Salted Pecan Pie Tarts

Make adorable little pie tarts using my favorite homemade pie crust and a salted pecan filling inspired by Grandma.

Make little pecan pies using my favorite homemade pie crust and a salted pecan filling inspired Grandma's recipe! These are AMAZING!

Pecan pie is the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert. Though nothing will ever beat apple pie or pumpkin pie in my mind, classic pecan pie holds a very special place in my heart this time of year.

Grandma Harlett made it like no one else. I started my blog two weeks after she passed, which would be two years ago at the end of this month. I treasure her timeless recipe, in her own handwriting.

Make little pecan pies using my favorite homemade pie crust and a salted pecan filling inspired Grandma's recipe! These are AMAZING!

Pecan pies tend to be overwhelmingly sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I have a mouth full of sweet teeth! But I find that most pecan pies lack a complexity of flavors, so I slightly went off the beaten path and added a touch of coarse sea salt. The small touch of salt makes each bite so interesting. I’m a total sucker for sweet & salty treats.

I also made teeny tiny individual tarts. I really had no purpose for one large pie this past weekend, but there is always a need for delicate little tarts, right? People love little bite-sized things. I think they are a fun alternative to the traditional and I can’t wait to make these again in a few weeks.

Grandma’s Pie Crust, of course.

The crust for these pecan pies is made 100% from scratch, just how grandma made her pies. This pie crust is my go-to recipe, made from a mix of butter and shortening. Why shortening? Shortening aids in creating flakiness. Flaky, tender, melt-in-your mouth crust. Why butter? Butter imparts unparalleled, impeccable flavor. Nothing beats butter. My butter & shortening pie crust is the best of both worlds. It’s nothing new – tons of folks do it this way. And it’s the way I like it.

Make little pecan pies using my favorite homemade pie crust and a salted pecan filling inspired Grandma's recipe! These are AMAZING!

The first step in this bite-sized recipe is to make the pie crust. You’ll need half of my homemade crust recipe to make these tarts. I made 1 whole pie crust recipe because using half of the pie crust for each batch gave me two tries to perfect the filling. When all was said and done, I had over 50 pecan pie tarts! And thankfully – a swarm of hungry friends. You may simply start with half of my crust recipe, as called for below.

(Instead of using my crust recipe, you can use your own or even use a store-bought crust to save time. Keep in mind you’ll need 1 pie crust, not two.)

Making pie crust from scratch is much easier than you think! I have a very detailed page for how to make my own. Filled with in-process photos and tips so you can have a visual of what you’re supposed to be doing.

How to make Salted Pecan Pie Tarts

Basically, here’s what you’ll do. Roll pie crust dough into a large 12 inch circle on a floured surface. From the circle, cut 24-30 rounds using a 2.5 inch cookie cutter.I don’t own a cookie cutter that was the correct size to fit into the mini muffin pans appropriately. I used my 1/3 cup measuring cup. You’ll have to re-roll the dough scraps a few times. Work quickly, as the dough becomes much more delicate the longer it is at room temperature. Place the dough rounds into a 24-count mini muffin pan. Press the dough flat into the bottom of the crevice and up the sides. Then chill the entire pan in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Temperature is important when working with pie crust; it must always be chilled for this recipe.

How to Make Salted Pecan Pie Tarts

The filling is a reduced version of my Grandma’s with just a few tiny changes. The reason it’s reduced is because you don’t need as much filling as you would an entire pie. You won’t need any liquid sugars, which is common in pecan pie fillings. Rather, you’ll need brown sugar, an egg, melted butter, pecans, vanilla, and nutmeg. Total health food.

I like to add a sprinkle of cinnamon to my pecan pie tart filling because cinnamon is life (didn’t you know that by now?!?!). I think you’ll love the warmth and spice it gives each tart; my friends certainly did!

As the tarts bake, the filling puffs up and may spill onto the sides. That’s OK. It creates an irresistible brown sugared crust. Yes, brown-sugared-buttery-flaky crust. (!!!) Be careful not to overbake the little guys. Pecan pie filling should be soft with pecan chunks inside. Not hard, crispy, or burnt. Creamy, but not quite liquid. You got it? It’s important to stand nearby the oven as they bake. Once you see the crust begin to slightly brown after about 15 minutes, the tarts are done.

