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Close up photo of 4th of July mini cheesecakes on a white plate with sprinkles around them.
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5 from 3 votes

4th of July Mini Cheesecakes

4th of July Mini Cheesecakes is a red, white, and blue layered dessert that has a shortbread crust filled with creamy cheesecake filling! Only 20 minutes of prep time!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Cooling Time3 hrs
Total Time4 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 453kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs about 20 small shortbread cookies crushed in a food processor
  • Red food coloring
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter melted
  • 16 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • Blue food coloring
  • Optional garnish is whipped cream and sprinkles.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare muffin tins by placing large muffin papers into 12 muffin cups (standard muffin pan not mini muffin pan).
  • Mix the cookie crumbs with the melted butter and red food coloring until crumbly and evenly colored. Press this mixture evenly into the 12 muffin cups.
  • Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
  • Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the cream cheese. When it is smooth, gradually add the cup of sugar. Beat this until fluffy. At a low speed, add the lemon peel and vanilla. Also at a low speed, blend in the eggs, one at a time. Do not mix more than needed.
  • Divide this cheese mixture evenly between 2 bowls. Leave one bowl plain (white). Add blue food coloring to the other bowl.
  • Using a Tablespoon, divide the plain cheesecake batter into the muffin cups - smooth the top. Then divide the blue cheesecake batter among the muffin cups. (Do this very gently so that the layers don’t mix) Again, smooth the top.
  • Bake the mini cheesecakes at 325°F for 20 minutes on the middle or bottom rack. Watch these carefully, cheesecake can scorch. Then turn off the heat, prop the oven door open, and leave the cheesecakes in the oven for another 10 minutes.
  • Allow the cheesecakes to cool completely on a cooling rack (at least 30 minutes). Then, it is best to chill the mini cheesecakes in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving.
  • Garnish with whipped cream and sprinkles.

Notes

  • Storage Instructions: These mini cheesecakes will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. You may freeze them for up to 3 months. Just allow them to thaw in the fridge before serving.
  • How should I make the cookie crumbs? Place your cookies in a food processor and blend until the texture of sand. If you don’t have a food processor, you may put the cookies in a freezer back and pound them into crumbs using a heavy rolling pin or meat mallet.
  • Can I substitute something else for the shortbread cookie crumbs? Yes, good substitutes would be sugar cookie crumbs, vanilla wafer crumbs, or graham crumbs.
  • I don’t have any lemon zest - is there a substitute? You could use lime zest, orange zest, ½ teaspoon of lemon extract, or just leave out the zest.
  • I’m not sure how to get lemon zest - any tips? I used my box grater to remove just the yellow part of the lemon peel - be careful not to go so deep that you get the pith (white part) which is bitter. You have to keep turning the lemon. Or you may carefully use a paring knife to remove the yellow part of the peel and then chop this up fine.

Nutrition

Calories: 453kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 389mg | Potassium: 104mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 759IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg