These mini pecan pies are adapted from my grandmother’s pecan pie recipe. Made with my favorite homemade pie crust and a salted pecan filling, they’re always a welcome salty-sweet addition to any holiday dessert spread.
One reader, Megan, commented: “…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! ★★★★★”
Pecan pie is a quintessential Thanksgiving pie. Though nothing will ever beat classic apple pie or creamy pumpkin pie in my mind, traditional pecan pie holds a very special place in my heart. My late grandmother made it like no one else. I launched this website 2 weeks after her passing in 2011, and she remains a tremendous inspiration and motivation for my work. I treasure her handwritten recipes, and it’s a true joy to honor her legacy through baking.
Today I’m taking my grandma’s timeless pecan pie recipe and giving it a little twist—and by little, I actually mean little. How cute are these?!
Big Things to Love About These Mini Pecan Pies
- Not overly sweet: I find that most pecan pies lack a complexity of flavors. Adding a touch of coarse sea salt to these mini pies makes each bite much more interesting.
- They’re adorable: I’m not sure why tiny things are so cute, they just are! People love little bite-sized pies.
- Easier than a regular pie: If full-size pies intimidate you, this is a perfect pie solution. Little pecan pies are very forgiving, and this recipe lends itself to great pie-making practice.
- No corn syrup: Simply don’t need it.
- Make-ahead recipe: These are a wonderful option if you’re looking for a make-ahead dessert recipe, because they freeze exceptionally well.
Adapted From My Favorite Pecan Pie
These mini pecan pies are an adaptation of my favorite pecan pie recipe. Let’s discuss what’s different:
- Pecan Pie Filling: The most notable change is the amount of pecan pie filling. I reduced the filling because you don’t need as much filling for these tiny pies as you would for an entire 9-inch pie.
- No Corn Syrup: I find it isn’t necessary to set the filling in this miniature version.
- Nutmeg: I added nutmeg to the filling to complement the cinnamon. This duo of spices pair perfectly with the toasty pecans and dark brown sugar.
- Sprinkle of Salt: Before baking, I sprinkle the pies with a little bit of coarse salt to offset the sweetness and elevate the flavor profile. Taste testers rave about this addition!
- Par-bake the Crusts: Because the bake time is so short (only 16–18 minutes), you need to par-bake (aka blind bake, pre-bake, or partially bake) the pie crust so the pies don’t get soggy.
Grab These Ingredients:
I’ve tested many, many pecan pie recipes, and I can confidently say that this combination of ingredients produces the best-tasting mini pecan pies.
Start With the Dough
- Make pie dough. This pie crust is my go-to recipe, made from a mix of butter and shortening. Shortening creates a flaky, tender, melt-in-your mouth crust, while butter imparts unparalleled, impeccable flavor. My butter + shortening pie crust is the best of both worlds. If desired, you can use all-butter pie crust instead. Make the pie dough, and then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours. You can do this a few days in advance if needed.
- Roll out pie crust dough.
- Cut dough into small circles. Cut 24 rounds using a 2.75-inch (7cm) biscuit/cookie cutter. You can use a 3-inch cutter if that’s all you have, which is what I use to make biscuits, but you will have a little bit of overhang. 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 I prep mini quiche and mini pumpkin pies, too, though I make these rounds a little larger compared to those recipes, because you need a deeper crust to hold the chunky filling.
- Place the dough rounds into greased mini muffin pan. Press the dough flat into the bottom of the crevice and all the way up the sides. Chill for a few minutes as the oven preheats, to set the crust’s shape.
- Par-bake crusts. Just 7 minutes, but it makes a big difference!
Now for the Mini Pecan Pie Filling
Mix filling ingredients together, then spoon a heaping teaspoon of filling into each pre-baked mini pie crust. Sprinkle the tops with coarse salt before baking.
Important to note: As the mini pies bake, the filling puffs up and may spill onto the sides. That’s OK—it creates an irresistible brown-sugared crust.
Let the mini pies cool completely in the pan before serving.
FAQ: Why Do the Tops Sometimes Get a Frosted Look to Them?
If the tops of your mini pecan pies take on a frosty appearance after baking, it’s likely because the egg white frothed up when the filling ingredients were whisked together.
When you whisk together the ingredients, stir very gently, not vigorously; then, switch to a spatula to fold in the pecans. (Or stir whole thing with a spoon or spatula instead of a whisk.) Vigorous whisking froths up the egg white and causes the surface to crust over with a white frosted look. They’ll still taste wonderful—it’s just a different aesthetic.
Make Them Slightly Larger in a 12-Count Muffin Pan
If you want to make larger individual-sized pecan pies, you can make these in a standard 12-count muffin pan. You need a round cookie cutter that’s 3.75–4 inches (9.5–10cm) in diameter. (3.5 inches is too small.) You’ll have enough pie dough to get about 14 crusts this size, but the filling only makes enough to fill 10. So you’ll have some leftover pie dough scraps, which you can use for pie crust designs on another pie, or freeze to use another time. See recipe Note for larger mini pecan pies instructions.
More Handheld Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes
For even more Thanksgiving dessert inspiration, see my favorite Thanksgiving pie recipes.
These mini pecan pies are made with homemade pie crust and a delicious salted pecan filling. See recipe Notes for make-ahead instructions, and instructions for using a standard 12-count muffin pan.
- Pie crust: I like to make sure my pie dough is prepared before I begin the mini pies. Make pie dough the night before because it needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before using.
- Shape the mini crusts: Place the dough onto a floured work surface. Roll into a large 12-inch circle. Use your warm hands to mold any cracking edges back together if needed. From the circle, cut rounds using a 2.75-inch (7cm) cookie cutter. You’ll have to re-roll the dough scraps a few times. Work quickly, as the dough becomes much more delicate the longer it’s at room temperature. You’ll get about 24 rounds.
- Grease a 24-count mini muffin pan. Nonstick spray is best. Place the dough rounds into greased muffin pan. Press the dough flat into the bottom of the crevice and up the sides. Refrigerate pan for 5–10 minutes as the oven preheats, which helps the mini crusts set their shape.
- Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Once the dough has briefly chilled, pre-bake the crusts for 7 minutes. This allows the bottom of the crust to be properly baked and not become soggy from the liquidy pecan filling. Turn the oven up to 350°F (177°C).
- For the filling: Prepare the filling by melting the butter in a small bowl in the microwave or use the stove. 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 the pecans.
- Spoon 1–2 teaspoons of the filling into each warm crust. Top with coarse salt.
- Bake the filled mini pies for 16–18 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake. Once you see the crust begin to slightly brown, the mini pies are done.
- Allow the mini pies to cool completely in the pan before serving. (A spoon helps get them out easily.) For serving, top with a dollop of whipped cream if desired.
- Leftovers are great for up to 3 days; store covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The pie dough can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Don’t prepare the filling in advance because the melted butter will solidify. To freeze, cool baked mini pecan pies completely, then layer between sheets of parchment paper in a large freezer-friendly container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Rolling Pin | 2.75-inch Round Cookie Cutter | 24-count Mini Muffin Pan or this Mini Muffin Pan | Glass Bowls | Whisk
- Pie Crust: Both linked pie crust recipes make 2 crusts. You only need 1 crust for this pie, so freeze the 2nd half for another use.
- Filling Quantity: This filling does 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 or maple pecan pie.
- 12-Count Muffin Pan: Instead of a 24-count mini muffin pan, you can use a 12-count standard muffin pan to make 10 little pies. You’ll need a round cookie cutter that’s 3.75–4 inches (9.5–10cm) in diameter. (3.5 inches is too small.) I used a 3.9-inch round, which, I know, is such a random number. Close to 4-inch is perfect. You’ll have enough pie dough to get about 12–14 crusts, but the filling only makes enough to fill 10. So you’ll have some leftover pie dough scraps, which you can use for pie crust designs on another pie, or freeze to use another time. Follow recipe instructions above, but pre-bake the larger mini pecan pie crusts for 10 minutes at 325ºF (163ºC). Because you aren’t using pie weights, the bottoms of the crusts puff up a bit during the pre-bake. They should sink back down when you remove the pre-baked crusts from the oven. Spoon a heaping Tablespoon of filling into each warm par-baked crust. Bake for 22–23 minutes at 350ºF (177ºC).
Keywords: mini pecan pies
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