Mini Pumpkin Tarts with the BEST Shortbread Cookie Crusts

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Sneak Preview: These incredibly cute Mini Pumpkin Tarts are miniature pumpkin pies with the filling tucked into the best homemade buttery shortbread crust.

Ready to eat pumpkin mini-tarts with a shortbread crust and whipped cream on top.Pin

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Do you have that person at your holiday dinner who asks for a small piece of every dessert available? Of course, they will be excited to see these mini pumpkin tarts garnished with a dollop of whipping cream, and you will be grateful you don’t have to cut messy tiny slivers.

Happy Bakers Speak Up

Ok, these were a HIT! So delicious and definitely the most I’ve ever enjoyed pumpkin pie.JEN

Recipe Inspiration

Think of these small pumpkin pie tarts as the “100-calorie snack” edition of the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

I’m not saying each tart is only 100 calories. But it’s less than a piece of pie (1/8th of a 9-inch pie.)

The pie filling is my adaptation of Libby’s recipe on the back of the canned pumpkin. 

Kitchen Notes–Tart Crusts

These pastry shells can be challenging initially if you are an amateur cook. I’ve been making pie crusts all my life, but still, the first ones I make of every batch look less than perfect. (It may be a subconscious thing. I love eating the rejects.)

You might want to practice making them ahead of time, depending on the importance of the occasion. The fabulous flavor is worth it.

If creating crusts scares you, buy mini-tart shells from the grocery store or online. They may not be as fresh as homemade, but they will be beautiful.

silicone molds that make homemade crusts easy.

I highly recommend these silicone molds (paid link) for making mini-tarts or tartlets. Nothing sticks to them, making it easy to extricate the baked tart from the mold. Also, I prefer the flower shapes over the cupcake-liner look.

How To Shape Shortbread Crusts

I hope the following tutorial will give you some confidence, but honestly, nothing substitutes for practice. Make the dough according to the recipe below. Shape and chill as directed.

forming the dough into a cylinderPin
Form dough into a cylinder.
slicing the shortbread dough.Pin
Slice the roll into 14 equally sized discs.
using plastic wrap to shape the tart crust.Pin
Lay one slice in the middle of a piece of plastic wrap. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap.
Pumpkin PIe Mini-Tarts-making the crustPin
Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough until the circumference is about 1/2 to 3/4 inches greater than the circumference of your tart cup. Then, lay the tart cup upside down on top of it to check.
peeling the plastic wrap off the top of the crust.Pin
Peel the plastic wrap off of the top.
flipping the dough to remove the remaining layer of plastic wrap.Pin
Flip the flattened disc and remove the remaining layer of plastic wrap.
Pressing dough into the mold with thumbPin
Press dough into the tart cup with your fingers. If it tears, “squish” it back together. If it pleats, use your finger to press the excess dough down smoothly.
showing drust before trimming.Pin
The goal is uniform thickness throughout so it will bake evenly.
trimming the crust with a small paring knife.Pin
Trim the crust with a sharp knife to make a smooth edge. Place the finished crust (still inside the mold) in the freezer until hard.
Using foil to keep the crust from rising up in the middle.Pin
Cut aluminum foil into small squares to keep the crust from rising up in the middle. Non-stick foil is best. Use fingers to mold the foil to the tart’s inside, ensuring the top edge is also covered to prevent over-browning.

Note: The foil is reusable. I store them with my tart molds.

How Many Mini Pumpkin Pies Will This Recipe Make?

How many pies you get out of this recipe will depend on the size of your tart forms. I get 28 from this recipe using the silicone molds (paid link) pictured.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze the tart shells ahead of time?

Yes. Make the dough and shape crusts ahead of time. Freeze for up to a month. Don’t thaw the crusts before you bake them. Straight into the oven from the freezer is best.

Can I use a muffin tin as a mold for the tart shells?

You can. It’s more challenging to manipulate the dough into each cavity. Trimming the dough at the top to make a neat finish can also be tricky.

How do you get mini-tarts out of the pan?

You can avoid the whole issue by using silicone molds. Tip them over, and the mini-tart will fall right out.
If using some metal mold or cupcake pans, spray the pan with a flour and oil mixture like “Baker’s Joy” before you add the crust. That stuff is magic!

What else can I do with the silicone molds?

Use them for cupcakes or muffins. I think this is the original purpose.
Besides tarts, I use mine to freeze egg whites. It’s easier than using an ice cube tray, especially when you only have one or two egg whites to freeze. I collect these until I have enough to make this family-favorite Angel Food Birthday Cake with Chocolate Ganache.

I do this: Place one egg white into each silicone mold. Freeze.
When frozen, pop the egg white into a plastic bag and store it in the freezer until needed. This beats freezing them in an ice cube tray all day (or saving them in the fridge where they don’t stay fresh for long.)frozen egg whitesPin

Why are you wearing gloves when making the crusts?

I always wear gloves (paid link) when making pie crust or flaky biscuits. They protect the dough by providing a barrier between my body heat and the tiny flakes of butter. Of course, you can make the crusts without them, but work fast so your hands don’t warm the dough.

What can I do with leftover pumpkin puree?

If you are a bread maker, you must try this Bread Machine Pumpkin Brioche Twist. It only requires ⅓ cup of pumpkin. Or make these 5-Ingredient Greek Yogurt Waffles and substitute pumpkin for the apple and pumpkin pie spice for the apple pie spice.

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Parting Thoughts: Since I’m one of those people who wants a sliver of everything, this is my choice for Thanksgiving dinner. Another good thing about these tarts–they don’t crack after you take them out of the oven like many of the full-size pies are prone to do.

