Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Chocolate can be made ahead. No stress for your Thanksgiving holiday!

These gluten-free mini pumpkin cheesecakes are the perfect make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert and can also be made with all-purpose flour.

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I love Christmas but it’s way too stressful! Maybe it’s different in your family but in mine, it seems as though the entire month of December is filled with Christmas stress. And sometimes a little too much drama! Not only that, but I much prefer Thanksgiving food.

I made these gluten-free mini pumpkin cheesecakes back in September as a trial run and have been enjoying one a week from the freezer. For those of you who want to get as much of their Thanksgiving preparation done in advance as possible, these are perfect!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Chocolate will bring everyone running to the dessert table. Who can resist pumpkin and chocolate?

Freeze them in their wrappers, unwrap and pour some ganache on top before serving. I used to try to time everything so that all the food, including dessert, would be piping hot and fresh from the oven.

Luckily, I’ve seen the errors in my ways and now prepare as much as possible in advance!

I adapted the chocolate cookie crust from my mini peanut butter cheesecakes. You can use all-purpose flour, a gluten-free baking flour mix that’s a 1-to-1 sub for all-purpose flour (like this one, or buckwheat flour.

If you use buckwheat flour, the crust will be very bubbly and even soupy looking when baking. It’s the weirdest thing – but it works out in the end! The three different versions are all equally delicious so use whatever works best for you.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Chocolate will make everyone swoon. Especially perfect for those who eat gluten free.

If you don’t like the pumpkin and chocolate combination, the almond flour based crust in these gluten-free mini cheesecakes would be perfect!

I’d leave out the lemon zest and add about a teaspoon of cinnamon and maybe even a little ginger. And as for the pumpkin cheesecake – it’s quite heavily spiced, just the way I like it! If you’re not wild about pumpkin pie spice, feel free to reduce it.

So what are you favorite make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes? My planning has only gone as far as the most important element – dessert.

Looking for more gluten-free holiday desserts? Be sure to check out these Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Streusel Bars and these Gluten-Free Mini Caramel Pecan Tarts.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 34 minutes

Total Time: 54 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Crust

  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour, buckwheat flour (or all-purpose flour for a non-gluten-free version)
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

For the Cheesecake

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 large eggs

For the Ganache

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Note: If you need these cheesecakes to be gluten-free, make sure all your ingredients are certified gluten-free.

Directions:

For the Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with 12 muffin liners. Note that this crust recipe does not work in regular pie pans and only as mini cheesecakes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Using an electric hand mixer, beat in the butter at low speed until thoroughly combined and a dough forms. If you have trouble incorporating it, use your hands. It'll be sticky.
  3. Divide the dough between the muffin liners (I used 19 grams of dough per liner). Press the dough down with the bottom of a shot glass. If using gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour or all-purpose flour, bake for 11-13 minutes or until the surface of the crust no longer appears wet. Move on to the next step. If using buckwheat, bake for 14 minutes. The crusts will appear very bubbly and liquid. Remove from the oven, let cool for a minute, and then use the shot glass again to lightly press down (which will remove the holes).
  4. After baking, the crust will still be soft but will firm slightly as it cools. Let cool for 10 minutes while you prepare the cheesecake.

For the Cheesecake

  1. Turn the oven down to to 325°F.
  2. With an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, molasses, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, salt and pumpkin pie spice and beat on low until well combined.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low after every addition until thoroughly incorporated. Do not over mix!
  5. Fill each muffin liner to the top with cheesecake batter and bake for 20 minutes or until the middles of the cheesecakes are set and don't jiggle when the pan is tapped.
  6. Remove from the oven and let the cheesecakes cool in the pan.
  7. Once completely cool (about 1 hour), remove the cheesecakes from the pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. The wrappers come off neatly before and after refrigeration.
  8. Refrigerate the cheesecakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

For the Ganache

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the cream just until hot, steamy and on the verge of simmering. Remove from the heat.
  2. Pour this over the chocolate chips and stir until all the chocolate chips are completely melted.
  3. Let cool for about 20-30 minutes or until room temperature before pouring over the chilled cheesecakes.

by Erin Dooner

Hi there! I'm Erin and I'm the blogger behind Texanerin Baking, which focuses on making healthier desserts that taste just as delicious and decadent as their unhealthy counterparts. I also firmly believe that no meal is complete without at least a little dessert and that we'd all be a bit happier if we'd just indulge in more cheese and carbs.

more by Erin »

43 Responses to “Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes”

  1. Kristina — November 4, 2015 at 4:07 am

    Since I’m not from the US we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but these sound delicious and I would love to try them out. I would never have thought that you can freeze them, it’s great. I love that you use buckwheat, I’m not intolerant to gluten, but I love its flavour.

