Get ready to impress your guests with this turtle mini cheesecakes recipe. It’s a no-bake dessert that brings together cream cheese with the irresistible trio of chocolate, caramel, and pecans. Easy to whip up and a breeze to serve, these mini treats are the perfect dessert for any gathering.
Struggling to find that perfect, easy-to-make dessert for your next gathering?
You’re not alone.
It’s hard to find a dessert that impresses without requiring you to slave over the stove all day.
That’s where this turtle mini cheesecakes recipe comes in handy.
It blends no-bake cheesecake with the delicious flavors of chocolate, caramel, and pecans.
It is also super-easy to put together and is prepared in advance. So there’s no last minute running around to get the dessert ready.
These small cheesecakes are made in cupcake tins. Which means they are already in individual portions, making serving is a breeze.
And the best part? Since they’re no bake, there’s no oven required!
These turtle cheesecake cupcakes are not only a crowd-pleaser but also a time-saver. Letting you enjoy the party without being stuck in the kitchen.
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This recipe will make 12 turtle cheesecake cupcakes.
Here is your shopping list:
- Cookies – ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs. To save time, I like to buy them as crumbs (rather than whole graham crackers).
- Sugar – ½ cup sugar
- Chocolate – 6 ounces (or 1 cup) chocolate chips. Semi-sweet or dark chocolate works best.
- Dairy – 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, ½ cup (or 1 stick) unsalted butter, 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Flavoring – 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Nuts – ½ cup chopped pecans
- Toppings – 4 ounces prepared caramel sauce
- Vanilla wafer crumbs or Oreo cookie crumbs can replace the graham cracker crumbs.
- Substitute salted butter for unsalted if that’s what you have on hand.
- You can replace the chocolate chips with 6 ounces of chocolate squares.
- Walnuts or almonds can be used instead of pecan pieces.
- You can substitute low-fat or fat-free cream cheese in the recipe, but it may alter the texture and flavor slightly.
How to make turtle mini cheesecakes
First, soften the cream cheese by taking it out of the refrigerator a few hours before you start. This will give it time to get to room temperature and ensures a smoother, creamier cheesecake filling.
Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners. This will make it easier to remove the cheesecakes later.
I use a regular-sized muffin tin. But you could also use a mini-muffin pan to get twice as many that are more bite-sized.
Melt the butter. You can do this in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave for 30-60 seconds. Or melt it over low heat in a saucepan on the stove. Remember not to let the butter get too hot or it might burn.
If you bought whole graham crackers, crush them into crumbs using a food processor. Or put them in a ziploc bag and roll over them a few times with a rolling pin.
Make the graham cracker crust
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter.
Stir until the mixture resembles wet sand. This is the base of your cheesecake.
Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture into each cupcake liner.
Press it down to form a firm base.
Set this aside for now.
Mix the batter
Add the softened cream cheese and sugar to a mixing bowl.
Using an electric mixer, blend on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth. This step is essential to get rid of any lumps in the cream cheese.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and mix again. This ensures all the sugar is well incorporated.
Next, add the vanilla and heavy whipping cream to the cream cheese mixture.
Mix this on medium speed for about a minute. This helps to aerate the mixture, giving your cheesecake a lighter texture.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and mix for another 30 seconds to ensure everything is well combined.
Now, spoon the cheesecake mixture into the prepared muffin pan, filling each liner up to the top. Using an ice cream scoop makes it a little easier to do this without spilling.
Chill the cheesecakes in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or until they’re set. I usually make them the day before and let them chill overnight.
The cheesecakes are set when they are be firm to the touch and don’t jiggle when the pan is moved.
This step is crucial for the cheesecakes to hold their shape.
Add the toppings
I usually add the toppings an hour or two before serving so the cheesecakes are ready to go, but are still fresh.
Melt the chocolate chips by placing them in a small, microwave safe bowl.
Heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring well in between each interval.
Do not heat for longer than this at one time or skip the stirring step. The chocolate may not look like it is melted on the top but actually is underneath. And it burns very easily!
Drizzle a teaspoon of caramel sauce over each cheesecake.
Then add a dollop of melted chocolate.
And top with a sprinkle of chopped pecans.
Put the mini turtle cheesecakes back into the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
If you want to add extra garnish, sprinkle the mini cheesecakes with shaved chocolate, powdered sugar, or more nuts.
For presentation, place each mini cheesecake on a small dessert plate with a dollop of whipped cream.
Or arrange them on a dessert buffet with other sweet treats.
For short-term storage, cover the cheesecakes and refrigerate for up to a week.
For longer-term storage, you can freeze the cheesecakes after they have set.
To do this:
- Put the cheesecakes on a baking sheet in the freezer until solid.
- Then transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to two months.
- Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before eating.
In both cases, store the plain cheesecakes and add the toppings just before serving.
Frequently asked questions
What If my cheesecakes don’t set properly?
If your cheesecakes don’t set properly, it could be due to the ingredients not being mixed well or not enough chilling time.
Make sure to follow the recipe instructions closely. And allow enough time for the cheesecakes to set in the refrigerator.
Can I make this recipe into a full-sized cheesecake?
Yes, you can adapt the recipe to make a full-sized cheesecake.
To do this, use a standard springform pan and increase the chilling time by a few hours.
Other mini cheesecake recipes you might like
- Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes
- Mini Cherry Cheesecakes With A Vanilla Wafer Crust
- Easy Raspberry Swirl Mini Cheesecakes
Or browse all our cake and cupcake recipes.
Turtle Mini Cheesecakes Recipe
- 1 12 cup muffin tin
- 12 cupcake liners
- measuring cups and spoons
- 1 medium bowl
- 1 mixing spoon
- 1 mixer and mixing bowl
- 1 Spatula
- 1 Microwave safe bowl or a small saucepan
- ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- 16 oz cream cheese softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 oz prepared caramel sauce
- 6 ounces or 1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark chocolate), melted
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Prepare your muffin pan by lining it with cupcake liners for easy removal. Set aside.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter in a medium sized bowl.
- Stir until it looks like wet sand.
- Pour a heaping tablespoon of graham crackers into the cupcake liners and press into the bottom. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the softened cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth. Scrape the sides and mix again.
- Add in the vanilla and heavy whipping cream.
- Whip on medium for one minute. Scrape the sides and mix again for another 30 seconds.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared pans just until the top of the liner. Using an ice cream scoop makes this easier.
- Place in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 4 hours (or overnight), until set.
- When you're ready to serve, pour a teaspoon of caramel sauce over each cheesecake. Follow with a dollop of melted chocolate and a sprinkle of chopped pecans.
- To melt the chocolate, place the chocolate chips in a small, microwave safe bowl. Heat for 15 seconds at a time, stirring well in between each interval. Do not overheat – it will burn the chocolate!
- We used a regular muffin sized pan. You could also use a mini-muffin pan to make more of them that are bite-sized.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.