Butter Tarts are a classic Canadian dessert with a rich filling made of butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and raisins.
Raisins or no raisins? The much-debated question when it comes to butter tarts. Some people hate raisins and therefore don't like them in their tarts. Others find raisins too sweet with the sugary filling so prefer using currants for a more tart edge or chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts.
I personally don't love raisins but we always had raisins in butter tarts growing up in my household. So, to me, raisins belong in these beloved Canadian tarts. I also enjoy a plain tart with no add-ins sometimes, as I now make them special for some people who don't like raisins at all.
Speaking of Canadian desserts, have you ever had a Nanaimo bar? Check out my recipe for Homemade Nanaimo Bars or try my Mint Nanaimo Bars which would be great for Christmas! I also have a recipe for Coffee Nanaimo Bars which are incredible!
Either way, these tarts are completely customizable! Add whatever you would like on the bottom of the tart shells and then top with that buttery, gooey filling. As for those tart shells, I always use storebought premade tart shells to make butter tarts because it makes this recipe so easy and quick!
⭐️ Why You Need to Make This Recipe
- Comforting - Butter tarts are Canadian comfort food at its finest!
- Quick and easy! - These tarts can be mixed together in under 10 minutes and baked in under 30.
- Customizable - Don't like raisins? No problem. Make them with pecans or walnuts. Or plain without any add-ins.
Only seven simple ingredients are needed to make delicious homemade Canadian butter tarts.
- Salted Butter - Of course, there has to be butter in a butter tart!
- Brown Sugar - Brings a caramel-like richness to the filling.
- Eggs - Fun Fact: there is actually more egg than butter in butter tarts
- Vanilla Extract - Vanilla enhances the sweet caramel flavour notes of these tarts.
- White Vinegar - Some say vinegar is added to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Others say the acidity of the vinegar helps to cut the sweetness of the tarts.
- Raisins - I use raisins, but you could also use nuts; pecans or walnuts are common. Or with no add-ins. I have made them with currants before, which is quite yummy! If you are feeling adventurous, you could even try dried cranberries or chocolate chips.
- Pre-made Tart Shells - You could make homemade tart shells, but I prefer the simplicity of using store-bought frozen shells.
See the recipe card for measurements.
Step 1: Combine the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar.
Step 2: Whisk until smooth and fully combined.
Step 3: Divide the raisins (or whatever add-in you are using) evenly between all 18 tart shells.
Step 4: Pour the filling over the add-ins into the tart shells. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the edges of the tarts are golden and the tart filling is puffing up.
- Store-bought Tart Shells - I enjoy the ease of using premade frozen tart shells but you could make homemade tart shells instead. You could also use gluten-free tart shells to make this recipe gluten-free!
- Raisins - I add raisins in my butter tarts but you can omit them completely or use currants or chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds instead. You could even try chocolate chips!
Store cooled tarts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. Take out a few hours before serving to thaw.
💡 Top tip
Don't overcook the butter tarts! Bake just until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling/foaming up.
Yes! Use gluten-free premade tart shells or make homemade gluten-free tart shells!
🥧 More Tart and Pie Recipes
Looking for other recipes for tarts and pies? Try these next:
If you tried these Butter Tarts or any other recipe on my website, please leave a ⭐️ star rating and write a little note telling me how it went in the comments below. Thank you!!
- mixing bowl
- measuring cups & spoons
- baking sheet
- 18 unsweetened frozen tart shells*
- ⅓ cup salted butter melted
- 1 ¼ cups brown sugar packed
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- ¾ cup raisins*
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, vinegar, and eggs in a medium bowl.
- Place 18 frozen tart shells on a large baking sheet. Drop about 10 raisins into each tart shell and then distribute the filling mixture evenly on top throughout all 18 tart shells.
- Bake the butter tarts in the preheated oven for 20-23 minutes or until the edges of the tart shell are golden brown and the filling has puffed up.
- Let cool slightly or to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!
- I enjoy the ease of using premade frozen tart shells but you could make homemade tart shells instead. You could also use gluten-free tart shells to make this recipe gluten-free
- This recipe calls for raisins but you can omit them completely or use currants or chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds instead. You could even try chocolate chips!