Baked in a standard 12-count muffin pan, these mini margarita cheesecakes are handheld miniature versions of a regular cheesecake. The filling comes together with 8 simple ingredients including tequila, triple sec, and lime. Sitting on a graham cracker crust and garnished with tequila whipped cream, these conveniently portioned desserts are ready for your next celebration!
Like a slice of cheesecake without the fork and like a margarita without the glass! Individual desserts are party favorites because guests can grab and go without slicing, sharing, and portioning. I served these mini margarita cheesecakes alongside plain mini cheesecakes at a summer gathering and I don’t want to play favorites, but adults picked these boozy little numbers clean. I regretted not making a double batch!
Here’s Why You’ll LOVE These Mini Margarita Cheesecakes Too
- Fun unexpected margarita flavor that tastes like vacation!
- Full of fresh lime & lightly spiked with tequila and triple sec.
- Thick & fluffy.
- Lots of contrasting texture from the crunchy graham cracker crust and creamy filling.
- Adorably garnished with tequila lime whipped cream, lime slice, and coarse sugar.
- Recipe conveniently makes 1 dozen & you can easily double it.
Even though I titled these “mini,” they’re baked in a standard 12-count muffin pan and not a mini muffin pan. I call them mini because they are mini versions of a full-size cheesecake. Think of them as the cheesecake version of margarita cupcakes. (Because, yes, I have a recipe for those too!)
This Dessert Has 3 Layers
You need 11 ingredients total and many of the ingredients are repeated in each layer.
- Graham Cracker Crust (3 ingredients)
- Margarita Cheesecake Filling (8 ingredients)
- Tequila Lime Whipped Cream (4 ingredients)
This recipe is slightly scaled up from my regular mini cheesecakes to make a full dozen batch of extra thick cheesecakes. After you mix the graham cracker crust ingredients together, press a heaping Tablespoon of the mixture into your cupcake liners. You’ll pre-bake the crust for 6 minutes.
The crust takes longer to bake than the filling, so pre-baking is key. Moving on to the filling…
Grab 8 Ingredients for the Filling:
- Cream Cheese: Philadelphia cream cheese isn’t affiliated with this post, but it IS my favorite cream cheese brand. Whichever brand you use, make sure you’re using blocks of full-fat cream cheese and not the cream cheese you use for spreading on bagels. This imperative rule applies to many other dessert recipes like cream cheese frosting, strawberry cream cheese pie, and no bake cheesecake.
- Granulated Sugar: I tested this recipe with both 1/2 cup and 2/3 cup of sugar. I found the greater amount masked the light flavors of lime and tequila, so use 1/2 cup (100g) in the filling recipe.
- Sour Cream: Sour cream is a magical ingredient in baked goods, especially cheesecake, because it adds moisture and richness without thinning out the batter. You need just 2 Tablespoons, so buy a smaller container if you don’t use it often. (You should definitely make double chocolate muffins with your leftovers!) If it’s easier, use plain yogurt instead.
- Flour: The mixture is too thin and lacks structure without flour.
- Tequila*: Use your favorite.
- Triple Sec*: Triple sec is an orange-flavored liqueur commonly found in margarita beverages. If you don’t have it, use more tequila or swap with orange juice.
- Lime: You need 1 Tablespoon juice & 2 teaspoons zest. Have 2–3 limes on hand, which would also be enough for the lime slice garnish.
- Eggs: The cheesecake batter can’t bind together without eggs. Careful not to over-mix these, and be sure to add them right at the end.
*See recipe Note for version without alcohol.
Expect a thick margarita cheesecake batter. Spoon/pour mixture on top of warm pre-baked crusts:
Success Tip: A Steamy Oven
Are you familiar with cheesecake water baths? Cheesecakes are egg-heavy desserts and eggs are notorious for rising up in the oven and then falling down in cooler air. Some sinkage is expected, but you can prevent excess sinking by filling your oven with humidity. Instead of placing your muffin pan in water, place a roasting pan filled with hot water on the rack below the mini cheesecakes. The hot water steams and gently cooks the eggs so the mini cheesecakes aren’t as prone to sinking as they cool.
I teach this method in my key lime cheesecake post, too.
