How to Make Beautiful Mini Tartlet Shells


~ Beautiful mini tartlet shells made with sweet French pastry crust ~


Oh you guys, I have so many awesome things planned to show you! I am going to do a whole series on mini desserts for dessert buffet tables. Decadent chocolate dipped cheesecake bites, beautiful, bite sized espresso brownies topped with silky smooth salted caramel Swiss buttercream, fancy chocolate dipped strawberries, dark chocolate dipped mini cream puffs filled with Grand Marnier infused Chantilly cream , huckleberry mousse shots… the list goes on!  Are you drooling yet?

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I am going to start with my signature mini tartlet shells. These are the base of a few of the recipe/tutorials I have planned including: lemon curd tartlets, salted bourbon caramel and dark chocolate tartlets, fresh berries and cream tartlets, bourbon pumpkin tartlets and apple spice tartlets. Yep, I will have recipes for all of those!


How to make mini tartlet shells


But to start I am going to show you how to make these darling and delicious mini sweet French pastry crust tartlet shells. I have developed a super cool method that makes these bite sized babies a cinch!

First you need to get yourself a set of cute tartlet molds.  There are tons of shapes and sizes to choose from but this is what I use ~ Fat Daddio’s Mini Tartlet Pan


how to make mini tartlet shells


 Let’s Get Started!

  You will need a batch of Sweet French Pastry Crust (see recipe at the bottom).  It’s super easy!

  Now comes one of my “tips & tricks” that I brainstormed one day.  I was working away making a ton of these little shells, pressing the dough into the mold with my fingers. And I had the thought that the shells would come out prettier if the inside of the shell was fluted like the outside is.  When you press the dough in with your fingers all you get is a smooth rounded cup on the inside and the shell itself is kind of thick and clunky.

Then I had the thought that the molds fit like a glove inside each other  so why not use another mold to press the dough in with. So I did.  And it got stuck. Well,  it just needs a little handle to pull it out then right?  So I scrounged around in my kitchen for something I could use for a handle and found a cork, perfect!  Hot glue that baby in and we are ready to rock and roll!

Make a custom tartlet mold press

So this is what you do ~ I prefer a champagne cork because (well mostly because I prefer champagne, ha!) it has a wider top








Now we are ready to bust out some cute little tartlet shells.


You want your dough to be fairly soft but not too soft.  Experiment and you will find the texture that works best for you.


If it’s too soft pop the dough back in the freezer for a minute. If it’s sticking to your fingers dip them in the flour


The first time you might want to rub a bit of butter or oil on the press so the flour sticks.


Keep the flutes lined up and don’t rock back and forth.  Press straight down. To pull it out, gently rock back and forth to loosen it while gently lifting


It will take a bit of practice to find how thick to make them which is controlled by how hard you press the mold press.  You want a fairly thin crust but not so thin that it’s fragile.  If it’s too thick you won’t have a lot of room for your delicious fillings and that is just a sin!


This keeps it from getting an air bubble when it’s baking


Egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with a teaspoon of water) gives it a somewhat moisture resistant coat so the filling doesn’t make it soggy, yay!

Put them on a sheet pan and pop them in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.  In the mean time pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly golden brown.  Cool 5 minute and they will pop right out of the mold!

Look at that!!  All thin and sweet and crispy.  The perfect vessel to hold so many delicious delights!

  These will stay beautifully crispy and fresh in a sealed container for several weeks.  Or put them in a air tight container and pop that in a ziplock freezer bag. They last in the freezer for up to 6 months!  When I have a super busy month coming up and I know I will need a ton of tartlet shells,  I will sit down for a whole day and bust out 15 or 20 dozen and pop them in the freezer.  Such a time saver!


Next up I will be sharing some of the delicious things you can fill these little beauties with!  Oh the treats I have in store for you!  Stay Tuned!

~ Have a Sweet Day!!


Print Recipe
Sweet French Pastry Crust
Classic French pastry crust recipe for making buttery delicious tart shells
how to make mini tartlet shells
Course dessert
large crust (3 - 5 dozen mini crusts)
Course dessert
large crust (3 - 5 dozen mini crusts)
how to make mini tartlet shells
  1. In separate bowl combine flour and salt
  2. Place the butter in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy
  3. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until incorporated
  4. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball.
  5. Flatten the pastry into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes or just until firm (can place in freezer for about 10-15 minutes.)
  6. Lightly butter and flour, or spray with a non-stick vegetable/flour cooking spray, an 8 - 9 inch (20 - 23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Evenly pat the chilled pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Or for mini tartlets form dough into molds and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes
  7. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Lightly prick bottom of pastry crust with the tines of a fork (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes). Place tart pan on a larger baking pan and bake crust for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake the crust for about 15 minutes or until dry and lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before filling. Can be covered and stored for a few days. For mini tartlets - bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly golden brown.
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  1. What a great idea with the cork!! I’m excited to learn about the salted caramel and dark chocolate tart!