How to Make Salted Pecan Pie Tarts

They’re truly not that difficult to make! It takes a bit of time chilling, rolling, and shaping the dough into tiny circles. That’s when having little bakers nearby is helpful. All the shaping is completely worth it because the result is just so darn tasty and cute.

Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without pecan pie. Now you can avoid the sugar headache by adding a touch of sea salt and shrinking your pie into bite-sized tarts. Perfect for portion control. And um, dangerous for portion control??

I know Grandma Harlett would be proud. Two years ago, I had no idea how to make pie crust from scratch. And now it feels like second nature. You’ll find a few of Grandma’s recipes in my cookbook including her favorite thing to bake on Christmas mornings.

Salted Pecan Pie Tarts

Make adorable little pie tarts using my favorite homemade pie crust and a salted pecan filling inspired by my Grandma.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 recipe homemade pie dough (step-by-step photos included)
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (96g) chopped pecans
  • coarse salt for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Make the homemade pie dough. Once chilled, place the dough onto a floured work surface. Roll into a large 12 inch circle. From the circle, cut 24-30 rounds using a 2.5 inch cookie cutter. I used my 1/3 cup measuring cup, which is 2.5 inches in diameter. You'll have to re-roll the dough scraps a few times. Work quickly, as the dough becomes much more delicate the longer it is at room temperature.
  2. Place the dough rounds into a greased 24-count mini muffin pan(s). Press the dough flat into the bottom of the crevice and up the sides. Then chill the entire pan in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Once the dough has chilled for 20 minutes, pre-bake the tart crusts for 7 minutes. This allows the bottom of the crust to be properly baked and not become soggy from the liquidy pecan filling.
  4. Prepare the filling by melting the butter in a small bowl in the microwave or using a stovetop. Allow to slightly cool for a few minutes. Whisk the brown sugar, egg, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the melted butter, then stir in the pecans.
  5. Remove the tart crusts from the oven when they're finished and spoon 1-2 teaspoons of the filling into each. Top with coarse salt.
  6. Turn the oven up to 350°F (177°C) and bake the tarts for 14-16 more minutes. Be careful not to overbake. Once you see the crust begin to slightly brown after about 15 minutes, the tarts are done. Mine took 15 minutes exactly.
  7. Allow the tarts to cool completely in the pan before serving. (A spoon helps get them out easily.) Top with a dollop of whipped cream or even a small drizzle of pure maple syrup. Leftovers are great for up to 3 days - store covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  8. Make ahead tip: The filling can be made 1 day in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator. Pie crust can also be made in advance, see make ahead instructions in its recipe. You can freeze the tarts for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

  1. I've been asked this a lot, and this filling would not fit an entire pie. You’d likely need to double the ingredients and sub in some sort of liquid sweetener to keep the filling moist.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Make little pecan pies using my favorite homemade pie crust and a salted pecan filling inspired Grandma's recipe! These are AMAZING!

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. ♥ And after you make these tarts, you have to try my Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Pie!

Try this delicious pumpkin pie upgrade! Complete with Nutella swirls

Q: What’s your favorite kind of pie?

Make little pecan pies using my favorite homemade pie crust and a salted pecan filling inspired Grandma's recipe! These are AMAZING!
Make little pecan pies using my favorite homemade pie crust and a salted pecan filling inspired Grandma's recipe! These are AMAZING!

96 Comments

Comments

  1. Becca @ Crumbs on November 12, 2013 at 4:31 am

    Aw Sally these look so cute! The sea salt looks like little crystals sitting on the top

  2. BananaRoRo12 on November 12, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Hey Sally! I was wondering if I could substitute the dark brown sugar for light brown sugar? Thanks!

    • Sally on November 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      You sure can.

      • Sandy on December 19, 2017 at 12:31 pm

        Finally a recipe that does not call for cream cheese in the crust !!! Years ago I had a recipe that I got from my grandmother’s cookbook and for the life of me I cannot find it!!! However the crust was so delicious and firm and made the perfect tartlets!!



      • Sally on December 19, 2017 at 2:40 pm

        It’s so frustrating when you can’t find a loved recipe! I hope this one lives up to your grandmothers cookbook 🙂



  3. Amy on November 13, 2013 at 2:09 am

    Yes, your grandma would definitely be really proud of you Sally! Especially all of the love and dedication you put into every single one of your recipes. That’s what makes you stand out from other bakers!

    One year, before I was born, my mom baked a pecan pie for Thanksgiving, but she forgot all of the sugar and corn syrup. When she cut into it, it tasted like scrambled eggs with pecans! She now always makes sure to pull out all of the sweeteners from the pantry first, before she even begins on the pie crust. 😉

    • Sally on November 13, 2013 at 7:36 am

      I am cracking up about the sugarless pecan pie. I can only imagine the taste!!

  4. Karly on November 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Hi Sally! This look amazing and I’ll be making these this Thanksgiving. Thank you. One question, can I make these a week in advance and freeze them? If I can, should I thaw before baking?

    • Sally on November 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Karly! Yes, you can make these ahead and freeze them. Then allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. More make-ahead instructions are listed in the recipe notes.

      • Karly on November 15, 2013 at 5:36 pm

        You’re awesome! Thank you.



  5. Audrey on November 19, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    I had some extra filling, so I put it in the middle of an apple and baked it for 20 minutes. Then I cut it in half and ate it with vanilla ice cream.
    YUM!

    • Sally on November 19, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      MUST try that! I’m making these again for Thanksgiving day with my family. And now I’m going to make extra filling. Thanks Audrey!

      • Audrey on November 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm

        My pleasure! The tarts are also delicious. Addictive, in fact XD



  6. Nutmeg Nanny on November 20, 2013 at 11:25 am

    These look so incredible 🙂 I love that theyre salted, it adds the perfect touch to them!

  7. Jennifer on November 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Sally,
    I made these for a potluck this weekend. They are so cute and absolutely delicious! I actually forgot to blind bake the crust and baked them for 15 minutes and they still turned out perfect! Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Megan on November 25, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Hi Sally!
    I have now made a few of your recipes and am officially in love with your recipes! The homemade funfetti cake was amazing!
    So, I made your pie crust for my Thanksgiving pies. The crust is currently in the freezer and I’m wondering how you defrost/time wise, etc? I plan on baking them on Wednesday morning, so should I take out and put into the fridge sometime on Tuesday? I didn’t see it in the recipe, but I certainly could have missed it.
    Thanks so much – much appreciated!

    • Sally on November 25, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Hi Megan! Here are the make-ahead instructions written in the pie crust recipe:

      Make ahead: The dough may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

      • Megan on December 1, 2013 at 6:44 am

        Thanks, Sally! I’m sorry I missed it! It must have been the Thanksgiving-induced haze I was in!
        Anyway, I used this pie dough for 2 different pies (apple and pumpkin) and the crust was AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS! Thank you so much for the recipe!
        I have one question, though. I had a hard time rolling it out without cracking/breaking, so I ended up cobbling scraps together to make some patches. Still tasted amazing, though. Do you have any idea of what I might be doing wrong? Thanks again!



      • Sally on December 1, 2013 at 9:39 am

        Hi Megan, I’m glad you love this pie dough! It’s certianly my favorite. Do you feel it was too dry or too moist? And that was causing the cracking? Because you can add more/less ice water to fix that.



      • Megan on December 1, 2013 at 1:53 pm

        Thanks so much, Sally! Hmmmm. . good question! It definitely did not seem too moist, and didn’t really seem to be too dry, but maybe that is what it was. It almost felt too cold. I had taken it right from the fridge, so maybe I should have left it on the counter for a few minutes first. I will try doing that and adding more cold water next time. And, oh there will definitely be a next time – so yummy! Thanks again!



  9. Meredith on December 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I love this recipe so much! I’ve made it about three times now. I like it best when I skip the salt and add in 3-4 tablespoons of Wild Turkey American Honey, if you’d like to try another variation.

    • Sally on December 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      Nice! I should try it with honey Meredith – thanks for letting me know about that!

  10. Michelle on March 19, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Hi Sally 🙂 cant wait to try these!! do you perhaps have a recipe that will make one large pecan pie or can I use the above? the recipe I have doesnt set in the middle 🙁

    • Sally on March 19, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Hi Michelle! I’ll be sure to share a pecan pie recipe in the fall when I get around to making one. I do not have one at the moment to share.

  11. Lynsey on October 18, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Hi Sally! I just love love love you recipes and use them all the time! I think I’m going to try these little babies out this week. I’m wondering how to store them?? Are they ok at room temperature or should they be refrigerated?? Thanks!

    • Sally on October 19, 2014 at 7:26 am

      Either is fine! I usually keep them at room temperature for a few days if there are leftovers. Cover tightly.

  12. Maggie on October 27, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Would this recipe work for pecan pie as well?

