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Cheesecake in a Jar

by Jamie on April 22, 2011

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I’m fairly certain that I’ve discussed my lack of love for the great outdoors, so it’s safe to say you’ll never hear me writing about long hikes in the woods or camping anywhere other than on a deck chair at a five star resort (Hey, I can dream, right?). Not to say that I am not fond of the fresh air and scenery, I just like to keep a screen between me and the bugs.

Needless to say, I don’t last long at picnics in the park or anywhere outdoors for that matter. Usually an annoying fly or buzzing bee will send me into a fit within 20 minutes and I’ll sit there contemplating my escape route or the idea of eating in my air conditioned vehicle.

Problem is, I am a big pan of picnic food. Hot dogs, potato salad and watermelon rank pretty high on my hierarchy of good eats, so I’ll usually suffer through it as long as I am armed with cold bottle of water and a fly swatter.

Then, a couple of friends came up with the idea of a virtual picnic. A Virtual Picnic for the Planet was totally doable because well, it doesn’t require me hanging outside! Plus, I think our planet is pretty rocking and I totally dig the idea of coming together to make a difference.

The Nature Conservancy has a website that is devoted to Picnic for the Planet. They have a Meet Up page which allows you to connect with people in your area to plan your Picnic for the Planet. They also describe 5 Easy Actions that are good for the Earth and help you to reduce your impact on the Earth.

Eat Smart

Be proactive, know where your food comes from and who it impacts.

Eat Local

Take advantage of your farmer’s market. Try to purchase food that is in season and locally grown.

Eat Sustainably

Eat sustainable seafood — one of the only things that we eat that we still get from the wild.

Eat Green

Eat more fruits and vegetables — it’s good for your health and the planet’s

Eat Out

Join us in the Picnic for the Planet!

For today’s Virtual Picnic for the Planet, I have made Cheesecakes in a Jar with fresh mixed berries. These Cheesecakes in a Jar are simple, portable, decadent and truly couldn’t be any more adorable.

I simply scooped my cheesecake batter into small canning jars, baked them in a water bath and topped with fresh berries. The lids allow these individually portioned desserts to be placed into a cooler, so it makes them the perfect picnic dessert to wow a crowd!

I would love to hear about your plans for this Earth Day. Will you be picnicking?

Make sure to check out the Virtual Picnic for the Planet link up below to see all the great recipes my fellow picknickers came up with. You’ll have your Picnic for the Planet menu figured out faster than you can say bug spray!

Simple Bites | Pressed Sandwiches
My Baking Addiction | Mixed Berry Cheesecakes in a Jar
Bluebonnets & Brownies | Nanny’s Potato Salad
Gourmande in the Kitchen | Honey Ginger Lemonade
Dine & Dish | Sangria
Add A Pinch | Herbed Tortellini Salad
Bakers Royale | Fruit Recipe Roundup
Three Many Cooks | Black and White Caviar
Food for My Family | Homemade Potato Chips and Avocado Ranch Dip
Sugarcrafter | Apple Hand Pies
Tickled Red | Tangy Potato Salad
What’s Cooking with Kids | Kale Chips
Confessions of a Cookbook Queen | Mini Lemonade Cakes
TidyMom | Picnic Pies in a Jar

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Cheesecake in a Jar

April 22nd, 2011

Yield: 4-6 servings depending on size of jars used

Ingredients:

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
zest of one lemon
2 packages cream cheese, 8 oz each; room temperature
2 large eggs; room temperature
¼ cup heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup fresh berries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with your paddle attachment, combine the sugar and lemon zest and mix until the sugar is moistened and fragrant. Add in the cream cheese and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream and vanilla and mix until smooth.

4. Pour batter into canning jars until about ¾ of the way full. Place jars into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the sides of the jars.

5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, the edges will appear to be set, but the center will still have a little jiggle to it.

6. Carefully remove the cheesecake jars from the water bath and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cheesecakes are completely cooled, place them into the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. Top will fresh berries and serve.

