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Pecan Pie Cupcakes are a really fun holiday cupcake flavor – and they’re good all year, not just at Thanksgiving. The filling tastes JUST like pecan pie and they’re frosted with fluffy brown sugar frosting. These really are EPIC cupcakes!

This post is sponsored by Challenge Butter. I’ve been using their butter all my life and they made these cupcakes just shine.

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pecan pie cupcakes cut in half with white frosting and a pecan on top

What is a pecan pie cupcake?

There are three layers in this delightful pecan pie cupcake recipe:

  1. Fluffy and moist vanilla cupcakes (from scratch)
  2. Homemade pecan pie filling
  3. Brown Sugar Frosting!!

These disappeared SO fast in my house – they were proclaimed the best cupcake ever. And I’m not just saying that – it was really hard for me not to eat several – in one sitting.

ingredients in the pecan pie cupcakes laid out on a counter with words saying the ingredient names

Ingredients Needed

  • Brown Sugar – be sure to pack it when measuring. There’s brown sugar in the cupcake and in the frosting!
  • Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Vanilla – Classic cupcake ingredients. I always use all-purpose flour in my cupcake recipes.
  • Buttermilk – Adds a nice flavor to the cupcake but you can use regular milk or nondairy milk.
  • Challenge Butter – You’ll use unsalted butter in all three layers of this cupcake recipe!
  • Eggs – Needed in the cupcake and the filling
  • Corn Syrup – for the pecan pie filling
  • Cornstarch – for thickening the filling
  • Pecans – chop them small so they’re easy to eat
  • Powdered Sugar – for the frosting

Like I’ve said multiple times before, I always use Challenge Butter when I’m baking. I grew up using Challenge and it’s my go-to product. Challenge is made with milk from happy cows – no hormones or additives. Their unsalted butter has won awards and is the best tasting too! You can find it nationally in most grocery stores.

How to make Pecan Pie Cupcakes

There are several steps to making these pecan cupcakes, but every one is worth it!

  1. Mix together the cupcake batter, starting with melted butter and a quarter cup light brown sugar.
  2. Bake your cupcakes in a cupcake pan – the recipe makes 12. Let them cool completely.
  3. Make the pecan pie filling – cook the light corn syrup with brown sugar, unsalted butter, cornstarch, salt and eggs over medium heat. You bring it to a boil then remove it from the stove and add a teaspoon vanilla and chopped pecans.
  4. Let the filling cool to room temperature, then chill at least one hour. You can do this the day before too!
  5. Make the frosting by beating room temperature butter with brown sugar then mixing in powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy whipping cream. The frosting is super fluffy!
  6. Fill the cupcakes with the pie filling then top with the frosting and they’re ready to serve in no time!
pecan cupcakes laid out on a counter with a challenge butter box next to the cupcakes

If you’re looking for a fun new delicious dessert for the holidays or any time of year, look no further than these delicious cupcakes. Be sure to use the best ingredients when making your cupcakes – and that includes Challenge Butter!

Recipe Swaps

So many ways to change up this recipe:

  • Make pecan pie cupcakes with a box mix – use your favorite cake mix instead of making the cupcakes from scratch. Tip: Swap melted Challenge Butter for the oil called for to make the cupcakes!
  • Use chocolate cake mix to make chocolate pecan cupcakes – or use my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe.
  • Use toasted pecans in the filling if you’d like! (Learn how to toast nuts.)
  • Make the cupcakes gluten free by using 1:1 GF AP flour.
  • Add a dash of bourbon to the filling for bourbon pecan cupcakes.
pecan cupcake with white frosting and a pecan on top

Storing, Freezing, and Make Ahead Instructions

How to store pecan pie cupcakes? Store these loosely covered in the refrigerator, but serve them room temperature.

Can you freeze pecan pie cupcakes? Yes – freeze these in an airtight container (frosted or unfrosted) for up to a month.

How to make cupcakes ahead of time: The cupcakes and filling can be made 24 hours ahead of time. You can even make and freeze the cupcakes for up to a month before assembling them.

three pecan cupcakes with white frosting and a pecan on top


How do you know when cupcakes are done baking?

