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Best Ever Mini Mince Pies

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Mincemeat pie reminds me of my Mom. It’s always been one of her favorite holiday treats. Growing up, she tried to convince me that it’s delicious. It’s a sweet mincemeat, not savory, she’d tell me.

I’d try a bite here and there but couldn’t be swayed.

I never thought I’d like anything mincemeat…until a few years ago when I spent Christmas in Ireland. I bought a couple cute little mincemeat tarts one evening while at a Christmas market in Galway, and after a couple bites I finally understood why it’s my Mom’s favorite!

I think it was the mince in mince pies that turned me off because mince usually refers to meat, right? Even if a mince pie didn’t actually have meat in it, just the idea of it made it sound less appetizing to me when I was a kid.

While you can make savory mince, the fruit mince pies in this recipe have zero meat!

These little Christmas mince pies have a rich fruit mince pie filling full of raisins, currants, apples, lemon and orange zest, pecans, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The crust is buttery and flaky and the perfect complement to the sweet pie filling.

Baking for a Party? Try this Mini Mince Pie Recipe!

This year I decided to try my hand at making homemade mince pies from scratch for a holiday party. What’s great about these pies is that you can make the mince and the shortcrust ahead of time, and then assemble and bake the pies the day (or day before) you want to serve them.

The individual serving size makes them perfect for a holiday party; the ones I made were snatched up quickly.

These pies are delicious served both warm and cold. If you want to level up the deliciousness, top with ice cream, whipped cream or brandy butter.

How to Make a Mince Pie

I made the mince about a week ahead of the crust and let it sit in a jar in my fridge until I was ready to bake the pies.

The ingredients for mince pie filling are pretty simple and straightforward but I did make a few changes when I made my mince pies:

1. I left out the mixed candied peel, because I couldn’t find it. I added a bit more grated orange and lemon zest in it’s place. (Update – I’ve started using candied zest in recipes that call for candied peel! It’s quick and easy to make. Click here for my easy candied citrus zest recipe (scroll down to the recipe card)!)

2. I just couldn’t stomach the idea of using suet, so I left it out. Maybe I’ll try it next year.

While I couldn’t find mixed candied peel, the golden raisins and currants were easy to find at my local grocery store. Oh, by the way, you may notice dried cranberries in my mince pie photos…yeah, I grabbed the cranberries instead of the currants for the photoshoot. Oops. That said, dried cranberries would be delicious (though probably not as traditional) in these pies.

Shortcrust Pastry for Mince Pies

The mince pie pastry I used is from my friend Helen, who lives in the UK. This shortcrust pastry is so good and so easy to make. (I’m now brainstorming all of the mini pies I can make, just so I can make Helen’s shortcrust again.) If you prefer, you can also use a shortbread pastry for mince pies or even puff pastry. To make gluten free mince pies use your favorite gluten free pie crust.

I used my mini muffin tin to make the two-bite pies but you could also use a regular sized muffin tin to make larger pies. To top the pies, I used three different cookie cutters to make small stars, Christmas trees, large stars, and shooting stars out of leftover crust. I think stars are most traditional, but feel free to get creative. 🙂

The shortcrust recipe is from my friend Helen, who lives in the UK. It’s so good, and so easy to make. (I’m now brainstorming all of the mini pies I can make, just so I can make Helen’s shortcrust again.)

I used my mini muffin tin to make the two-bite pies but you could also use a tartlet pan or a regular sized muffin tin if you want to make larger pies.

To top the pies, I used three different cookie cutters to make small stars, Christmas trees, large stars, and shooting stars out of leftover crust. I think stars are most traditional, but feel free to get creative. 🙂

I made 12 mini pies and 3 larger pies (using a regular muffin tin size) and after trying both, I preferred the mini size. I liked the ratio of crust to mince with the two-bite pies.

I filled the pies to the top of the crust, and consequently, the filling spilled over the sides as they baked. So they’re not as pretty as they could be, but they still taste great. Give them a try and let me know how yours turn out!

Easy Recipe for Mince Pies

Mini Mince Pies

Mini Mince Pies

Yield: 18 mini pies
Prep Time: 1 hour
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

These cute little mince pies will be the hit of any holiday gathering! 

Ingredients

Helen's Shortcrust

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, cold, cubed
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mince Filling

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • zest of one lemon 
  • zest of one orange
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2/3 cup pecan pieces, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup candied zest (see note)

Instructions

Make Mince Filling

  1. Peel, core and grate apple. Chop nuts. 
  2. Combine all mince ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir. Store in covered bowl or jar in the fridge until you're ready to bake your pies. 

Make Helen's Shortcrust

  1. Sift together flour and salt. 
  2. Cut cold butter into cubes, then rub into flour until it's small crumbs. 
  3. Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and egg yolks to make a dough. 
  4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

Make the Pies

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut rounds out of the dough. I used a fluted scone cutter but you can also use a plain one. Save the scraps. 
  2. Press dough into muffin tin. Prick the bottom of the dough a couple times with a fork.  
  3. Then fill with mince. I put 1 tsp of mince in my mini mince pies and they overflowed a bit. Fill about 3/4 of the way full.
  4. Re-roll the dough and cut out shapes to place on the tops of your pies. Then, sprinkle sugar over the top. 
  5. Bake 18-22 minutes at 400F. Keep an eye on them so they don't get too brown. Let cool on a wire rack. 

Notes

Click here for my easy candied zest recipe (scroll to recipe card)!

Thanks to Helen for her shortcrust recipe! 

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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Jason

Sunday 20th of December 2020

Thought I'd try this recipe. Had the filling already but was looking for an authentic crust recipe. The dough was easy to make and smelled and tasted amazing. At 18 minutes they were looking fairly brown so I pulled them. Way too fragile to get out of the muffin pan. Gave them a couple more minutes and still found them very fragile. I needed 8 for Christmas Eve dinner and lets just say it's a good thing I made 12 because getting 8 that looked ok was a challenge. Still contemplating making another batch with a different recipe.

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Sunday 20th of December 2020

I'm sorry it didn't turn out as well as you'd hoped. I'm not sure why the crust turned out so fragile for you. I've used it many times and it's always held up well. One thing I do if I'm worried about getting something out of a tin is put a strip of parchment in the bottom of the tin with enough hanging over the sides to be able to lift them out.

Sarah D Nichols

Monday 14th of December 2020

I made these last night, they were delicious! Thanks for this recipe. I substituted 1/3 of the butter for shortening, I want to believe it made it even flakier! I also only let my mince sit for 1 day. The mince in your photos looks a bit jammier than mine, which I wonder if it's because you left it marinate for a week? Either way, these are amazing.

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Tuesday 15th of December 2020

I'm so glad you liked them! Thanks for the tip about the shorting (you can also use lard or suet but I never have either of those things in my pantry so I don't tend to use them). It probably is because the mince marinated longer. I'm actually setting a reminder in my calendar to make mince next fall so it can sit longer before I make pies in December!

Shannon

Friday 4th of December 2020

Is it okay to leave out the brandy? If I need to substitute it, what would I use instead? Thanks!

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Friday 4th of December 2020

Yep, you can just leave it out. If you want a substitute, you can use bourbon, rum, rum extract or even apple juice.

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