Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes with Butter Pecan Frosting.…pecan pie, but in cupcake form and so good. Extra chocolatey cupcakes made with warming bourbon and generously stuffed with gooey pecan pie “filling”. Each cake is frosted with the most delicious creamy brown sugar frosting and finished off with a sprinkling of cinnamon-spiced brown sugar pecans. Sooo much to love here! You can’t beat these cute little bite-size pecan pie cupcakes. They’ll be the hit of your Thanksgiving desserts!
Happy last Friday before Thanksgiving guys!! This week was a lot, and of course, took some unexpected turns. But the good news is that we have so much to look forward to in the coming days. And the best cupcakes to bake up this weekend.
I’m excited, and looking forward to a very low key holiday and a good amount of pie. Or pie cupcakes actually!
So…pecan pie? How do you guys feel about it? Do you love it or would you prefer pumpkin pie? With my family, any kind of chocolate pie is much preferred. We do have a few oddballs that love a pumpkin pie. But the majority of the fam always go for the chocolate.
Personally, I am a pecan pie lover all the way. It’s what I grew up on, and also what I look forward to every holiday season. My mom never did pumpkin pie, but I’ve always said that her chocolate bourbon pecan pie is one of my all-time favorites. It’s all about that gooey filling and sweet chocolate. Gets me every time.
And that brings me to these cupcakes. They’re everything I love about my mom’s pecan pie, but in the form of a cute chocolate cupcake.
The history on these cupcakes…
This is a recipe I shared a long, long time ago. It’s been a favorite ever since, but I hadn’t made them in a while. Actually, since 2013, so quite a longggg while.
With things being so crazy this holiday season, I wanted to make our Thanksgiving extra special and really pull out all the stops. Somehow that lead me back to these cupcakes. Once I had the idea to make these, I knew I needed to get the recipe perfect before sharing. I spent a few days testing and retesting and I’m pretty excited to share the final product with you guys.
These cupcakes are GOOD. The kind you’ll have a hard time not going back and grabbing a second. They’re made rich and flavorful with a good splash of bourbon, the pecan pie filling is gooey, and swirled with toasted pecans, and the brown sugar frosting? Well, it definitely seals the deal.
I’m going to get this out there, these cupcakes require some time to prepare and do have a few steps. But they’re no harder than baking up your own pie. So while the recipe is longer, don’t let that scare you. You can easily make these!
I like to start with the pecan pie filling. Basically, this is pecan pie filling, but instead of it being in pie crust, it’s in the cupcake. Making it is kind of like making pudding. Just mix eggs with cornstarch, add brown sugar and maple syrup, then thicken it up on the stove. Then stir in cinnamon-spiced bourbon pecans and now you have your pecan pie “filling”. Also known as pecan pie, cooked on the stove, and minus the pie crust.
Once you have the filling made, bake the cupcakes. And guys? These are extra special cupcakes. It’s all about the bourbon which really helps to highlight the rich, sweet chocolate. Originally, I used a full cup of bourbon, but I felt that it was just a smidge overpowering. So I took the bourbon down a bit and came out with the perfect chocolate cupcake that has subtle notes of bourbon. So delicious.
Each cupcake is incredibly moist, so soft, and perfectly sweetened. The flavor truly comes from the bourbon.
The bourbon pecan pie filling is so gooey and delicious. Over time the filling begins to seep into the cupcake and create the moistest, most flavorful chocolate cupcake with a pecan center. They’re roll your eyes back delicious!
On to the butter pecan frosting…
This frosting is everything and has to be one of my favorites. I drew inspiration from a few of my older recipes, but especially from these sweet brown sugar cookies, and also these butter pecan frosted fudge brownies. And more recently, my chai pumpkin cupcakes.
There are two simple secrets to this frosting…
One, use a mix of brown sugar and powdered sugar. Powdered sugar adds practically zero flavor. The brown sugar adds hints of warm molasses and really deepens the flavor to create a frosting that’s perfectly rich and sweet.
The second secret…vanilla, and sweet cinnamon bourbon spiced pecans swirled throughout. SO GOOD. Think creamy, buttery, and hinted with brown sugar, vanilla, and filled with nutty pecans. Honestly? you’ll want to slather on more than you think your cupcakes will actually need. You may even want to think about doubling that frosting.
Now, stuff, frost, decorate…and eat.
I didn’t do anything fancy here. I stuffed the pecan pie filling into the center of each cupcake. Then simply dolloped a generous swirl of the brown sugar frosting overtop. Then I finished with those yummy toasted pecans.
And that’s it. Not the simplest, but worth every bit of extra effort. And so very good. Each bite is filled with sweet chocolate cupcake, gooey pecan pie filling, light, fluffy frosting, and bourbon-glazed pecans.
Oh my gooosssh, SO amazing.
