These No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes are an easy-to-make dessert with a buttery graham cracker crust, sweet tangy flavor, and creamy texture.
Prepared in individual portions using a muffin tin, this simple recipe is a great make-ahead dessert for dinner parties, and they are easy to transport to potlucks and picnics!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Quick and Easy - You only need 15 minutes of active time to prepare these mini cheesecakes! It is easy enough for beginner cooks and a great recipe to make with kids!
Individually Portioned- As easy as this recipe is to make it is even easier to serve, because these cheesecake cups are mini-sized so you don't have to mess with cutting them. It is perfect for a dessert buffet!
No Oven - If you love no-bake desserts like cherry cream cheese pie then this is another one to add to your favorites! This no bake cheesecake recipe chills and sets in the fridge making it an easy dessert to enjoy in the summer!
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full list of ingredients, including measurements.
Graham Crackers: Save yourself some time and buy crushed graham crackers. If you can’t find them you can use the whole crackers instead. Crush them in a food processor or place them in a ziplock bag and gently pound them with a rolling pin until crushed into fine crumbs.
Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is best for making no-bake cheesecake bites because it contains more moisture than white sugar and helps the cookies in the crust stick together. If you want to sub granulated sugar then I recommend baking the crust to help it set.
Heavy Cream: Use heavy whipping cream with at least a 35% fat content. It whips up firmer and keeps its shape longer than whipped cream with lower fat content.
Cream Cheese: The signature flavor in cheesecake. Be sure you use blocks of full-fat cream cheese rather than tubs. The tubs often have too much moisture and alter the consistency of the cheesecake. Use room-temperature cream cheese.
Powdered Sugar: Sweetens and thickens the cheesecake without adding any grainy texture that you can sometimes get from using granulated sugar, though you can substitute granulated sugar if that's what you have on hand.
Sour Cream: Gives the creamy cheesecake filling additional flavor while providing a thicker texture.
Lemon Juice: The lemon creates a chemical reaction with the sour cream which helps the cheesecake set. It also adds flavor.
How to Make No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes
1) Make the Mini Graham Cracker Crusts
- Line a regular-sized muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter in a bowl and mix them together until it has the consistency of wet sand.
- Add about 1 ½ tablespoons of the graham cracker crust to each cupcake liner.
- Use a spoon or the back of the scoop to firmly press the crumbs down into the bottom of the liner. Make sure it’s mostly even.
- For added stability, you can bake the crusts for 5 minutes at 350°F (180°C) though this step is optional. If you do bake them then let them cool before filling.
2) Make the Whipped Cream
- Beat cold heavy cream in a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer until it forms stiff peaks.
- The whipped cream is ready when the tips do not curl over but rather stand straight up from the bowl.
3) Make the Filling
- Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a separate large bowl until the mixture is creamy. The cream cheese needs to be at room temperature for this step.
- Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon juice to the cream cheese mixture and beat again on low speed for one minute.
- Use a rubber spatula to fold the whipped cream gently into the cream cheese filling.
- Be careful you don’t overmix and deflate the whipped cream.
4) Refrigerate to Set
- Use a medium scoop to add about two tablespoons of the cheesecake batter to the top of the crust in the cupcake liner. You can also use a piping bag for filling as well.
- Use an offset spatula to smooth out the top.
- Refrigerate the mini cheesecakes for at least three hours or overnight before serving so that they can firm up.
Is No Bake Cheesecake as Good as Baked Cheesecake?
No-bake cheesecake is different from baked cheesecake in texture and flavor. No-bake cheesecake tends to be lighter, creamier, and fluffier than baked cheesecake, and it doesn't have the same dense, rich texture that comes from baking the cheesecake.
While both types of cheesecake are delicious, they have their own unique qualities. Some people may prefer the lighter, creamier texture of no-bake cheesecake, while others may prefer the denser, richer texture of baked cheesecake. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.
You can read more about the differences between the two in this post on baked vs. no-bake cheesecake.
Toppings and Variations
You can create a lot of different flavors by using your favorite toppings! You can even serve up individual cheesecakes with bowls of toppings and let everyone make their own. Here are a few ideas for inspiration.
