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These easy Mini Apple Pies have a press-in cream cheese crust with a spiced apple pie filling and a brown sugar pecan crumble topping! Bite-sized apple pies baked in muffin tins are perfect for cookie plates, easy party desserts or even afternoon snacks.
These bite-sized treats have a cinnamon cardamom apple filling with a vanilla brown sugar crumble topping. You could also make a big batch of this easy apple compote and use that for the mini apple pie filling.
This cream cheese pastry is flaky and rich, and contrasts nicely with the slightly tart spiced apple filling, but you could use store-bought pie crust or make this foolproof vodka pie crust. The easy crumble topping has pecans but this streusel topping recipe is nut-free and would also be delightful!
Why You Will Love these Mini Apple Pies
- Easy press-in crust. This cream cheese crust is the same recipe from my great-grandmother’s pecan tassies! It is tender, flaky and twists out of the mini muffin tins easily.
- Balanced flavors from topping to crust. The flavors of the vanilla brown sugar crumble, cardamom cinnamon apple filling and cream cheese crust all balance each other. This will be the best mini apple pie you’ve ever had.
- Make ahead and freeze. Make a large batch of these tiny pies and freeze them for later. Thaw what you need!
Professional Tips for Making Tiny Pies
- Streusel topping makes these pies easy. While tiny lattice toppings are adorable, they aren’t very practical. The streusel not only tastes great, but it makes the whole pie easier.
- Cut the apples small for the filling. The apple filling isn’t pre-cooked, which makes these pies super easy, but that means the apples need to be cut small. This ensures the filling will cook and soften in the time it takes the crust to bake.
- Don’t over-think it. Divide the dough by eye into the mini muffin tins and press it in. Fill the cups to the top and cover with streusel. Bake until the crust is golden brown.
- Cool completely & use a small offset spatula if you need it. Once the mini pies are cool, they will twist out of the muffin tins. If they don’t twist easily, use a small offset spatula or paring knife to gently lift them out.
- Butter: You can use unsalted or salted in the crust and topping. There is no added salt in either, so it will enhance the flavors.
- Cream cheese: I use original Philadelphia Cream Cheese for all my baked goods. Working the cream cheese into the dough adds fat and a little bit of tang. Cream cheese does not behave the same as butter when baked and will create a soft, tender shell.
- All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour has just the right amount of gluten to make a tender, flaky shell when handled properly. You could also use pastry flour.
- Apples: Like my easy apple pie, choose a variety of apples that are a balance of tart and sweet like gala, honey crisp, Braeburn, and fuji.
- Brown Sugar: You can use light or dark brown sugar. The recipe calls for light brown sugar because it has less of a molasses flavor.
- Cinnamon: Choose a nice cinnamon because the flavor makes the filling just like in my easy apple crisp.
- Cardamom: I grind cardamom seeds fresh in a spice or coffee grinder. This has the best flavor, but pre-ground cardamom will also work.
- Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice has the best flavor. This recipe uses the juice from one big, juicy lemon.
- Nutmeg: A grate of fresh nutmeg is really delightful, but ground nutmeg also works.
- Kosher Salt
- Pecans: I lightly toast the pecans and then chop them for the crumble topping. You can also give them a quick pulse in a food processor. You could actually make the whole topping in a food processor if you want!
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Variations & Substitutions
- Use a traditional pie crust & make a lattice: These pies would also be great with my all-butter pie crust or Crisco pie crust. You can either keep the streusel topping or follow my tutorial on how to lattice pie crust to make a miniature lattice top.
- Change the flavors: Try a large pinch of my apple pie spice or even pumpkin spice! Use orange juice or spiced apple cider instead of the lemon, or add salted caramel sauce to the filling for mini caramel apple pies.
- Pre-cook the filling. Pre-cook the filling in a small sauce pot like in my mile high apple pie or apple hand pie recipe. This will allow you to fit even more apple in each bite.
How to Make Mini Apple Pies
Use these instructions to make the perfect mini apple pies every time! Further details and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
Prepare the cream cheese crust:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. I do not spray my mini muffin tins as long as they are nonstick.