These will make the perfect Thanksgiving cupcakes! My best advice is to bake these up this weekend. You’ll need to test out the recipe before Thanksgiving Day. Then take the extras to neighbors to share and make again for Thanksgiving next week. By the second round, you’ll have the process perfected and plenty of delicious cupcakes to enjoy!
Looking for other Thanksgiving desserts?? Here are my favorites:
Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
Brown Sugar Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
Lastly, if you make these Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes with Butter Pecan Frosting, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes with Butter Pecan Frosting.
Calories Per Serving: 487 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Pecan Pie Filling
- 3 cups raw pecans
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 cup real maple syrup
Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup bourbon (see notes)
- 1/2 cup strong black coffee or water
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup plain greek yogurt, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Butter Pecan Frosting:
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) salted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1. To make the pecan pie filling. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On the baking sheet, combine the pecans, 2 tablespoons bourbon, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and the cinnamon. Bake 8-10 minutes, until toasted. Sprinkle with sea salt. Roughly chop the pecans, reserving 22 whole pecans for topping.2. In a large pot, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water until fully combined. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar, the maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a heat proof bowl. Stir in about 1 cup of the chopped pecans and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill in the fridge until set, about 1 hour. 3. Meanwhile, make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 20-22 cupcake molds with paper liners.4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand-held mixer) beat together the coconut oil, bourbon, coffee/water, eggs, yogurt, and sugar until combined. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until smooth and no lumps remain in the batter.4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pan. Transfer to the oven and bake 18-22 minutes, until the tops are just set, and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool.5. To make the frosting, melt together 4 tablespoons butter, the cream, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl in the freezer (or fridge for longer) for 15-20 minutes or until cool to touch.6. Grab the cooled butter mixture from the freezer and add the remaining 12 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and the powdered sugar to the bowl. Beat together until well combined. Stir in 1/2-1 cup of the finely chopped toasted pecans. 7. Using a paring knife, cut a cone-shaped piece from the center of each cupcake. Fill the hole with the cooled pecan pie filling. Frost each cupcake and sprinkle with the remaining pecans. Top each with the reserved whole pecans.
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For an Intense Bourbon Flavor: If you want a cupcake that really tastes like a good shot of bourbon, use 1 cup bourbon and omit the coffee. This is an especially delicious cupcake with strong hints of bourbon. For a Mild Bourbon Flavor: For less bourbon, use 1/4 cup bourbon and 3/4 cup coffee/water. Can You Serve These To Kids? Yes the alcohol cooks out while baking. Asher loves these! If baking with 1 cup of bourbon, however, I would not serve to kids as they will taste the bourbon.
The flavor is OUT OF THIS WORLD! Who knew you would be a changed woman… from cupcakes?!
I will say this recipe is pretty advanced… I did run into a few issues. I have ideas where I may have gone wrong so hopefully you can help pinpoint it as well as answering questions I have to get it perfected for this upcoming weekend:
-The pie filling was hard. I did leave it in the fridge for over an hour… more like 4 hours. But I am also wondering if it overcooked? It started burning a little bit over the medium high heat. Maybe lower the temperature to play it safe?
-When making the pie filling, was I supposed to use the baked and chopped pecans I made, or just plain ones? (I definitely used plain).
-The frosting was extra buttery. I ended up using a whole bag of powered sugar to get it thick enough. I did not mix in the chopped pecans though.
-How big of wholes did you end up carving into the cupcakes?
-Do the cupcakes get soggy from the pie filling? I am trying to avoid that. What is best and/or acceptable storage for them (counter top, fridge, freezer)?
I am truly amazed by the flavor of these cupcakes! Thanks for the recipe!
Hi! I have made these cupcakes and they are fantastic! I was wondering if you have ever made this into a cake? And if so, are there any steps that you would recommend modifying?