Notes:

- For glossy berries, simply add 1 tablespoon of hot water to ¼ cup apricot preserves. Blend until combined and thinned out. Place the berries in a bowl and gently brush and toss the berries with the apricot and water mixture.
- If you are not a fan of lemon, simply omit the zest.
- If you are missing the graham cracker crust, serve with graham sticks.
- The jars pictured above are Weck (7.4 ounce) Tulip Jars.


{ 114 comments… read them below or add one }

Food Lover April 26, 2011 at 9:36 pm

It looks wonderful, can take anywhere :) I love the idea & of course the recipe yummyy

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heidileon April 27, 2011 at 10:32 am

best idea ever for a lovely picnic, easy to transport and carry and so beautiful. GREAT idea!. thanks

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Nouf April 27, 2011 at 8:38 pm

where do we get these mini jars from? any website?

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naomi April 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Love these, Jamie. They are so darling and so handy for any type of travel picnic or not!

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit April 29, 2011 at 11:09 am

Virtual picnic, I love it! haha I like how honest you are about the bugs + outdoors. I think I like the outdoors, but within 5 minutes I’m complaining about how dirty I am or the mosquito bites I’m collecting. It’s my first time here (found you through foodgawker) and I loooove your recipes! Definitely subscribing :)

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Julie May 1, 2011 at 8:25 pm

What a wonderful way to enjoy cheesecake…I love the berry topping too. I like the outdoors well enough, if the weather’s okay and there are no bugs. Which sorta makes it like indoors, but whatever!

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Ciara May 2, 2011 at 1:32 am

you think these would freeze well?

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Deanna May 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I love this idea of cooking in a canning jar and the thought of putting a lid on and transporting the item is great!

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Cheesecake of the Month May 19, 2011 at 11:32 pm

what a great idea!

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Lou June 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Looking for a cheesecake recipe that I can “can” and ship to Afghanistan. Do you think they would keep???? w/out refrigeration ? I do regular cakes in a jar and ship over, just looking for something different.

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Jamie June 16, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Lou–

Thanks for the email. I would definitely not ship these as they require refrigeration. Thanks for stopping by.

–Jamie

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Savannah @ Hammock Tracks June 21, 2011 at 6:41 pm

These are so cute and original! What a perfectly wonderful idea. Thanks

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Kennedy June 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm

What a great idea! My dad loves cheesecake so I might have to surprise him…

I am so happy I found your blog. I am only twelve but I love to cook. I think I am going to have a lot of fun making these recipes, and almost as much fun tasting them!

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karen June 25, 2011 at 10:59 pm

i made these this weekend for a family party- they turned out great! i did it exactly how you said (minus the lemon) & used the weck jars you pictured. they were unbelievably pretty & so delicious! thank you so much!

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Jamie June 26, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Karen–

So glad to heart these turned out well for you!

–Jamei

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Cathy June 29, 2011 at 3:50 pm

These are so cute ,I’m so glad I stumbled on your site, Thanks

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Maggie @MaggieCooks July 3, 2011 at 8:37 pm

So pretty! and looks delicious!

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Julie July 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Those have gotta be the cutest of all baking in a jar ideas around! Thanks for the directions/recipe.

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Cindy August 27, 2011 at 11:41 am

I’m wondering could these be frozen before adding fruit to the top for a period of time. I’m thinking these would be perfect around the holidays and if they could be made up weeks ahead and put in freezer, even better!

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Jamie August 28, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Cindy-
I have never tried to freeze these, so I cannot attest to the outcome. If you try it, let me know. Have a great week.
-Jamie

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babycakesbyrach September 24, 2011 at 11:48 pm

These are adorable! I’m guessing you bake them without the lid? I couldn’t find any information in your post. Perfect for my mom’s birthday! I can’t wait to try ‘em! blessings, Rach

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Jamie September 25, 2011 at 9:59 am

Rachel-
You are correct, do not bake with the lid on. I also used a water bath. Thanks for stopping by!
-Jamie

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Rosemaryandthegoat December 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm

I love the idea of the cheesecake in the jar. Have you ever put a crust on the bottom? I have used my very small jam jars to do banana pudding in http://rosemaryandthegoat.com/2010/06/14/quick-and-easy-banana-pudding/

I may try the cheesecakes for Christmas.

