Butter Tart Bars

close up stack of Butter Tart Bars in a dessert plate on white background

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Butter Tart bars or butter tart squares are almost as easy as my homemade butter tarts! You can make these in no time at all and they are just as delicious as a real butter tart is!

stack of Butter Tart Bars in a dessert plate with a mug on the side in white background
Butter Tart Bars

Butter Tart bars are almost as easy as my homemade butter tarts.

Almost. You do have to make a crust for these, but it is incredibly simple to whip up and they are a crowd-pleaser, let me tell you! There is nothing like a batch of butter tart bars hidden in your freezer for when company comes over.

And I do mean hidden! If anyone knows that there are butter tart bars in the freezer, they won’t last long!

close up stack of Butter Tart Bars in a dessert plate on white background
Butter Tart Bars

Can I put walnuts or pecans in butter tart bars?

Now, I don’t actually put any nuts in my butter tarts but I have been known to add nuts to these. It depends on what mood I am in at the time. Oh fine, it actually depends on whether or not I am organised and have nuts in my pantry to use in them. You caught me. I am pretty sure that I have lost small children in my pantry, it’s so disorganized. Which is scary because I organize it at least 6 times a year. It just won’t stay clean!

So the long answer to the short question is YES you can put nuts in these butter tart bars!

close up stack of Butter Tart Bars in a dessert plate on white background
Butter Tart Bars

Butter Tart Bars Tips and Tricks

  • Butter tart bars are THE way to get that butter tart flavour that we all love with the least amount of work possible, with maximum payout. True, they aren’t as easy as using pre-made tart shells for a few dozen butter tarts that you whip up, which is my time-saving trick, but you can bake up a couple batches of these and freeze them in no time at all.
  • Make sure to let them cool completely in the pan before you slice them!

Can I freeze butter tart bars?

Yes you can freeze butter tart bars, here’s a few tips how:

  1. Make sure to cut them before you freeze them – I find that it’s just easier to slice bars before they head to the freezer.
  2. Get a good quality plastic container and you can freeze two layers of bars at a time, following step three below.
  3. To prevent freezer burn try to wrap the bars one layer at a time with plastic wrap. I find that putting them in a plastic sealed container doesn’t always prevent freezer burn. Make sure that there is wrap between the layers.

How long can I freeze them for?

If you follow the steps above there is no reason that they won’t last in your freezer for 1-2 months. It’s wrapping them so that you don’t get freezer burn OR take on any of the other “scents” in the freezer as well.

stack of Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares / Confetti Bars on blue background

If you are looking for another retro recipe that is seriously the bomb, try my Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares / Confetti Bars as pictured above. Now THESE don’t last in the freezer, mainly because they taste amazing frozen!So who here makes butter tart bars? Has made them? WILL make them?

Happy baking babes!



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Butter Tarts Bars! Tastes exactly like buttertars but are half the work! #recipes #dessert #butter #buttertarts #christmas #baking #holidays

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Butter Tart Bars

Butter Tart bars or butter tart squares are almost as easy as my homemade butter tarts! You can make these in no time at all and they are just as delicious as a real butter tart is!
4.98 from 92 votes
close up stack of Butter Tart Bars in a dessert plate on white background
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Total Time
45 minutes
16 squares
Karlynn Johnston



  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups of flour

Top Layer

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup  butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups  of raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  • Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl until crumbly.
  • Press the mixture into an ungreased 9x9  pan and pop into the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, until browned.
  • Combine your brown sugar and your eggs together well.
  • Add in the rest of your ingredients.
  • Bake at 350 degrees until beautifully browned, about 18-20 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Pecans and walnuts are exceptionally good in this!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 280kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 43mg, Sodium: 131mg, Potassium: 257mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 295IU, Vitamin C: 1.2mg, Calcium: 39mg, Iron: 1.4mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

Site Index Bars and squares Christmas baking Raisins

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Cindy Stevens says

    I rarely review recipes but this was so delicious, I made an exception. My husband doesn’t like cooked raisins, so I used 1 cup of chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup of chopped pecans in place of the original walnut/raisin filling. It is so good that it will never last until Christmas. I will have to make a second one before the holidays begin.5 stars

  2. Lindsay says

    I made these, but didn’t know if I needed to melt the butter for the filling (I didn’t do it) and the butter ended up not incorporating well – think small chunks). Are they going to turn out – or do I need to toss them?

    • Kelsie Petersen says

      I’m making these now…what happened!?!? I don’t know what to do, lol!!

      • johanna theroux says

        Literally just dumped them, why is the topping 90% raisins and also went really spongy? so confused.

