Christmas/ Desserts & Sweet Treats/ Holidays/ Recipes

Christmas Recipes For the Last Minute Panic People: Butter Tarts

Come along and cheat with me. Cheating is good for the soul. Let go of those crazy Christmas baking expectations and make something so delicious, so easy and so fast that you will weep with relief.

I make no secret of the fact that I totally cheat with my butter tarts. I don’t even pretend that I attempt to make my own shells. I buy pre-made, unsweetened no-name brand from Superstore. Which, by the way, are the only ones I have found without hydrogenated oil in them, so thank you Loblaws, for that little blessing. I honestly don’t know what I would do without those tart shells. I make- no word of a lie people– hundreds of butter tarts every Christmas season.

I bake around 4 dozen for my husbands work. This does not include the 5 dozen I have to send for their Potluck every year, that’s just his immediate co-workers who demand tarts every Christmas season.

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I bake around 12 dozen for gifts. I bake for teachers, the wonderful lunch ladies at my kid’s school and my work.

I bake around 3 dozen for our own Christmas Day eating.

I think I’m around 300 tarts right there.

I have definitely considered trying to make my own shells, but never will it be for my huge tart making spree. It’s not even feasible. I will make my own for us personally, but for this massive baking need, you simply have to use pre-made shells.

The other thing is that I use margarine in most. People prefer the margarine taste. I cannot convince my family otherwise and my husbands work would freak right out if I changed anything on them.

Superstore No Name non-hydrogenated margarine is the ticket. It makes people flip out over the taste.

I have committed more baking cardinal sins with making my butter tarts (BUTTER tarts!) than in any other single recipe on my site.

But people love them. People have paid me to make them yearly for them – with margarine for that exact taste they want- and my husband knows when I use butter and turns up his nose at them.

I secretly make myself a batch every year with butter. I certainly have an affinity for the buttah.

So, feel free to sin along with me. These are fast and easy. Literally, it does not get faster than this and you end up with butter tarts to give away or to grace your Christmas dinner dessert table.

Ingredients Needed

1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of raisins
1/3 cup or margarine or butter, melted
1 egg
2 tablespoons of cream
1 tsp vanilla
15-18 unsweetened and unbaked tart shells

Kick the tires and light the fires to 375 degrees

Melt your margarine, then add in the vanilla,egg, cream and brown sugar. The lovely part about these is they are SO easy and fast to make. Throw it all in, mix the ever-livin’ devil out of it, and you are good.

Now add in your raisins, and half a cup is the bare minimum I use. I find that sometimes there is too much liquid and not enough raisins by the time I reach the end, be brave and just add in what you need at that point.

Put your tart shells, still frozen, on the tray and fill a good 3/4 of the way. I say still frozen because I have found when they are defrosted the filling leaks through the pasty, not ruining them, but making them softer. A good frozen tart shell will hold the contents in, and cook at the same time.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-18 minutes, until the rims of the tarts are beautifully browned.

So go ahead.

Cheat. A lot.

You’ll feel all the better for it.

Love,

The Cheatin’, Mistreatin’, Butter Tart Eatin’ Magpie

Print

How To: Make Butter Tarts


  • Author: Karlynn Johnston
  • Prep Time: 4 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 19 min

Description

How to make tasty and simple butter tarts. A Canadian classic!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
  • 1/3 cup or margarine or butter melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 15-18 unsweetened and unbaked tart shells

Instructions

  1. Kick the tires and light the fires to 375 degrees
  2. Melt your margarine, then add in the vanilla,egg, cream and brown sugar. The lovely part about these is they are SO easy and fast to make. Throw it all in, mix the ever-livin’ devil out of it, and you are good.
  3. Now add in your raisins, and half a cup is the bare minimum I use. I find that sometimes there is too much liquid and not enough raisins by the time I reach the end, be brave and just add in what you need at that point.
  4. Put your tart shells, still frozen, on the tray and fill a good 3/4 of the way. I say still frozen because I have found when they are defrosted the filling leaks through the pasty, not ruining them, but making them softer. A good frozen tart shell will hold the contents in, and cook at the same time.
  5. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-18 minutes, until the rims of the tarts are beautifully browned.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 16

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71 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    December 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    I was looking for a recipe without corn syrup and I hit the jackpot with this! My new go to! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply
    Shirley
    December 8, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    I use frozen tart shells but the bottoms are soggy and not really cooked more often than not. Does this ever happen to yours? What could be the problem?