Step 2: Place flour in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl. Cut butter and cream cheese into cubes and add it to the flour. Either mix the flour mixture on low in the a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or cut it in by hand using a pastry blender or two knives. Continue until the dough holds together in a ball.
You can also make the crust in a food processor. Simply add all the ingredients and pulse until a smooth dough forms. It will take less than a minute. If you have one, I highly suggest this method!
Step 3: Gather the crust into a ball and divide into 24 little pieces. You can do this by site or with a kitchen scale. It’s not that serious, so just eye-ball it!
Step 4: Roll each into a ball to make them a little more finished. For me, it’s a fine line between “rustic” and “a hot mess.” Press each piece into one cup of a miniature muffin tin to create a little crust.
Be careful that none of the sides or the bottom get too thin. This will cause the filling to escape and glue itself to the sides of the tin. If one needs a bit more dough, find a chubby ball and steal a bit of dough for that one. A classic robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario.
Prepare the filling & topping:
Step 5: Combine apples, brown sugar, lemon juice and spices in a medium bowl. Toss to coat evenly. Taste and adjust sugar, lemon juice or spices as necessary. Add cornstarch and toss to coat evenly.
Step 6: In a small bowl add the melted butter, vanilla extract, flour, brown sugar and chopped pecans. Stir with a fork until all the ingredients are equally moistened. They should hold together and then break into crumbles when squeezed in your hand.
I’ve found that spinning the pie in the tin to release the edges and then gently pressing down on one side is a quick and easy way to remove them without breaking the pie shells. You can also use a small offset spatula to lift them out.
Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip
I do not recommend chilling the pie dough before baking. This will make it puff like classic puff pastry and might force some of the filling out of the mini muffin tins.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store mini apple pies at room temperature for up to a week, refrigerated for two weeks or frozen for up to 3 months. For the best flavor and texture I prefer to store them at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen. Simply thaw at room temperature prior to serving.
I always peel apples for pie especially mini apple pies. The peels do not break down as they cook and I find the texture unappealing, but you do not have to peel them.
Serve them room temperature as you would a cookie or warmed in the oven or air fryer. They are delicious with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce, butterscotch sauce or maple caramel sauce. Serve alongside a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or a spoonful of vanilla crème anglaise!
If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!
Mini Apple Pies
For the Apple Filling:
To make the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350℉.
- Sift flour into a medium sized bowl. Cut butter into small cubes and add to flour. Add the cream cheese and cut the butter and cheese into the flour with two knives or a pastry blender. Continue until the dough holds together. Since we aren’t adding any additional liquid, you’ll want to continue to blend way past the stage at which you would normally stop with a pie crust.
- Gather the crust into a ball and divide into 24 little pieces. I make a little log out of the dough, divide the log into half, divide each half roughly into thirds with a bench scraper or knife, then divide each third into 4 pieces. The dough is pliable enough that if you come up with several pieces that are way smaller and way larger than the others, which you probably will, you can pinch some off the larger and add it to the smaller pieces. Works every time.
- Press each piece into one cup of a miniature muffin tin with your forefinger to create a little crust.
To make the Apple Pie Filling:
- Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, spices, and salt in a medium bowl. Toss to coat evenly. Taste and adjust sugar, lemon juice or spices as necessary. Add cornstarch and toss to coat evenly.
Make the Crumble Topping:
- Stir the vanilla into the melted butter. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir with a fork until all the ingredients are equally moistened. They should hold together and then break into crumbles when squeezed in your hand. If it is still too dry you can add melted butter 1 teaspoon at a time, but be careful not to make it too moist or it will be greasy and not crunchy/soft like it should be.
- Also note that if you chop your pecans too big, they will impede the crumbles from forming.
Assemble the Pies:
- Spoon a teaspoon of filling into each (unbaked) pastry shell. The filling should come to the top because it will cook down a lot.
- Press some crumble onto each mini pie. Make sure to mound it on top so that the finished pies have a generous helping of crumble.
- Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes or until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the crumble and pie crusts have begun to brown. Let cool completely in the tins before removing. I’ve found that spinning the pie in the tin to release the edges and then gently pressing down on one side is a quick and easy way to remove them without breaking the pie shells.