Chilling & Garnishing Your Cheesecakes
After baking, the margarita cheesecakes must cool and chill. I like speeding this process up by cooling at room temperature for 45 minutes and then I place them in the freezer for 1 hour. If you have more time, refrigerate them for 2 hours.
Feel free to serve plain, but if you want to amplify the margarita flavor, I recommend garnishing with tequila lime whipped cream. Make plain whipped cream and add 1 Tablespoon each tequila and lime juice. Easy! I used a Wilton 1M tip for piping. Lime slices, lime zest, strawberry slices, and/or coarse sugar are optional but very fun extras.
(Though salt on a margarita glass is a prime choice, I don’t recommend coarse salt as garnish unless it’s a very light sprinkle.)
Serving Success Tip: If serving these margarita cheesecakes outside on a hot day, I recommend keeping them in the refrigerator until 10 minutes (or less) prior to serving.
Even More Party Favorites:Print
Mini Margarita Cheesecakes
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 26 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours (includes cooling)
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
These mini tequila-spiked lime margarita cheesecakes are thick, creamy, and ready for your next celebration. Bake them in a standard 12-count muffin pan. Step 4 is completely optional, but helps prevent the mini cheesecakes from sinking too much as they cool.
- 1 cup (125g) graham cracker crumbs (about 7–8 full sheet graham crackers)
- 2 Tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, melted
- two 8-ounce blocks (450g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon (8g) all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) tequila
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) triple sec (or orange juice or more tequila)
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lime juice
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
Tequila Lime Whipped Cream
- 1 cup (240ml) cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) tequila
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lime juice
- optional for garnish: lime slices, lime zest, and/or coarse sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a standard 12-count muffin pan with liners. You could skip the liners and spray the pan with non-stick spray or grease with butter, but the mini cheesecakes are pretty stubborn to release from the pan. I recommend using liners to make things easier.
- Make the crust: Combine all of the crust ingredients in a medium bowl. Mixture will be sandy. Firmly press a heaping Tablespoon of crust mixture into each liner. Pre-bake for 6 minutes.
- Make the filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream, flour, tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and lime zest then beat until fully combined. With the mixer running on medium speed, add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined before adding the next. Do not over-mix. Batter will be thick. Divide the batter between liners, filling each all the way to the top. (It’s OK if the crust is still warm.)
- Optional Water Bath (prevents cheesecakes from excess sinking, skip this step if desired): Boil a pot of water. You need 1 inch of water in your roasting pan for the water bath, so make sure you boil enough. Place a large metal baking or roasting pan (I usually use a 9×13-inch baking pan—do not use glass) on the bottom oven rack of the preheated oven. Pour boiling water into pan, about 1 inch deep. Immediately place the cheesecakes on the center rack. Close oven to trap the steam inside. This unique water bath adds steam to the oven without having the muffin pan sit inside the water itself, which is a traditional water bath method used for full-size cheesecakes.
- Bake until the edges are set and the centers slightly jiggle, about 20 minutes.
- Set the pan on a wire rack and allow cheesecakes to cool at room temperature for 45 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. (Or place in the freezer for 1 hour to speed things up.) If chilling in the refrigerator for longer than 2 hours, loosely cover the cheesecakes. Even if you used the water bath method in step 4, the cheesecakes will slightly sink as they cool.
- Make the whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cold heavy cream, sugar, tequila, and lime juice on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3–4 minutes. Medium peaks are between soft/loose peaks and stiff peaks, and are the perfect consistency for topping and piping on desserts. I used Wilton 1M tip for piping whipped cream on the pictured mini cheesecakes. Garnish with lime slices and/or other toppings. Whipped cream can be made and piped/spread on mini cheesecakes up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate decorated cheesecakes until ready to serve.
- Cover and store leftover cheesecakes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare the cheesecakes through step 3 up to 2–3 days in advance. Cover unbaked cheesecakes and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Continue with step 4. Baked cheesecakes can chill in the refrigerator for up to 1 day, with or without whipped cream and garnishes. Freeze individual baked and cooled cheesecakes for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before garnishing with whipped cream and serving.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Food Processor for crust, Zester, Citrus Juicer, KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Muffin Pan (I also love this one)
- Triple Sec: If you don’t have triple sec liqueur, use more tequila or swap with orange juice.
- Limes: Have 2–3 limes on hand, which would also be enough for the lime slice garnish.
