Salted Pecan Pie Tarts

These adorable pecan pie tarts 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 dessert. 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?!

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

What You’ll Love About Pecan Pie Tarts

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.
  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.

pie crust 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. If we baked the raw crust with filling until the filling was set, we’d have soggy crusts.

filling for mini pecan pies

Ingredients in Pecan Pie Tarts

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 Pecan Pie Tarts

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.
  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

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mini pecan pie tarts

Salted Pecan Pie Tarts

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 24-30 tarts
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


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 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

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!

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

100 Comments

      1. 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!!

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

  1. 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?

    1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

      2. 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.

      3. 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!

  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 🙂 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 🙁

    1. 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.

  7. 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. 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.

  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. 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 

    1. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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!

  12. 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. 

  13. 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 

      1. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. 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

  16. My fav pies are apricot or rhibarb custard but for the holidays i will try the salted pecan tarts or the pear cranberry crumble. Look so good!

    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.

  17. 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.

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