    • Reply
      Dana
      January 1, 2018 at 10:23 pm

      I have the exact same problem. I did exactly this recipe but I cooked it at 400 degrees and I cooked it for 15 minutes and come to find out that the bottom of the Tarts weren’t cooked at all. The shell was still raw. Also the inside was all runny it didn’t cook. I used frozen tart shells also.

  • Reply
    Diana
    December 3, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Karlynn. I have only made butter tarts for a few years using my moms recipe (which I have misplaced and she is traveling and can’t get it to me). I am pretty sure her recipe uses corn syrup, so I started doing some googling and noticed some recipes use a syrup while some don’t. I was wondering if you have ever made any with syrup and what the difference is between using it and not using it taste wise. Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Karlynn Johnston
      December 3, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      I feel that it makes them too sweet and sticky, this recipe is my favourite I have yet to find it’s match!

  • Reply
    NickiDee007
    January 3, 2017 at 12:42 am

    Ok…so I made 19 of these. And also used less than 3/4 of the filling…what did I do wrong here? I’m very upset with the outcome hahah and I bake quite a bit. This is a first for me.

  • Reply
    taito1956
    December 17, 2016 at 1:30 am

    Oh man! Wish I’d thought of the rum like Sue Lassesen-Fowler suggested. Anyhow! Haven’t tried them yet but they’re in the oven finishing off and browning beautifully. May have added a wee bit too much shriveled grape but, so’k. Oh ya almost forgot! I added some chopped walnuts too! 

  • Reply
    taito1956
    December 16, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Oh man! Wish I’d thought of the rum like Sue Lassesen-Fowler suggested. Anyhow! Haven’t tried them yet but they’re in the oven finishing off and browning beautifully. May have added a wee bit too much shriveled grape but, so’k.

  • Reply
    Brookein_van
    December 17, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Can you freeze after cooking?

  • Reply
    Sue Lassesen-Fowler
    December 12, 2016 at 4:16 am

    This recipe is the same a what my Baba used only she put Rum extract or liqour in them. It adds a great flavor.

  • Reply
    Ang Fleming
    December 11, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Cannot ever find tart shells here in Indiana to make these for my Canadian hubby. I end up having to make the dough myself and make them using a muffin tin

  • Reply
    Jodie Moncrieff-Hennigar
    December 11, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    I am skipping buttertarts this year…mom and I both make them using the same recipe, there is no point in us both making them… As long as she doesnt think the same thing lol.

    • Reply
      Karlynn Johnston
      December 12, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      Uh oh, you’d better make sure hahaha!

    • Reply
      Jodie Moncrieff-Hennigar
      December 12, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      No she said last night she made them and they cooked over in the oven lol. I only make them to make sure my rum hasn’t spoiled\U0001f61c

  • Reply
    Racheal Hamel
    December 11, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    This is the recipe that my mother always used and now I do \U0001f60a

  • Reply
    Audrey Murray
    December 11, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Making them right now – double batch with first tray in the oven as I type 🙂

    • Reply
      Dianne Galway McCracken
      December 12, 2016 at 1:11 am

      When the recipe calls for cream, what do you use 10% , 18 % ?

      • Reply
        taito1956
        December 17, 2016 at 1:32 am

        I just used 10% coffee cream. They still look fine!

    • Reply
      Audrey Murray
      December 12, 2016 at 5:00 am

      Dianne Galway McCracken I had whipping cream so used that. They turned out nice!

