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These mini pecan pies are inspired by my grandmother’s pecan pie recipe. Made with my favorite homemade pie crust and a salted pecan filling, they’re a welcome sweet-salty addition to any holiday dessert spread!

mini pecan pie tarts

Pecan pie is the quintessential Thanksgiving pie. Though nothing will ever beat classic apple pie or creamy pumpkin pie in my mind, classic pecan pie holds a very special place in my heart. My late grandmother made it like no one else. I started this blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction, two weeks after her passing and she remains a tremendous inspiration and motivation for my work. I treasure her timeless recipes in her own handwriting and it’s a true joy to honor her legacy.

Today we’re taking my grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe and giving it a little twist- and by little, I actually mean little. How cute are these mini pecan pies?!

pecan pie handwritten recipe

What You’ll Love About These Mini Pecan Pies

As if you need convincing to bake mini pecan pies, let’s count the many things you’ll love:

  1. Not overly sweet: 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. Here I add a touch of coarse sea salt, which makes each bite so interesting.
  2. Incredible flavor: These mini pies boast incredible flavor. One bite and you’ll see why they’re always the first to disappear from our holiday dessert spreads.
  3. They’re adorable: I’m not sure why tiny food is so cute, it just is! People love little bite-sized things. And if they’re topped with whipped cream or salted caramel? Even cuter!
  4. Ease: If larger pies intimidate you, this is a perfect pie recipe to begin with because it’s essentially fool-proof. Pecan pie tarts are very forgiving and this recipe lends itself to great pie making practice. It takes a bit of time chilling, rolling, and shaping the dough into tiny circles– and that’s when having little bakers nearby is helpful.
  5. Make ahead recipe: These are a wonderful option if you’re looking for a make ahead dessert recipe- the tarts freeze exceptionally well.
cutting out pie crust circles for pecan pie tarts

Adapted From My Favorite Pecan Pie

These mini pecan pies are an adaptation of my favorite pecan pie recipe. I took everything I love about the classic and turned it into these bite-sized tarts. Let’s review!

  • Pecan Pie Filling: The most notable change is the amount of pecan pie filling. The tart filling is a reduced version from my classic recipe with a few simple changes. I reduced the filling because we don’t need as much filling for these tarts as we would for an entire 9-inch pie.
  • No Corn Syrup: These tarts are made without any liquid sugar.
  • Nutmeg: I add nutmeg to the filling to complement the cinnamon. This duo of spices pair perfectly with the toasty pecans and dark brown sugar. I know you’ll love the added warmth.
  • Sprinkle of Salt: Before baking, I sprinkle the tarts with a little bit of coarse salt to offsets the sweetness and elevate the flavor profile. Yum!
  • Blind Bake Crusts: Because the bake time of these tarts is so short (only 15 minutes), we need to blind bake the pie crust so the tarts don’t get soggy. Here’s how to blind bake pie crust. If we baked the raw crust with filling until the filling was set, we’d have soggy crusts. And nobody wants soggy pie crust!
spooning filling into mini pecan pies

Best Ingredients to Use

I’ve tested many, many pecan pie recipes, and I can confidently say this combination of ingredients produces the best tasting pecan pie tarts.

  1. Pie Crust: The pie crust is made 100% homemade. 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. My butter & shortening pie crust is the best of both worlds. It’s nothing new – tons of bakers do it this way. If desired, you can use all butter pie crust instead.
  2. Pecans: I genuinely love and recommend using Diamond of California pecans.
  3. Brown Sugar: There’s only 1/2 cup of brown sugar in this recipe. These mini pies aren’t overly sweet, which I love. Use dark brown sugar for an intensified flavor.
  4. Eggs: One egg holds the filling together.
  5. Butter + Vanilla Extract: Each give these mini pies traditional pecan pie flavor. Try using homemade vanilla extract for even more delicious tarts.
  6. Cinnamon + Nutmeg: Cinnamon and nutmeg add flavor.
  7. Coarse Salt: A sprinkle of coarse salt on top adds another layer of flavor.
mini pecan pie tarts

How to Make Mini Pecan Pies

They might look intricate, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the preparation’s ease.

  1. Make pie dough. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours– this is a great step to prepare a day or two in advance.
  2. Roll out pie crust dough.
  3. Cut dough into small circles. Cut 24-30 rounds using a 2.5 inch cookie cutter. If you don’t own a cookie cutter that size, use a measuring cup instead. I used my 1/3 cup measuring cup (shown above). Re-roll the dough scraps a few times. Work quickly, as the dough becomes more delicate the longer it sits at room temperature. This is exactly how we prep mini quiche, too!
  4. Place the dough rounds into mini muffin pan. Use a greased mini muffin pan. Press the dough flat into the bottom of the crevice and up the sides.
  5. Chill pan. Pie dough’s temperature is important– it must always be relatively cold. Place the entire pan in the refrigerator for 20 minutes prior to baking.
  6. Blind bake tarts.
  7. Stir filling ingredients together.
  8. Fill tarts. Spoon 1-2 teaspoons of the filling into each tart crust. Top with coarse salt.
  9. Bake. As the tarts bake, the filling puffs up and may spill onto the sides. That’s OK. It creates an irresistible brown sugared crust. Be careful not to over-bake the little guys. Pecan pie filling should be soft with pecan chunks inside.
  10. Serve + Enjoy! Let the tarts cool completely in the pan before serving. I like to pair with homemade whipped cream, a drizzle of salted caramel, or scoop of vanilla ice cream.
mini pecan pies on a white plate

More Handheld Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

For even more Thanksgiving dessert inspiration, see my favorite Thanksgiving pie recipes.