    Reply

    • Erin — November 4, 2015 at 4:13 am

      I hope you’ll get a chance to try them out! You can’t really taste the buckwheat in the crust over all that cocoa powder, but I hope you’ll still like them. :)

  2. Tori — November 4, 2015 at 7:00 am

    These look completely addictive, and they’re mini so that means less calories right? Yum, perfect for Thanksgiving!

    Reply

    • Erin — November 4, 2015 at 10:45 am

      Of course it does! I like how you think. ;)

  3. Genia — November 4, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Would almond flour work in place of the buckwheat flour?

    Reply

    • Erin — November 4, 2015 at 10:48 am

      I don’t think so as almond flour isn’t really interchangeable with anything else. These gluten-free mini cheesecakes have an almond flour based crust, though! You could use that crust recipe and add some cinnamon and ginger.

  4. Karen @ Seasonal Cravings — November 4, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Love the flavor of pumpkin and chocolate together.  These are so cute – company worthy!

    Reply

    • Erin — November 5, 2015 at 8:26 am

      Thanks, Karen! It was my first time mixing chocolate with pumpkin. I don’t know why I was so hesitant to try!

  5. Senika @ Foodie Blog Stalker — November 4, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Erin, I felt like I was reading words that I had written! Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday by far! So much less stress (and drama) than Christmas!! AND I’ve been on the hunt for make-ahead recipes because I learned last year that not everything can be made in the 5 hours before your guests arrive! Duh :) LOVE these mini cheesecakes, they are perfect for our upcoming Friendsgiving and our “real” Thanksgiving, thank you!!

    Reply

    • Erin — November 5, 2015 at 8:29 am

      Haha. Yes! Exactly. I’ve also started asking people to bring stuff rather than make all 14 dishes by myself in one small oven. All perfectly timed, of course. ;) Thanks for your comment! I’m happy I’m not alone in the Thanksgiving love.

  6. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary — November 5, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    These mini pumpkin cheesecakes are adorable and stunning! I looove that they can be prepared in advance… although I will probably just end up eating one (or 3) a day like you and they will be long gone before Thanksgiving arrives! The chocolate cookie crust and the ganache sounds perfect with the pumpkin cheesecake! Pinned! Cheers and thanks for sharing the yum!

    Reply

    • Erin — November 5, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      If only the freezing desserts thing worked when it comes to self-control. Unless they’re really buried down in there deep, they just call my name every time I walk into the kitchen. ;) Thank you for your comment and for pinning!

  7. Jen — November 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    These look great. So you think they would work in a mini cheesecake pan as well?

    Reply

    • Erin — November 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks! I don’t have a mini cheesecake pan so I’m not quite sure if the molds are a little bigger or smaller. If you try it, just keep a close eye on the baking time. When they no longer jiggle in the middle, they’re ready. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

  8. Christine — November 21, 2015 at 9:47 am

    What size can is the pumpkin puree?

    Reply

    • Erin — November 21, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      You only need 1 cup so the smaller 15-ounce (about 1 3/4 cups) can will do. Hope you’ll enjoy the cheesecakes!

  9. SANDY — November 24, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Hi-looks great . Question: you say “line a pan with muffin liners”. I am assuming that you mean any pan-not a muffin tin? I see that yours are not shaped as a muffin (sides are straight) so am I correct that you place a muffin liner on a pan-free form ? Thanks

    Reply

    • Erin — November 24, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      I used a regular Wilton muffin pan. Sorry for the confusion! I’ll add that to the recipe. I hope you’ll enjoy the cheesecakes!

  10. Sharon — November 24, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    So, I line a 12-muffin tin with paper or foil muffin liners. If I am going to make these,tonight for thanksgiving, should I wait to make the ganache and put on top. I have never made ganache, so I just am not sure. Or can I make the, ahead of time, and do everything before and store in fridge until thanksgiving? Also, are those mini morsels on top?

