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. jagg-3

    Could you add a canning lid and a screw ban when cheesecake is done? wouldn’t that make them last longer?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      They need to be refrigerated anyway, so if you want to screw the lid on once they’re cool, it will protect them from drying out. But please don’t think you’re “canning” these cheesecakes, by any stretch of the imagination; that just won’t work. Hope I understood your question…? PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You could certainly make these individual cheesecakes in ramekins instead of jars, Lauren. The only drawback is that they can’t be lidded for easy storage or gift-giving, but if you are going to enjoy them right away then ramekins would be perfect! Just be sure to adjust the amount of water so that it comes up almost to the top of the ramekins but does not overflow into the dish. (Soggy cheesecakes are no fun.) Good luck and happy baking! Kye@KAF

  2. Lisa

    If I needed to fix for a crowd at one time and used my roaster oven instead of my crock pot what temperature would be best? This would be a great treat for the ladies at work on our potluck Tuesday.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The cheesecakes can easily be done the night before so they have the creamy coolness…Try in the roaster oven at 350 until they test done as directed in the recipe. Happy baking! Laurie@KAf

  3. Karen

    I am thinking of trying this in my electric frying pan. it will hold a lot more jars than my slow cooker. My cheesecake recipe makes alot of cheese cake

    Reply
  4. Michele Lewis

    I am going to do this with 4 oz wide mouth jars so that they are single serve (loving this idea!). Has anyone figured out how long these will take in the crockpot? Or, how long they would take in the oven?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you bake these in a water bath in a 300 degree oven, they should take about 1/2 hour.~Jaydl@KAF

  5. Carla

    I “bake” cheesecakes in my pressure cooker in a small springform pan. it’s quick and is always creamy. I like the little jar idea better.

    Reply
  6. waikikirie

    I am making these today. Can anyone tell me about the lids. I am inexperienced in canning but know that the lids cannot be reused. Because these cakes aren’t really being canned, can I re-use the lids??
    Will be playing with this recipe (after trying it out as written first) to make my Oreo Cheesecake in the jars. (Oreo cookie crust with broken up cookies in the middle – YUM)
    Yes, you can use the lids over again, as they aren’t getting pressure cooked etc. I can’t wait to hear how the Oreo ones come out. I’m free for taste testing if you need me. 😉 ~ MJ

    Reply
  7. CarmenC

    Do you think we could leave out the crust for our gluten-free friends?

    Absolutely – I’m sure your friends will appreciate being able to enjoy their crustless cheesecake along with everyone else! PJH

    Reply
  8. SheenaC

    Hi there,
    Can you tell me how much melted butter to incorporate into the crust? I would love to try this out for my annual 4th of July party. Thanks for this great and cute idea!!

    Experiment before the big party – other cheesecake recipes (baked in a pan) use proportions for 1 cup of crumbs anywhere between 2 tablespoons to 4 or 5. This will take some experimenting and taste testing to find what works for you! Wish we were neighbors so we could help in the “research”! Happy Baking – Irene@KAF

    Reply

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