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dana diehlman February 22, 2012 at 10:44 am

think you could use baby food jars? would love to put this in hubby’s lunch and he wouldn’t have to bring the jar back. he could just toss it and the serving size would be perfect.

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Jamie February 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Dana-
I am uncertain as to if baby food jars are heat safe, so I can’t say whether this will work or not. Sounds super cute though and it’s a great way to use those jars!
-Jamie

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s.stephens December 5, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Can I use graham crackers for a crust with this preporation?

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Jamie January 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Hi there – you certainly can.
– Jamie

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dana diehlman February 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

and by toss i mean toss in the recycle bin!

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corinna akin February 22, 2012 at 6:35 pm

instead of using cheesecake that has to be cooked how about the box ones that get cold in the fridge make up your crumble crust and add it as you want and you can also put your fruits n and fridge it and eat it out of the cooler using the same jars…..yumm yumm

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Jill April 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Corinna, I had the exact same thought, use the no-bake cheesecake in the box! If you tried it, let me know how it turned out.

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Deb Puterbaugh February 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I am so stealing this idea! I know that cheesecake freezes well so, I can see doing this.Portion control is not a bad thing for me. And it is just right for my husband and I.They would have to be topped with fruit after defrosting but YUMMY!!

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zuckerwandlerin April 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

looks so tasty!
Can you send me one of them? :D

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Shannon Leigh April 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

This is probably a dumb question, but when you say bake, do you mean in the waterbath, like boil the water around the jars for 25-30 minutes, or put the whole thing in the oven and bake it, waterbath, jars, and all? I haven’t done much canning, but I do have a waterbath canner.

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Jamie April 19, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Shannon-
To prepare a water bath for the cheesecake jars, put your filled jars in a large pan and add enough boiling-hot water to reach about 1/3 of the way up the jars. I hope this helps!
-Jamie

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Kat April 11, 2012 at 5:25 am

Hi Jamie, what kind of cream cheese did you use? Block cream cheese or spread one ?
Thanks

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Jamie April 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

Kat-
I used the 8-ounce blocks. Have a great day.
-Jamie

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Iree April 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm

made these yummy “cheese cakes in a jar” sold them for a fund raiser for the vol. fire dept. here. sold for 5.00 each put only cherry on top with some sauce need to put a lid on used 3oz canning jars. sold all i made. and took orders for 30 more wow!!!!! people loved them

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Jamie April 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Iree-
So glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing your experience.
-Jamie

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Meera June 4, 2012 at 10:33 pm

These look awesome. Couple of questions for you. If you wanted to do a graham cracker crust at the bottom, would you be able to bake that before the cheesecake and would you need the water bath? And if I used 4oz jars instead do I cut the baking time in half?

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Jamie June 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

Meera-
The water bath helps to ensure that the cheesecakes cook in an even and gentle manner. If you use smaller jars, I would recommend that you start checking the cheesecakes after about 15 minutes. You’ll want the edges to look set, but the center to have a little jiggle to it. Hope this helps.
-Jamie

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Laurel L. Russwurm June 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Re: Eat Local

Take advantage of your farmer’s market. Try to purchase food that is in season and locally grown.

>> Be advised that produce on sale at your local farmer’s market may not actually *be* local, even if it is in season. I live in a rural Ontario and we’re just as likely to find BC produce in the farmer’s market.

At least grocery stores are obliged to indicate where produce is from. Sadly, mine prefers to stock produce from Mexico over locally grown.

And then of course when you’re talking about “fresh” food, well, there are techniques including chemicals that allow produce to appear “fresh” as long as a year. My rule of thumb: if it smells like cardboard instead of tomato, it will taste like cardboard.

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Barbara J July 23, 2012 at 11:05 am

I have to try this little ones, they look amazing!

Check my blog:www.momysbabys.wordpress.com

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Lauren Kilpatrick October 2, 2012 at 9:38 am

Love this idea. But can you tell me where I can get hold of these cute little jars? Thanks!

