Perfectly sized, perfectly sweet, perfectly decadent Mini Cherry Cheesecakes are the perfect after dinner dessert. They make an equally lovely holiday or dinner party dessert and are the perfect baby shower or brunch treat. These bite size desserts are easy to make ahead and freeze well.
Everyone loves having their own individually portioned or ‘fun sized’ dessert or main dish. Dessert recipes, like Pumpkin Cheesecake, are easy to adapt to miniature sizes but some savoury recipes can be scaled down too. French Onion Soup is always served individually while Chicken Pot Pie can be the full pie or smaller single servings.
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Mini Cherry Cheesecakes
These petite Cherry Cheesecakes have been a family favorite for over twenty years. Everyone loves cherry cheesecake but not everyone wants to have a big slice. From my experience, those same people will happily gobble 2-3 or even 4 of these little bites of cheesecake heaven.
What’s not to love about tiny portions of this irresistible classic dessert? They feature a buttery graham crumb base followed by a rich and creamy cheesecake layer. Cherry pie filling is the final touch, and it brings a tart, yet sweet flavour that perfectly compliments the cheesecake.
Of course, you can choose to finish the cheesecakes with your favourite type of pie filling. I suggest apple, blueberry, or peach. A drizzle of chocolate or caramel syrup or fresh fruit are also great topping options.
Fair warning, these cheesecakes are also delicious frozen so if you think you can hide them in the freezer until Christmas, you may be surprised when you open the container lid to find them half gone!
The Original Petite Cheesecake Recipe
The original petite cherry cheesecakes recipe came from a cherished family cookbook. The recipe featured a base made from a single ‘Nilla Wafer (or vanilla wafer cookie). However, the ‘Nilla brand of wafer cookies (Made by Christie) are no longer available in Canada.
My first thought was to search for vanilla wafer cookie recipes and make my own. However, that would over complicate this mini cheesecake recipe. It’s meant to be quick and easy for Holiday baking and who has time or energy to add extra steps to a seemingly uncomplicated recipe? Not me!
The solution is to make the base the same way as most other cheesecake recipes, using graham crumbs or crushed graham crackers. In fact, you can even turn this mini cheesecakes recipe into cheesecake bars by pressing the crumb mixture into a 9 x 9 inch pan (more on that later).
‘Nilla Wafers are readily available in the US, so if you prefer to use them instead of making a graham cracker crumb base, go for it.
Ingredients for Mini Cherry Cheesecakes
This cheesecake minis recipe is just like a regular size cheesecake recipe. In other words, there are no hidden special ingredients or surprises. If you can source gluten free graham or vanilla cookies this would make a great dessert for gluten free friends and family.
- Graham Crackers
- Cream Cheese softened
- Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Juice
- Cherry Pie Filling
Both graham crackers and graham cracker crumbs are available in Canada and online. Other biscuits that make great cheesecake bases include Maria biscuits, Hobnobs or digestive biscuits.
Whole biscuits are easy to crush into crumbs. Simply place them in a heavy-duty freezer bag, close the bag (removing as much air as possible) and use a rolling pin to crush the biscuits into fine crumbs.
Use either salted or unsalted melted butter for the biscuit layer and large (at least 1.97 oz/56 grams) room temperature eggs for the filling mixture. Use only full fat (not reduced fat) blocks of cream cheese, real vanilla extract, and freshly squeezed lemon juice in this recipe.
Helpful Tools for Baking Mini Cheesecakes
You won’t need many extra tools for this recipe. However, a stand mixer (or electric hand mixer) is the easiest way to blend super smooth cheese cake filling. Alternatively, use a metal whisk and a lot of elbow grease!
Next, you’ll need a regular size muffin tin and liners for the muffin cups. To press the crumb mixture into a solid base layer, you’ll need a small glass, cocktail muddler, or end of a rolling pin. Finally, you’ll need a can opener for the pie filling!
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How to Make Mini Cherry Cheesecakes
To begin, preheat oven to 350°F.
Measure the crushed graham crackers and melted butter into a medium mixing bowl and mix well. Next, line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Place 2 tablespoons of the crumb mixture in each paper liner. Press crumb mixture down to create a solid even base layer using a small glass or appropriately sized object.
To make the filling, add two packages cream cheese (softened), 1/2 cup sugar, salt, lemon juice, vanilla and eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer or medium mixing bowl. Beat cream cheese mixture on low speed until it is smooth with no remaining lumps.
Finally, spoon the cream cheese mixture over the crumb bases, filling almost to the top (they don’t rise too much). Bake in 350°F oven for 15-18 minutes. Do not allow the cheesecakes to brown on top. Alternatively, if you choose to make this recipe in a 9 x 9 inch pan, bake the bars for about 20 minutes, or until the temperature measured in the center is approximately 180-185 F.
Remove cheesecakes and allow to cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to set for 2 hours. If you are serving the cheesecakes immediately, spoon cherry pie filling over the top of each mini cheesecake for serving.
Can You Make Mini Cherry Cheesecakes Ahead of Time?
Yes! You can make these Mini Cherry Cheesecakes ahead of time because they freeze well.
Bake the cheesecakes then allow them to cool to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to three days or freeze them for up to three months. To serve, remove from the fridge/freezer before dinner and top them with cherries before serving.
Hi! I’m Bernice Hill and I’ve been the sole recipe developer, photographer, and writer at Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen for the past eleven years. It is my pleasure to share easy to follow recipes that are delicious, nutritious, and approachable for the whole family.
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- 2 cups Crushed Graham Crackers*
- 6 Tablespoons Butter; melted
- 2 (8 oz) Packs Cream Cheese; softened
- 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 2 Eggs
- 1 (21 oz) Can Cherry Pie Filling
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add the crushed graham crackers and melted butter to a medium mixing bowl and mix well.
- Line a cupcake pan with paper liners then add 2 Tablespoons of the crumb mixture to each. Press well into the bottom, using a small glass or appropriately sized object to help do this evenly.
- Add the softened cream cheese, sugar, salt, lemon juice, vanilla and eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer or medium mixing bowl.
- Mix on low until combined and mixture is smooth with no remaining lumps.
- Spoon cream cheese mixture over the crumb bases, filling almost to the top (they don’t rise too much).
- Bake in 350°F oven for 15-18 minutes.
- Remove cheesecakes and allow to cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to set for 2 hours.
- Spoon cherry pie filling over the top of each mini cheesecake for serving.
*or 2 boxes 'Nilla wafers. If using wafers for the crust, simply omit the butter and place one 'Nilla wafer at the bottom of each muffin paper before adding the cheesecake filling. Bake as directed.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 138Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 113mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.