Last Updated on September 1, 2022 by Kathryn Donangelo
These refreshing Mini Lemon Cheesecakes are made with a buttery shortbread cookie crust and a smooth and creamy lemon cheesecake filling. Made in less than 30 minutes and makes the perfect dessert for any occasion.
Welcome to #LemonWeek 2022, day 3! Hosted by Lynn from Fresh April Flours and Rebecca from Devour Dinner. This week is sponsored by Rodelle and La Tourangelle. I may have received product samples from these sponsors to help in the creation of my recipes. All opinions are my own. Come join me and my fellow Lemon Week bloggers as we bring you recipes from appetizers to drinks to entrées and desserts!
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I LOVE Mini Cheesecakes! I made these Cheesecake Bites years ago and they’ve been one of the most popular recipes on my blog ever since. Other mini cheesecake flavors I’ve made are Snickerdoodle, Funfetti, Oreo, Apple Pie, Chocolate Chip, and Pumpkin.
These Mini Lemon Cheesecakes are creamy, easy, and have a hint of refreshing lemon flavor.
Made in a cupcake pan so they are the perfect-sized dessert and make the best dessert for birthday parties, pot lucks, gatherings, showers, holidays, or any time you’re craving cheesecake. Top with whipped cream, and fresh berries, or enjoy them just as they are.
I love making cheesecake bites because they are SO much easier to make than a whole cheesecake. You don’t have to feel as guilty because they are made in a cupcake pan so they are perfectly portioned and make the best dessert for any occasion.
Cream cheese: Cream cheese is the base for all cheesecake recipes! Full fat is best for the most decadent texture, but feel free to swap out a reduced-fat option. The cream cheese must be at room temperature and softened in order to get the perfect creamy texture. It will also help all of the ingredients come together.
Granulated sugar: Sugar balances out the tart flavor of the cream cheese and will add sweetness.
Eggs: Make sure the eggs are at room temperature so it incorporates into the batter. The eggs will add richness and will give the cheesecakes a custard-like texture.
Sour cream: Adds just the perfect amount of tang to the cheesecake flavor. It also adds moisture and will make these bites extra soft.
Vanilla extract: Adds a warm flavor and enhances the flavors. Pure vanilla extract is always best.
Shortbread cookies: you can use your favorite shortbread cookies. The buttery flavor of the shortbread cookie compliments the lemon flavors of the cheesecakes.
Lemons: fresh lemon juice is best for the most refreshing flavors. You will need both lemon zest and lemon juice.
HOW TO MAKE MINI LEMON CHEESECAKES
MAKE CHEESCAKE BATTER. In a large mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and flour with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice and beat just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. The cheesecake mixture will be smooth. Be sure not to overmix.
RECIPE TIPS AND VARIATIONS
For vegan cheesecakes, use your dairy-free cream cheese, butter, and substitute the eggs with cornstarch and vinegar or lemon juice. For gluten-free cheesecake bites, use gluten-free shortbread cookies and gluten-free flour.
If you do not have a food processor, crush the shortbread cookies by sealing them in an airtight bag and smashing them with a rolling pin or another hard object.
Top the cheesecake bites with lemon curd or drizzle with a light lemon icing to add even more lemon flavor.
Use a graham cracker crust instead of a shortbread crust for a more traditional-style cheesecake. You can use this graham cracker crust recipe.
WHY DO MINI CHEESECAKES CRACK?
If the cheesecake mixture is over mixed, then it can cause the batter to have too many air bubbles which will result in the mini cheesecakes to crack. Be sure not to overmix the cheesecake batter!
LEFTOVERS AND STORAGE
To Store: Place any leftover cheesecake bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
To Freeze: Individually wrap each cheesecake with plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container or heavy-duty ziplock bag. Be sure the cheesecake bites are completely cool before freezing. Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to eat the frozen cheesecake bites, simply defrost on the counter until thawed completely.
THESE MINI LEMON CHEESECAKES ARE
- Perfect for summer! I love all things lemon, especially during the summer because it’s so refreshing and satisfying.
- Mini-sized and made in a cupcake or muffin pan. I love any dessert that’s mini because you don’t have to feel guilty for eating it since it’s a smaller portion.
- Easy to make and can be prepped the day before. These cheesecakes actually taste better the day before because they get more times to chill in the refrigerator and set.
- Bursting with sweet, tangy, and refreshing flavors. The shortbread crust makes a perfect combination with the creamy lemon cheesecake filling.
Wednesday #LemonWeek Recipes
- Lemon Curd Layer Cake by Fresh April Flours
- Lemon Poke Cake by Blogghetti
- Lemonade Cake by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Crepes with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone by Art Of Natural Living
- Braided Lemon Bread with Blackberries by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Chicken Costoletta by Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Lemon Lush by Devour Dinner
- Lemon Cheesecake Bars by Best Cookie Recipes
- Lemon Pudding Cake by The Freshman Cook
- Lemon Cheesecake Bombs by Simply Inspired Meals
- One Pot Lemon Garlic Pasta Recipe by The Fresh Cooky
- Lemon Loaf Cake by A Day In The Life On The Farm
- Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Pudding Cookies by The Spiffy Cookie
- Lemon Blueberry Crumb Bars by An Affair From The Heart
- Mini Lemon Cheesecakes by Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog
- Lemon Sorbet by Jen Around The World
- Lemon Blueberry Waffles by Lemon Blossoms
- Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies by Home Cooked Harvest
- Lemon Rosemary Marmalade by That Recipe
- Lemon Crepes by The Redhead Baker
- Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake by Jonesin’ For A Taste
CAN’T GET ENOUGH
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Lemon Cheesecake Bites
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
- 12 ounces softened cream cheese (1 1/2 blocks)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Shortbread Cookie Crust
- 1 cup shortbread cookies
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
To make the shortbread cookie crust
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, combine the shortbread cookies, melted butter, and sugar. Process for a few minutes until the mixture turns into a crumb-like consistency.
- Line two REGULAR cupcake baking pans with paper or silicone liners and evenly divide the shortbread cookie crumb mixture among 16 cups. With a spice jar, firmly press onto the cookie mixture to form a crust. Set aside.
To make the mini lemon cheesecakes
- In a large mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and flour with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice and beat just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. The cheesecake mixture will be smooth. Be sure not to overmix.
- With a tablespoon, spoon the mixture evenly on top of the crusts. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the centers are set. Let cool completely, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Remove cupcake liners and top with whipped cream (optional).
- To Store Leftovers: Place any leftover cheesecake bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- To Freeze: Individually wrap each cheesecake with plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container or heavy-duty ziplock bag. Be sure the cheesecake bites are completely cool before freezing. Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to eat the frozen cheesecake bites, simply defrost on the counter until thawed completely.
- If you do not have a food processor, crush the shortbread cookies by sealing them in an airtight bag and smashing them with a rolling pin or another hard object.
- Use a graham cracker crust instead of a shortbread crust for a more traditional-style cheesecake. You can use this graham cracker crust recipe.
- Be sure not to overmix the cheesecake batter!