Butter Tarts


This iconic Canadian treat uses butter every step of the way



Butter tarts are one of the most irresistible, sweet-tooth-satisfying desserts around. It’s a quintessential Canadian delicacy that’s equal parts richness and gooeyness, in the best way possible.

Emilia, who has roots in both the Philippines and Canada shared this recipe with me. She admits she didn’t grow up eating butter tarts. Funny enough, it was during a cultural fair in the United States when Emilia first sampled them. Despite not having experienced them firsthand while growing up in Canada, she was struck by their familiar flavors, evoking memories of home.

Making these tarts is surprisingly simple to do. You start with a basic pie dough, roll it out into mini crusts, and fill them with the butter-sugar mixture before baking. Emilia suggests using real Canadian maple syrup for an extra touch of authenticity which is exactly what I did!

The pastry came out incredibly flaky and crispy with a smooth filling that’s just heavenly. It’s super sweet, but in that irresistible way that keeps you coming back for more. They feel so luxurious and comforting.

If you haven’t already, add these butter tarts to your baking bucket list. They perfectly capture Canada’s love for sweet, sticky treats, all wrapped up in a cute, handheld package. Just one bite and you’ll be hooked on this delightful classic.

Watch the Video


  • food processor
  • muffin pan


For the crust

  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • sticks (12 Tbsp) very cold unsalted Kerrygold butter cut into 12 pieces
  • ¼ cup very cold water

For the filling

  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar packed
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ stick (4 Tbsp) unsalted Kerrygold butter melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans optional but highly recommended


Make the crust

  • In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add the flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse briefly to combine.
  • Add the cold butter and process just until you have pea-size clumps of butter, about 8 seconds. Sprinkle the cold water over the mixture and process just until moistened and clumpy, about 8 seconds. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times, just until it comes together into a cohesive ball.
  • Pat and knead the dough into a 6-inch disk, flouring and turning the dough as necessary so it doesn’t stick. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  • Take the dough from the fridge and unwrap onto a lightly floured work surface. (If it's been in the fridge for longer than 30 minutes, you may need to knead it just a bit until it's malleable enough to roll.) Roll the dough to about ⅛ inch thick, flouring and turning as necessary so it doesn't stick. Don't worry about the shape.
  • Using a 4-inch-diameter cookie or biscuit cutter, cut the dough into as many circles as possible. Line each cup of an ungreased standard 12-cup muffin pan with one of the circles, gently nudging it down into the bottom creases of the pan. The top edge of the dough circle should come all the way up to the top of the cup. Gather the scraps and reroll the dough if you need additional ­circles. Chill the pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Make the filling and tarts

  • In a medium bowl (preferably with a pouring spout), whisk together the brown sugar, maple syrup, melted butter, egg, vinegar, vanilla, and salt.
  • Divide the pecans (if using) among the pastry-lined muffin cups. Pour the filling evenly into the muffin cups. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tarts are golden brown, bubbling, and set.
  • Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes, then run a butter knife around the edge of each tart to loosen. Let the tarts cool completely in the pan, then remove. Serve at room temperature.


Recipe inspired by Once Upon a Chef
Course: Dessert
Region: North America
Keyword: Party Food


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