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Jamie October 8, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Lauren-
Hi! The jars are mini Tulip Jars from Weck – https://secure.cnchost.com/weckjars.com/productsDetail.php?category=4 I hope this helps.
-Jamie

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Sally Asher April 7, 2013 at 5:24 am

This is a genius way to serve cheesecake, can’t wait to try these, they look so cute too1

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Susan April 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm

These are Awesome. I gave them as gifts at Christmas BIG HIT! husband hinted last night he sure would like to have them again. Going to bake a double batch today. I am going to be so popular!

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Tracy Belardo May 18, 2013 at 9:42 pm

I may be a total idiot or just ignorant because I’ve never made cheesecake but these look wonderful! Ignore the run-on sentence. My question is, why pre-heat the oven? Do you put the pan with water and the 3/4 filled jars in the oven??
I appreciate the patience with my ignorance.

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Jamie May 22, 2013 at 11:39 am

Tracy-
Hi! Yes, per step one of the directions, you will preheat the oven to 350°F. You will then place the jars in the pan and pour the water in to surround the jars before placing the pan into the oven. Just be careful – the pan and water will be very hot! Thanks so much for stopping by – have a great day!
-Jamie

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Perplexia May 26, 2013 at 11:28 pm

I followed the directions but my jars cracked in the boiling water before I even put them in the oven :-(

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Jamie September 13, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Hi Perplexia,
If you chilled your jars at all, or it was cold in the room before you added them to the boiling water, that is simply what glass will do. You must take care that the jars are room temperature before adding them to boiling water.
– Jamie

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Vanessa May 31, 2013 at 12:11 am

I LOVE this I just cannot find the adorable jars in the picture did anyone else get them?

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Jamie September 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Hi Vanessa,
Those jars are from a company called Weck. You can order them online, or they’re available in some national chains like Crate & Barrel.
– Jamie

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george007 January 19, 2014 at 1:14 pm

I am making these at an elevation of about 7000 ft. I don’t know if that is affecting them or what else it could be, but they tend to puff up real big and crack. Did some reading online and took a suggestion to turn the temp down to 250… now they take forever to bake…. any suggestions?

Thx so much

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Jamie February 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm

George-
Unfortunately, I have absolutely zero experience baking at high altitude. Here is a guide from King Arthur Flour that may be useful. I hope this helps. https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/high-altitude-baking.html
-Jamie

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Susan March 12, 2014 at 8:55 pm

These are the cutest cheesecakes ever! So clever putting them into jars. I’m sure that helps in keeping them fresher longer. Although I doubt that’s a problem!

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Jennifer March 30, 2014 at 11:54 am

Um 406 calories each, no thanks, but they look delicious

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Jamie Lothridge May 5, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Jennifer,
They’re dessert, and thus meant to be enjoyed sparingly. Compared to the average restaurant dessert, I feel that’s quite reasonable.
– Jamie

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bi April 4, 2014 at 4:27 am

They look so cute! But sadly I don’t have an oven. :( is there an alternative?

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Marilyn June 22, 2014 at 9:55 am

This us a great idea. I will be making them for a picnic in August.
Thank you so much for this great idea and recipe

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Amber July 22, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Made this last summer for a picnic and making it tonight for a surprise for the kids tomorrow. Last day of baseball for them. I will say I did not add lemon zest. I fur got to buy a lemon last time…and this time. Haha. Still turned out awesome!

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Diana August 6, 2014 at 9:52 pm

I went to a wedding and theses wonderful cheesecake in mason jars are so cute with names of bride and groom. The cheesecake jars were not refrigerated. Out on tables all over the reception area. Was this unsafe to eat? I know they were out in the open for many hours, over 6 hours.

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:40 am

I couldn’t say for sure, not knowing the ingredients. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

-Jamie

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Crystal August 8, 2014 at 6:21 pm

I just finished a blog post which included your cheesecake in a jar and the link to your site. My post is all about picnic foods! http://coachcrystalp.blogspot.ca/2014/08/picnic-planning-guide.html

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