Kitchen Tips

The Only Butter Tart Recipe You’ll Ever Need

We tested dozens of variations until we came up with the perfect butter tart recipe. (Bake it and see what we're talking about.)
The Only Butter Tart Recipe You’ll Ever Need

But the real question is, raisins or no raisins? Photo, Erik Putz.

One of the ultimate Canadian desserts, the butter tart is a mash-up of pecan pie and sugar pie in a small tart form. But with so many variations around, what’s the mark of a superior tart? Through extensive testing (and tasting), we decided that there are five characteristics that make this the best butter tart (get the recipe), ever:

Flaky pastry dough

Ours is a combination of lard for flakiness, and butter for flavour.

Golden baked crust

We bake it in a muffin pan on the bottom rack on high at 450F for 8 minutes, then reduce to 400F until golden to ensure the crust is baked—not pasty and raw.

Filling taste

The flavour is a balance of sweetness with a buttery finish. How did we get it? By using light brown sugar.  Dark brown sugar overwhelms the balance and the maple syrup doesn’t shine. Plus, the right amount of vinegar offsets the sweetness of the sugar and corn syrup without tasting sour. (We tried it without vinegar and it wasn’t balanced.)

Filling consistency

It shouldn’t be too runny, but not solid either—you want a loosely set centre, without making a mess when you take a bite. The two baking temperatures used in this recipe address that conundrum beautifully.

How quickly they disappear from the cooling rack

That’s the real test, after all. (We also developed three alternate butter tart fillings to go with these classic Canadian butter tarts recipe, and every single one vanished in record time!)

Delicious butter tart variations


These are the three delicious alternate fillings included with our classic recipe

Chocolate Butter Tarts

A closeup of a chocolatey butter tart on a white background

Bourbon Cranberry Butter Tarts

A bourbon cranberry butter tart, topped with dried cranberries, on a white background

Pecan Butter Tarts

A closeup of a butter tart topped with chopped pecans on a white background


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