- Fresh Berries: I especially love a combination of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
- Fruit Sauce: Instead of fresh fruit, use your favorite fruit sauce to drizzle over the top. You can make this homemade strawberry pie filling or use a store-bought cherry pie filling.
- Peanut Butter Cup: Chocolate and peanut butter make a winning combination. Add dark chocolate sauce along with peanut butter sauce and then sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
- Turtle Cheesecake: Top with your favorite rich caramel sauce, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, and toasted nuts.
- Chocolate Crust: Swap the graham cracker crust for a chocolate crust using chocolate wafer cookies or Oreo cookies instead of graham crackers.
- Cookie Crust: You can also use crushed-up vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, or shortbread as a replacement for the graham crackers in the crust.
- Whipped Cream: Top each mini cheesecake with a rosette of homemade whipped cream. You can even add a piece of fresh mint and a dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa sugar mixture.
- Use room-temperature cream cheese. Cold cream cheese does not mix in as well and will leave chunks of cream cheese in the filling. So this is an important step in making the best cheesecake!
- If you do not have time to let the cream cheese sit out on the counter, place the packages of cream cheese in a Ziplock bag and submerge them in warm water for 10 minutes.
- For a sturdier crust, bake the empty cookie shells at 350°F (180°C) for five minutes. Make sure they cool completely before you add the filling.
- Fully beating the whipped cream is one of the most important steps in this recipe! The peaks should stay in place when you remove the beaters.
- Be gentle folding the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Harsh movements can cause the air in the whipped cream to deflate.
- Serve mini cheesecakes straight from the refrigerator for the best flavor and consistency.
Cheesecake should be kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Wrap them tightly with plastic wrap or store them in an airtight container and it will last 3-4 days. Here's a great resource for more insights into how to properly store cheesecake.
Yes, no-bake cheesecake freezes well once they are fully set in the refrigerator. Just wrap each mini cheesecake cup with plastic wrap and then transfer them to a Ziploc freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Yes, they need to be chilled for at least three hours to firm up before serving. They also taste best when they are served up straight from the fridge. They are smaller than a whole cheesecake and will soften up much more quickly when they’re taken out of the refrigerator.
Can I make no-bake mini cheesecakes in advance?
Yes, they must be made at least 3 hours in advance, and are even better after setting overnight, so these are a perfect make-ahead dessert recipe!
More No-Bake Recipes
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No-Bake Mini CheesecakesRecipe by:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs about 8 full sheets of graham crackers, 120 grams
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar 27 grams
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted 4 tablespoons, 57 grams
- 1 cup heavy cream 237 ml
- 2 8-ounce blocks cream cheese
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar 35 grams
- 2 tablespoons sour cream 30 grams
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- Mix the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter in a medium bowl. The mixture will have the consistency of wet sand.1 cup graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- Use a small scoop to spoon 1 ½ tablespoons of the crumb mixture into each liner. Press firmly with the back of the scoop to pack it in.
- Optional Step: For a sturdier crust, bake the crumb crust in the muffin pan at 350°F (177°C) for 5 minutes. Cool completely before filling with the cheesecake mixture. If you do not bake the crust, place it in the freezer while preparing the filling.
- Use a hand or stand mixture to beat the heavy cream to stiff peaks.1 cup heavy cream
- In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, until creamy.2 8-ounce blocks cream cheese, ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- Scrape the sides then add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon juice and continue beating an additional minute.2 tablespoons sour cream, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake mixture using a rubber spatula. Be careful not to deflate the cream.
- Use a medium scoop or a piping bag to fill each cup with about 2 tablespoons of filling. Use a spoon or mini offset spatula to smooth the tops.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
- Beating the heavy cream to stiff peaks means that the tips of the cream stand straight and do not curl over when you remove the beater.
- You can use thawed whipped topping instead of heavy cream if desired.
- Room-temperature cream cheese will blend smoothly into the sugar.
- Be gentle when folding the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture so the cream does not deflate.
- You can pipe the filling into the graham cracker cups using a large open tip or a star tip.