These Lemon Mini Cheesecakes feature a tart and refreshing lemon cheesecake filling that sits on top of a buttery homemade graham cracker crust. Made in a muffin pan, this cheesecake couldn't be easier to make for any occasion!
This recipe was originally published in March of 2021, but was updated on March 25, 2022 with newer content and fresh pictures.
These lemon cheesecakes are smooth, creamy, and bursting with lemon flavor from the fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. Although tart, they are also incredibly sweet and the graham cracker crust adds a delicious buttery flavor too.
Why You'll Love These Mini Cheesecakes
- Both lemon juice and lemon zest are used in the filling for maximum lemon flavor.
- The cheesecake is silky smooth.
- They can be made in a muffin pan.
- No water bath is needed.
- They're bite-size, making them extremely easy to share with others!
I love mini cheesecake recipes because they can be baked in a muffin pan using cupcake liners. There's absolutely no need for a springform pan or water bath. Plus, they chill way quicker compared to a full size cheesecake.
Fresh whipped cream is piped right on top, along with extra lemon zest. If you love lemon anything, then you must bake these cheesecake bites!
Expert Baking Tips
- Muffin Pan: This lemon cheesecake recipe can easily be made in a 12-count muffin pan. I recommend lining your pan with cupcake liners, but if you don’t have any, use non-stick spray to generously grease each muffin cup.
- Cream Cheese: Alway use the block-style cream cheese when making any cheesecake.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Remove the cream cheese, yogurt, and egg from the refrigerator 1 hour before you want to start baking.
- Lemons: I used three small lemons in order to have enough juice and zest. Avoid using store-bought lemon juice. Fresh lemon juice is so much better!
- Cheesecake Filling: I used a cookie scoop to evenly distribute the cheesecake filling over the top of the graham cracker crust.
Here are some notes on the ingredients we'll be using. For the full ingredients list, look at the recipe card below.
- Graham Crackers: The main component of the crust. Use a food processor to pulse into crumbs. You could also use vanilla wafer cookies or lemon Oreo cookies for the crust.
- Cream Cheese: Brick-style, NOT the spreadable kind.
- Yogurt: I always add a little bit of yogurt to my cheesecakes. It adds even more creaminess and I love the flavor. If you don't have yogurt, you could substitute it for sour cream.
- Lemons: Fresh lemon juice is best to achieve a bright and refreshing lemon flavor. You'll also need the zest.
- Egg: Binds all of the ingredients together in the filling and provides creaminess.
Here are the step by step instructions on how to make these mini lemon cheesecakes.
Step 1: Make the crust. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and salt.
Step 2: Bake the crust. Disperse the graham cracker crumbs into the cupcake liners, pressing down firmly. Bake for 5 minutes in a 325 degree oven and set aside to cool.
Step 3: Beat the cream cheese. Using an electric stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar on high speed until smooth.
Step 4: Add wet ingredients. Add the lemon juice, yogurt, lemon zest, and vanilla extract on medium speed and mix until combined. Then mix in the egg.
Step 5: Bake the cheesecake. Evenly distribute the cheesecake filling into the cupcake liners, covering the graham cracker crust, and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the tops of the cheesecakes are set.
Step 6: Chill. Allow the cheesecakes to cool for 45 minutes on the counter and then cover the entire muffin pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours.
Step 7: Whipped Cream. Beat together the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until medium stiff peaks form. Top the chilled cheesecakes with the whipped cream and extra lemon zest.
Additional Topping Ideas
I love to top these cute little cheesecakes with some whipped cream and fresh lemon zest. Not only do they look good, but they taste amazing too!
Other toppings you might like:
- vanilla ice cream
- whipped cream
- lemon segments
- lemon zest
- lemon curd
They’re best consumed within 2-3 days but can last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! This is a perfect dessert to make the night before. Simply let the cheesecakes chill overnight and then serve the next day.
The cheesecakes are done baking when they barely jiggle when moving the pan. If it moves a lot, they're not done yet.
I don't recommend it. Fresh lemon juice tastes so much better and since you need the zest, it just makes more sence to use real lemons.
Even More Cheesecake Recipes
Lemon Mini Cheesecakes
- 12-count muffin pan
- Cupcake Liners
- Food Processor
- Electric Stand Mixer
Graham Cracker Crust
- 7 graham cracker sheets, crumbs (about 1 cup)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
- 12 ounces block-style cream cheese, room temperature
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons yogurt (plain or vanilla), room temperature
- ½ tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
Graham Cracker Crust
- Place the graham cracker sheets into a food processor or blender and pulse until fine crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the melted butter, sugar, and salt. Mix together.
- Evenly disperse the graham cracker crumbs into the cupcake liners, pressing down firmly (use your fingers or a 1/4 measuring cup). Bake for 5 minutes and set aside to cool while making the cheesecake filling.
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the paddle attachment (or you can use a handheld mixer in a large mixing bowl), beat together the cream cheese and sugar on high speed until smooth (about 1-2 minutes). Scrape the sides of the bowl a few times during this process.
- Add the lemon juice, yogurt, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl again. Add your egg, mixing on low speed, until just incorporated.
- Evenly distribute the cheesecake filling into the cupcake liners, covering the graham cracker crust (I used my 1.5 tbsp cookie scoop). Place the muffin pan back into the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the tops of the cheesecakes are set (if the cheesecakes jiggle when shaken, they're not done yet).
- Allow the cheesecakes to cool for 45 minutes on the counter and then cover the entire muffin pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the whisk attachment, whisk together the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on high speed for 3-4 minutes.
- Top the chilled cheesecakes with the whipped cream and lemon zest (optional)
- Keep any leftover mini cheesecakes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.