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. 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. YES to the salt! That is genius!!
    I am a pecan pie lover (mostly the chocolate kind!) and Sally, these tarts look incredible! Your grandma was one smart women!

  7. A big slice of pecan pie can be a bit much for me, but I could eat these little beauties by the dozen! Love the addition of salt to cut the sweetness!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. Sally,
    My 6th graders are learning about and reviewing blogs and several of them were drooling over yours. I thought this short review was really nice and thought I would share it with you.

    http://slombatt.blogspot.it/2013/11/a-chef-and-traveller.html

    If you have a minute, I’m sure he’d love a comment from you.

    Thanks,
    Carrie

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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!!

  15. I love pie probably more than most people but I DO get how sometimes a giant hunk of pie is just too heavy to handle. These little tarts are the perfect solution! So cute and so sweet! 😀

  16. Recipes from grandmas are always the best. 🙂 Love that you’re including some of them in your cookbook! Tiny desserts are just so darn cute. Love your step-by-step photos and directions too!

    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!

  17. These are too cute!! I love that you made them minis, and I’m sure the addition of salt is a lovely complement to the super-sweetness of pecan pie. They look so delicious!

  18. 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.

  19. My mouth is pretty much hanging open scrolling through the pictures. I love the sweet + salty happening here, it causes some happy taste buds!

  20. Sally this recipe is amazing. Sweet and salty always rocks. Your Grandma will be very proud. I love that you used brown sugar in your pecan filling…I’ve never come across that. Love just how cute these tarts are!

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