These Mini Lemon Cheesecakes feature an easy homemade graham cracker crust topped with a smooth and creamy lemon cheesecake filling. Top them with some fresh whipped cream and berries for an easy dessert everyone will love!
I think it’s safe to say that the mini cheesecake obsession is still going strong! It started with these adorable mini oreo cheesecakes, which so many of you loved. Since summer is almost here and the only thing I can think about is lemon desserts, I decided to make a mini lemon cheesecake version to share with you.
I took a batch of these to my sister’s housewarming party and they were the first thing to disappear. If you’re a lemon obsessed person like myself, I think you’ll absolutely adore these mini cheesecakes! Plus, how cute are these with some fresh whipped cream and berries on top?
To make these, you’ll start out with a simple homemade graham cracker crust: graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. You’ll mix it up and press it into your pan, then bake it for about 5 minutes while you make the filling. I actually use a mini cheesecake pan for these, here’s the same pan that I own and here’s another one that’s similar.
For this cheesecake filling, you’ll be using some cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and zest, vanilla, an egg, and one egg yolk. I usually only incorporate 1 egg into my mini cheesecakes, but I loved the extra richness that the extra yolk adds to these. You can save the egg white and use it in these strawberry cream cheese turnovers or these candied pecans. Both are recipes I really love as well!
I really wanted the lemon flavor to really shine in these mini cheesecakes, so you’ll be using 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon). These cheesecakes are perfectly lemony, but not too tart. If you prefer a little less lemon flavor you can scale down a little on the lemon zest.
I really love mini cheesecakes because they’re such an easy dessert and perfect for gatherings, potlucks, etc. These are such a perfect treat to make ahead of time too. You can make these the night before and refrigerate them overnight so dessert is ready to go the next day.
Here are a few baking tips and tricks, so you have the most success when making these mini cheesecakes too.
baking tips for mini lemon cheesecakes:
- You want to make sure your cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature before getting started. This will ensure a super smooth and creamy cheesecake filling with no lumps.
- Use fresh lemon juice in this recipe for the best results and taste. To get more juice out of your lemons, roll them firmly with your hand on the counter first.
- Beat the egg and egg yolk in at the very end on low speed until just combined. I always include this in my recipe, but it’s important not to over mix your eggs. Over mixing the eggs can incorporate air into the batter and cause your cheesecakes to fall quite a bit when you take them out of the oven.
- Don’t have a mini cheesecake pan? That’s ok! You can use a muffin/cupcake pan, just make sure to line the pan with cupcake liners for easy removal. The baking time for the crust and filling all remain the same.
- Don’t overbake your mini cheesecakes! You want to bake them for about 17-20 minutes or until the tops are set. The cheesecakes will continue to firm up as they cool and once they’re chilled.
I get questions about whether or not the mini cheesecakes look good in a muffin pan with the liners, so I’ve included a picture of what they look like when baked in a muffin pan. They do have some grooves from the cupcake liners, but they still look pretty and taste delicious! That’s really all that matters when it comes to dessert anyway, right?
Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
For the crust:
- 6 full-sheets (90 grams) graham crackers (or 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs)
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
For the lemon cheesecake filling:
- 12 ounces brick-style cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray each cavity of a 12-count mini cheesecake pan well with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. If using a regular 12-count muffin pan, I suggest lining each cavity with cupcake liners for easier removal.
Add the graham crackers to a blender or food processor and process until you have fine crumbs. Scoop the crumbs into a mixing bowl, add the melted butter and sugar, and mix until everything is well combined. Evenly distribute the mixture between all 12 cavities in the mini cheesecake pan, making sure to press each one down firmly into one even layer. Bake at 325°F for 5 minutes, remove from the oven, and set aside to cool. Keep oven temperature at 325°F.
To make the cheesecake filling:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the granulated sugar and mix until well combined. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed, then mix in the egg and egg yolk on low speed until just combined.
Evenly distribute the cheesecake filling between all 12 cavities of the mini cheesecake pan (or muffin pan) and return to the oven. Bake at 325°F for 17-20 minutes or until the tops of the cheesecakes are set.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 3-4 hours or overnight. Once the cheesecakes are chilled, remove them from the pan. Top with whipped cream and fresh berries if desired, serve, and enjoy!
Prep time includes 4 hours of cooling and chilling time.
Mini cheesecakes may be refrigerated for 3-4 days in an airtight container. You may also freeze these for up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Love lemon desserts?
Try my Classic Lemon Bars next!
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