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Cheesecakes in Jars

I like the idea of serving little individual desserts at get togethers and these little cheesecakes do the job. People can just pick one up and go - no slicing and serving required. I made lemon pound cake parfaits in taller jars but these little cheesecakes are in the smaller 4-ounce jelly jars. You can find them easily at your grocery store.  They are just about the perfect serving size for all those people who say, "Oh, I shouldn't eat dessert. Well, maybe just a few bites."  The toppings that you can use are endless.  I had to make a few of these with mini chocolate chips for my sweet guy, Nathan - he doesn't do raspberries. I was also thinking a nice layer of caramel sauce would be heavenly.

The recipe calls for vanilla extract, something I never buy in the grocery store. I've purchased vanilla beans for a long time from Beanilla, a great company that sells the most luscious, plump vanilla beans you ever saw. I love slicing a vanilla bean and scraping out the seeds, or caviar, for desserts. It adds such a depth of flavor. Rob, the founder of Beanilla, has some very interesting items in addition to the vanilla beans.  I've used his vanilla bean paste in this recipe.  It's a quick way to add the vanilla bean seeds without having to use a whole vanilla bean.

Vanilla Bean Paste from Beanilla 


Cheesecakes in Jars


for a printable recipe, click here

makes 24 little cheesecakes.  (the recipe is easily halved)

you will need 24 4-ounce regular mouth jelly jars


for the cheesecake:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (16 whole graham crackers, ground)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted 
  • 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste)
  • zest of 1 lemon

for the Raspberry Topping:

  • 2 pints of fresh raspberries
  • strawberry or raspberry jelly

Other toppings:  I used mini chocolate chips.  You can really do anything you like for the toppings.  All kinds of fruit would work, caramel sauce, meringue, etc.  



Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Spray the jelly jars with non-stick cooking spray, making sure to spray the bottoms so the crust doesn't stick.

Blend the graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons of sugar and melted butter in a bowl.  Place about 1 heaping tablespoon of the crumbs into each jelly jar and tamp down to make the crust (I used a wine cork). 

I used a Rabbit wine cork to tamp down the crumbs for the crusts

In a large mixer bowl, mix the room temperature cream cheese with the 3/4 cup of sugar until smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.  Add the sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest and mix until well incorporated. Fill each jelly jar with about 1/3 cup of the filling, leaving room at the top for your topping.

Place the jars in a large roasting pan or two deep baking dishes.  Fill the pan with hot water halfway up the jelly jars.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove jars with tongs and place on a wire rack to cool.

garnish with fresh mint

For the raspberry topping:  pick over the raspberries and discard any that are moldy or bruised.  Place 7 raspberries on top of each cheesecake.  Heat about 1/3 cup of the jelly in a microwave and stir so that the jelly is spreadable.  Brush the tops of the raspberries gently with the jelly to glaze them.  Refrigerate cheesecakes until ready to serve.  Can be made the day before.

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Reader Comments (92)

I love this idea - they are so cute! And thanks for the reminder that I have 20 bottles of vanilla extract in the basement I need to give to friends!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCooking with Michele

This is an incredible fundraiser idea! Thank for this! I definitely will be utilizing your recipe.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSigfried Bueno

tHIS LOOKS amazing!!!!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNoelle

I can't wait to try these!! I just recently made the Lemon Pound Cake Parfaits in the jelly jars for my Mother's birthday dinner. They were so good! Now the only desert my husband actually likes is Cheese Cake... I will be making these for him for sure!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Russell

I love this idea too!!! So cute and tasty looking! I would love to have one as dessert now please! Great for parties.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I really like the idea of dessert in a jar, great idea for parties. You can make an assortment of cakes, parfaits oh the possibilities!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeb @ knitstamatic


August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

Oh my goodness! How perfect!! I'm having company next week and wanted something fancy but simple; this'll be perfect. I can also see myself popping extras into the freezer. Ingenious, as usual, ma'am!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFarmer's City Wife

This is just perfect for parties what a beautiful presentation Elaine!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarie

Individual desserts are great. Maybe it's because you don't have to cut into and ruin a pretty display of baked goods before serving it. Either way I love these.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin

This is brilliant! I can make some of the cheesecakes gluten-free for my friends with celiac disease without having to make an entire GF cake. Everybody is happy!

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeni

I've only just discovered your blog and I love it. These look adorable!

What a great twist on cheesecake! Absolutely wonderful....

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSallyBR

What an adorable idea! I'll definitely have to try this one.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

These look so cute! I've seen cupcakes in jars before but this is the first time I've seen something different :)

August 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmma Angelic

I made these this weekend and they came out SO cute! I made two versions - no bake and baked. Some had homemade strawberry sauce and the others had chocolate chips and sprinkles of sugar/choclate and coffee from my Trader Joe's grinder. I don't like cheesecake but my taste testers at work said it was super tasty.

