In my world, it's just not Christmas without Butter Tarts. Butter tarts are quintessentially Canadian, the perfect addition to your Christmas baking tray, and the ultimate Canadian treats and comfort food. We always have them around at Christmas.
This recipe is my family’s favorite recipe (my Grandma's old-fashioned butter tarts recipe) and the best butter tarts recipe you will find because they taste amazing, are simple to make (with an easy butter tart filling), and can be made in 20 minutes with store-bought tarts shell or homemade pie crust, and with pecans or raisins. I love these butter tarts so much that they inspired me to create Butter tart cookies, Butter Tart Waffles and Butter Tart Cake!
And I only make butter tarts at Christmas because it's a Canadian tradition and any more often than that would be dangerous. When I was a kid, my grandma made these all year round- lucky me! But alas, those were the glory days -when calories had no meaning...
I'm always surprised when someone says they've never tried these sweet tarts. I honestly can't imagine life without this Canadian classic!
When I moved away from Winnipeg and had to spend Christmas apart from family for the first time, making these butter tarts gave me great comfort. That was the first time I ever made them (nearly 30 years ago) and I've made them every year since... They are THE best butter tarts ever! You can read more about Grandma's Butter tarts in my article: Comfort and Baked Expectations.
I used to make this easy butter tart filling along with my grandma's amazing No Fail Cold Water Pastry, However, I don't always have the time to make pastry these days (especially around Christmas)! But even with store-bought pastry, these butter tarts will leave you begging for more.
These Best ever Butter tarts are to die for! And although I love my raisin butter tarts, not everyone has the same appreciation for raisins (including half of my family.) So if you want butter tarts without raisins, you can easily substitute pecans and enjoy pecan butter tarts instead!
I make my butter tarts with both pecans and raisins so everyone is happy. For this butter tart recipe (without corn syrup), you will need:
- butter * I use unsalted
- brown sugar
- cream (table cream/coffee cream- 18%)
- white vinegar
- raisins (or chopped pecans)
- tart shells * you pre-made tart shells (shown in photos) if you're in a hurry or make them with my No Fail Pie Crust (Cold Water Pastry) recipe or your own pastry recipe.
*See recipe card for ingredient amounts
📋Variations & Substitutions
- Tart Shells: My advice is to splurge on the brand name (ie: Tenderflake) flaky pastry shells for store-bought. When I bought the no-name brand, I regretted it - they tend to be too salty. You could use homemade pie crust instead, as they are simply mini pie crusts and easy to make, with a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter.
- Brown Sugar: you can use light or dark brown sugar
- Mini tarts - you can make these into mini tarts with mini tart shells. You just need to cook them for half the time in a mini muffin pan (affiliate link). The mini tarts are great for cookie exchanges!
Prep: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/205 degrees C.
Add ingredients in a large bowl, in the order given (melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, cream)
Add vinegar last. *It's important that you add in the order given.
Whisk until thoroughly combined
*Its best to use a whisk for this (not shown)
Line muffin cups with tarts shells
Place a few raisins or chopped pecans in unbaked tarts shells
Pour tart filling into tart shells to ⅔ full.
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the filling is set and the shells are golden brown.
Cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack at room temperature.
For best results, refrigerate for 30 minutes to fully set (they set up perfectly once they are cold)
💭 Top tips
If you only have a 12-muffin tin and not enough tarts to fill it, fill the empty ones with ⅔ water. Just be sure to rotate the pan halfway through the baking process.
Pecans: Store your pecan (and other nuts) in the fridge - they last longer and keep fresher. And if you don't plan on using them in the near future, you can store them in the freezer. Most nuts will keep well for at least 6 months in the freezer. * Just keep an eye on the expiry date.
To make these easy butter tarts, you will a large mixing bowl, a whisk, a muffin tin (12-cup muffin pan and a 6-cup muffin pan OR two 12 cups -see Top Tips), trivets, a spatula and a cooling rack (affiliate links) for this recipe.
👪 Serving size
This tart recipe makes 18 butter tarts, but you can half, double or triple the recipe by clicking on the blue servings number in the recipe card. Simply select the number of servings you'd like and the ingredient amounts will adjust accordingly.
- These butter tarts can be stored, in an airtight container, in the fridge for 5 days.
- This recipe freezes well for up to 3 months in a sealed airtight container. *If you stack them, be sure they are completely cooled (hardened), and put parchment or wax paper between the layers.
So if you're looking for truly Canadian Butter Tarts and THE Best Butter Tart recipe you'll ever taste, give these Best Ever Butter Tarts a try!
📋 Best Butter Tarts Recipe
- 2 tablespoon butter melted
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs slightly beaten
- ¼ cup cream
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- ½ cup raisins (approximately) or substitute finely chopped pecans
- 18 tart shells
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/205 degrees C.
- Mix ingredients in large bowl, in order given (butter, brown sugar, eggs, cream)
- Then add vinegar last. *It's important that you add in order given.
- Whisk until well combined. * A whisk should be used for this part, although I don't have that in the photo
- Place a few raisins or chopped pecans in unbaked tarts shells
- Pour filling in to tart shell to ⅔ full.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until filling is set and shells are lightly browned.
- Cool until set, then refrigerate fo rat least 30 minutes.