It has come to my attention that I improperly credited this recipe – something I’m pretty embarrassed about! The true credit goes to author Kendra Bailey Morris and her book this recipe is featured in is: The Southern Slow Cooker: Big-Flavor, Low-Fuss Recipes for Comfort Food Classics. It can be pre-ordered via Amazon.
A word of warning: we are all of us, every single one, in trouble now. If you like cheesecake. That’s easy to make. And requires no oven. And it’s still real, oven-baked texture and richness. Yep, a whole can of trouble is here! One of those wholesale club cans worth. There was just no way I was passing up the opportunity to try cheesecake baked in individual jars, in a crock pot. No need to sign me up, I’m already there.
You may have also noticed that I might sort of could have an obsession with baking in jars. Hey, if it works (and things don’t overflow), it’s quite fun. They make great individual portions that make it easier to stick to one helping (sometimes) and they are pretty darn cute to boot.
For the crust, I did go with the chocolate wafers called for, and we ended up using almost a whole package, but you could certainly go with a different chocolate cookie for this part or maybe even chocolate graham crackers.
After it was all said and done, we would probably use less cookie base for each crust. The recipe suggests about three tablespoons of the stuff but next time I’ll probably only do one tablespoon. There was just a lot left at the bottom after the cheesecake was all gone.
Let the layering begin! After an initial one to one and a half inches of the cheesecake filling, layer on 3-4 slices of fresh banana.
Next goes on a small sprinkling of some of your chocolate wafer or cookie crumbs (without the butter and sugar in them).
After the chocolate sprinkles go in, put another inch or so of cheesecake filling in, till it’s about an inch or so from the top of the jar. Place a small dishcloth in the bottom of a large crock pot (one that latches is preferable) and put the jars on top of it, making sure they don’t touch the sides of the crock pot or one another. Mine is something like a seven quart crock pot and there was plenty of room for the jars, which are half-pint size.
Using your teakettle, heat some water and pour this halfway up the sides of the jars into the crock pot. You’re creating the same kind of environment that you would for a cheesecake in the oven.
This is why you really need a crock pot that latches the lid closed. Several paper towels are laid on top of the pot to absorb moisture as the cheesecakes bake and they obviously wouldn’t let a regular crock pot lid sit very well on the pot.
And here are the little cheesecakes in the process of cooling! When they came out of the crock pot they were almost coming out of the jars, but they will fall a bit as they cool, backing down again to about an inch below the top of the jar.
Our cheesecakes took about two hours to cool enough to chill. Put them on wire racks or trivets with holes in them to allow the bottoms to cool as well.
I cannot begin to express how fun this recipe was. And how cool the kitchen stayed! And how yummy the cheesecake was. It would be really easy to change this up and make your own variations. Use some berry jams to swirl lightly in the cheesecake batter, traditional graham crackers for the crust or butter cookies, caramel swirls – you get the idea. This is a really fun way to make your most favorite dessert and I know I for one am in serious trouble. Cuz I’m making them again. Soon!
Chocolate-Banana Cheesecake in Jars
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: about 1 hour 30 minutes Level: easy Makes: 6 cheesecakes
- 1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large banana, thinly sliced
- Garnish: sliced bananas, sweetened whipped cream, shaved dark chocolate
In a small bowl, mix together wafer crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Fill 6 half-pint jars with approximately 3 tablespoons crumb mixture (or to taste), being sure to distribute it evenly. Set aside leftover chocolate crumb mixture.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine. Pour in condensed milk and vanilla, and continue to beat till combined.
Fill each jar with about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of the cream cheese mixture. Add a layer of banana slices along with some of the reserved chocolate crumbs. Fill each jar with more cheesecake mixture, leaving about an inch of head space.
Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a 6-to-8-quart slow cooker to protect the ceramic surface, and place the uncovered jars in the slow cooker insert, making sure they are not touching each other or the sides of the slow cooker.
Fill a tea kettle with water, and heat just to boiling. Pour enough water into the slow cooker to come halfway up the sides of the glass jars. Cover the top of the slow cooker with several thick sheets of paper towels (we used about four layers of paper towels) to absorb moisture. Cover the slow cooker with the lid, and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours or until the cheesecakes begin to pull away from the sides of the jars.
Using tongs, carefully transfer the jars to a wire rack. Jars will be very hot. Let cool completely. Screw on the lids, and refrigerate cheesecakes until well chilled, at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
Just before serving, top each with additional banana slices, whipped cream, and shaved chocolate. Serve the cakes straight from the jars.
When lifting the hot jars from the slow cooker, I used my silicone-tipped tongs and the silicone kept the tongs from slipping on the glass. I also slid a pancake flipper under them to get further stability while moving them. You could also grab the bottoms of them with an oven-mitt protected hand as you use the tongs to lift.
Mini chocolate chips would also make a good garnish.
We didn’t have any of the crust mixture leftover, so we just made more wafer crumbs, sans sugar and butter, and sprinkled that in instead. It worked just fine.
While our cheesecake was firm enough to eat after cooling, they really do taste best well chilled.