Recombinant v- and t-SNARE proteins reconstituted into separate lipid bilayer vesicles assemble into SNARE-pins-SNARE complexes linking two membranes. This leads to spontaneous fusion of the docked membranes at physiological temperature. Docked unfused intermediates can accumulate at lower temperatures and can fuse when brought to physiological temperature. A supply of unassembled v- and t-SNAREs is needed for these intermediates to form, but not for the fusion that follows. These data imply that SNARE-pins are the minimal machinery for cellular membrane fusion.