For the times when we need to celebrate, but we want to keep it small, this is what I make! My 6 inch cheesecake recipe is the absolute best, because you know I am the queen of cheesecakes! My perfect cheesecake has a generous crust that climbs all the way up the sides, and a filling that is creamy with the perfect amount of tang. The sweet strawberry sauce on top made with fresh berries and jam is optional, but I think it's so great with the lemon zest in the cake below.
There's hardly an occasion where a small celebratory cake isn't welcome. This 6 inch cheesecake recipe makes 6 perfect slices of rich, dense (but not too thick) cheesecake. It has been the center of many parties and celebrations in my life, and I hope you bookmark it for yours!
What makes this 6 inch cheesecake recipe better than any other one is that the rich, buttery crust goes all the way up the sides of the pan. I absolutely love the foil of buttery crust with creamy filling. My cheesecake filling also contains the perfect balance of vanilla and lemon zest, so that the flavor never falls flat. My cooking technique will make sure you're rewarded with a creamy, perfectly sliceable cheesecake that is rich but not overly dense or gummy.
You can also make the whole thing and freeze it (without the strawberry sauce) and store it until you need it. It defrosts overnight in the fridge or on the counter in a few hours. Yes, this is the exact same as my instant pot cheesecake recipe, but adapted for baking in a regular oven. It uses the same 6 inch springform pan, too.
What You'll Need for 6 Inch Cheesecake Recipe
The most important thing for this recipe is to make sure all ingredients are at room temperature! Cold ingredients make for a lumpy cheesecake. And no, you absolutely cannot beat the lumps out. Furthermore, the lumps do not melt in the oven. Cold ingredients equal a ruined cheesecake, trust me! Please, plan ahead and place all of your ingredients on the counter to come to room temperature at least an hour before you plan to bake.
- Graham Crackers. Seven whole graham cracker sheets from the box, or ¾ cup of already crushed graham cracker crumbs.
- Sugar. We need one tablespoon of sugar for the graham cracker crust, ⅔ of a cup for the actual 6 inch cheesecake recipe, and another tablespoon to make the sweet strawberry topping.
- Butter. I always bake with unsalted butter. We need 3 tablespoons melted for the crust.
- Cream Cheese. Two eight-ounce packages of full-fat regular plain cream cheese that you have let soften on the counter. The best way to soften cream cheese is to open the package, remove it, and dice it on a plate. Leave it at room temperature for 30-60 minutes, until it is fully soft and room temperature. Cold cream cheese will have lumps in your batter that will not melt when baking. Cold cream cheese will absolutely ruin your cheesecake.
- Eggs. Two large eggs that have been left out at room temperature alongside the cream cheese. If you forget this step, you can quickly bring them to room temperature by soaking the eggs in very hot water for 5 minutes.
- Vanilla Extract. You can use two teaspoons of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste for this recipe. Both are delicious and bring a subtle sweetness to the batter.
- Lemon. I never make cheesecake without a little lemon zest! Just the zest of one small lemon (about ½-3/4 teaspoon) brings so much tangy flavor that balances the cream cheese and sugar perfectly.
- Heavy Cream. One quarter cup of heavy cream is the secret ingredient in my recipe that makes for a silky smooth end result. This also needs to be at room temperature, otherwise it will chill the cream cheese and make it lumpy!
- Strawberries. One half cup of sliced fresh strawberries, if you like. You can also make a blueberry topping, like I did for my no bake blueberry cheesecake.
- Strawberry Jam. A small amount of jam is what makes any fruit topping thick and shiny. In our case, we use strawberry jam, but apricot jam will work, too.
- 6 Inch Springform Pan - Absolutely imperative for getting your beautiful dessert out of the pan without making a mess. The springform lets the outside edge of the pan fall away, and the base becomes a sturdy bottom
- 8 Inch Cake Pan - This is for nesting the 6 inch pan inside to create a water bath for baking.
- Electric Hand Mixer - I have used this one for years and love it. I love that it comes with its own storage.
- Small Food Processor - This is optional; you can buy already crushed graham crackers and measure out ¾ cup for this recipe. Alternatively, you can crush them by hand in a plastic bag with a rolling pin. A small food processor just makes quick work of it.
How to Make this 6 Inch Cheesecake Recipe
Preheat the oven to 325-Fahrenheit, and have a 6-inch springform pan ready and an 8” pan, too. In the bowl of a food processor, crush the graham crackers into crumbs. Then, add the melted butter and sugar and pulse to combine.
Next, spray a 6 inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the outside with foil. Pour the crust ingredients from the food processor into the pan, and press them into the pan. Bring the crumbs all the way up the sides of the pan, using a measuring cup or shot glass to pack it firmly.
Next, beat together the room temperature cream cheese with an electric mixer, and stream in the granulated sugar. Add each egg, one at a time, while beating.