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

Ready to eat pumpkin tartlet with a shortbread crust and whipped cream on top.Pin
Yield: 28 mini-tarts

Mini Pumpkin Tarts Recipe with a Homemade Shortbread Cookie Crust

These Pumpkin Pie Mini-Tarts are easy to carry to Grandma’s house or put them on your dessert buffet. The small size makes them easy to grab and eat. Please note: the yield may vary according to the size of your tart shells.

Rate this recipe

(5 stars if you loved it)

4 from 23 votes


Prep time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 50 minutes



  • 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
  • cup (80 g) powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (228 g) butter, chilled 2 sticks
  • 2 large (32 g) egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Pie Filling:

  • ¾ cup (165 g) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon allspice
  • 2 large (136 g) eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 15 oz. can (425 g) pure pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup (119 g) heavy cream
  • ¾ cup (183 g) milk



  • Combine 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup (80 g) powdered sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt in a food processor. Cut 1 cup (228 g) butter, chilled, into 16 slices and add to the flour mixture, pulsing several times until the mixture resembles oatmeal. Add 2 large (32 g) egg yolks mixed with 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Pulse until all ingredients are moistened. Allow the machine to run until the dough sticks together. (Add additional drops of cream if the dough seems too dry.) Press dough into two rolls like refrigerated cookie dough. Wrap each roll in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Spray molds generously with
    Baker’s Secret or something like it. (Baker’s Secret is an aerosol spray that mixes flour and oil.) If using silicone molds, no greasing is necessary.
  • Slice each chilled roll of dough into 14 pieces. Using a rolling pin, flatten dough between two pieces of plastic wrap into a circle slightly larger than tart molds. Press into a mold with fingers, carefully keeping the thickness consistent. Use a knife to trim off any extra dough hanging over the top. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, overnight or up to a month.
  • Place frozen tart shells onto cookie sheets and press a small square of foil down into each crust that molds to the shape of the crust and covers the edge. Bake at 400˚F (200˚C) for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake until golden brown, usually about 3-4 minutes.

Pie Filling:

  • While crusts are pre-baking, combine ¾ cup (165 g) brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon cloves, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon allspice, in a medium bowl.
  • Whisk 2 large (136 g) eggs + 1 egg yolk and 1 15 oz. can (425 g) pure pumpkin puree together in another bowl. Add ¾ cup (165 g) brown sugarpice mixture and whisk well. Add ½ cup (119 g) heavy cream and ¾ cup (183 g) milk and whisk until smooth.
  • Optional: Pour pie filling through a medium sieve for a silky smooth texture.
  • Fill each pre-baked tart taking care to put as much filling into each tart as possible without pouring in too much and making a mess.
  • Bake in 350˚F (170˚C)oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of your tarts) or until the filling is set. Allow to cool on a rack. Chill before serving.


If using a muffin pan for tarts, you don’t need to pre-bake the crust–especially if the pan has a dark coating. Pour filling into frozen crusts and bake for 20 minutes or until filling is set.


Serving: 1mini-tart | Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 330IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a

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    Recipe Rating


    1. Ok these were a HIT! So delicious and definitely the most I’ve ever enjoyed pumpkin pie. I’ve been trying to find a similar recipe for a large pie (with the shortbread crust) but I can’t find one anywhere – have you tested this in large pie form? I would love to make it

      1. This recipe was originally my pumpkin pie recipe with a traditional pie crust. But I like serving the small tarts so much better. They don’t crack and the shortbread is just as delicious as the flaky pie crust. And they are easier to serve. No slicing in the plate and making a big mess. Enjoy.

    2. Pingback: 20 Ideas for Pumpkin Pie Tarts - Home, Family, Style and Art Ideas
    3. would like to know if you can switch out sweet potato for pumpkin in this recipe

      1. Jenny, I haven’t tried it. Not sure. paula

        1. It worked fabulously! i just switched out the cloves for mace and it was delish!
          Thank you for the recipe and your reply!

    4. If we are going to bake at the same day or time, do we have to freeze it before baking?
      Or, should be freeze for 30 míns before pre baking?

      Regards; From Iceland

      1. Yes. Freezing keeps them from shrinking too much.

    5. Can these be made and then frozen? I’m thinking they would be great for make ahead lunch desserts

      1. Cynthia,
        I have not tried freezing these but I’m skeptical. Cooked custard filling of any kind tends to separate when frozen. You can freeze the unbaked crusts ahead of time for sure but once you put the filling in and bake them, you have about a day to eat them.

    6. Hi, thanks for the info… going to try these this year and found your site to tell me the length of time..Happy Thanksgiving

    7. I could eat half a dozen of these right now. Not because I’m hungry but because they look delicious. Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving Paula.

    8. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says:

      I absolutely love these tarts. What’s better than a pumpkin pie you can walk around with? nothing.

    9. SO much better than a big pie. I would imagine these are a lot easier to eat and therefore MIGHT just mean eating MORE!! Just sayin’.

      1. Margaret,
        Yes, I have had people tell me that as they grabbed “another for the road.” Be warned!

    10. These look yummy, as usual! As for the calorie content, 1/8 of a slice of pumpkin pie is around 300 calories….so I’m guessing these may be around 150 calories if made into 16 portions. The RD side of me had to figure it out. 😉

      1. Sounds about right, Susie. Thanks for figuring it out.

    11. The Café Sucre Farinec says:

      Paula, these look wonderful, what a great idea and well done tutorial. I’d eat too many thinking they were “safely small”.
      Hope you’re doing well!

      1. Chris,
        So nice to hear from you. Love that term, “safely small.” Like you, I could use that term to rationalize a lot of sins. 🙂