These Philadelphia mini cheesecakes are the cutest dessert! They have a classic graham cracker crust and are topped with whipped cream and fresh berries for a bite-sized treat. The easy mini cheesecake recipe tastes rich, smooth, and creamy, and is super easy to bake in a muffin pan.
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Philadelphia cheesecake bites
Philadelphia mini cheesecakes are so fun because you get the best things about cheesecake with far less work. They are already perfectly portioned, ready to be shared with your family and friends.
My miniature cheesecake recipe starts with a crunchy graham cracker crust. Next is the creamy cheesecake filling, which uses ingredients you likely have in your kitchen, like Philadelphia cream cheese, sugar, flour, butter, eggs, and vanilla.
And as a finishing touch, I decorated mine with tuffs of whipped cream, fresh berries, and a dusting of powdered sugar. But you can definitely garnish with your favorite pie filling or dessert sauce.
The recipe is easy to change up and perfect for any occasion and holiday! Plus, Philadelphia cheesecake bites look spectacular, are so easy to share and transport.
Don’t wanna fire up the oven? Then try my Philadelphia no-bake mini cheesecakes instead! They have an ultra airy texture and are the perfect treat for hot summer days.
And if you’re pressed for time, scroll down to the printable recipe card below or tap the Jump-To-Recipe button at the top of the page to get to the recipe instructions right away.
I just love Philadelphia mini cheesecakes! The ingredient list is mostly pantry staples. You are good to go as long as you have cream cheese and graham crackers. You can find all measurements below in the recipe card.
- Graham cracker crumbs: My choice of cookies for the base are graham crackers. They add great flavor and texture. You can use premade crumbs for convenience or crush your own. If you live in the UK, Ireland, or Australia, you can also use plain sweet digestive biscuits, which are very similar to graham crackers.
- Salted butter is the binding that coalesces the cookie crumbs into a solid base. It also adds fat and flavor to the base. I like salted butter because the salt enhances the taste of the other ingredients.
- Granulated sugar adds a little extract sweetness and prevents the base from getting soggy. You’ll only need a little.
Philadelphia cheesecake filling
- Cream cheese is the primary ingredient in these mini cheesecakes. I always use Philadelphia cream cheese, which yields the best results. You want the block style, not the spreadable tub kind, which is too soft. And make sure it’s full fat! Low-fat cream cheese doesn’t have the same flavor and won’t set.
- Granulated sugar is mixed with the cream cheese until it dissolves and provides the perfect amount of sweetness.
- Sour cream lightens the cheesecake batter, so it isn’t as dense. It’s my favorite ingredient to make cheesecake luscious but not overly rich. I recommend full fat, but you could probably get away with low fat too.
- Flour: We only need a bit to stabilize and make the filling set. The filling would turn out a little too loose and flabby without flour.
- Eggs are the binding ingredient and hold everything together. Let your eggs warm to room temperature so they aren’t fridge-cold. They will incorporate more easily into the filling, and you don’t run the risk of curdling the mixture. To quickly warm up eggs, submerge them in a bowl of warm (not billing!) water for 5 minutes.
- Vanilla adds depth and dimensions to our Philly mini cheesecakes. Use pure extract rather than essence, which tastes fake.
- Mixing bowl + hand mixer: Leave your stand mixer in the cupboard. A handheld mixer (or even a sturdy whisk) is all you need here.
- Muffin pan + paper liners: We use a standard-size, 12-cup muffin pan and paper liners to bake our Philly mini cheesecakes.
- Large cookie scoop: A cookie scoop is super convenient for dividing the filling into the paper liners. You can also use a 1/4 measuring cup or an ice cream scoop.
- A disposable Piping bag, star nozzle + small sift are the tools you want to grab for decorating.
How to make Philadelphia mini cheesecakes
Baking Philadelphia mini cheesecakes is nice and straightforward. And I love that you can make these tiny cheesecakes days in advance. Once you see how easy this recipe is, you’ll be wanting to make it all the time. Allow me to walk you through the process step-by-step:
#1: Make the base
- Prep work. Preheat the oven to 325°F / 160°C / gas mark 3. Line a regular-size, 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
- Mix base. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a medium mixing bowl. The mixture should appear like wet sand and stick together when pinched between your fingers.
- Don’t have crumbs? If using whole graham crackers/cookies, blitz them on high in a food processor or blender until they become fine crumbs. Then add the other ingredients and blitz again until combined.
- Fill muffin pan. Divide the crumb mixture evenly between the 12 muffin pan liners (about 2 tablespoons per cup). Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to press and flatten the crumbs into the bottom of each hole.
- Bake. Bake the crust for 7 minutes. Then remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before adding the cheesecake filling.
#2: Create the cheesecake filling
- Beat cream cheese. In a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and flour until just combined and smooth. Mix on low speed to keep less air from incorporating into the mixture, which can lead to cracks.
- Add eggs. Mix in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated. Scraped won the sides of the bowl after each addition. The mixture should have a texture similar to pancake batter.
- Divide the batter. Divide the batter between the muffin cups until mostly full. The cheesecake doesn’t rise much, so use it all. A cookie scoop with a lever is very handy for this job.
- Bake. Bake the mini cheesecakes for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and leave the oven door closed for another 10 minutes.
- Cool. Let your mini cheesecakes cool in the pan at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
- Chill. Cover the surface with a piece of parchment paper and then seal with a bit of plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours to fully set. Overnight is best.