  3. Christine says

    I always thought making butter tart bars was beyond my baking skills, but this recipe was easy to follow and the turned out delicious! Not too much filling to crust ratio, and perfectly gooey!5 stars

  4. KL says

    I tried this recipe this past weekend. I love the top layer – after baking it was nice and crispy on the top and sticky but not runny underneath.
    I wasn’t a huge fan of the crust. I found that the cooked brown sugar taste in it was a bit overwhelming, though my tasters didn’t mind at all so it is probably a personal preference thing. I will be trying this recipe again in the coming weeks but substituting out the bottom layer for maybe a shortbread-based one.5 stars

  5. Roni says

    I was craving the exceptional butter tarts my mom used to make when I was a kid and THESE squares come the closest in taste to hers! I’m tickled I found this recipe, and they’re so much easier than tarts (since only homemade pie crust would do). Thanks for a marvelous treat!5 stars

  6. Sylvia Jones says

    Oh my sweet heavenly yum yum!!! I plumped the raisins with hot water and drained them well, and added the chopped pecans. So so good..let’s see if they travel well, I’m sending some to family two provinces away!

  7. TerryF says

    These are the easiest and yummiest butter tart squares ever – taste just like the butter tarts my Canadian grandmother, mother and aunts used to make! I added chopped walnuts, and DH definitely approved. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!5 stars

  8. Anne says

    WOW! I already knew there is nothing better than anything baked with brown sugar and butter, but this rates off the charts in my books! I follow the recipe as it’s written and the result every time Is AWEmazing! It’s quick, easy and impressive! And the taste! It’s a new family favourite…a keeper for sure!5 stars

  9. Clive says

    Made them at the weekend and sadly they are just about gone. Best ones I’ve tasted with a better payload to pastry ratio than butter tarts.
    I omitted the optional nuts but added the zest of half a lemon to emulate some recently purchased ones that I liked. Glad I found this recipe and thanks a bunch for posting it. I dont often adhere to quantities but glad I did in this instance.5 stars

    • Lois says

      Ok I had trouble with the crust I couldn’t pat it down in the pan maybe I didn’t do something right?

      • TerryF says

        Did you use room temperature butter and cut it into the flour-sugar mix? I know the recipe instructions don’t say that specifically, but that is the way to make the crust. The butter has to be fully incorporated into the dry ingredients before you can pat it into the pan.

        • Brenda says

          Hi, should the butter be melted for top part?
          Doesn’t say ,. Made them last week, they were delicious,but a bit runny in middle.
          Used room temperature butter for base..ended up deciding to melt butter for top part

  10. Mishelle says

    Made this recipe spur of the moment with last minute company coming..my guests loved them.5 stars

  11. Jen says

    This is spectacular. I used walnuts and dried cranberries in place of the raisins. I also swapped out regular flour for gluten free 1-1 flour and upped the flour in the mix to 1 tbs to give it a touch more stability. It was still gooey but could be easily cut and just perfectly sweet. I’ll definitely make it again!5 stars

  12. Gwen says

    Hi Karlynn,
    I just discovered you, and you are a great find!
    I made your butter tart squares, and they were amazing, unlike ones I’ve fought with in the past! I omitted the raisins and added 1 1/2 cups of pecan pieces. I was lucky I sampled one before I brought them to the picnic, because they disappeared before my eyes – one person had two!
    Thanks so much, Karlynn – I’ll be signing up with you for Christmas. xo
    Gwen – Vancouver, B.C., Canada5 stars

  13. Terry says

    These were so yummy and so easy to make! Since we prefer our butter tarts without raisins, I did make a modification. Instead of the 1.5 cups of raisins, I used 1.5 cups of walnuts. Then, instead of the 0.5 cup of walnuts or pecans, I added a 0.5 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips. They were scrumptious!5 stars

  14. Lemoncello says

    made these at 11pm and it was so simple ad a big hit. My son insisted on nuts so I had to omit the raisins. This is a do over for sure!5 stars

  15. Louise says

    I was not a fan of this recipe. The filling is too runny & messy. I’ve seen others with a firmer filling & they cut up way better. I also found this version too sweet.5 stars

  16. Dianne stewart says

    Are my squares supposed to be juicy in the middle when they are done?

  17. Linda bear says

    You didn’t say what temp to cook the crust at.

