Cheesecakes in a jar: The neat way to eat a handful of cheesecake

Cheesecake and fresh summer fruit is an amazing combination. The rich creamy custard is a perfect foil for the sweet, tangy, juicy fruits. But cheesecake has a bit of a reputation…

People, myself included, tend to think of cheesecake as a formal dessert. One that requires you to be dressed up and on your best behavior. I wonder why that is?

Does it have to do with the expense involved? Did it just become habit only to make cheesecake for special occasions? Even the casual cousin version of cheesecake in muffin cups tends only to be served at summer parties, not for a weeknight dinner dessert. How about a slice of cheesecake at the beach? UNheard of!

Well, thanks to our Pinterest pages, and our friends out there who love to share recipes, I came across the idea of baking cheesecake batter in heat-proof canning jars, individual servings that could be lidded up and taken anywhere. I was sold even before I started shopping for groceries.

I’m sure this method will be an old favorite for some of you, but I’m hoping that others like me will be thrilled with the new discovery.

I’m sure, too, that the photo above is just making you hanker for a good bite of cheesecake, so let’s not delay any further – let’s make Cheesecake in a Jar.

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There’s a huge difference in temperature, not to mention texture, between cream cheese straight from the fridge and cream cheese that’s been at room temperature for an hour.

If there’s one thing you can do to ensure a smooth batter for your cheesecake, it’s taking the time to let the cream cheese warm up.

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Prepare your favorite cheesecake batter according to the recipe directions. I used our Brooklyn-style cheesecake filling for its richness and perfect texture. Don’t worry about tracking it down, I’ve reprinted it in the recipe.

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In a small bowl, mix 1 cup graham cracker crumbs with 1 tablespoon sugar. Place 2 tablespoons sweetened crumbs in each of seven 1/2-pint Mason jars. Press down lightly.

One of the beautiful things about this method is that you never have to turn on the oven. Even the crust bakes in the slow cooker.  If you like a richer crust you can add melted butter to the crumb mixture, but I happen to like the crumbs a little looser and crisp.

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Place the jars in a  7- to 8-quart slow cooker. Can you see the messy jar I filled up in the back? Do try to be a little neater than I was.

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Fill each jar 3/4 full with your cheesecake filling. I found pouring the filling from a pitcher with a spout to be a great help.

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Cheesecakes bake best in a warm water bath, called a bain marie. With the temperature control of the slow cooker, the water stays at a constant temperature and the moist air keeps the cakes from forming a crust on top.

To fill the cooker with water, loosely place a lid on each jar to prevent water from splashing in. Pour warm water in until the level reaches at least halfway up the sides of the jars.

Remove the lids from the jars, cover the slow cooker, and set the cooker to high for 1 to 2 hours.

I know this seems like a very wide range of time for cooking, but slow cookers vary, cheesecake batters vary, so it’s better to have a big window.

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To test the cakes for doneness, insert a knife about 1/2″ in from the outer edge. The blade should come out moist, but clean. The centers of the cakes should no longer be wiggly or jiggly.

Turn off the slow cooker and allow the cheesecakes to cool down for about 20 minutes before transferring them to a rack.

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Allow the cheesecakes to rest at room temperature for an hour before sealing with lids and rings. Chill the jars in the fridge for several hours (or up to overnight) before serving. Store tightly covered in the fridge for up to a week.

I’ve never been a big fan of freezing cheesecakes, but I’m pretty sure these would survive well in the freezer for at least a month.

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Pass the berries, cherries, hot fudge sauce, and whipped cream for a topping party. Each person can create his or her own favorite combination, then dig in with a long-handled spoon. Forget iced tea, this is the true reason to break out Aunt Elaine’s set of silver spoons.

Tell us about your summer picnic experiences and your cheesecake triumphs in the comments below. It truly does mean the world to me and my fellow bakers when you share your joy of baking, food and, of course, eating!

Please make, rate, and review our recipe for Cheesecake in a Jar.

Print just the recipe.

Plan the perfect picnic with these other great recipes:  Deviled Eggs; Turkey, Avocado, Strawberry Sandwiches; Pickled Red Onions.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. arlie

    If the 1/2 pint jar serves 2 then why not make some in 4 oz. canning jars so that each person could have their own jar? Has that been tried? Also you could use a canning funnel to fill those jars and avoid some of the mess.
    You certainly could use smaller jars. You would need to either cut the recipe in half, or plan on baking two batches to use up all of the filling. The baking time would be somewhat shorter, but not having tried it I don’t have any specifics for you. If you do give it a go, we’d love to hear about it.
    p.s. Too true about the funnel. Mine is amongst the lost socks, so I’ve got to get a new one. ~MJ

    Reply
  2. jeanl0u

    Any chance you could provide nutritionals for this recipe? It looks wonderful!

    Unfortunately we do not have this information available, but we hopefully will in the future.-Jon

    Reply
  3. "Since 8"

    This would be a good time to use your canning funnel if you have one (I do!).

    Absolutely, it will make filling these jars a piece of (cheese) cake!-Jon

    Reply
  4. mwalton

    Such a clever idea. What about using the 4 ounce wide mouth jars and making these individual portions? Would be easy to up the crust to cheesecake ratio with the smaller wider jar also.Must try!!!

    The 4 ounce jars will work as well, but the baking time will decrease so make sure to keep an eye on them!-Jon

    Reply
  5. ficelle

    THIS IS PERFECT!!! I’m having a big family gathering June 22nd. We’re in a high-rise condo, which doesn’t lend itself to casual entertaining because we have only a small balcony for outdoor access. I’ve been knocking my head trying to come up with an elegant but casual menu. THIS will be the dessert. I’ll find smaller jars, and put another layer of the crumbs in the middle of the cream cheese. I’ll make ’em in advance, freeze ’em, and have the kitchen top them with whatever is the best fresh fruit the day of.

    Will try to remember to post a picture after the party.

    Yum, sounds like a perfect idea. We can’t wait to see the results!-Jon

    Reply
  6. momcatsmac

    Yes, these are 8 oz jars, the size I use for tomato jam every summer. I was excited about this recipe until I got to the part about having to share….

    No need to share if you don’t want to.-Jon 😉

    Reply
  7. wendafriesner

    So, is the error that the incorrect jars are shown or that the recipe should be prepared in 8 oz. jars instead of 16 oz. jars? I would prefer the 8 oz. jars if that would constitute a single serving per jar. For the smaller jars, would the baking time be as stated in the recipe, or should it be reduced? I’d love to take these cheesecakes on a 4th of July picnic I’m planning.

    The recipe as written is for 8 oz (half pint) jars, the mention of a pint jar was the typo in this case.-Jon

    Reply
  8. julandrobm

    Since the cheesecake is so rich, do you think this would work with the
    smaller mason jars rather than the pint size? Of course, it would require
    slow cooking a double batch but would then be just the right amount for one
    person.

    We actually had a little typo in our blog; half pints are the way to go!-Jon

    Reply
  9. Bernadette

    Seems like a lot of filling for a little crust so how about using the half-pint Mason jars if you have them or perhaps individual ramekins. You might have to increase the crumb mixture to have enough for all the little desserts but I don’t think that would be much of a problem. I wonder how you would adjust the cooking time for smaller jars?

    We actually did use the half pints, we had a little typo in the blog post! You can also increase the crust if you like without a problem.-Jon

    Reply
  10. clmaurer

    Can you halve the recipe and prepare in 1/2 pint jars? It makes it truly individual servings.

    We actually had a little typo for this recipe, you should definitely use 1/2 pint jars!-Jon

    Reply

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