A traditional Sweet Potato Pie is a Southern staple that has been on the favorites list for years. However, this recipe kicks things up a notch with added caramelized pecans on top and a vegan crust made from toasted pecans and graham crackers. Believe me, these Mini Sweet Potato Pecan Pies are absolutely delicious, gooey, soft, and the perfect bite for kids and adults-alike. All ingredients are dairy-free and vegan. Gluten-free option.
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I decided to make this beautiful number over the weekend after such a long work week and oh was I happy I did! These Mini Sweet Potato Pecan Pies actually only lasted 2 days and I must admit, it was super disappointing to watch it finish after the last slice was had. Usually, I'd wait until around Thanksgiving to even begin thinking about Sweet Potato pie, but I couldn't resist the temptation once Fall officially blossomed on this past Friday.
Being a Southern girl, this is one of those recipes, along with the Classic Banana Pudding, that will surely get your tastebuds dancing. Perhaps, you'd like to try something with a twist and grab your fork into these Banana Pudding Cheesecake Bites!
Ahhhh! I can still smell the sweet aroma of the sweet potatoes baking by the way! I've read that it's much better to bake your sweet potatoes instead of boiling them, however, I still chose to do the latter, since this has always been the tradition. After peeling and dicing them into medium-sized pieces, it's super easy to boil them (just under 30 minutes, depending on high your heat burns). I did choose to make not only a vegan crust (since this recipe is vegan), but a Gluten-free one because I find that it all just works perfectly together.
Looking for Great Sweet Treat Ideas for the Family?
This recipe took a few tries to get just right because honestly----anything with a custard is really hard to perfect when using vegan ingredients----at least that's my opinion. I wanted to make sure the mini pie tasted as delicious as a great Fall-spice drink with the firm and creamy texture you expect from a custard-filled pie.
Mini Sweet Potato Pecan Pies Ingredients
Here’s what you need to make these impressive Mini Sweet Potato Pecan Pies from start to finish:
Sweet potato puree. You can buy this canned or make your own by roasting a sweet potato until totally tender and pureeing it in a blender or food processor.
Butter. Use vegan butter from Earth Balance for a great taste! You can also substitute with organic canola or coconut oil, if preferred!
Graham crackers. You'll need about 7 to 8 graham crackers for this crunchy crust.
Toasted pecans. If you like a richer, more buttery crust, you can add more pecans and reduce the amount of graham crackers accordingly.
Brown sugar. I always recommend organic sugar. Brown sugar adds a new layer of caramel flavor to the crust.
Spices. For the pie filling it's all about the spice blend, which includes cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
Coconut cream. You can find coconut cream next to the cans of coconut milk at the grocery store. It's luxurious without being too heavy. If you already have a can of coconut milk, you can use the cream from that. simply refrigerate the can of milk overnight. Then scrape off just the creamy top layer and add it to your pie filling.
Vanilla extract. This complements the flavors.
Arrowroot. This is a great gluten-free thickening option, however, feel free to substitute with regular cornstarch or all-purpose flour, which both act as a thickening agent.
Maple syrup. The best sweetener that I enjoy using. I like to use pure maple syrup that’s premium and organic.
Reasons Why You'll Love These Mini Sweet Potato Pecan Pies:
They're super easy to make.
A true staple during the any season.
They're entirely dairy-free and vegan. Entirely kid-friendly for those not allergic to nuts (if using as a topping)!
Velvety, soft, and perfectly sweet!
Makes for the perfect breakfast, brunch, snack, or dessert situation.
Perfect Fall/Winter vibes---thanks to the sweet potato + spices!
Did I mention, it's just TOO good to pass up?
SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR COOKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THESE MINI PIES!
Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with these Mini Sweet Potato Pecan Pies. Everything from my fave baking sheet, liners, spatulas, hand-mixers, mixing bowls, and more.
Step 1: Gather about 3-4 medium sweet potatoes, rinse the skins, and poke a few holes all around them using a knife or fork.
Step 2: Prepare a baking sheet with foil or parchment and place the sweet potato side-by-side. Rub each sweet potato with olive oil until fully coated.
Step 3: Roast in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40-45 minutes or until their insides begin to bubble outwardly and they become super tender once tested with a fork or knife. Let cool until easily handle when cutting them open and scooping out the flesh.
Step 4: Using a food processor or blender, puree the flesh of the sweet potato along with water or veggie stock, until smooth. You can either use this immediately in whatever sweet potato recipe you'd like, store it in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.
