Butter Tart Recipe ~ The Best Kept Canadian Secret Ever!

butter tarts

I am so happy to share this butter tart recipe with you! Butter tarts…the quintessential Canadian treat!! These ooey gooey delightful delicacies nestled into a flaky tart crust are oooohhh so good! This flakey sweet and salty dessert resembles a mini pecan pie, sort of.

Butter tarts are said to have originated in the 1600’s in Quebec. It was during this time that about 800 young ladies were sent to Quebec from France to serve as prospective brides for the early Canadian settlers. Actually, this was before Canada was even a country. These young women are said to have used local ingredients — maple syrup, butter, dried fruits — to create this pastry treat.

No matter the origin, these are to-die-for desserts!!

Best Kept Secret — but I forgive you…

Have you heard of butter tarts? Yea, I hadn’t either until a few years ago.

Now, I live in Wisconsin. Not too far from Canada, right?? I also have dear, dear cousins that live in Canada. We talk all the time. And it’s not like I haven’t ever been to Canada, or had my Canadian family visit me.

Canadian Flag that must be guarding all the butter tarts

Yet…I’m not sure I can ever truly trust them again. Not 100% anyway…

Years and years went by before I had ever even heard a murmur of butter tarts. Not…one…peep.

I can’t say I blame them. If I had a secret like butter tarts in my back pocket, I’m not sure I’d want the world to know either. I’d want to keep all the butter tarts to myself too.

But really… Come on, what else aren’t they telling me about??? Poutine? Haha, the cat’s out of the bag on that one!!!

bowl of poutine

Ingredients in Butter Tart Recipe

The sweet tart is made up from of a filling of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg. Baked in a pastry shell until the filling is semi-solid with a crunchy top, the perfect butter tart oozes just a bit when you bite into it!

You can decide if you’d like to add in nuts, raisins, or any other dried fruit.

Actually, I’ll bet you have everything in your pantry to make butter tarts right now! Let’s get to it!

Making the Butter Tarts

Start these little yummies by mixing up the pastry crust. Prepare the crust according to the recipe, and let it rest for about 30 minutes before rolling it out.

Use an electric mixer to whip up the filling ingredients until slightly fluffy. Make sure to take the butter out of the fridge to soften before you’re ready to mix it all up! Then add any filling, nuts or dried fruit, and stir it in.

Roll out the crusts, and cut 6 circles with a biscuit cutter or large glass. Press the circles into an ungreased muffin tin.

Evenly spoon the filling into the crusts, careful not to overfill them.

baked butter tarts in tins

Bake for 20 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the pastry is a beautiful golden brown. Cool slightly before removing from the tins.

butter tarts cooling on wire rack

This recipe makes about six butter tarts. I made two batches, one with nuts and one without. There’s no judgement, feel free to double the recipe if you’d like to make more!


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Butter Tarts

Butter tarts, the quintessential Canadian treat!! These ooey gooey delightful delicacies nestled into a flaky tart crust are oooohhh so good! This flakey sweet and salty dessert resembles a mini pecan pie, sort of.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: butter tart, pastry dessert, tart
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 585kcal

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Pastry Crust

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup cold lard or shortening
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup ice water

Tart Filling

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons corn syrup, light or dark
  • 1 pinch salt


  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Place rack on bottom shelf of the oven.
  • Prepare the pastry crust. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and cut in the butter and shortening. Add enough ice water to form a pastry dough that sticks together but isn't gooey. Let rest 30 minutes before rolling out.
  • Roll out the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface. Use a biscuit cutter or large glass to cut circles at least 1" larger than the opening of the muffin tin. Press crusts into tins, pinching into even circles to form the tart shell.
  • Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl, and mix on medium speed until filling is bubbly and well blended. Stir in any nuts or dried fruit, if you choose.
  • Spoon filling mixture into tart shells, careful not to overfill. Bake for 20 minutes, until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
  • Allow to cool slightly before removing from tins.
  • Enjoy!!!

Your Own Private Notes


Calories: 585kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 320mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 597IU | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @lakegirlquilts or tag #lakegirlquilts!

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