Key Lime Cheesecake Minis with Macadamia Graham Cracker Crusts

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Mr. SGCC is a caveman.  He loves meat.  And, he doesn’t care for sweets.  I know!  Crazy, right?   There are a few exceptions to this, though.  He does enjoy a good cheesecake now and then.  He’s also been known to sneak bites of Key lime pie right out of the pan from time to time.  So, these Key Lime Cheesecake Minis are the perfect Labor Day dessert for him.  Actually, they’re a perfect dessert for anyone who loves creamy, dreamy cheesecake with a bright , fresh pop of citrus.

Key limes are small, round citrus fruits with a sharp, tart flavor – more so than regular Persian limes.  Commercially picked Key limes are green, but when allowed to ripen on the tree, the  fruit has more of a yellowish skin.  Native to Southeast Asia, Key limes made their way to North America via the Caribbean by early Spanish settlers to  Florida.    Key lime cultivation flourished in South Florida, particularly in the Keys, until the early 20th century, when most of the groves were destroyed by  the great hurricane of 1926.   They’re still widely associated with Florida, even though they’re not grown here commercially anymore.


Most of the Key limes I find at the supermarket are from Mexico, and they are often sickly and sad looking little things. If you’re lucky enough to have a tree in your own backyard, you’re all set. If not, but you have any family/friends/neighbors with one, start schmoozing, because I promise you’re gonna want to make these dreamcakes …er…cheesecakes. 


When I decided to make a dessert using Key limes, my first thought was a classic Key lime pie.  However, I knew that I wanted to make individual servings, and worried that mini pies or tartlets would be kind of messy to eat out of hand.   So I took my basic Key lime pie recipe, added cream cheese and extra eggs to it, baked it in paper baking cups and voilà –  Key Lime Cheesecake Minis!    These scrumptious little morsels were just what I was going for.  And, they were super easy to pull together.  I love making super rich treats like these in individual servings.   They not only help with portion control, but they’re easy to eat.  And, I think they’re pretty cute too!

I started with a basic graham cracker crust.  To give the cakes a little “tropical” flair, I also added some toasted, ground macadamia nuts to the  graham cracker crumbs.  I find that this not only gives the crust a nice nutty flavor, but also keeps it from getting soggy.


I pressed about a tablespoon full of the crust mixture into the bottom of paper muffin cups.  Then, I filled each cup with cheesecake batter and baked them in a “steamy oven”.  Placing a shallow pan filled with boiling water in the oven with your cheesecakes creates a moist environment which discourages cracking.  Though, if you do get a few cracks, don’t sweat it.  Swirl a little whipped cream cloud on top and no one will ever know.


After they’re baked, they need a good, long chill in the fridge to firm up.    Then, just peel off the paper and dive in!

Whatever you’re planning to do to celebrate summer’s last hurrah this Labor Day, these sunny little cheesecakes will make everybody’s day a little bit brighter.   So, go forth and make some cheesecake!




14 responses to Key Lime Cheesecake Minis with Macadamia Graham Cracker Crusts

  1. On August 30, 2012 at 2:35pm, Rosa said...

    I’m drooling! Those cheesecakes looks terribly tempting.



  2. On August 31, 2012 at 6:57am, ciaochowlinda said...

    If I made these mini key lime cheesecakes, would it tempt me to eat a smaller portion than a whole pie? I’m not so sure, since these look sensational.

  3. On August 31, 2012 at 11:10pm, Vicki Bensinger said...

    OMG these sound delightful. Years ago I made a full key lime cheesecake almost identical to this but with a layer of chocolate over the crust. Hmm now I may have to dig up that recipe to try in cupcake form. I love the addition of the lime zest. It makes them look so pretty and irresistable.

  4. On September 01, 2012 at 12:32pm, Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy said...

    wow sounds absolutely amazing!

  5. On September 02, 2012 at 6:55pm, Mommyof2Girlz/StephD said...

    Love cheesecake, love key lime and love macadamia nuts..the perfect recipe for me 😉 Thank you1

  6. On September 25, 2012 at 12:01pm, Carlo/Carlo At Your Service Productions said...

    I think I’m in love. This sounds like a little slice of Heaven, in your mouth. I so appreciate that you’ve shared your recipe. I cannot wait to make it to serve at a party. People are gonna love it.

    PS Oh, and since Mr SGCC doesn’t like it so much… that’s not all so bad. You know what that means; the more for you to eat! Yummers!


  7. On March 17, 2013 at 10:51am, Jamie said...

    I made these with fresh key limes (they had been gifted to me and I needed to use them up) and only got 3/4 cup of lime juice out of them, and I also used gluten free gingersnaps and shredded coconut pulsed in the food processor. They turned out absolutely amazing.

  8. On June 21, 2013 at 3:58pm, Jaclyn said...

    These look amazing! I love your photos!

  9. On November 09, 2013 at 8:52am, Denise said...

    I’m looking forward to making your delicious-looking dreamcakes. Your paper cups look out-of-the-ordinary. Will you share what kind/brand your use? Thank you!

  10. On December 17, 2013 at 11:13pm, Dina said...

    What kind of paper cups are you using?
    They look fantastic!
    Thank you for sharing!

  11. On February 24, 2014 at 4:01pm, Lauren said...

    These look amazing!! Just wondering if you used a regular size muffin pan or a mini muffin pan for these? They appear to be larger than mini muffins. Thank you!

  12. On June 28, 2014 at 9:41pm, Kayleigh said...

    I just made this recipe for a big family get-together. It was super easy to put together. The cheesecakes baked like a dream with minimal cracking, however sunk quite a bit once they came out of the over. It will be an easy fix with some whipped cream.
    I found that there needed to be a little more lime flavor, so next time I will be sure to add some more lime juice, and also a bit more sugar. The cheesecake itself was very rich and creamy, and the macadamia nut bottom adds great flavor!

    • On July 31, 2015 at 1:48am, Steph said...

      Wondering if this makes 18 standard muffin or 18 mini muffin pan cupcakes…thanks for any suggestions

  13. On September 04, 2014 at 2:32pm, Carmie said...

    I’m also wondering like a previous poster, if these are made as regular muffin size or as mini muffin size. Hard to tell from the close ups. Either way, they look fab! Will try them for a dinner party this weekend

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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