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BEST Canadian Butter Tarts

  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 butter tarts


This famous Canadian dessert consists of a flaky pastry shell filled with a rich buttery caramel center.


Makes 12 butter tarts


  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) salt
  • 1/2 cup (114g) lard
  • 1/2 cup (114g) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp (5ml) white vinegar
  • about 1 cup (250ml) cold water


  • 3/4 cup (165g) packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75g) unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) table or whipping cream
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg


  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, raisins or chocolate chips


  1. In a large bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Cut in the lard and butter using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal.
  3. In a measuring cup, combine the egg and vinegar. Add enough cold water to make one cup.
  4. Gradually stir in the liquid, adding just enough to make the dough cling together.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball and divide into two equal portions. Tightly saran wrap both portions. Place one in the freezer for later use. Place the other in the fridge to chill for one hour.
  6. Roll the dough on a floured surface to about 1/8″ thick. Cut as many 4″ circles as you can. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more circles to make 12.
  7. Fit the pastry circles into a muffin pan and place back in the fridge until ready to fill.
  8. Preheat oven to 375F and position a rack in lower third of oven.
  9. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and vanilla. Let cool to touch (about 5 minutes) before whisking in the egg.
  10. Divide the pecans (if using) among the pastry shells and pour in the filling until half full.
  11. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until crust is lightly golden around the edges and filling is bubbling.
  12. Let cool completely in the pan. Best way to remove the tarts from the pan is to place a cooling rack (upside down) on top and flip the pan over. Then individually flip each butter tart right side up.


I normally only make a dozen butter tarts at a time, but if you are serving a large crowd and want to make 2 dozen tarts, simply double the filling ingredients and use all the pastry dough.

To prepare the freezer dough for use: Thaw overnight in the fridge and leave out for 15 minutes at room temperature before rolling.

Butter tarts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature or up to 5 days in the fridge. If storing in the fridge, you can eat them cold or bring them to room temperature before serving. After 3 days, it’s best to freshen up the tarts in the oven at 350F for 5-10 minutes to re-crisp the pastry.

To freeze butter tarts: Place completely cooled tarts in an airtight freezer-friendly container or ziplock bag. Label with the date and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. For best results, freeze the day they were baked. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat in the oven at 350F for about 10 minutes.

  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: Canadian

Keywords: butter tart recipe, Canadian butter tarts, pecan butter tarts

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