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMitzie

These are beautiful.. fantastic job! :)

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

What a grand idea - maybe would help me with "cheesecake portion control" - which I do not have. There's something so beautiful about individual desserts - so personal and sweet.

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

I was wondering if this would be ok to ship within the US (maybe overnight)? What would you think?

Btw...they look SO good!! I could make these in advance and take one to work with me so I can get my "sweets" craving without worrying about taking the whole cake and something to slice it with and then taking it back home. Then the co-workers wanting some...blah...such a mess.

August 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTamara

I love recipes in jars. This is the first time I've seen cheesecakes. Clever and beautiful! Your photos are stunning.

August 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMonica @ The Yummy Life

What a fantastic idea! I love making cheesecake and putting them in jars is genius! So so cute

October 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa R

i made this on saturday but with 8 ounce jars because i didn't have 4 ounce ones. AMAZING!!! they were quite the hit.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermallory

where do i get the 4oz jars ?

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

They sell them in the supermarket. I purchased mine from Ralph's supermarket

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMitzie

I had to come over and share that I made this recipe with 8 oz jars for my Bible Study Christmas party that's tonight. They are SO good and so easy. I made the cheesecakes yesterday afternoon and just put the raspberries and drizzle over them tonight. They are so fun to...even just look at. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I know my girlfriends are going to love them.

December 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

Cute gift idea.

December 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDD

The ingredients requires 2 tablespoon of sugar than 3/4 cup of sugar. Is the 2 tablespoon of sugar for the crumbs and the 3/4 cup of sugar for the cheesecake itself? So I never made a cheesecake before :-)

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

From The Italian Dish:

Stacy: Yes, that is correct. I rewrote it so it's a little clearer. Thank you.

January 20, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

What would you charge if it is a fundraiser? My youngest out of six has rett syndrome and they are hopeful to reverse it. I love this idea!

March 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhea

How long do you cook these in 8 ounce jars? Thanks.

April 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDorothy

The 8 ounce size if I fill them full - how long to cook? Thank you!

April 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDorothy

From The Italian Dish:

I would cook them about 10 minutes longer, just until still jiggly in the center.

April 7, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Would these be chilled enough after 2 hours in the fridge?

April 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCory

Do you happen to have or know about apple pie in jars? I saw it posted in one of my e-mails ,thought I saved it but didn't ,if you do could you please post it Thanks Martha

April 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMartha

Has anyone tried to freeze these? I have a baby shower next week but would like to make them in advance so I don't have to add something to my list for the day before...

May 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkaren

How far in advance can you make these?

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Great idea... thank you!

June 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

I found your blog through Pintrest, and I love it! I would like to invite you to share your recipes on a new recipe sharing website RecipeNewZ (with Z). When you submit a photo of your dish, it is published within minutes and links back to your blog. Try it out:

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRecipeNewZ

yes would love to know if these are freezable (is that even a word? lol)

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdawn

Love the portion size! These look so good!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

What about in place of "Zest of one lemon" ? I have an allergy to all citrus actually but I LOVE cheesecakes in any sizes and thought this would actually be really cute to do for my daughters class too ;-)

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Could we freeze these for a week?

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDana

such a great little recipe..and terrific photography here too...great job it!

I want to try these little cheese cakes..and it just so happens were cooking for a friends 62 birthday today...hmmm


July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChef Keith Snow

I LOVE the idea of eating a small dessert out of a container more substantial than a cupcake paper. So much easier and neater to eat! Cupcake shops take note! Thanks so much for the recipe!

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

Which jars can go in the oven??? or is it a special way to do it to where they wont break

August 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKRYSTAL

From The Italian Dish:

Krystal: Not sure what you mean. The jars are baked in a nice little water bath in a roasting pan. They do not break.

August 27, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

For my son's wedding I made 228 of these :) everyone LOVED them!! I make the & froze them for a week, there wasn't any taste/texture difference!! Thank you for sharing this!!

August 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDana

From The Italian Dish:

Dana: Impressive! How great is that. My hat is off to you. Please tell me about the toppings you used and how you froze so many of them!

August 27, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Wow! These are adorable. I could halve the recipe and maybe freeze a few? or how long could I keep them in the fridge? We don't entertain at home and no family nearby to share yummies. So being able to keep some for later would be even better!

September 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Oh my goodness...a little taste of heaven. Thank you so much, I feel like I can live life a little better when people share such wonderful ideas for the little joys we can create and share with those that we love :)

November 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

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