#3: Decorate mini cheesecakes
- Remove muffin wrapper. Once the mini cheesecakes are fully chilled, they will be set enough to peel off the paper liner.
- Decorate. You can decorate and garnish your mini cheesecakes any way you want. To make whipped cream, add the cold cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract into a mixing bowl. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Pipe the whipped cream onto the tops using a large star nozzle and garnish with fresh berries. If desired, dust with powdered sugar.
- Serve. Keep the decorated cheesecake cold until ready to serve. If time allows, take them out of the fridge 30 minutes before servings. Enjoy!
These Philadelphia mini cheesecakes are really straightforward once you read through the instructions. You’re going to love how simple this recipe is to put together. Here are a few more tips for making this recipe!
#1: Room temperature ingredients
The key to a smooth, silky cheesecake filling is ensuring that cold ingredients (like cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs) are at room temperature. So take them out of the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before you start.
#2: Pack the crust tightly
To prevent a crumbly crust, make sure the crumb mixture is well combined before transferring it into the muffin pan. Then, pack the mixture tightly on the bottom of the liners using a measuring cup, drinking glass, or your fingertips.
#3: Don’t overbeat the filling
The goal with the batter is to make it super smooth and creamy. At the same time, try mixing the filling as little as possible to minimize air bubbles in the filling. Air trapped in the mixture can cause bubbles and cracks during baking.
#4: Bake at a lower temperature
A lower temperature avoids browning the top and ensures that the delicate cheesecake filling bakes evenly. And once baked, the filling should be set, but still soft and supple in the center, not rock hard. If it’s too soft (like still liquid in the middle), pop it back in the oven for a few more minutes.
#5: Chill well
Sometimes, baked mini cheesecakes look ready after chilling for an hour, but don’t be tempted to take them out too early. They need a few hours in the fridge to firm up. 4 to 5 hours is the minimum, overnight is ideal.
#6: Serve at room temperature
Mini baked cheesecakes are creamier and more flavorful at room temperature. Although on hot summer days, chilled cheesecake from the fridge is lovely. In an ideal scenario, de-chill your mini cheesecakes for 30 minutes to an hour and then decorate right before serving.
Ideally, decorate your cheesecake close to serving. Whipped cream deflates after sitting for a while and powdered sugar tends to melt eventually. If you whip the cream until stiff, it should stay in shape for a day.
Variations & substitutions
- Cookie flavor: You can make the crust with vanilla wafers, Oreos, gingersnaps, shortbread, Bischoff cookies… you name it. Almost anything goes!
- Flavorings: Season the filling with 1 teaspoon lemon extract, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, or any other spices/extracts you desire.
- Mini chocolate chips: Stir in 1 cup of semisweet mini chocolate chips into the cheesecake batter.
- Berries: Fold 3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries or blueberries into the cheesecakes before baking.
- Jam & Nutella: Swirl a teaspoon of jam, marmalade, or Nutella into the top of each mini cheesecake before baking.
More cheesecake garnish ideas
- Pie filling and fruit compote such as strawberry, blueberry, peach, or cherry like in these mini cherry cheesecakes.
- Tropical fruit like kiwi, mango, starfruit, or passion fruit.
- Dessert sauces, for example, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, dulce de leche, and Nutella.
- Colorful sprinkles and nonpareils for special holidays.
How to store Philadelphia mini cheesecakes
Store your miniature cheesecakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They are excellent for 48 hours after making.
Beyond that, the cookie base starts to soften a bit, but will still taste delicious. Undecorated mini cheesecakes will stay fresh for up to 5 days if needed.
Make mini Philly cheesecakes ahead
To prepare for a busy holiday or family celebration, make the mini cheesecake recipe 1 to 2 days ahead of time and store them in the fridge.
Hold off decorating as close to serving time as possible. You can decorate the cheesecakes a day in advance. Just note that any whipped cream topping will begin to deflate after 24 hours.
Freeze Philadelphia mini cheesecakes
The naked mini cheesecakes (i.e., without cream and toppings) can be frozen for up to 3 months. Here is what to do:
- Flash-freeze: Arrange your individual cheesecakes on a lined baking sheet and flash-freeze for 1 hour.
- Freeze: Transfer the frozen cheesecakes into a freezer-friendly container or large freezer bag and place them into the freezer.
- Defrost: When it’s time to eat, take your desired number of cheesecakes out of the container/bag, put on a plate, and thaw in the fridge overnight.
Reasons to love Philadelphia mini cheesecakes
- Taste + texture: Philadelphia cheesecake cups give you a luscious filling on a crunchy base. The mildly sweet, vanilla filling with that delicious cream cheese flavor pairs beautifully with the sweet and slightly salty cookie base.
- Super simple: Cheesecakes are known to be tricky, but this small cheesecake recipe is so easy that even beginner bakers can make this treat successfully on the first try.
- Basic ingredients: Nothing fancy here, just everyday fridge and pantry stable ingredients you might already have in your kitchen.
- No water bath: Baked cheesecake often requires a water bath to bake properly, but this Philadelphia mini cheesecake recipe does not. Less hassle, yet amazing results – a win-win!
- Quick cook time: With only 30 minutes prep and 15 minutes in the oven, my recipe is pretty fast.
- Great for any occasion: Philadelphia cream cheese bites are an impressive dessert that suits every occasion, from holidays, family gatherings, birthdays, potlucks, and parties, or any time you want to impress a cheesecake lover.
More cheesecake recipes
If you are a fan of homemade cheesecake, then here are a few of our favorite recipes that your whole family will enjoy!