Awesome!! I am so glad to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks for making it! Sorry, I’ve never made this into a cake, but I would probably do a sheet cake for best results. Hope you’re off to a great Saturday! xT
I made these cupcakes last night. They came out great! Even my picky teen loved them. Half-Baked HARVEST is my favorite. I have all of her cookbooks and try most of the recipes she posts on instagram. We usually love most of her recipes though her desserts have been a hit and miss. This one was a hit. It’s definitely time consuming though. Next time I’ll make the roasted pecans and the pecan filling the day before. My cake came out moist and delicious. I made 24 cupcakes not 20 and could have made 26 because I did overfill the cups a bit trying to use up all the batter. I only used 1/4 c. of coffee and 1/4 c. of water after reading a review that the cake was bitter. I don’t like coffee flavor but using the right amount of coffee in your chocolate cake intensifies the chocolate flavor so I do use coffee in my chocolate cakes. The bourbon flavor is strong so just cut back on it (something like 1/4 c. bourbon & 1/4 c. water or milk) if you know you don’t like food with a liquor flavor. You’ll still get a hint of bourbon flavor in the cake and the filling. I typically don’t like foods with a liquor flavor so I was making these mostly for my husband who loves pecan pie, coffee, and bourbon but even I thought the bourbon flavor was just right and loved all the flavor combinations. I always spoon my flour into the measuring cup then level it then I sift my dry ingredients. I’m also baking high altitude so I cut back a bit on the flour & sugar and increase the oil a bit. All that may have helped to get a moist cake. My filling consistency was perfect but I did reduce the heat to a simmer the second I saw a hint of a boil along the sides of the pan and stirred constantly for the minimum about of time and removed. I also used a heavy bottom pan to avoid over cooking. You have to keep a close eye on the filling, it can get away from you fast. It just needed a good stir after it cooled off to get the consistency perfect. The only thing that gave me a bit of trouble was the frosting. Leaving the heated butter and sugar mixture in the freezer for 20 minutes wasn’t long enough. After adding the rest of the ingredients the frosting was too runny. I just put it back in the freezer for a bit then it whipped into the right butter cream consistency. My butter was probably too soft and the hot butter & sugar mixture wasn’t cold enough. I did reserve 1 cup of the roughly chopped pecans for topping the cupcakes instead of 1 whole pecan for each cupcake. In fact, I felt like I could have cut back on the pecans by at least 1/2 cup if not a whole cup. I only gave it 4 stars because it took so long to make and while they are delicious, they are a bit too sweet and rich for us. Next time I’ll cut back on the sugar and the pecans and I’ll use milk instead of water. I do wish a “less sugar” version of dessert recipes were included in each recipe for those of us that aren’t used to eating super sweet foods but still love to have a little bit of sweetness sometimes. The French have this down to perfection. A dessert that looks so decadent but isn’t insanely sweet. Those are always the best desserts.
Happy Sunday!! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am so glad it was a hit! I truly appreciate you making so many recipes and sharing your feedback and what worked well for you! I’m sure this will be helpful for others:) Have a great week! xTieghan
So I am not old enough to buy bourbon, but I do have rum extract, do you think that adding some of that would be ok?
I’m not sure rum would be the best option here:) I would skip the bourbon and use some more coffee or water in place of it! I hope you love this recipe, let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan
Filling was decent along with frosting. Cupcake was dry n bitter. Ended up tossing the cupcakes in the trash
Thanks for giving the recipe a try, so sorry to hear it was not enjoyed! Please let me know if there is any way that I can help! xTieghan
I have some buttermilk leftover. Can I sub this for the heavy cream in the frosting?
Sorry, I would stick with the heavy cream, I don’t think the buttermilk would whip correctly. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love the recipe! xx
I am making these cupcakes for a party and I need to make them gluten and corn free. I usually just use my cup4cup gluten-free flour but I am unsure of what to use to replace the cornstarch. I was thinking arrowroot. Thoughts?
Yes, arrowroot should work well for you here! Let me know how the recipe turns out, I hope you love them! xT
So excited to have come across this recipe. Will be making it probably in a few steps (i.e. really hoping to make the cupcakes and cinnamon pecans in the evening, store, and finish up next day). Is there a “best way” to store suggestion by chance? I’m guessing the filling wouldn’t be the best to store overnight in fridge, so thought this would be a good way to break it up. Thanks so much!
I would store in an airtight container on the counter. I hope this recipe turns out amazing for you, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan
I am wondering if could omit the bourbon altogether??
You will want to use water in place of the bourbon. I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan
Hi – wondering if there is a good substitute for the yogurt, dairy allergy in the family. Applesauce maybe? Or canola oil?
Just use a dairy free yogurt:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan
Hi Tieghan was wondering if I can make everything ahead of time and freeze. Freeze the stuffing, cupcakes, and cooled butter mixture separately? Thanks Sandee
I’ve never tried this, so I honestly am not sure how it would all turn out. Please let me know if you give the recipe a try! xTieghan
Hello…has anyone every made the pecan pie filling just in a pie crust? I’m a bit nervous to only use maple syrup vs dark corn syrup.
Let me know if you give the recipe a try Christy!
Hello! My pecan pie filling is very hard after being in the refrigerator. Did I overcook it? Thanks for the help!
So sorry to hear this! How long was it in the fridge? It could be overcooked slightly. I hope this helps! xTieghan
Hey mine turned really hard too. I’m thinking we overcooked it. Still tastes good but definitely does not look like the pictures for me.
Hi! I have a family member who is allergic to chocolate (but not white chocolate) is there a way to adapt this recipe for white chocolate or vanilla cupcakes?
Hey Kayla! I would recommend using your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe and using the filling + frosting for this recipe. That will be great!! Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy Holidays!!
I’m wondering if you think it’s ok to make the “pie filling” ahead of time. I’m traveling (by car) and was planning on making the filling and cupcakes ahead of time, and then filling and frosting them once I get to our destination. Should be ok, right?
Yes, that should be totally fine to do! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan