Pecan Tartlets

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There’s nothing quite like the buttery, nutty flavor of a classic pecan pie. The gooey filling with toasted pecans baked into a flaky pie crust is downright addictive. But let’s be honest – pecan pie is incredibly rich, cloyingly sweet, and eating more than one small slice is hard for most people.

That’s why making petite pecan tartlets is such a brilliant idea. All the fabulous flavors of pecan pie are packed into cute little handheld pastries. You get the satisfaction of having your very own personal pie without overdoing it on the sugary filling.

These pecan tartlets have a buttery shortbread crust that is crisp on the outside and melts-in-your-mouth tender within. The pecan filling has the distinctive sweet and nutty flavors you expect, kissed with notes of brown sugar and vanilla. With a sprinkle of coarse sugar on top, they look as good as they taste. 

Why You’ll Love Pecan Tartlets

  • The pecan filling has a classic flavor perfect for nostalgic holiday baking.
  • Bite-size portions mean you get personal pies without a huge slice.
  • They have a fabulous flaky, buttery crust made with shortbread dough.
  • Toasted pecans and brown sugar make the filling extra sweet and nutty.
  • Tartlets can be made ahead of time and frozen, perfect for entertaining.
  • You can customize them by using different nut varieties or mix-ins.
  • They are delicious served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Tips for Making Pecan Tartlets

  • Chill the dough well before rolling it out to help prevent shrinking.
  • Press the dough evenly into the muffin cups to avoid thin spots.
  • Fill the shells generously with pecan filling to allow for shrinkage.
  • Bake until the filling is set but still jiggles slightly when gently shaken.
  • Let the tartlets cool completely before removing from the pan to set.
  • Drizzle with melted chocolate or dip partly in chocolate for a fun twist.
  • Swap in walnuts, almonds or your favorite nut variety if desired.
  • Add chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or dried fruit to the filling.

The Ingredients

Shortbread Dough

The foundation of delicious pecan tartlets is a shortbread dough crust. This dough starts by creaming together butter and sugar for a tender texture. An egg yolk gets folded in to add richness without toughening the pastry. Finally, flour is incorporated to create a dough that rolls out easily and bakes into flaky, crisp tartlet shells.

Pecan Filling

What would pecan tartlets be without the signature pecan filling? First, butter and brown sugar are creamed to form a flavor base. Corn syrup helps make the texture smooth and glossy after baking. Eggs and vanilla provide aromatics while binding the filling. Finally, chopped pecans get folded in to add delightful crunch and nutty flavor.

How to Make Pecan Tartlets

Shortbread Dough:

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with a mixer until creamy.
  2. Beat in the egg yolk until incorporated.
  3. Stir in the flour just until a dough forms. Wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  4. On a floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut rounds using a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter.
  5. Press the dough rounds into greased mini muffin pans, creating small tartlet shells.

Pecan Filling:

  1. In a bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in the corn syrup, eggs and vanilla.
  2. Fold in the chopped pecans until evenly coated in filling.

Baking and Assembly:

  1. Divide the pecan filling evenly among the tartlet shells, mounding slightly.
  2. Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes until barely set in the center. Cool completely before removing from pans.
  3. Dust the cooled tartlets with confectioners sugar before serving if desired. Enjoy!

What to Serve with Pecan Tartlets

Pecan tartlets are fantastic on their own, but here are some delicious accompaniments to consider:

  • Vanilla ice cream – a scoop on the side is classic with any pecan pie
  • Whipped cream – light, sweet and compliments the tartlets perfectly
  • Bourbon caramel sauce – for an adult twist, drizzle with homemade boozy caramel
  • Coffee or espresso – pecan pie and coffee are a beloved flavor pairing
  • Cold milk – helps cut the sweetness and wash down the tasty tartlets
  • Spiced tea – warming cinnamon chai is nice with these nutty treats
  • Fresh fruit – for contrast, serve with berries or a fruit salad

Possible Substitutions

While the classic ingredients are best for authentic pecan tartlets, here are some possible subs:

  • Graham cracker crust instead of shortbread dough
  • Light or dark brown sugar instead of white granulated
  • Maple syrup or honey for part of the corn syrup
  • Almond extract instead of vanilla extract
  • Walnuts, almonds or hickory nuts for the pecans
  • Mini phyllo shells instead of a traditional pastry crust
  • Chocolate chips, toffee bits or butterscotch chips added to filling


How long do pecan tartlets last?

Pecan tartlets will keep for 3-4 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature. For longer storage, they can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Can I make one big pecan tart instead?

Absolutely! Just press the dough into a standard 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Pour in the filling and bake at 350°F for 40-50 minutes.

What kind of pecans work best?

Chopped raw pecans are ideal. I prefer a medium chop so there are still some pecan piece visible after baking.

Can I make the dough ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the dough up to 3 days in advance. Store it tightly wrapped in the refrigerator until ready to use. Let chilled dough sit at room temperature briefly before rolling.

Should I bake the shells before adding the filling?

That’s an option, but not required. I prefer to fill the unbaked shells then bake them all together. Just be sure the pastry edges don’t over-brown.

Pecan Tartlets

Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Pecan Tartlets
Servings: 24 tartlets


  • Handheld or stand mixer to cream butter and sugar
  • Rolling pin and flat work surface to roll out dough
  • Round biscuit cutter (approx 2 1/2 inches)
  • Mini muffin pans, greased or lined with papers
  • Mixing bowl for filling ingredients
  • Rubber spatula to fold in pecans
  • Wire rack for cooling baked tartlets


Shortbread Dough:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Pecan Filling:

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • For Serving:
  • confectioners’ sugar optional
  • vanilla ice cream or whipped cream optional


For the Shortbread Dough:

  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Beat in the egg yolk until combined.
  • Stir in the flour until a dough forms. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.
  • On a floured surface, roll the dough to 1⁄4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a 2 1⁄2 inch biscuit cutter.
  • Gently press the dough rounds into greased mini muffin pans to form tartlet shells.

For the Filling:

  • In a bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until creamy.
  • Mix in the corn syrup, then the eggs and vanilla.
  • Fold in the chopped pecans until evenly coated in filling.
  • To Assemble and Bake:
  • Divide the pecan filling evenly among the tartlet shells.
  • Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes until set around edges but still jiggly in center.
  • Cool completely before removing tartlets from the pans. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving if desired. Enjoy!