Filed Under: Cheesecake | Fall | Thanksgiving | Winter

Mini Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes with Holiday Cranberry Topping

Recipe By Tessa Arias
November 18th, 2010

Mini Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes with Holiday Cranberry Topping have a sweet, creamy filling with a contrasting crunchy crust.

Yield: 14 mini cheesecakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 40 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Beautiful aroma of sweet vanilla, hint of orange, and tart touch of cranberry.
Texture: The crust is almost crunchy and grainy but buttery at the same time. The filling is rich and smooth while the topping is thick and chunky.
Ease: Not at all difficult but totally impressive.
Appearance: I love the contrast of neutral tan and cream crust and filling with the brilliant ruby-red topping. I also love the specks of vanilla beans in the cheesecake filling. Plus anything miniature is cute.
Pros: Much easier than regular sized cheesecake, topping can disguise any cracking or sinking, can be made way ahead of time, portable, easy to eat, DELICIOUS.
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? I will probably make the mini cheesecakes with a different topping for each season of the year.

Mini Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes with Holiday Cranberry Topping have a sweet, creamy filling with a contrasting crunchy crust. 

Mini Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes with Holiday Cranberry Topping

Mini Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes with Holiday Cranberry Topping

Thanksgiving recipe number 2! This time it’s a dessert and was created for GoodLifeEats and My Baking Addiction’s Holiday Recipe Swap. I am very excited to share this recipe with you because I think it is absolutely mouth-watering, I can’t stop eating these little cheesecakes. Plus it’s a perfect spin on Thanksgiving flavors in a small, cute, and portable package.

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Beanilla. Also, I’d really appreciate a vote from you! I’m number 17 in the swap.

How to make
Mini Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes with Holiday Cranberry Topping

Yield: 14 mini cheesecakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Time 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 55 minutes
Mini Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes with Holiday Cranberry Topping have a sweet, creamy filling with a contrasting crunchy crust.



  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)


  • 1 pound (2x 8-oz packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half and seeds scraped
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

Cranberry Topping

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 16- oz can organic whole-berry cranberry sauce (or make your own)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans with 14 paper liners (or use 1 pan plus 2 standalone wrappers).

For the crust:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. Stir together with a fork until well blended and all dry ingredients are moistened and look like wet sand. Press 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Bake until just set, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

For the filling:

  1. In a medium bowl beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed with an electric mixer just until smooth. Beat in sugar until well incorporated. Mix in the salt and vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Be careful not to over-mix.
  2. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of the cheesecake batter over the crust in each cupcake liner using an ice cream scoop or two spoons.
  3. Bake until the filling is just set, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 4 hours before topping and serving (preferably overnight). (Make these for Thanksgiving up to 4 days ahead of time - store in airtight containers and dollop cranberry sauce on the day of serving).

For the topping:

  1. In a small saucepan whisk together the cornstarch and orange juice to combine, making sure there are no large clumps. Pour in cranberry sauce, stir, and bring mixture to a boil over medium to medium-high heat for one minute. Cool for 10 minutes before topping a dollop on each cheesecake. Can be made up to a week ahead of time. Store in fridge and bring to room temperature before dolloping on cheesecakes. Leftovers for Thanksgiving or on sandwiches, crackers, muffins, pork chops, chicken, the options are endless.

Recipe Notes

Recipe loosely adapted from Martha Stewart via 6 Bittersweets and topping from Family Fun Magazine
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets — November 18, 2010 at 1:55 am

    I love your version — it looks so delicious. I actually couldn't taste the marbled blueberry puree very much in mine so adding a more substantial topping is a great idea. Happy holidays!

  2. #
    Jamie — November 18, 2010 at 3:21 am

    These are stunning…vanilla + cheesecake + cranberries = amazing! Thanks so much for submitting your cheesecake recipe to the My Baking Addiction and goodLife {eats} Holiday Recipe Exchange! Good luck and remember voting starts on November 21st!

  3. # — November 18, 2010 at 4:11 am

    Oh this looks fabulous! 🙂 Love cheesecake…perfect for Thanksgiving!

  4. #
    Lisa — November 18, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    This recipe looks so yummy. I love cheesecake and I like the small individual serving sizes. I'm going to try this recipe for Thanksgiving dessert!

  5. #
    crustabakes — November 18, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    That topping looks so sweet and inviting! I love berry toppings. Yumm!

  6. #
    Medifast Coupons — November 18, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Wonderful looking little cheesecakes, these are going to be perfect for the entertaining to come.

  7. #
    Lauren — November 18, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Beautiful and festive! I'm making individual pumpkin cheesecakes this weekend – you can't beat the perfect portion size 🙂

  8. #
    UrMomCooks — November 19, 2010 at 4:16 am

    These are so festive and fun! Luv the touch of orange throughout! These are perfect for a holiday table – great idea to vary the topping depending on the time of year! Delicious!

  9. #
    ursula — November 19, 2010 at 7:38 am

    These are outrageously cute! Goodness me!

  10. #
    Courtney — November 21, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    These look delicious, love that you can see the vanilla beans!

  11. #
    Pretty. Good. Food. — November 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Yum, looks fantastic!

  12. #
    Melissa — November 22, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    These are just what I have been looking for all week! I wanted a cranberry cheesecake with fewer ingredients and no heavy cream. The mini-cheesecake part is just the icing on the cake.
    As soon as I saw these last night I had to make them. They turned out great, so much faster then traditional cheesecake. Thanks!

  13. #
    Tessa — November 22, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Melissa- So excited to hear this recipe worked out so well for you! 🙂 🙂

  14. #
    claire — November 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    these are precious!

  15. #
    Melody Fury – — December 2, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    What a stunning holiday recipe! Would you like to submit it to my contest to win a cookbook? Just wanting to share the holiday cheer (and exposure to your blog) Would love for you to win 🙂

  16. #
    dasilva_2010 — February 6, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    This might be a stupid question but did you use a mini cupcake tin, or a standard size?

  17. #
    Cameron Stutzman — July 16, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I totally just did these and instead of the cranberry drizzled Caramel on top of them!! People were impressed!! Amazing recipe!


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