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Why do my pecan tassies stick to the pan?

Pecan tassies are a delicious Southern specialty – miniature pecan pies baked in a small tart shell. They have a sweet, nutty filling encased in a tender, flaky crust. However, one of the most common problems when baking pecan tassies is that they stick to the pan, resulting in broken crusts and a real hassle trying to remove them.

There are a few key reasons why pecan tassies may be sticking to the pan:

Using the Wrong Pan

The type of pan you use can make all the difference. Pecan tassies should be baked in a mini-muffin or mini-tart pan with non-stick surfaces. Avoid old, warped pans or those with a dark nonstick coating that has worn off. The small tassies need to seamlessly release from the pan’s surfaces. Sticking happens more easily in an aluminium pan versus a true non-stick pan.

Not Greasing the Pan Adequately

You must thoroughly grease a mini-muffin or mini-tart pan for pecan tassies. Use baking spray with flour or butter/solid shortening to liberally coat the entire interior surface. Pay special attention to coating the edges and crevices. Insufficient greasing is one of the biggest reasons tassies adhere to the pan.

Overfilling the Cups

When you overfill the cups with too much of the pecan filling, it will spread and seep under the crust during baking. This essentially glues the shell to the pan. Be sure to only fill the cups 2/3 full at most with the filling to allow room for expansion. Overfilled tassies will lead to sticking issues.


Pecan tassies that are not baked long enough will be soft in the center. This underbaked softness prevents the crust from firming up enough to cleanly release from the pan. Be sure to bake the tassies until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown. Underbaked tassies that seem soft when cooled are prone to sticking.

How to Prevent Pecan Tassies Sticking

Here are some tips to ensure clean release and prevent sticking:

Use a Mini-Muffin Pan

Opt for a mini-muffin pan or mini-tartlet pan with 12 or 24 count cups that are 1-3 inches wide. The cups must have a non-stick surface. Quality silicone pans are ideal. Avoid anything with a dark, scratched non-stick coating.

Grease the Pan Thoroughly

It’s crucial to grease the pan properly by liberally coating every inch of the interior surfaces. Use baking spray, softened butter, or shortening to fully grease the pan. Pay extra attention to the cup edges.

Only Fill Cups 2/3 Full

Do not overfill the cups with the pecan filling. Allow at least 1/3 inch of space at the top for expansion. Overfilled tassies will spread out and under the crust as they bake.

Use a Sturdy Crust

Choose a crust recipe that bakes up crisp and flaky. Avoid crusts that are too soft or thin, as they will stick more easily. A sturdy crust is less likely to adhere to the pan.

Bake Until Set

Bake the tassies until the filling is set and the crust is browned. The center should not jiggle when gently shaken. Underbaked tassies will be soft and sticky.

Tips for Removing Stuck Tassies

Even if you follow all the tips, you may still get a few stuck tassies. Here are some tricks for removing them:

Let Cool Completely First

Allow the pan to cool down completely before attempting to remove the tassies. The cooling will help release them from the pan. Attempting removal while still hot increases sticking.

Gently Loosen With a Knife

Run a butter knife carefully around the edge of each cup to gently break the crust free. Twist the knife gently to loosen the crust.

Use Dental Floss

Dental floss works great for loosening stuck tassies. Carefully work the floss down around the edge of each cup to separate the crust from the pan.

Reheat Slightly

If needed, you can reuse the pan to loosen them by reheating slightly for 1-2 minutes at 250°F. This may help release some of the sticking points.

Invert and Tap Pan

Turn the pan over and gently tap the bottom to release the tassies. You can also firmly tap each cup with a spoon.

Best Crusts for Pecan Tassies

The crust has to be sturdy enough to release cleanly from the pan. Here are some great crust options:

Classic Tart Pastry

A classic tart crust made with flour, butter, salt and water bakes up tender and flaky. Chill it well before pressing into cups.

Graham Cracker Crumb Crust

Crushed graham crackers mixed with butter and pressed into the pan makes a deliciously crispy crust.

Nutty Pastry Crust

For extra nutty richness, use a pastry crust made with ground pecans, almond flour, butter, and sugar.

Gingersnap Crumb Crust

Crumbled gingersnaps and melted butter create a spiced crust that compliments the filling.

Chocolate Cookie Crumb Crust

Crushed chocolate wafers or Oreos make a chocolaty crust that pairs perfectly with the sweet pecan filling.

Best Fillings for Pecan Tassies

While the classic filling is made of pecan and corn syrup, you can get creative with the fillings too:

Brown Sugar Pecan Filling

Pecans, brown sugar, butter, egg and vanilla is a delicious traditional filling combination.

Chocolate Pecan Filling

Adding melted chocolate or cocoa powder creates a chocolate-pecan delight.

Maple Pecan Filling

Pure maple syrup used as the liquid gives the filling a lovely hint of maple flavor.

Pecan Pie Filling

Copy a pecan pie by using dark corn syrup, eggs, vanilla, butter and pecans.

Pumpkin Spice Filling

Mix pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, and pecans for a fall-flavored twist.

Toffee Pecan Filling

Chopped Heath bars plus pecans and brown sugar makes a tasty toffee-infused version.

Bacon Bourbon Filling

For a savory take, use crisp cooked bacon, bourbon, maple, thyme and pecans.


With the right pans, recipes, and techniques, you can easily bake pecan tassies that release perfectly instead of sticking stubbornly. Be sure to use a quality non-stick mini muffin pan, grease it well, fill the cups properly, and bake the tassies until set. Allow to cool completely before attempting removal. If you do end up with a few sticky tassies, use a knife or dental floss to gently loosen the crusts. With practice, you’ll be able to bake beautiful, delicious pecan tassies that lift out of the pans with ease. Play around with creative crust and filling combinations to make these sweet mini pies your new go-to treat!