Pumpkin pie bites combine custardy pumpkin pie filling with flaky phyllo dough to create an easy, bite-sized fall treat. These scrumptious delights are perfect for any fall or holiday gathering.
Admittedly, I’m not a huge pumpkin pie person. My husband on the other, a true fanatic. Creamy, custardy pies just aren’t my thing. Give me any fruit pie or apple crisp instead.
Part of it is the texture (while I love a jiggly panna cotta, there’s just something about custard pies that turns me off) which is only exacerbated by the addition of the typical whipped cream topping, and part of it is the actual process of making it.
These pumpkin pie bites, however, defy my aversion to this quintessential fall dessert. Their adorable bite-sized nature in combination with the sticky, nutty, maple walnut topping is like the goldilocks situation of pumpkin pie for me. Everything is just right.
What I love about these mini pumpkin pie bites is they’re a great way to get the obligatory pumpkin pie dessert on the table for a holiday or fall gathering while still leaving room for other more impressive desserts. They’re also stupidly simple to make.
Ingredients to make pumpkin pie bites
Many bite-sized versions of pumpkin pie use either pie dough or a cake bottom. This pumpkin pie bite recipe goes one step further in simplifying the preparation — using pre-made phyllo dough mini tart shells.
- Mini phyllo dough tart shells
- Pumpkin puree
- Maple syrup
- Milk — any kind
- Vanilla extract
- Pumpkin pie spice
While using something like pumpkin pie filling could speed things up even more, I always find it preferable to sweeten and spice canned pumpkin to my liking. The ingredient list is simple and short enough to make using pumpkin puree as opposed to pumpkin pie filling worthwhile.
The sticky walnut topping for these pumpkin bites might be my favorite part of the whole dessert. You’ll need:
- Chopped walnuts
- Maple syrup
- Vanilla extract
If you’ve ever heard of “wet nuts” or gotten this as a topping on an ice cream sundae, you’ll know exactly what these sticky walnuts are about. They’re sweet and crunchy, and when cooled, gel into this thickened sticky consistency that’s pure bliss. Most recipes utilize corn syrup to achieve this but I find maple syrup alone works perfectly after a quick boil and chill.
How to make this pumpkin pie bite recipe
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and place the phyllo tart shells on the sheet. These come frozen and most packages say to let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before baking so do this step first before making the filling.
Whisk together the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, egg, milk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl until smooth and well combined.
Carefully spoon the filling into each tart shell, filling it up all the way to the top as the pumpkin mixture tends to sink as it cooks like a normal pumpkin pie does.
*Pro tip — If you notice the filling has sunk down halfway through baking, spoon any leftover pumpkin pie filling into the bites to fill them back up.
Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the filling is just set in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before topping with the walnut mixture and serving. The pie bite filling will set further as it cools.
To make the wet nuts, combine the walnuts, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl. Chill the nuts in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes until thickened. You can also do this step partly in the freezer to speed things up.
Once thickened, spoon on top of the pumpkin pie bites before serving.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Phyllo dough mini tarts eliminate the need to deal with pie crust and make these so easy! They also create the best light, flaky and buttery crust. They’re like the puff pastry used in apple hand pies but even lighter.
- Textural perfection exists between custardy pumpkin pie filling and a crunchy, sweet nut topping in this recipe.
- The impressive looks of these pumpkin bites are incredibly deceiving since they only take 10-15 minutes of prep time.
- You get all the lovable aspects of pumpkin pie but with a better crust-to-filling ratio and a much more delicious topping than whipped cream.
- They feed a crowd and are perfect for a holiday gathering. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled as needed.
*Pro tip — While mini phyllo tart shells like these are a huge convenience, sometimes you’ll end up with a few broken shells in the box. I suggest grabbing one extra box than you think you’ll need to account for any broken pie shells.
Variations to consider
- If you prefer a whipped cream topping, swap out the wet walnuts for homemade or store-bought whipped cream. Top right before serving.
- Swap out walnuts for pecans using the same “wet nut” method. This creates a pumpkin pie and pecan pie mash up.
- Swap out sweet potato puree (or make your own by mashing cooked sweet potatoes) for pumpkin and turn these into mini sweet potato pie bites. Sweet potato is great in baked goods like these sweet potato cookies and sweet potato banana muffins.
Recipe tips & storage info
If you’re looking to get ahead with the prep of making these, the pumpkin pie filling can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Fill the shells and bake off once you’re ready to serve.
Once baked and cooled, the bites will last for about 24-48 hours before the crusts become a bit soggy. Store them at room temperature, not in the refrigerator.
Don’t top until ready to serve, otherwise the wet walnut topping will make the pie shells soggy.
*Pro tip — Any leftover pumpkin pie filling can be poured into a ramekin or lined mini muffin tins and baked with the bites. It’s a crustless pumpkin pie bite and a perfect option for any gluten-free eaters in the crowd.
More easy pumpkin desserts to try
This pumpkin banana smoothie is a simple way to indulge in the flavors of pumpkin pie in a 5-ingredient, 5-minute recipe.
If you’re looking for a savory way to indulge in pumpkin for a gathering, don’t miss this pumpkin goat cheese dip. Served warm with caramelized onions on top, it’s the ultimate in fall appetizer decadence.
If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! I’d love to know how it goes. Leave a comment below if you have any questions. Tag @runningtothekitchen on Instagram & Facebook.
Pumpkin Pie Bites
For the pumpkin pie bites
- 15 mini phyllo dough shells
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk any kind
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
For the walnut topping
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
FOR THE PUMPKIN PIE BITES:
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place frozen phyllo shells on the baking sheet.
- Combine the pumpkin, maple syrup, egg, milk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Whisk until combined and smooth.
- Spoon the filling into each phyllo shell right up to the top.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the filling is just set. Check halfway through and if the filling has sunk down while cooking, spoon in any leftover pumpkin pie mixture on top.
- Remove from the oven and let rest at least 15 minutes to cool before topping and serving.
FOR THE WALNUT TOPPING:
- Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn off the heat and pour into a small bowl. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill.
- Once chilled and nut mixture has thickened, spoon on top of the pumpkin pie bites before serving.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.