Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
Our mini lemon cheesecakes are made with a simple graham cracker crust and a citrusy lemon cheesecake filling. Individual lemon cheesecakes are the perfect balance of sweet and tart!
Bright & Sunny Lemon Cheesecakes
Weather warm is on it’s way which means it’s time for fruit based desserts!
Usually, I am a chocolate lover to my core (ahem chocolate cheesecake) but these individual lemon cheesecakes are the perfect citrusy dessert to serve in the summer.
- 3 minutes to prep the crust
- 5 minutes to pre-bake the crust
- 5 minutes to prep the cheesecake
- 20 ish minutes to bake cheesecake
- 4 hours to refrigerate the cheesecake before serving. I prefer to refrigerate mine overnight. Waiting is the hardest part, right?!
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
FOR THE CRUST:
- Graham cracker crumbs – You can make these yourself by pulsing whole graham crackers in your food processor, or buy a box of crumbs at the grocery store.
- Unsalted butter – Melt this in the microwave or in a small saucepan on your stove.
FOR THE CHEESECAKE:
- Full-fat cream cheese – Let the cream cheese come to room temperature so it’s easy to whip up into a smooth filling. Also note that you’ll need bars of cream cheese, not the kind that comes in tubs.
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Lemon juice – fresh squeezed. Use Lisbon or Eureka lemons, which are the 2 most popular lemons at the grocery store.
- Eggs – Let these come to room temperature, too.
FOR THE TOPPING:
- Whipped cream – You can use homemade whipped cream, the refrigerated kind that comes in a can, or frozen whipped topping. If you’re assembling your mini cheesecakes in advance, frozen whipped topping will last longer in the fridge.
- Fresh fruit – You can never go wrong with fresh berries, but use whatever is in season and looks good at the grocery store or farmers’ market!
Tools to Make Mini Cheesecakes
- standard size muffin pan
- paper muffin / cupcake liners
Making individual cheesecakes in a muffin pan is a great way to scale down a regular cheesecake recipe. Mini cheesecakes don’t require a water bath or any special tools, plus they bake faster than regular cheesecake.
How to Make Mini Cheesecakes
Even though we tend to gravitate towards no bake desserts in the summer, you’ll be in and out of your kitchen in 30 minutes with this recipe!
TO MAKE THE CRUST:
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350º F and line a standard-sized muffin pan with paper muffin liners.
Make the crust mixture. In a mixing bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Form the crusts. Press 1 to 2 tablespoons of the crumb mixture into each muffin cup using the bottom of a 1/3 cup (or similar) to create a flat, even surface.
Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake the crust for 5 minutes. Let the crusts cool while you work on the rest of the recipe.
TO MAKE THE CHEESECAKES:
Cream the cheese and sugar. In a mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer for a minute or two, or until the mixture is smooth.
Finish the cheesecake batter. Beat in vanilla extract, lemon juice, followed by the eggs.
Assemble. Divide the cheesecake batter among the muffin cups, filling the liners full.
Bake. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the centers of the cheesecakes are slightly jiggly.
Cool. Let the cheesecakes cool to room temperature, then refrigerate them for at least 4 hours before serving. Loosely cover the cheesecakes in plastic wrap if you’re chilling them overnight or longer.
Garnish. Top the mini cheesecakes with whipped cream or fresh fruit just before serving.
Tips for Success
These tips will help you make sure they turn out perfect.
- Don’t over-mix the cheesecake batter. Once you add the eggs, beat them in just until the yolk breaks. Over-beating the eggs is the most common cause of air bubbles and cracking.
- Don’t over-bake either. When you (gently!) shake the baking pan back and forth, the centers should jiggle slightly. If, instead, the centers move like a liquid, they need more time in the oven.
- Allow enough time for chilling. Warm cheesecake is not very appetizing, so be sure to account for the chilling time needed when planning your baking.
- You do have a back-up plan. If the tops crack or have some bubbles, no worries! Once you add the toppings, no one will notice.
The best way to tell when the mini peanut butter cheesecakes are done is the jiggle test. The center of the cheesecake should jiggle slightly when you shake the pan and the edges of the cheesecake will be slightly more puffy or airy.
Refrigerate your mini lemon cheesecakes in an airtight container for up to a week. If you’re making these for a party, I recommend making them no more than 3 to 4 days in advance for maximum freshness!
You can freeze mini cheesecakes for up to 3 months. I recommend you freeze them without any toppings. They can be individually wrapped, or you can place them in an airtight storage container or freezer bag with parchment paper between the layers to keep them from sticking. Let them thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
I love baking with lemons. If you bought a bag of lemons for this recipe and want to use them up, my top 3 favorite lemon desserts are lemon cake, lemon cookies and lemon muffins. Lemon tarts are another mini dessert that pair great with mini cheesecake!
Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
- 16 oz packages full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp lemon juice, fresh squeezed
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- whipped cream (1 pint heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, & 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- lemon slices
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a regular sized muffin pan with paper muffin liners. In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until it resembles coarse sand. Put 1-2 tbsp of crumbs in each muffin cup. Use a 1/3 cup (or similar) to press the crumbs down firmly into the pan. Bake the crust for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool while prepping the cheesecake.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth, 1-2 minutes.
- Beat in vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Then beat in the eggs. The eggs are the last ingredient that get mixed into the cheesecake batter. Be sure to mix them in just until the yolk breaks. Over beating the eggs is the number one cause of air bubbles and cracking.
- Evenly divide the cheesecake batter among the muffin cups, filling the liners full. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake is only slightly jiggly.
- Allow the cheesecakes to cool to room temperature then place them in the fridge for at least 4 hours to chill before serving. If refrigerating overnight, loosely cover the cheesecakes in plastic wrap.
- Top with whipped cream or fresh fruit before serving.