    Reply

    • Erin — November 25, 2015 at 1:47 am

      Sorry for my slow reply! I’m 6 hours ahead of EST so I just woke up. You can make the cheesecakes now, cover them with ganache, top with mini chocolate chips, and refrigerate until Thanksgiving. I hope everyone will enjoy them! :)

  11. Courtney — November 25, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Can you freeze them with the ganache on, or does it need to be applied just before eating?

    Reply

    • Erin — November 26, 2015 at 1:31 am

      I think the best thing to do is to freeze them in their wrappers, unwrap and pour some ganache on top before serving. You can also freeze them with the ganache on them but they’ll likely sweat a little as they’re defrosting. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

  12. BuBBles — December 4, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    these are a delicious decadent little bite. i made these for thanksgiving and they were a hit. since i don’t eat any kind of flour, i used my flour-less chocolate cake recipe in place of the crust. the ganache added that extra yummy something that pulled the whole  treat together. thank you for a wonderful new addition to my holiday tradition.

    Reply

    • Erin — December 5, 2015 at 10:20 am

      I’m so happy that you enjoyed the cheesecakes! Your crust sub sounds delicious. :) I’ve never tried anything like that but it sounds like I should. Thanks so much for your feedback!

  13. Vidya — December 9, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Wow, looking yummy, will surely try it,thanks for sharing :) do visit my blog too for more yummy recipes

    Reply

    • Jamie — January 8, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      Hi, Vidya! I hope you enjoy them!

  14. Beenie — December 14, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I made these and they were really good. The only thing I noticed is that in the directions, it doesn’t state when to add the pumpkin pie spice. I assumed you add it as you are adding the remaining ingredients prior to adding the eggs. I hope that was right, lol. Great recipe and not too sweet.

    Reply

    • Erin — December 14, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      That was exactly right! Thank you so, so much for pointing that out. It’s been fixed! Thanks a ton for your feedback. I’m so happy that they came out well. :)

  15. Lisa — December 23, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    I am so excited to try this for dessert for our Christmas dinner! I was wondering if omitting the molasses would make much of a difference? I have an old bottle of molasses but am not sure how safe it is to use so would rather not use it. Obviously, I don’t use molasses much and would hate to buy a whole bottle! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    Reply

    • Erin — December 23, 2015 at 9:51 pm

      You can omit the molasses! It’ll just taste a bit lighter. I’ve used molasses years after buying it and have never had an issue with it. I guess it keeps well since it’s basically just sugar. :) I hope you’ll enjoy the cheesecakes!

  16. Jennifer Hall — October 23, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Hi. Erin, I’m confused with the amount of flour. Is it equal parts of gluten free and buckwheat flour?  I really just want to use AP flour, so would I use 12 tablespoons of it? Thank you, Jen

    Reply

    • Erin — October 23, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Hi Jen! You use 6 tablespoons of any of the listed flours. So if you want to use AP flour, just use 6 tablespoons of AP flour. :) Hope you’ll enjoy them!

  17. Sherri Darby — October 25, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    Erin Is there another bottom crest you could use don’t care for chocolate.

    Reply

    • Erin — October 26, 2016 at 5:43 am

      This crust would work great! Hope you’ll enjoy them. :)

  18. Dieselle — November 8, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    What kind of Cocoa powder do you use, “Natural” examples are Hersheys Cocoa or Ghirardelli or “Dutch Processed” ?

    Reply

    • Jamie — November 8, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      Hi, Dieselle! Hershey’s and Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa work wonderfully in this recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

  19. Dieselle — November 8, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Thank you Erin for responding so quickly. I am making this as we speak, very excited to taste them. :D WIll do a follow-up after we enjoy! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    Reply

  20. Dieselle — November 8, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    In the oven now, what can I do with the extra cheesecake batter? I have small ramekins, do you think I can fill them and bake without a waterbath? What oven temp do you suggest?

    Reply

    • Erin — November 8, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      That’ll definitely work! You can put them in the oven with the mini cheesecakes. Can’t wait to hear how you like them!

  21. Dieselle — November 8, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Decieded to make mini cheesecakes, sans chocolate bottom, will top with the ganache. Let you know how they turn out.

    Reply

    • Jamie — November 16, 2016 at 7:20 am

      Please do, Dieselle!

  22. Sue — May 29, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    How does this recipe translate to the cheesecakes in a 3″ diameter size with six per pan?
    Sounds delicious. I have celiac so it would work along with your Mini-Cheesecake recipe.

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 31, 2017 at 6:28 am

      Hi, Sue! Are you wanting to half the recipe? Let me know how I can help!

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