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If you love pumpkin desserts, these Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes are the ticket. They blend the richness of cheesecake with the seasonal flavors of pumpkin, and they’re small enough that you won’t feel like you’ve overindulged.
I’m a sucker for a mini dessert, so the first time I whipped up these Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes, I knew I struck gold. Marrying the decadence of cheesecake with the subtle heat of pumpkin pie spice and the earthiness of pumpkin puree, they’re bite-sized but big on flavor.
I love to make these for parties as they’re effortless to serve and just as easy to eat. And they’re as good for a back-to-school bake sale as a Thanksgiving dinner.
From its classic graham cracker crust to its creamy pumpkin cheesecake filling and airy whipped cream topping, every element is a delight. And it’s compact size makes it perfect for sharing or hoarding all to myself.
Why You’ll Love This Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
The allure of these cheesecakes lies not just in their flavor but also in their simplicity, versatility, and charmingly diminutive size.
- Simplicity: With a prep time of just 20 minutes and a bake time of 16 minutes, you’re not committing to a day-long baking project when you set out to make this recipe. You can easily make these in less than 40 minutes.
- Versatility: Mini pumpkin cheesecakes are the perfect dessert for an elegant end to a dinner party or a family Thanksgiving dinner. They can also be stored for a quick snack whenever your sweet tooth calls.
- Perfectly sized: Thanks to their diminutive size, these little cheesecakes are ideal for individual servings. There’s no need to worry about slicing or serving messy portions. Each guest can have their own personal cheesecake, making it an elegant touch to any gathering. Plus, it’s just enough to satisfy without the heaviness of a full-sized slice.
Ingredients You Need
For a dish with such complex flavors, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the straightforward ingredient list.
- Graham cracker crumbs: Buy them pre-crushed or make your own with a rolling pin and some elbow grease (put them in a sturdy resealable plastic bag first). You’ll need about 12 sheets of graham crackers to make the 2 cups of fine crumbs you’ll need. For a different approach, you could substitute crumbs made from gingersnap cookies.
- Sugar: Sugar is obviously for sweetness. Use white sugar in the filling. In the crust, you can use either white or brown sugar.
- Pumpkin pie spice: A seasoning mix made of of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg, it adds spicy seasonal flavor. A pinch of salt helps bring out all these flavors.
- Unsalted butter: It holds the crust together.
- Cream cheese: Make sure it’s at room temperature for easy mixing.
- Eggs: These act as a setting agent in the cheesecake batter.
- Pumpkin puree: Make sure you get pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
- Lemon juice: A touch of acidity gives depth and balance to the creamy and sweet filling.
- All-purpose flour: This provides some structure for the filling, helping it to set up nicely.
- Sour cream: This gives the filling creaminess and rich flavor.
- Heavy cream and powdered sugar: For a whipped topping that’s creamy, sweet, and light all at once.
How To Make It
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, the process for making these cheesecakes is straightforward.
- Start by preheating the oven and lining a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- If you’re starting with whole graham crackers, you can make them into crumbs by placing them in a resealable plastic bag and then crushing them with a rolling pin, or you can pulse them in a food processor.
- Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and pumpkin spice with melted butter for the crust. Scoop a couple of tablespoons of the graham cracker crumb mixture into each of the cupcake liners in your muffin tin. You can use the bottom of a juice glass or a ¼ cup measuring cup to press the crumbs into the bottom.
- To make the cheesecake filling, in a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth.
- Add the eggs to the bowl one at a time, followed by the other filling ingredients.
- Fill the liners nearly to the top, as the cheesecakes won’t overflow during baking.
- Bake them until they are mostly set but still jiggle a bit in the middle.
- Set the muffin pan on a wire rack and let them cool completely to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- Prior to serving, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar to stiff peaks, then pipe a dollop onto each cheesecake. Transfer the cheesecakes to a serving platter.
What to Serve With It
Serve these mini cheesecakes as a delightful ending to a festive Thanksgiving dinner or other fall occasion. Or serve them as a treat as part of a fancy brunch. Or even as an after-school snack.
I like to offer these individual size cheesecakes as part of a dessert spread that includes other fall-themed offerings like apple galette, apple cider donut cake, honey cake, or cookies like black sesame cookies, salted toffee cookie bars, or flourless chocolate cookies.
Add this black bottom pie to your dessert spread, too, if you really want to impress people.
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
- For the crust
- 2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- For the filling
- 16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin spice
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sour cream
- pinch salt
- For the topping
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
- Crush the graham crackers into small pieces and crumbs. Some small chunks are okay. Add the sugar, pumpkin spice, and melted butter. Mix until the butter is incorporated and the mixture has a wet appearance. Scoop out one heaping, loosely packed tablespoon worth of the crust mixture and place in the bottom of the cupcake lined baking pan. Using the back of the tablespoon or the flat bottom of a ¼ cup measuring cup, gently press down to pack the crust into the bottom of the pan. Repeat with the remaining crust mix.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and cream cheese and beat until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Add one egg at a time and mix well after each addition.
- Add the pumpkin pie spice, flour, and lemon juice and beat again to incorporate.
- Add the pumpkin puree, sour cream, and salt and mix thoroughly to combine, stopping the machine to scrape down the sides as needed.
- Fill each cupcake liner to just under the rim of the top. Cheesecakes will not overflow when baked. They will puff up slightly during baking, but then settle again once cooled. Bake in preheated oven for 14 to 16 minutes. Before removing from the oven, preform a “jiggle test” by gently wiggling the pan. The centers of the cheesecakes should move slightly while the edges remain in place. The cheesecakes will completely solidify once cooled but overbaking until it is completely set will make the cheesecakes dry and crumbly.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecakes to cool, still in the muffin tin, to room temperature. Place the muffin tin in the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours to set completely.
- To make the topping, whip the cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on on high speed for for a few minutes until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and gently pipe a swirl on top of each cheesecake.
- This recipe can also be used to make one 9-inch cheesecake. Using a springform pan, cover the bottom of the pan in two layers of foil and then place in a large roasting pan with approximately 2 inches of water to create a water bath. Bake for approximately 60 minutes or until the outside edges are set with a slight jiggle in the middle.
- If cheesecakes are over cooked, they will brown. If they are baked at too high of a temperature, they will crack. To ensure the cheesecake is done without these issues — do a jiggle test! The outside edges of the cheesecake(s) should be set with a slight jiggle in the middle when you GENTLY shimmy the baking dish. If no jiggle, they are overbaked and remove immediately. If too much of a jiggle, continue to bake and test occasionally until done.
- Use a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can use a sturdy resealable plastic bag with the corner snipped off.
- Cheesecakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.