Finally, add the vanilla, lemon zest, and whipping cream. Mix on low just until combine--do not over-mix!
Pour the filling on top of the prepared crust, and place it inside the 8 inch pan. Pour hot water up the sides of the 8 inch pan about half-way, being careful not to splash it onto the dessert. Bake for 45 minutes, and then loosely lay a sheet of foil on top. Continue to bake for another 25 minutes until set.
Meanwhile, combine the fresh strawberries, jam and sugar in a small bowl. Toss very well and let rest on the counter until the strawberries soften.
Stir the sauce together very well to dissolve all of the sugar. This is the topping for the 6 inch cheesecake recipe.
Once the cheesecake has cooled completely in the water bath, remove the foil, and place it in the fridge for 6-12 hours. Before serving, run a knife around the edge. Release the springform, and lift out the cheesecake by the base. Slice and serve with the strawberry sauce.
6 Inch Cheesecake Recipe FAQs:
Yes, you can turn this into a pressure cooker cheesecake. Follow the instructions on my instant pot cheesecake recipe, which is basically use a trivet instead of a water bath. Pressure cook for 27 minutes and do a 20-minute natural pressure release.
This recipe makes 6 chubby slices of cheesecake. When serving, I slice it in half, and then slice each half into generous thirds, which makes 6 slices.
Slice the cheesecake, and store it tightly wrapped in the fridge for up to 4 days. It stores best without the strawberry topping, because the sure in the topping will melt the cheesecake filling overtime. You can also freeze this cheesecake whole after allowing to cool. It will keep frozen for up to 3 months if double-wrapped and stored in freezer storage bags. Defrost overnight in the fridge and then several hours on the counter at room temperature. Again, do not add the strawberry topping until just before serving.
Other Cheesecake Recipes:
- Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
- Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes
- Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes
For the crust:
- 7 graham cracker sheets (or ¾ cup of graham cracker crumbs)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoon neutral oil, for pan (or cooking spray)
For the filling:
- 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
For the optional strawberry sauce:
- ½ cup sliced strawberries
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon strawberry or apricot jam
- Preheat the oven to 325-Fahrenheit, and have a 6-inch springform pan ready and an 8” pan, too.
- First, make the crust: pulse the graham cracker sheets in a food processor to crush them. Add the sugar and melted butter, and pulse to combine. Alternatively, if you’re using graham cracker crumbs from the box, stir the crumbs, sugar and melted butter together in a small bowl.
- Next, brush the oil all over the sides and bottom of a 6x3” springform pan. Press the crumbs into the pan, making a thin layer on the bottom, and bringing the crumbs all the way up the sides of the pan.
- Carefully wrap the bottom and sides of the pan in foil, and set aside.
- Next, make the filling: In a large bowl, add the room temperature cream cheese. Beat with an electric hand mixer for about 15 seconds to break it up.
- Slowly start streaming in the sugar while beating. Follow it up with the eggs, one at a time.
- Finally, beat in the vanilla bean paste, lemon zest, and whipping cream just until combined. Don’t over-beat the mixture or you’ll create air bubbles in the batter. Scrape the batter into the crust.
- Place the 6 inch pan inside the 8” pan. Bring about 2-3 cups of water to a simmer, and gently pour it around the cheesecake to fill up the 8-inch pan about half-way.
- Move the cheesecake in the water bath carefully to the oven, and bake for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, place a loose sheet of foil on top to prevent any further browning of the cheesecake. Continue to bake for another 25 minutes.
- After the total baking time of about 70 minutes, carefully lift off the foil sheet on top of the cheesecake, and give the pan a gentle nudge. It should wobble ever-so-slightly in the very center, but not throughout the entire cheesecake. If it’s overly wobbly, return it to the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
- When the cheesecake is done, remove the pan to a cooling rack and let it cool in the water bath. Once completely cool, remove the cheesecake from the water bath, remove the foil, and place in the fridge for 6-12 hours. The cheesecake needs to be chilled at least 6 hours, but can stay in the fridge for 2-3 days if covered tightly with plastic wrap.
- About 30 minutes before serving, combine the sliced strawberries, sugar and jam. Let rest for about 5 minutes to release the strawberry juices and dissolve the sugar.
- Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake in the pan, making sure you go all the way to the bottom of the crust. Then, unlock the metal ring on the springform pan and lift the cheesecake out of the ring. It will stay on the bottom metal piece. Slice and serve with strawberries.
*The most important thing for this recipe is to make sure all ingredients are at room temperature! Cold ingredients make for a lumpy cheesecake. And no, you absolutely cannot beat the lumps out. Furthermore, the lumps do not melt in the oven. Cold ingredients equal a ruined cheesecake, trust me! Please, plan ahead and place all of your ingredients on the counter to come to room temperature at least an hour before you plan to bake.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 586Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 165mgSodium: 392mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 1gSugar: 37gProtein: 9g