- Non-Alcoholic Version: Replace tequila with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 1 Tablespoon lime juice (in addition to the 1 Tablespoon lime juice that is already in the filling for a total of 2 Tbsp lime juice). Skip the triple sec. Skip the tequila in the whipped cream and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- Full-Size Cheesecake: For a full-size margarita cheesecake, start with my key lime cheesecake recipe. Swap 3 Tablespoons of lime juice with tequila and 1 Tablespoon of lime juice with triple sec. Use regular lime juice instead of key lime if desired. Add 1 extra teaspoon lime zest. Follow the rest of that recipe as directed.
- Mini Mini Cheesecakes: Line 2 24-count mini muffin pans with mini muffin liners. Make the crust and cheesecake batter as directed. Press 2 teaspoons of crust into each mini muffin liner. Pre-bake at 350°F (177°C) for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and fill each to the top with cheesecake batter. Bake for 10–11 minutes or until the cheesecakes appear set on top. Continue with step 6 in this recipe. No need for the water bath if using a mini muffin pan (doesn’t really make a difference). Yields approximately 40–48 super mini bite-size cheesecakes.
- Non-U.S. Readers: With the help of other non-U.S. readers who do not have access to graham crackers, here is a basic crust recipe you can follow for these mini cheesecakes. 125g digestive biscuits + 45g butter + no sugar. Grind the digestive biscuits into crumbs, melt the butter, and mix with the crumbs. Press into liners and pre-bake as directed in step 2. And from what I understand, spreadable cream cheese sold in a tub in countries outside of the U.S. is a little different from the spreadable cream cheese in the U.S. It’s thicker, sturdier, and more solid and should be OK to make cheesecake, though I haven’t tested this myself.
Keywords: mini margarita cheesecakes
Reader Questions and Reviews
Could you use this recipe for a full size cheesecake in a springform pan?
Absolutely! See recipe note.
Will try these as they look fabuousxxx
How would I adjust cooking time and oven temperature for jumbo size cupcake pans?
Hi Gail, I would add another 5 minutes of pre-bake time for the crust and at least 10 more minutes for the filling. However, there may simply be too much filling in each jumbo size cheesecake and they might not bake and cool properly. For best results, I suggest using a regular 12-count muffin pan or mini muffin pan.
Making these tomorrow! Thank you have a party to go to. I am know for a margarita pie I make. When I make that I use a pretzel crust for that “salty” rimmed glass flavor. Do u see any issue with using a freezer layer ? Also thx for the full cheese cake instructions.
Hi Richard, I think a pretzel crust would be delicious with these! I would use 1/2 cup crushed pretzels and 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (or just 1 cup pretzel crumbs) and the same amount of sugar and butter the recipe calls for. Unless you will use your own recipe for that. Let us know how it turns out!
Thank you so much for the “non-US reader” comment in the notes! I live in France and usually sub “petit beurre” or “petit thé” for graham crackers, which we can order online but they’re so expensive. I also find that the cream cheese in a tub is pretty sturdy and regularly sub because we just can’t find block cream cheese. A trick I learned from another American baker here is to use a cheese called St Moret, which is very creamy and slightly salty, so when using for frosting, I don’t add any extra salt. 🙂 I’ll definitely try this recipe this summer as the French love cheesecake (and I love margaritas!), so this would be great for a get-together. Thank you again, Sally, for your years of posts that keep this American and her family well-fed with from-scratch, delicious recipes that I can make using ingredients we find here!
Hi there just wondering would these work with key lime juice? I made the mini key lime pies which were awesome but I’m interested in incorporating some of the tequila and triple sec in it!
These were amazing! Easy to make and they were as pretty as the picture. The water in the oven really helped with the cakes not sinking. Will definitely make these again and again. Thanks for the delicious recipe.
It’s really a great trick, isn’t it?!
Does the alcohol bake out? Can you serve these to kids?
Hi Cathy, the alcohol does typically bake out of baked goods, but these do have a pretty short bake time. Also, there is tequila in the whipped cream that is not baked. We include non-alcoholic directions in the recipe notes.
I made these today and they are amazingly delicious! The water bath is key. I will definitely make these again!
This recipe was VERY good! I was worried that it might be too boozy – not at all. This will now be part of my “perfect recipe” compilation. I will be bringing it to many future family gatherings. I followed the recipe exactly.