  18. Lynn K-S says

    I ‘m another Canadian making buttertart squares!
    I made 1.5 times the recipe to fill a 9×13 pan.
    I used an oatmeal shortbread crust to replace the plain flour one (replace 1/3 the flour with ground oatmeal and add a bit of vanilla extract).
    I used equal amounts of raisins and chopped pecans.
    Yum!5 stars

  19. Sue says

    Couldn’t believe how incredibly easy these were to make. I brought these to co-workers for a Canada Day treat. Huge hit! They didn’t last long. Next time, I’ll need to double the recipe.5 stars

  20. Melissa says

    Hi, I’m so excited to make this recipe! How many days ahead can I make and store the mess yummy treats before serving them? Thank you!

  21. Trudy says

    I’m Canadian and thought what are the chances…I just finished cross referencing this recipe to a recipe i’ve had since childhood. Growing up my knick name was Betty Crocker. HaHa…
    The only difference in this recipe compared to mine is 1cup of brown sugar vs my 1.5! It’s been so long and I’m so excited to make them! I know they’ll be fanatastic.

  22. Sarah Landis says

    Just made the Butter Tart Bars and they are AMAZING!!! If you love pecan pie you will definitely enjoy these bars. They were very easy to make and perfect for the holidays.5 stars

  23. Randi says

    I almost cried when I saw this recipe. I an Alberta native (Cold Lake) who transplanted to the Eastern U.S, and I miss butter tarts around the holidays. I usually make the bars (and those PITA shells) from scratch but found myself short on time this Thanksgiving. So, to the interwebs I went, skeptical, of course that the recipes I would find wouldn’t be authentic Canadian. My fears are assuaged!

    I’m making two pans of these for “Friendsgiving”

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

    • Randi says

      I almost cried when I saw this recipe. I an Alberta native (Cold Lake) who transplanted to the Eastern U.S, and I miss butter tarts around the holidays. I usually make the bars (and those PITA shells) from scratch but found myself short on time this Thanksgiving. So, to the interwebs I went, skeptical, of course that the recipes I would find wouldn’t be authentic Canadian. My fears are assuaged!

      I’m making two pans of these for “Friendsgiving”

      Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

      (What gave it away was the confetti bars!)

  24. Cindy says

    Excellent recipe! It will look really giggily in the middle but it’ll settle as it cools. I like mine runny so I let them cook until medium brown. The edges / outer areas were solid and the inner area runny. Loved these squares and usually have all the ingredients in the cupboard. They were raved about and I’ll definitely be making them again!5 stars

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      They are better when a little bit runny, just like real butter tarts! Glad you liked them!5 stars

  25. Patricia says

    should the butter be cold when baking the base of the butter tar barrrrrrrrrrr

  26. kniceone says

    for a truly new taste – use craisins (dried cranberries) – utterly awesome.  (No nuts)

  27. Karlynn Johnston says

    Oh my gosh! I’ve done silly things like that I am supposed to know better! If only you knew all the recipes that had to be started ALL over again!

  28. CG says

    Thanks for the simple recipe! It turned out tasty but more chewy and the raisins dryer than anticipated… It wasn’t until I found the butter in the microwave that I realized what was missing!!!! I was such a dumb***- how could I possibly forget the butter in the BUTTER tarts!!!! (:()

    Tomorrow perhaps I’ll give it a 2nd go! 😉


  29. Scoop says

    Hi Karlynn! These got me so craving for butter tarts but decided to make this instead because I did not have shortening to make actual butter tarts. The butter (sugar, eggs, raisins etc.,) was delicious but my crust came out half chewy, half crunchy…not sure what I did wrong? In any case, the taste is still heavenly just uncertain bottom…I love your website/FB page…I am a huge fan of your buttercream icing! 🙂

    • Karlynn says

      Thanks for reminding me these are on my Christmas baking list! Let’s see. A couple things might be that the butter/flour/brown sugar wasn’t mixed together enough it needs to be very well mixed, no pea if you used margarine with a high water content -diet ones etc- or the brown sugar was stuck together making crunchy bits -so done this. The crust has never failed me! Yet. I better watch out saying that. Try mixing it really well, using fully loaded margarine (you can bake it longer than butter) a slightly lower oven temp and baking it longer. I hope it works because these are just amazing!

      Glad you love my icing and really glad you’re sticking around reading more!

    • wolf_eyes78 says

      @Scoop did you bake the crust and let it cool completely? And butter mixture back to room temp before adding it on top??  I’ve found that to be my prob in the past. 

      • C.B. says

        I made these because some said they were runny but while they had good flavor they were not in any way runny. I like runny. I found when i made the recipe it didn’t seem to me that there was enough of the topping and I had to spread it quite a bit to cover the crust.5 stars

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