This Slow Cooker Cheesecake in a Jar recipe makes perfectly portable single servings of cheesecake. Make them ahead for convenience and get creative with the toppings!
I often host big family dinners, and I’m always looking for new ways to make the meal special. Especially the finale. Individual desserts feel special to me. While sorting the mail a few weeks ago, I spotted little jarred cheesecakes in a mail order catalogue that specializes in shipping fancy foods. Boy, were they cute. And expensive. I started researching, and it turns out, these little pots of creamy sweetness are not hard to make at home for much less.
I’m finding the slow cooker baking method especially nice in these hot months when you don’t want to turn on your oven. A slow cooker won’t heat up your whole house like a range or wall oven will!
Simple ingredients, simple prep.
Mix up the simplest 3 ingredient crust: graham crumbs, sugar, and a smidge of butter. Divide this mixture between nine 4 oz. canning jars. You can find the jars at most grocery stores in the canning section for much less than you’d pay online. So look there first if you don’t already have a stash.
Next, beat the cream cheese batter ingredients together. This can be managed just fine with a hand mixer, just make sure all the cold ingredients are at room temperature. We’re looking for a smooth, lump-free batter.
Use a piping bag.
Transfer the cheesecake batter to a large piping bag, or even a large zip-top bag with the corner snipped. This makes for the easiest portioning of the batter into the jars. Fill the jars up to the line, which is within about 1/2 inch of the rim.
The easiest water bath.
Place the jars in the slow cooker and very carefully (very. carefully.) pour tap water into the crock. Fill it until the water comes about halfway up the jars. Be careful not to splash water into the cheesecakes. If you’re worried that you might, you can temporarily lid them before this step. Then remove the lids before cooking them. Cook on high for about 1 hour.
When done, the cheesecakes will be slightly puffed around the edges, with a wobble in the center. Remove the cheesecakes from the crockpot using a canning jar lifter. Or, let them cool down for 20 minutes inside the crock, until they are cool enough to handle. Cool at room temperature for about 10 more minutes, then refrigerate until firm – about 2 hours. The once puffed cheesecakes will deflate a little and have slightly concave tops. This makes room for toppings!
Create your own cheesecake sampler!
Jarred, canned, ready-made jams and sauces make the easiest toppers. Lemon curd and dulce de leche are two of my favorite toppers. Or, if you have more time for homemade toppings, my Spiked Hot Fudge Sauce is an excellent choice.
I’ll have one of each, please! (Actually, I did have one of each. So good!)
The texture of the cheesecake is similar to dense New York-style cheesecakes, so these little jars pack a big punch. They’re easy to lid and tote away to your favorite picnic spot.
Watch me make Slow Cooker Cheesecake in a Jar in the video below!
Slow Cooker Cheesecake in a Jar
- 8-quart slow cooker
- 9 canning jars with lids and rings 4 oz. capacity
- 1 disposable piping bag or large zip top bag
- 1 Canning jar lifter optional
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 16 oz. cream cheese 2 packages softened
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- ½ cup heavy cream at room temperature
- Have nine 4 oz. jars washed and dried ahead of time. Place them on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Place the crumbs and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the melted butter and mix together using a rubber spatula. Mash the crumbs into the butter and turn them over repeatedly until the mixture resembles wet sand.
- Place about 1 tablespoon of the crumb mixture into each of the 9 jars. Tamp down the crust using the bottom of a small glass (I used a shot glass). Set aside while you prepare the filling.
- In a large mixing bowl, place the cream cheese and beat on high speed with a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes until creamy and no lumps remain.
- Scrape down the bowl and add the lemon zest. Mix until combined.
- Add the sugar and cornstarch. Beat until well blended. Scraped down the bowl as needed.
- Add the vanilla, egg, and heavy cream. Beat until smooth.
- Transfer the cheesecake batter to a large piping bag or a large zip top bag with a corner snipped. Pipe the cheesecake batter over the crust in the jars within about 1/2 inch of the jar tops (to the first line).
- Place the jars, uncovered, in the slow cooker and very carefully pour in tepid tap water using a container with a pour spout (a teakettle works well). Pour the water about halfway up the jars.
- Place the cover on the slow cooker and cook on high for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. The cheesecakes will puff slightly. They’ll be set around the edges and have just a slight wobble in the center when they’re done.
- Remove the jars using a canning jar lifter, or allow the jars to cool inside the crock until the top edges are cool enough to handle. Remove to a countertop and let them cool slightly at room temperature. Transfer them to a baking sheet and refrigerate them until set, about 2 hours. The cheesecake will sink down a little bit and become concave with refrigeration. This makes a little more room for any toppings you’d like to add before lidding.
- The un-topped cheesecakes will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. Or, freeze them for up to 3 months. Allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.