    • Reply
      Maureen Hudson
      December 12, 2016 at 6:14 pm

      Okay I need a verdict from Brian – the connoisseur of Butter Tarts

    • Reply
      Dianne Galway McCracken
      December 12, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      Okay Brian, your sister and I are waiting …

    • Reply
      Audrey Murray
      December 13, 2016 at 12:38 am

      Brian says they are good (he mentioned your grandma’s so I think they are on par). Trent has inhaled three in quick succession so I take that as a positive. I did add more raisins than the recipe calls for to my double batch.

  • Reply
    louise2
    February 24, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    what kind of cream do you use in these ? whipping?

  • Reply
    Eileen Bulger
    December 19, 2015 at 5:35 am

    Try putting a few raisins in each shell before adding the filling. Always have enough.

    • Reply
      taito1956
      December 17, 2016 at 1:33 am

      Good idea! I’m a gonna try that next time!

  • Reply
    Lana Link Teers
    December 19, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Even better if you add chopped pecans ❤️

  • Reply
    Sharon Watchel
    December 19, 2015 at 3:54 am

    Yes it is indeed the Five Roses one – mouthwatering!

  • Reply
    Renee Ritchey
    December 19, 2015 at 3:47 am

    I can confirm that this is indeed the 5 roses recipe as it is the same one I make every year from that very cook book.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    December 18, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Hi, the fam doesnt like raisins in their butter tarts. If I omit them, will they still turn out ok, or would the consistency be off? P.S. there are also a couple of nut allergies so I cant just sub in pecans (not for all of them at least!)

    Thanks!!

    • Reply
      taito1956
      December 17, 2016 at 1:35 am

      @Lisa Bacon maybe?

  • Reply
    The Kitchen Magpie
    December 2, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    The tart shells are lifesavers!

  • Reply
    Tracey L Bureyko
    December 2, 2015 at 6:22 am

    …and butter all the way \U0001f609

  • Reply
    Tracey L Bureyko
    December 2, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! ❤️

  • Reply
    Tracey Malinowski Demuynck
    December 2, 2015 at 4:43 am

    I’m just going from memory at the moment but I’m pretty sure that is the same recipe (and same old cookbook) that my Mom’s recipe came from. When my Mom was alive we would tag team the process … she would make and roll pastry all day and I would make the filling, fill the pans and wash the pans between batches. We would do about 30 dozen that way. Now that Mom’s gone I am like you, I can’t keep up with the demand and have the home made pastry. So for the ones I give away, I use pre-made shells. Immediate family gets the “real” pastry. PS Butter all the way …! 😉

  • Reply
    Brian Lenaghan
    December 2, 2015 at 3:02 am

    I got it!!

  • Reply
    The Kitchen Magpie
    December 2, 2015 at 2:02 am

    The more fat content the richer the tart!

  • Reply
    Gloria Taylor
    December 2, 2015 at 1:58 am

    What kind of cream, I use 5% cream in my coffee, do I need something better?

  • Reply
    Erika Boyer
    December 2, 2015 at 1:53 am

    a really good butter tart recipe is a TREASURE!

  • Reply
    Heather Pollock
    December 2, 2015 at 1:30 am

    I think you need a proof reader… Lol
    Butter tarts are my favorite … My mom used a recipe with maple syrup and pecans 🙂 Yumm

  • Reply
    Ashley Meek
    December 2, 2015 at 1:21 am

    Perfect timing on your post, my husband just asked if I could make some.

  • Reply
    Rosaline Linhart
    December 2, 2015 at 12:42 am

    that old five roses cook book has been in our family since 1948 when we got the first copy…its amazing

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    chas
    October 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    what type of cream do u use?

  • Reply
    Sarah M
    December 26, 2014 at 1:38 am

    I am very disappointed that in order to share these with my family, I have to make my own tart shells. In Canada, they seem to be everywhere, in the US, they’re nowhere. Ah well, just a small sacrifice to be able to share this Canadian classic with my American in laws.

