These No Bake Mini Cheesecakes are super creamy, rich yet light, not overly sweet, full of cream cheese goodness and are impressive enough for parties. There's no gelatin - Just mix, whip and chill!
I wanted bite sized versions of a cheesecake, that was super easy to make and perfect to serve for parties.
What's a no bake mini cheesecake? It's made the same way as a classic recipe, into bite size portions, but you pop into the fridge instead of the oven. There's no water bath, sinking or cracking cheesecakes to worry about or even gelatin, like in my mango mousse.
I stayed true to the classic and used sweet and spicy graham cracker crumb crusts, with the strong molasses flavor. It maintains it's crunch under the creamy filling.
For the filling, I wanted a full-on cheesecake flavor with cream cheese goodness, yet sturdy when held in your hand, and not overly sweet. Using only cream cheese and sour cream, resulted in a tangy flavor without being overly sweet.
Why this recipe works?
It's all about the contrast between the crisp graham cracker crust and the silky smooth, luscious filling. Sour cream loosens up, giving an aerated, smoother and luxurious texture in the cream cheese. It also adds a nice tang and a wonderful base for a sweet topping.
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Graham crackers - Grind your own. Store bought graham cracker crumbs doesn't come close to the crumbs you grind with real graham crackers.
- Cream cheese - Philadelphia cream cheese is always my go-to. Use the block kind and not from the tubs. They are better suited to spread on your morning bagels. Also, make sure to use full fat variety, so that it sets firm.
- Brown sugar - Dark brown sugar adds moisture and caramel notes for the base.
- White sugar - It helps breaks the cream cheese, and I like to keep to a minimum, so the tangy flavors stand out.
- Lemon juice - To perk things up.
- Vanilla extract - Round out the flavor.
- Sour cream - Use full fat sour cream or plain full fat greek yogurt.
- Butter - To add flavor and bind the crust.
Pro tip: Try using Oreo cookies, digestive biscuits, Marie crackers, chocolate graham crackers or shortbreads (try these homemade brown sugar shortbread cookies instead of graham crackers.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
1 & 2. Stir graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter, and mix until the crumbs are moistened.
Tip: The mixture should look like wet sand and hold together when you pinch it between your fingers.
Pro tip: To make graham cracker crumbs, place the crackers in a food processor and blitz until they become fine crumbs. It takes 10 to 20 seconds in my food processor.
3 & 4. Press into paper lined muffin cups. Place the pan in the freezer and freeze for a few hours or firm.
Tip: The key to a sturdy crust is pressing the crumbs firmly using a tablespoon measure, ¼ cup measure or even shot glass with straight sides.
5. This is as easy as it can get! Beat cream cheese and sugar, until light and airy.
Pro tip: Use room temperature cream cheese! Otherwise, you'll end up small chunks of unmixed cheese, which is not a pleasant experience, especially when you are aiming for an ultra-creamy consistency.
6. Add sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla extract and beat to combine.
7. Divide filling (use it all) on top of frozen crust, and smooth top. Refrigerate muffin pan for at least 8 hours to firm up.
Pro tip: Refrigerate the no bake mini cheesecakes for at least 8 hours, but overnight is better. This makes for a great make-ahead dessert!
How to serve?
Decorate as you wish! In this no bake mini cheesecake recipe, I’ve decorated with sweetened whipped cream and berries. I’ve piped the cream on using a star tip nozzle, but you could also just dollop the cream, using an ice cream scoop. Few fresh berries and a sprig of mint, makes it extra pretty!
More decorating ideas
- A drizzle of salted caramel sauce, lemon curd, blueberry sauce, dulce de leche or strawberry sauce.
- Chopped or sliced fresh fruits like berries, passion fruit, chopped mango or peaches.
- Chocolate shavings
- Fruit compote
Storage & Freezing
Keep the no bake mini cheesecakes in the fridge for up to 4 days, but hold on to the toppings until serving time. In fact these are meant to be made ahead and chilled in the refrigerator. So these are perfect for entertaining especially during the busy holiday season.
To Freeze - Wrap muffin pan with the assembled no bake mini cheesecakes (without any toppings) tightly with plastic wrap, and then with aluminium foil. Place pan in the freezer and freeze for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, top with your favorite toppings and serve.
- Use room temperature cream cheese - It is critical that your block of cream cheese is at room temperature to make an ultra creamy and smooth filling. Leave it out the night before or zap in the microwave for 20 seconds at 50% power.
- Cream cheese - Make sure to use brick style and not the spread that is sold in tubs. Also use full fat and not reduced fat.
- Greek yogurt - Use plain full fat green yogurt instead of sour cream.
- Standard muffin pan - Use standard muffin pan instead of mini pan.
- Full fat dairy - Use full fat cream cheese and sour cream.
- Crust - Try your favorite cookies or oreos instead of graham crackers.
- Adjust Serving size - Halve the recipe to make 6 or double the recipe to make 24 bites.
- Serve cold - Make sure you remove no bake mini cheesecakes from the fridge just before serving.
- Remove paper liners gently - When removing the paper liners, make sure that you do it slowly, so you don't remove any of the crumb with it.
- Whipped cream - The given recipe makes a stabilized whipped cream (due to the cornstarch) and holds well for a couple of days in the fridge. However, if you use the canned whipped cream or make using regular white sugar, then hold on to the decorating just before serving time.
- Graham crackers - You need about 4 full sheets to make ½ cup crumbs.
You can serve them either way. If you wish to remove the liners, then peel them off gently, making sure not to remove any crumbs.
As long as they are well chilled and you remove the paper when cold, it does not stick to the paper when peeling.
Philadelphia, block style cream cheese is best suited for cheesecakes. It sets firm when chilled, making it perfect for a no bake recipe. Also make sure to use full fat and not low fat or reduced fat.
More no bake treats
No Bake Mini Cheesecakes
- 1 block (8-ounce) cream cheese, room temperature use full fat variety
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup sour cream, or use greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped Cream (optional)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional ingredients (optional)
- Fresh berries
- Mint leaves
- Stir graham crumbs and brown sugar together in a small bowl. Add melted butter and mix well until the crumbs are evenly moistened.Tip: The mixture should look like wet sand and hold together when you pinch it between your fingers.Pro tip: To make graham cracker crumbs, place the crackers in a food processor and blitz until they become fine crumbs. It takes 10 to 20 seconds in my food processor.
- Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and spoon about 2-3 tablespoons measure graham cracker crumbs into each liner.
- Press down firmly to flatten using a tablespoon measure or the bottom of a ¼-cup measuring cup.Tip: The key to a sturdy crust is pressing the crumbs firmly using a tablespoon measure, ¼ cup measure or even shot glass with straight sides.
- Place pan in the freezer for at least 4 hours (or stored up to a day) or until firm.
- Add cream cheese and white sugar into a large bowl and beat with a hand held electric beater for about 4 minutes on high or creamy and smooth.
- Add sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla extract and beat for an additional one minute or combined.
- Divide filling (about 2 tablespoons) evenly on top of the 12 frozen crusts. Smooth top and place pan in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (or stored for up to 4 days).
- Make whipped cream - Add heavy cream, confectioners sugar and vanilla extract into a large bowl and beat with a hand held electric beater, until thick enough to pipe.Tip: The use of confectioners sugar to whip cream, makes a stabilized whipped cream, and holds well for a couple of days in the fridge. However, if you use the canned whipped cream or make using regular white sugar, then hold on to the decorating just before serving time.
- Spoon whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe swirls on top of each cheesecake, top with fresh berries and mint leaves.
- Store cheesecakes in the refrigerator until serving time.
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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