You’ll know they’re done baking when a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cupcake.

Can I make the cupcake with nuts?

Sure – mix about 1 cup chopped pecans into the cupcake batter.

What ingredient makes cupcakes moist?

The buttermilk helps to keep them nice and soft, plus starting with the melted butter. The trick is to not pack your flour and don’t over bake the cupcakes! They’ll stay soft that way.

Can you make pecan pie mini cupcakes?

For sure you can make these in a mini cupcake pan but it will make a LOT of cupcakes. I recommend halving the recipe if you’re going to do that.

Why is my frosting grainy?

Brown sugar doesn’t incorporate into butter the way powdered sugar does, so it’s important to start with room temperature butter and cream the butter with the brown sugar for a few minutes – this gives the sugar a chance to dissolve into the butter.

Can I use the pecan pie filling for a cake?

Sure! You can make this recipe into a layer cake by making my yellow cake recipe and filling it with the filling. The brown sugar frosting on top is perfect!

Other Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

pecan pie cupcakes cut in half with white frosting and a pecan on top

Pecan Pie Cupcakes Recipe

5 from 46 votes
A brown sugar cupcake with pecan pie filling and brown sugar frosting – the most delightful Thanksgiving cupcake recipe ever!
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield 12 cupcakes
Serving Size 1 cupcake


For the Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons (28g) Challenge Unsalted Butter
  • cup (79ml) corn syrup
  • ¼ cup (50g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons (8g) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large eggs lightly beaten
  • ½ cup (60g) chopped toasted pecans (chopped small)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cupcakes:

  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ¼ cups (155g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (113g) Challenge Unsalted Butter, melted
  • ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces (148ml) buttermilk

For the Brown Sugar Frosting:

  • 1 ½ cups (339g) Challenge Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons (38g) packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (339g) powdered sugar
  • 12 Toasted Pecan Halves for topping
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Make the filling:

  • Add butter to a small saucepan and melt over low heat. Add corn syrup, brown sugar, cornstarch, salt and eggs and whisk until smooth. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and vanilla; cool 10 minutes. Refrigerate one hour, or until thickened.

Make the Cupcakes:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with liners.
  • Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Place melted butter in a large bowl and add brown and granulated sugars. Mix on medium speed to combine, about 1 minute.
  • Mix in eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition.
  • Add in the buttermilk and the flour in 3 additions, mixing just until combined.
  • Fill cupcake liners about two-thirds full. Bake 14-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Cool completely before filling and frosting.

Make the frosting:

  • Beat the butter until smooth in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add brown sugar and cream until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  • Add vanilla, heavy whipping cream and salt and mix until combined.
  • Reduce mixer to medium-low speed and while mixer is running, slowly add powdered sugar and mix until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Then increase the mixer to medium-high and beat until fluffy and light, about 5 minutes.
  • Frosting can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Let come to room temperature and if needed, re-fluff with mixer for a few minutes before using.

Assemble the cupcakes:

  • Scoop out the center of each cupcake and add approximately 1 tablespoon of stuffing into the cupcake cavity.
  • Frost cupcakes as desired (cupcakes pictured were frosted using a Wilton 1M open star tip).
  • Store cupcakes in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Cupcakes can be frozen before being frosted.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • To toast pecans: place in a frying pan over medium low heat and stir often until fragrant. Learn how to toast nuts here.
  • Milk: You can use regular milk or nondairy milk in place of the buttermilk. I don’t recommend nonfat milk.
  • Gluten-Free: Swap the flour for 1:1 GF AP flour easily.
  • Skip making the cupcakes and use a cake mix – but you’ll need to double the filling and frosting since cake mixes make about 24 cupcakes.
  • Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freeze them (frosted or unfrosted) for up to 3 months. Serve room temperature. 

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 914kcal | Carbohydrates: 112g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 331mg | Potassium: 407mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 86g | Vitamin A: 1048IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 144mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
pecan pie cupcakes cut in half with white frosting and a pecan on top with words on the image

Pecan Pie Cupcakes are a brown sugar cupcake with pecan pie filling and brown sugar frosting – the perfect cupcake recipe! These were so good we couldn’t stop eating them!

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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