  • Reply
    The Kitchen Magpie
    December 23, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Well I DO want the whole recipe here for everyone, that part just got left out in the cut and paste somehow!

  • Reply
    The Kitchen Magpie
    December 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    You are so welcome!

  • Reply
    Debbie Robinson Woloshyn
    December 23, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Awesome! Going to try these as a last minute Christmas dessert! Thank you for posting so many awesome recipes!!

  • Reply
    Kathleen Klohn
    December 23, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks! Although if I’d just looked at the link you had it did say brown sugar.\U0001f633

  • Reply
    Ruth Cadman
    December 23, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Seeing as it’s Christmas, I need to come over and make Mince Pies with you xxx

  • Reply
    Happy Gourmand
    December 23, 2014 at 5:31 am

    I love this recipe, it’s a favourite! But how can you call them Butter Tarts if you use margarine? 🙂

  • Reply
    The Kitchen Magpie
    December 23, 2014 at 4:57 am

    Ack! Will fix!

  • Reply
    Christine Covacci
    December 23, 2014 at 4:05 am

    Always use your recipe, the best !!!!!!

  • Reply
    Kathleen Klohn
    December 23, 2014 at 3:31 am

    The directions say brown sugar but I don’t see it in the ingredients?

  • Reply
    The Kitchen Magpie
    December 23, 2014 at 1:18 am

    Mine was this morning but only around 5 dozen. They are SO fast with this recipe!

  • Reply
    The Kitchen Magpie
    December 23, 2014 at 1:18 am

    Yup! They will be pecan tarts and that’s dang delicious too!

  • Reply
    Mary Markoulis
    December 23, 2014 at 1:12 am

    Will the recipe work without raisins, or replacing the raisins with pecans?

  • Reply
    Debbie Flynn
    December 23, 2014 at 1:08 am

    Just made 70 Buttertarts last night

  • Reply
    Bonnie Hale
    July 8, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Hi There,

    Had great success with these.  Used GF pie crust and your recipe for the insides – DELICIOUS.  I am curious…..when you are giving them for gifts do you have some suggestions for packaging/wrapping them.

    Thanks.
    Bonnie

  • Reply
    CandaceMiddleton
    January 21, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Can I use milk instead of cream?

  • Reply
    The Kitchen Magpie
    December 17, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks! You too!

  • Reply
    Keyko Davidson
    December 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    I love your blog! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Reply
    The Kitchen Magpie
    December 17, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Do it!

  • Reply
    The Kitchen Magpie
    December 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    hahha! You know what, I love them in a beautiful homemade pastry. BUT this time of year is so busy for everyone, what working person has the time to make the fiddly ones? Even I don’t and my job is cooking up recipes LOL!

  • Reply
    Keyko Davidson
    December 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I like the cheating idea… as I will never forget when my nephew looked at my butter tarts and said “They don’t really look right”…

  • Reply
    Keyko Davidson
    December 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Butter tarts… such a part of Christmas for this first generation American from Canadian roots… I might just have to make some today!!!

  • Reply
    Carrie B
    November 29, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Just made 4 dozen of these today. Two dozen I made with raisins and the other two dozen I made with pecans. LOVE them. They are now safely tucked away in the freezer for Christmas. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. 

    • Reply
      thekitchenmagpie
      December 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      @Carrie B You are so welcome!

  • Reply
    kim ngo
    November 1, 2013 at 10:48 am

    SOOOOO GOOD

    • Reply
      thekitchenmagpie
      December 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      @kim ngo Glad you liked them!

  • Reply
    Karlynn
    July 12, 2012 at 12:21 am

    I use no name Superstore ones, they have no hydrogenated oil in them. Tenderflake would work as well, any unsweetened premade tart shells will work.

  • Reply
    Megan
    July 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    could you please tell me the store/brand of tart shells you use? [email protected]. I am searching for some and have only been able to find what I am looking for in Canada. I live in Salt Lake City, UT though so that’s not very convenient. Thank you!

     

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