  2. Awesome tip!! Have to try this. ?

  3. I can’t wait to try this for the holiday. Have you ever filled them with something that needed baking? Was wondering if they reheat well, or should I give them less time on the first go? Are they substantial enough to stand on their own when rebaking or should they be put back into the tins? I plan on filling with mincemeat.

  4. I haven’t tried that yet. I would bake them a little less At first. They should not meet to be put back in the tins though. Good luck! I’d love to hear how this works out ?

    • I think they came alright, wish I could post a photo. Baked them for 6 minutes, popped them out of tins (my tins were larger than yours). Then filled with mincement and baked another 10 minutes setting them on parchment paper cookie sheet. I rolled out the dough and cut tiny stars- had to baked those separately. Then I placed a star in the center of each and dusted with confectioners sugar. They look very pretty – hope they taste good too, lol.

  5. I’ve been looking for a tart shell that I can make ahead that will stay crisp.

    This might fit the bill, except I was hoping to find dough that isn’t sweet. Would this still work if I omitted the sugar? Or is the sugar somehow part of why this stays crisp?

    Also, when you are pressing the cork-flute tool down, is there some sort of visual cue where you know you’ve pressed enough?

    • This will be perfect for you! Yes you can omit the sugar for a neutral shell good for savory items. I often make a bunch ahead of time. They last a few weeks sealed well unrefrigerated or you can freeze them for a few months as well. It will take a little practice but you will get the feel for the right amount of dough to use and the right amount of pressure. Once you get it down they go pretty quick. Experiment with different temperatures for the dough. I find it easiest when it’s quite soft, close to room temp. Good luck and happy baking!

  6. Was the recipe for the lemon curd filling and cream topping ever posted ? They look so good I wanted to try making them.

  7. I’ve been searching and trying different tart recipes and so far this was the best! Thanks a lot, more power to you!

  8. Do tarts freeze well?

  9. I bought little metal tart molds (just like yours) at a thrift store and found your recipe. I just made the shells but I think they came out too thick. I’ll try again next time but I was wondering how many shells should the recipe make? I only got 19…I know…too thick.

    • Hi Victoria, it all depends on the size of your tart mold. The ones I use are about 1.75 inches, pretty small. I can get about 4 dozen shells from one batch of pastry crust dough. You want the shells to be quite thin. Press the dough in with your fingers until it thin and even inside the mold, then use the press to shape it. Press hard so the dough kind of squirts up around the top. Ultimately you don’t want the shell to be more than around 2 millimeters thick, no matter what size your mold is.

  10. How long with the tarts stay firm after they are filled? I have a four hour event and would need to make them at least a hour a head of that. Or would it be better to fill half and then fill the other half on site? Thanks!

  11. Carol Hobby

    Do you need to grease the mini pans?

  12. I love little mini tart pans, their just magical. I’m always looking for different one’s.
    Where can I find the dome shaped one’s like in illustration #12? There round tops. I can’t seem to find any.
    Thank you for the great pictures and recipe.

  13. Why don’t you have a “jump to recipe” tab???(????

  14. Hey this is a great recipe thank you for sharing I had seen a similar one on YouTube and the lady did something even easier she took a sheet of plastic wrap and put it on the tart shell that was already moulded with the fingers then she pressed another tart mould over it and because of the plastic in between it came off pretty easily. You may try it that way next time. However I’m making your recipe today and I will be cutting them out and baking in a tart pan I dnt have these individual moulds will tag you on Instagram when I share it. Much love

  15. Shirley jennings

    Hi I cooked my shells then froze them. Do I need to reheat from frozen or just allow to defrost before filling thanks

  16. I just bought some of these molds and your site is teaching me how to use them. I had no idea and have been buying the premade ones in the freezer section at the grocery store.

  17. Debbie Malott

    Hi Shani, I know this is way past your original post, but I have a question. I’ve made these tart shells and they are a treat to work with, but now I wonder if you could sub some cocoa powder for flour to make chocolate tart shells.
    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Debbie, I’m glad you like the recipe! Yes, you can absolutely make chocolate shells with this recipe. I particularly like using black cocoa powder and your tartlet shells will taste like Oreos. Sub 1 tablespoon cocoa powder for 1 tablespoon flour. You can use a little more that that if you want them really chocolaty but be careful because it will make the dough more dry and crumbly.

  18. Debbie Malott

    Wow, Shani, I am thrilled and impressed that you responded so quickly! I am excited to try making these into chocolate “Oreo” shells. Thank you do so much!
    By the way, did you ever do a post showing how to make your chocolate Carmel sea salt mini tarts?

    • My pleasure Debbie. I have not done a post on those yet. But I use my salted bourbon caramel sauce (in my recipe section), fill the shell half way with that, freeze for 5 minutes to set the caramel then top off with ganache (cooled but not set yet). Sprinkle with a few flakes of sea salt 😋 enjoy!

  19. Debbie Malott

    Thank you so very much Shani. You are awesome!

  20. Hi Shani ~ I would like to make some small tarts for a small group of women I am having over for a luncheon but this recipe makes too many. Is it possible for me to cut the recipe in half, would that work?

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