Salted Pecan Pie Tarts

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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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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!

101 Comments

  1. Hey u got a recipe for pecan squares? I always mess them up w the filling going under the crust? And I agree very sweet! How about salted caramel pecan bars? Just thinkin out loud thanks jonna

  2. Hi Sally!

    First of all, these are the most adorable little pies my eyeballs have ever seen. I love love love mini things. It just adds so much adorableness (not a word…). Baby shoes get me every single time–they look EXACTLY like the adult version. I’m a sucker for mini food too, so I’ll definitely be making these!

    Also, I really appreciate how much detail you put into your posts as far as the reasoning behind certain techniques and ingredients. I learn something new with every post of yours I read! As someone who is just beginning to create some recipes of her own, all that you write is so very helpful!

    Just wanted to let you know how much I admire you! I’m eagerly awaiting your cookbook. It comes out on my mom’s birthday. Fate? I think yes.

    Take care!
    Molly

    1. Molly, this comment truly made my morning. Thank you so much for all your kind words! I love what I do (helping others in the kitchen through my recipes), so it all seems like second nature to me. Regardless, I’m happy you learn from my writing and recipe. Good luck with the creation of your own recipes! It’s certainly an adventure.

  3. I love these! My family is CRAZY about pecan pie—but they insist that we have it only at Thanksgiving (for traditions sake) These adorable tarts will give me an excuse to have pecan pie all year long! 😀

  4. What a fun idea. Small things almost always = better. Except when it comes to cookies… your extra large cookies win. But these look so delicious AND adorable so that’s the perfect winning combination! Love your photos as always, Miss Sally! Hope you had a fun weekend!

  5. 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.

  6. Salty and sweet are a match made in heaven! I love pecan pie and I am hoping to make a gluten free one this year so I can eat it too 🙂
    These little treats would be perfect to take into work to treat my colleagues. Thanks for sharing Sally.

  7. Sally I love that they’re mini. Mini food just tastes better! And I love the looks of that filling mixture. I love the taste of pecan pie filling, minus the pecans. Yes that sounds crazy but it’s the brown sugar, the buttery, sauciness that I love and your filling looks so wonderful and isn’t too heavy on the nuts. Perfect for me!

    1. Thanks Averie! How sweet of you to comment despite not even liking pecan pie with pecans. Hope you have a great time in Vegas!

  8. LOVE these…and the crust looks phenomenal…Could I possibly use clarified lard instead of the shortening component?…also…Could I make this into an entire tart with the filling …or would I need to add more liquid ingredients?…Thank you for these perfection pecan pillows!!!…I love the mini-format…but I MAY not have the time to fabricate them…hence the request for “full-size” version!

    1. Hi Donna. (1) I’ve never tried my pie crust with clarified lard, though I don’t foresee it being an issue. (2) You’d need more liquid ingredients (perhaps liquid sugar) to make this a whole tart. The filling will be moist enough for an entire tart. For a whole pie, you’d need a lot more filling and probably with some liquid sugar in there too.

  9. I think this will be the recipe I use this Thanksgiving….daughter and husband love pecan pie….but daughter found out in May she has a corn allergy….and happily there is no corn product in your grandma’s recipe….thank you for sharing!

  10. I love the tribute to your grandmother. Although everything my mommom made was unhealthy, it’s full of love which triumphs over all things. <3 These look so cute and delicious! Love bite sized treats!

    1. I know during my grandmother’s time, people weren’t so obsessed with health as they are now. I cherish for my grandma’s buttery, made-with-love recipes and am glad you do the same!

    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.

  11. These are adorable and a much better option than the whole pie thing. Less room for error when it comes to eating a huge piece 🙂 I am sure that eating two pieces will leave everyone satisfied just fine!!

    1. Thanks so much Beth! I’ve been trying to incorporate more step-by-step photos. Sometimes when I’m in full baking mode I completely forget. But I’m happy they are helpful!

  12. Now you’re making me wish I had a grandma who baked excellent pies! Sadly, mine believed in the frozen prepared ones which aren’t nearly as classically delicious as this! That pecan filling looks so luscious, Sally! And like you, you know I’m a sucker for the sweet + salty, too! The coarse sea salt is such a special, updated touch. Grams would be proud!

    1. Hayley! Thank you so much. And there is nothing wrong with taking a shortcut. I’m sure anything your grams made was fantastic.

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