and/or don’t have any large gatherings on the horizon, an entire cheesecake can be quite the undertaking. I personally can’t be trusted with leftover cheesecake and found myself in a lot of trouble last weekend with 5 cheesecakes on my hands. (Which is why my freezer is home to about 1 million slices with a large “do not be tempted” post-it note. Saving it all for my upcoming birthday celebration!!)
If you want to participate in the May Baking Challenge and aren’t in the mood to tackle a full cheesecake, go ahead and bake mini cheesecakes instead. I have a few mini cheesecake recipes:
These recipes yield anywhere from 16-24 mini cheesecakes. They’re all fun and flavorful, but maybe 16-24 mini cheesecakes is still too many. I felt inspired to reduce down even further and leave out all the extra goodies. Today’s recipe yields 9-10 mini cheesecakes. They’re simple, straightforward, and at only a few bites each, they’re awesome for portion control.
How to Make Cheesecake in a Muffin Pan
All we’re doing here is scaling down both the graham cracker crust and cheesecake batter from my classic cheesecake. Use a little more than 1 Tablespoon of both the crust and batter in each mini cheesecake. Like the big version, pre-bake the crust and make sure your cheesecake batter ingredients are at room temperature.
Bake the cheesecakes in a standard 12-count muffin pan. There’s no need for a springform pan and no need to mess with a water bath. Mini cheesecakes are not only easier than a full cheesecake, they take half the time to prepare!
Get creative with the toppings. The baked and cooled cheesecakes will slightly sink down in the centers, but all is not lost. The way I see it, the dip gives you more room for toppings!
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-count muffin pan with 9-10 liners. This recipe yields only 9-10 mini cheesecakes, so there will be 2-3 empty. You could skip the liners and spray the pan with non-stick spray or grease with butter, but the mini cheesecakes are pretty stubborn to release from the pan. I recommend using liners to make things easier.
Make the crust: Combine all of the crust ingredients in a medium bowl. Mixture will be sandy. Firmly press a heaping Tablespoon of crust mixture into each liner. (I use closer to 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of crust per mini cheesecake.) Pre-bake for 5 minutes.
Make the filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon juice then beat until fully combined. On medium speed, add the egg and beat just until combined. Batter will be thick. Divide the batter between all the liners. It's about 1 Tablespoon per cheesecake.
Bake until the edges are set and the centers only slightly jiggle, about 18-20 minutes.
Set the pan on a wire rack and allow cheesecakes to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours. The cheesecakes will slightly sink in the middle. It gives you room for toppings!
Once chilled, add toppings and serve. Cover and store leftover cheesecakes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Make ahead tip: Prepare the cheesecakes through step 3 up to 2-3 days in advance. Cover unbaked cheesecakes and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Continue with step 4. Freeze individual baked cheesecakes for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Interested in baking more than 9 mini cheesecakes? This recipe is fantastic for doubling, tripling, or quadrupling. Simply double, triple, or quadruple each ingredient, including in the crust.
For super mini cheesecakes, follow these directions: Line a 24-count mini muffin pan with mini muffin liners or grease with nonstick spray or butter. For easy and seamless removal from the pan, using liners is preferable. Make the crust and cheesecake batter as directed. Press 2 teaspoons of crust into each mini muffin liner. Pre-bake at 350°F (177°C) for 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and fill each with cheesecake batter. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the cheesecakes appear set on top. Continue with step 6 in this recipe. Yields approximately 30 super mini cheesecakes.
Non-US readers: With the help of other non-US readers who do not have access to graham crackers, here is a basic crust recipe you can follow for these mini cheesecakes. 110g digestive biscuits + 45g butter + no sugar. Grind the digestive biscuits into crumbs, melt the butter, and mix with the crumbs. Press into liners and pre-bake as directed in step 2. 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.