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Rich and gooey Butter Tarts are the perfect treat for any occasion! They feature a sweet, buttery filling baked inside a flaky crust that will definitely make you want to keep going back for more! 

Mini desserts like these small pies are so fun to eat and are great for bringing to potlucks and other gatherings. If you love sweet treats like this, you should try these mini cheesecakes, these perfect mini pumpkin pies, or these mini cherry pies

Top-down view of butter tarts on a wire rack. One is cut in half.

What are Butter Tarts?

Butter tarts are a popular Canadian dessert, that are sweet, sticky and incredibly delicious! These melt-in-your-mouth mini pies are baked in a muffin pan, have a gooey filling made with butter, sugar, syrup, egg, vanilla and sometimes raisins or nuts in a flaky pastry shell. They are a bit similar to the American pecan pie, but the filling is not quite as solid. Even though they make a great treat anytime, I especially love to enjoy them during the holidays.

If you’ve never heard of or enjoyed butter tarts, you’re in for a real treat. You will love how the sweet, gooey filling is complemented by the flaky crust. Plus, these are easier to make than most pie recipes and only take about 25 minutes to prepare and then it’s off to the oven! Bring these to your next potluck or holiday gathering and wait for the rave reviews to come pouring in!

Ingredients in Butter Tarts

One of my favorite things about this recipe is the simple list of ingredients! You probably already have everything in your kitchen. Some of the simplest desserts become the best! See the recipe card below for exact measurements.

Crust

  • Flour: Regular all-purpose flour will work great to make the crust.
  • Salt: A small amount of salt will enhance the overall flavor.
  • Shortening: For fat content to make the crust perfectly tender and flaky.
  • Ice Water: Will help to moisten the dough. We want this to be super cold for a nice and flaky pie crust.

Filling

  • Butter: These are called butter tarts for a reason! You’ll need 1/4 cup of unsalted butter.
  • Dark Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar has more molasses than regular brown sugar. You will definitely want to use it! Your butter tarts will not be as richly flavored if you use light brown sugar.
  • Light Corn Syrup: For a sticky, sweet filling that’s so tasty!
  • Egg: The egg will give the filling a delicious rich taste.
  • Vanilla Extract: For an extra boost of flavor. Try making your own blend at home using my recipe here!

How to Make This Tart Recipe

Make your crust and filling mixture, add both to a muffin pan, and then it’s off to the oven! Waiting for your butter tarts to bake is the hardest part here. Here’s the simple process:

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Crust

  1. Start the Dough: In a medium bowl stir the flour and salt together. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the shortening until it is pea-sized.
  2. Add Water and Knead: Add in the water one tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork. Add water and mix until all the flour is moistened and it comes together in a shaggy dough. Use your hands to knead the dough just until it comes together into a ball, being careful not to overknead. This will lead to a tough dough.
  3. Roll: Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, turning and flouring the dough as needed until the dough is about ¼ inch thick.
  4. Cut Dough: Use a 3-inch circle cutter to cut out 12 circles of dough. If necessary, gently press the scraps of dough together and let it rest for 5 minutes before rolling out again to cut out additional circles.
  5. Press into Muffin Tin: Press the circles of dough into a lightly greased muffin tin, so each muffin well looks like an individual tart shell. Set in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Filling

  1. Melt Butter: Add the butter to a large measuring cup and heat in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, until fully melted.
  2. Make the Filling: Whisk in the brown sugar, corn syrup, egg, and vanilla. Pour the filling evenly into the chilled dough.
  3. Bake: Place in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the filling is set. Let your butter tarts cool completely before serving.
4-photo collage of the crusts and filling being prepared.

Tips for Making Butter Tarts

This butter tarts recipe is really simple and straightforward, but here are a few tips and ways that you can change it up, to make these the best!

  • Premade Dough: You may use premade pie dough for this! This is a time saver and will make making these tarts even easier.
  • Making Thicker Tarts: If you make this recipe with 9 tarts instead of 12, there will be a thicker amount of filling in them. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • Add-ins: Add in some bonus ingredients! Chopped pecans or golden raisins are excellent in these tarts. Place a scant tablespoon of nuts, raisins, or a combination in the bottom of your tart shells before pouring in the filling.
  • Filling Consistency: If you prefer your butter tarts on the runnier side, bake them for 12-13 minutes, so the filling isn’t completely set and appears a bit liquid still.
Closeup of butter tarts stacked on top of each other.

Storing Leftovers

  • Storing in the Refrigerator: Butter tarts are best kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to 5 days. They can be kept at room temperature, but there they will last only 1, possibly 2 days at best.
  • Storing in the Freezer: Once the tarts are completely cooled, they can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. They may be thawed in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
4 tarts stacked on top of each other. One is cut in half so you can see the filling.

More Delicious Desserts

We never can resist a delicious sweet treat at my house! Whether you are craving cookiescakes, or pies, I’ve got you covered. Here are some of my other favorite dessert recipes!

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Butter Tarts

5 from 1 vote
By: Alyssa Rivers
Rich and gooey Butter Tarts are the perfect treat for any occasion! They feature a sweet, buttery filling baked inside a flaky crust that will definitely make you want to keep going back for more!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 43 minutes
Servings: 12 tarts

Ingredients 

Crust

  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • cup shortening
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Filling

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

Crust

  • In a medium bowl stir the flour and salt together. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the shortening until it is pea-sized.
  • Add in the water one tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork. Add water and mix until all the flour is moistened and it comes together in a shaggy dough. Use your hands to knead the dough just until it comes together into a ball, being careful not to overknead. This will lead to a tough dough.
  • Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, turning and flouring the dough as needed until the dough is about ¼ inch thick.
  • Use a 3-inch circle cutter to cut out 12 circles of dough. If necessary, gently press the scraps of dough together and let it rest for 5 minutes before rolling out again to cut out additional circles.
  • Press the circles of dough into a lightly greased muffin tin, so each muffin well looks like an individual tart shell. Set in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Filling

  • Add the butter to a large measuring cup and heat in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, until fully melted.
  • Whisk in the brown sugar, corn syrup, egg, and vanilla. Pour the filling evenly into the chilled dough.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool completely before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 195kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 2gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 65mgPotassium: 27mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 138IUCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!
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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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3 Comments

  1. Having lived on the west coast of Canada most of my life, I have never seen a butter tart with no currants or raisins. How boring.