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mini pecan pie tarts

Mini Pecan Pies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2430 tarts 1x
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These mini pecan pies are made with homemade pie crust and a deliciously salted pecan filling inspired by my grandmother. See recipe notes for make ahead instructions.


Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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 simply 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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Filling Quantity: 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. If interested in baking a 9-inch pecan pie, try my pecan pie recipe.

Keywords: pecan pie tarts, mini pecan pies

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Sally! This pie recipe looks amazing, pecan is my favorite!! I would love to try it out in a full sized form for my thanksgiving table. Which adjustments should I make to take these from little tarts to a standard sized pie?? Thanks so much, I love all your work!!

    1. Hi Ella! 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.

  2. can i make this in a twelve count muffin pan? do i have to alter the recipe in any way?

    1. Yes, you would have to find the appropriate sized cookie cutter since 2.5 inch round circles of dough is what fits into the mini muffin pans. There probably would not be enough filling to fit into 12-15 larger tarts either. You may have to double the filling. You’d also have to pre-bake the crust for about 2-3 minutes longer and the tarts itself would take longer in the oven as well. Without trying it myself, I can’t tell you exactly how long that would be.

  3. 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!

    1. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

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

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

  8. 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! 🙂

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

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

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

  11. 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

  12. Do you think that these could be baked in mini baking cups. I’m worried that the pie crust wouldn’t brown enough.

    1. Hi Connie! I use a mini muffin pan for the tarts in these photos. Are you wondering if you can use the paper liners? Because that should be fine.

      1. Thank you Sally. I am going to have a baking day tomorrow for a Thanksgiving work thing. I can’t wait to see how the turn out.

  13. I made these tonight and although they took some time to prepare, they are 100% worth it! They are so cute and very tasty! I can’t wait to take them to a party tomorrow.

  14. Out of the blue I’d decided I really wanted to make mini pecan pies for Thanksgiving, and here was this recipe, just waiting for me! Followed the recipe exactly and they turned out great! My 3yo helped me cut out the pie dough circles and put them in the tin, and helped me mix the filling too. Great family baking activity! All but two came out of the tin cleanly, so obviously those two have been eaten already in the name of science, and they were delicious!

  15. I’ve never made made pie tarts before. When I make full size pies and pre baking I have to use pie weights. Do I need pie weights with tarts? And how far am I prebaking- I assume to done or almost done?

    1. Hi Richard, there’s no need for pie weights with these mini pie tarts. Pre bake for about 7 minutes – not to done, because you bake the tarts for another 14-16 minutes with the filling. You just want to give the pie crust a head start. Instructions will vary for different mini tarts and fillings because of different baking times needed for fillings. Happy baking!

  16. When I made these, the crust was not neat and uniform as shown in the photos. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Susan, it can take some practice! Make sure to use the correct size round cutter and gently mold the pie crust into the mini muffin pan.

  17. How long in advance of a holiday or event can the tart shells be prebaked? How should they be stored for up to a week? Can prebaked shells be frozen, and how do you recommend doing that?

    1. Hi Cheryl, you can definitely pre-bake the crusts ahead of time. If it’s 1 week ahead, I would freeze them and you would likely have to freeze them in the muffin pan since they’re only partially baked (and I fear they would fall apart). Thaw in the refrigerator, and then fill and bake. Another option is to freeze the pie dough circles you cut layered between little sheets of parchment in a freezer container. Thaw those, and then pre-bake, fill, and bake.

  18. Sally, all your recipes are delicious and this was no exception.
    My plan was to make your coconut cake laying out the dry ingredients. Decided to change direction and made these wonderful mini pecan pies. By mistake I used KA cake flour instead of KA AP flour. Must say they were delicious served with your salted caramel sauce and whipped cream. (although not necessary.) Would there have been a difference in taste or texture using the correct flour. I found the dough to be a bit soft.

  19. I made this as mini bite-sized pies and loved them. would this same recipe work for slightly larger mini-pies (regular cupcake pan size)?

    1. Hi Audrey, We are so happy you enjoyed them! You could make them larger but you would have to find the appropriate sized cookie cutter since 2.5 inch round circles of dough is what fits into the mini muffin pans. There probably would not be enough filling to fit into 12-15 larger tarts either. You may have to double the filling. You’d also have to pre-bake the crust for about 2-3 minutes longer and the tarts itself would take longer in the oven as well. Without trying it ourselves, I can’t tell you exactly how long that would be but let us know if you give it a try!

  20. We used Morton’s smoked sea salt. These are the best thing Ive ever made.