Topping Suggestions for These Mini Sweet Potato Pecan Pies
I like to add a bit of extra comforting, indulging flavor to my Mini Sweet Potato Pecan Pies, which is why I chose to add a simple pecan 'pie' topping atop as well as the straight-forward filling ingredients used throughout the recipe. But I wanted to share a few more ideas incase you make these mini pies more than once and want to switch things up!
Great toppings to add:
Your favorite nuts (i.e. walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, etc.)
Dairy-Free yogurt (Great for a breakfast/brunch option)
Dairy-Free ice cream
Coconut whipped cream
How to Toast the Chopped Nuts
If you'd like to toast your favorite nuts (i.e. pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, etc.), it's super easy! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chopped nuts unto the baking sheet, ensuring that they are evenly spread out and toast them for 10 minutes, tossing them halfway to prevent browning on just one side.
How to Best Store Mini Sweet Potato Pecan Pies
Keep leftover mini pies tightly sealed in an airtight container or foil and refrigerated for 3-4 days. Re-heat each one when serving.
Can I Make these Mini Sweet Potato Pecan Pies Gluten-Free?
Of course! To make these mini pies entirely GF, simply ensure that graham crackers are certified gluten-free or substitute with GF rolled oats.
1cupGraham crackers, roughly chopped(Vegan-friendly crackers; About 7-8 sheets)
3-4Tbspsvegan butter, melted
SWEET POTATO FILLING:
2cupssweet potato puree(About 1 lb. sweet potatoes; See Post for How To)
½cupfull-fat coconut cream/milk
½cuppure maple syrup
3TbspsArrowroot starch(See Notes!)
Pinch ofsea salt
2Tbspsvegan butter, melted(See Notes!)
PECAN 'PIE' TOPPING:
1cuppecans, chopped or halved + toasted(See Notes!)
¼cuporganic brown sugar
2-3Tbspsfull-fat coconut cream/milk
Pinch ofground cinnamon
Pinch ofground nutmeg
TO MAKE THE CRUST:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 12-cavity cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
Grind the pecans + graham crackers, until almost finely ground (it’s OK to leave a few medium chunks, if your’e a lover a little crunch!). Combine the Pecan-Graham cracker mixture, cinnamon, salt and melted butter in a small bowl and mix with a spatula until well incorporated.
Divide the mixture between the cupcake liners (about 2 Tbsps per well) and press down into the bottoms with your fingers (focusing on the middle) to ensure that it’s perfectly covering the bottom and sides (like a deep well).
Bake the crusts for about 5 minutes and then remove from oven and allow it to cool until you’re ready to use.
TO MAKE THE SWEET POTATO FILLING:
In a large bowl, add the sweet potato puree along with: coconut cream/milk, vanilla extract, melted butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, sea salt, and arrowroot starch, whisking everything together until combined and smooth, using an electric hand-mixer on high-speed. NOTE: Filling mixture should be thickened at this point.
Add a small amount of filling to each cupcake liner (about 2 Tbsps), repeating until all batter is used.
Bake the cheesecakes for 35-40 minutes, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit in the oven for another 5 minutes with the oven door halfway open to avoid mini pies from deflating.
Remove mini pies from the oven and allow them to continue to cool for another 25-30 minutes or until at room temperature coolness, before adding topping.
TO MAKE THE PECAN 'PIE' TOPPING:
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add the butter and brown sugar, stirring until it begins to bubble. Add in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut cream/milk, and whisk until well combined. Add in the toasted pecans and stir until pecans are fully coated. Once done, remove from heat and let cool (at room temperature) so that the sauce thickens, about 5-6 minutes.
Once cooled enough, remove the mini pies from the fridge and remove cupcake liners. Top each one with the 'Pecan Pie' topping. NOTE: let the sauce further 'set' as both the topping + mini pies continue to cool.
Grab a bite and enjoy.
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Keep leftover mini pies tightly sealed in an airtight container or foil and refrigerated for 3-4 days. Re-heat each one when serving.
SWEET POTATO PUREE: See post for more + how to make this!
ARROWROOT: If you don’t have arrowroot starch, feel free to substitute with regular cornstarch or all-purpose flour, which both act as a thickening agent.
COCONUT CREAM: If you don't have full-fat coconut cream on hand, you can use canned full-fat coconut milk and refrigerate it overnight so that it thickens into a "cream", which you separate from the water in the can.