    • Sally on October 27, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Hi Maggie. No, this filling would not fit an entire pie. You’d likely need to double the ingredients and sub in some sort of liquid sweetener to keep the filling moist.

  13. Leighton on November 3, 2014 at 7:59 am

    These look delicious! Perfect fall treat 🙂 Do you think I could make these into bars?

    • Sally on November 3, 2014 at 11:16 am

      I’m sure you could! I’ve never tried it before though.

  14. Jane on November 27, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Sally-
    Made these for thanksgiving and they are AMAZING!!!! I let my hubby taste them and between the two of us, we now only have 11 left!! I have to make more to bring to dinner!
    Worth it!!
    Thank you for another great recipe. Happy thanksgiving! 🙂

  15. Rachel Page on June 18, 2015 at 9:46 am

    I have been craving this pie for awhile now. thanks for sharing your tarts this weekend!

  16. Cherry on November 5, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Hi, thank you so much for the recipe i have one question, can use it for regular 12 muffin pan, i dont have a mini muffin pan and will the time in the oven encrese 

    • Sally on November 6, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Yes, absolutely. The baking time will be a little longer and the dough rounds will need to be larger. Unsure exactly how long in the oven.

  17. Cassie on November 7, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Hi Sally! Just double checking because I didn’t see it in the ingredients.   No need to grease the pan at all? 

    • Sally on November 7, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      Cassie– yes– make sure the pan is greased.

  18. Amanda on November 11, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Hi Sally

    Love all your recipes but they are not good for my hips!
    Can you tell me if I can use your pastry recipe to make mince pies?
    Thank you for keeping us baking xx

    • Sally on November 11, 2015 at 8:01 am

      Yes, you definitely can.

  19. Charlene on December 11, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU for this recipe! I made it last night (and froze them) in preparation for a party I’m throwing on the 19th. My husband had to taste one (just to make sure they were good for people!) and he said they were amazing!

    • Sally on December 12, 2015 at 11:49 am

      I’m so glad Charlene! Hope everyone else loves them too.

  20. Laura A on December 12, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Hi Sally, I’ve been making the same recipe for Tiny Butter Tarts for years, so this year I am searching for ways to change them up a little – I love your ideas! I use a 2½-3″ fluted (or scalloped) biscuit cutter for the tart shells, which gives them a pretty little edge. I also flare out the scalloped edges of the pastry over the edges of the mini muffin tin. This helps to keep the pastry from shrinking down inside the hole, and keeps the filling from seeping under the edges, causing them to stick in the pan. 

    • Sally on December 12, 2015 at 11:17 am

      I need to try these using my fluted biscuit cutter. Genius. And beautiful little tarts I bet!

  21. Sara Fox on January 18, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    These smelled Devine while baking! I’m not sure what I did wrong- I feel like the pastry dough is a little too flakey. (is that even a word?) When I tried biting into it, the top crumbled as well. They tasted amazing! Just not sure what I could’ve done wrong- also, when I tried taking them out of the muffin pan, the tops crumbled as I gently tried getting them out. Thanks in advance 🙂 could the pecan mix have been to dry? It was brittle to the bite 

    • Sally on January 19, 2016 at 5:53 am

      Sara, it sound like they are overbaked. Not a huge issue! If you decided to make them again, bake for a few minutes less.

      • Lucille on February 21, 2016 at 11:49 am

        I have been making the tarts for more than 40 years and never baked the shells first. You fill them and bake and they are perfect.



  22. JewellFinn on May 5, 2016 at 8:04 am

    At what point after baking do I remove these from the muffin tin?  

    • Sally on May 5, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Once they have cooled.

  23. Kelly on July 6, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Do you think they would turn out alright with a couple chocolate chips under the pie filling? 

    • Sally on July 7, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      Yes! Maybe use mini chocolate chips since these are small tarts.

  24. Lori on December 28, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Hi. When I bake them, they really puff up and when they cool there is a hole in the center of the filling. The filling doesn’t settle back down nicely. It looks more like a hill with a cave inside. What am I doing wrong?

  25. Tammy on July 13, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Sally,

    I made a gluten free version of these tarts using Cup 4 Cup flour and they were very soft when they first came out of the oven but absolutely perfect the following day when taken out of the fridge. Best recipe I’ve found (ever!) for a flaky GF pie crust – completely cured my craving for pecan tarts – can’t thank you enough

    • Sally on July 13, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      So happy to hear this Tammy!!

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