Butter tarts are a classic Canadian treat and a personal favorite!

Flaky tart shells are filled with a gooey butterscotch flavored filling and baked until golden! These little tarts are ready in less than 30 minutes.

Butter Tarts in a pile and a bite taken out of one

What is a Butter Tart?

Canadian butter tarts are simple, rustic, and unforgettable! These little pastries are made by baking a buttery brown sugar filling in a light and flaky tart shell. The filling is somewhat similar to pecan pie filling but often with raisins or currants (you can make it with pecans too).

  • This easy butter tart recipe makes melt-in-your-mouth tartlets in less than 30 minutes from start to finish!
  • Use homemade or prepared pie dough or purchased tart shells if you’d like.
raisins , pie crust , egg , brown sugar , vanilla , butter and vinegar to make Butter Tarts with labels

Ingredients for Butter Tarts

TART SHELLS: Use pre-made pastry shells or cut pie crust pastry and place it in muffin tins. No need to pre-bake – easy peasy!

BUTTER: To create the richest, sweetest flavor, use real butter (it’s in the name, after all). If using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt.

SUGAR: Dark brown sugar has more flavor, but light brown sugar can be used in place. You can replace half of the brown sugar with corn syrup or maple syrup if desired; however, the filling will be slightly thicker with brown sugar.

ADD-INS: We use raisins, although currants are another traditional ingredient for butter tarts. You can replace the raisins/currants with pecans, walnuts, coconut, or mini chocolate chips.

EXTRAS: Be careful not to over-stuff butter tarts with too many extras since the thick, sweet filling is where all the flavor is.

How to Make Butter Tarts

  1. Line a muffin tin with pie pastry and add raisins or pecans if using.
  2. Mix the filling ingredients in a bowl (as per the recipe below).
  3. Pour filling into the tart shells and bake until set and the crusts are golden brown.
close up of Butter Tarts

Storing Butter Tarts

Butter tarts can be stored at room temperature in a covered container for up to 3 days. Wrap butter tarts in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.

More Mini Desserts

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Butter Tarts in a pile and a bite taken out of one
5 from 19 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Butter Tarts

Flaky mini pie shells are stuffed with a gooey rich filling and baked until perfectly golden!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 tarts
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Ingredients  

  • 12 tart shells or dough for a single pie crust
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup salted butter melted
  • ¾ cup golden raisins

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Place the tart shells on a rimmed baking sheet or use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut the pie crust into 12 circles. Gently place each into a muffin pan.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Whisk in brown sugar, vinegar, and vanilla.
  • Add the melted butter and stir well to combine.
  • Divide the raisins over the tart shells and pour the filling mixture overtop.
  • Bake for 19-22 minutes or until set.
  • Cool to room temperature before serving.

Notes

Replace raisins with chopped pecans if desired.
Butter tarts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature. Wrap butter tarts in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
5 from 19 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 204 | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 83mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 141IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert, Pie
Cuisine Canadian
easy Butter Tarts with a title
gooey Butter Tarts with writing
close up of Butter Tarts with writing
plated Butter Tarts and close up of one with a bite taken out and writing

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. This recipe is almost identical to the one my mom used 65+ years ago! It was from a Robin Hood cookbook, c~1929 I believe, which was actually before she was born!
    She tripled, or quadrupled the recipe, as dad was a butter tart HOG! LOL. He’d often eat 12 for a snack. Never gained a #. I gained 5, just walking by them…

  2. Sorry, I’m not sure I understand the directions. Under “how to make the tarts”.
    1. cream the butter and sugar together.
    2. add corn syrup, egg, and salt.
    I don’t see corn syrup as an ingredients. I don’t understand creaming the butter with the sugar when the butter is melted. I most likely missed reading part of the instructions.

    1. Sorry for the confusion, I’ve updated the overview. Half of the brown sugar can be replaced with either corn syrup or maple syrup if desired although I most often make them with brown sugar.

  3. Hi Holly, I love trying your recipes and this one caught my eye as my sister lived in Canada for a short time and these were her favorite.. want to surprise her but in your ingredient list it mentions white vinegar yet above in your descriptions it mentions corn syrup?5 stars

    1. Sorry for the confusion Suzanne, I’ve updated the overview. Half of the brown sugar can be replaced with either corn syrup or maple syrup if desired.