Christmas Recipes For the Last Minute Panic People: Butter Tarts

5 from 12 votes
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3 pieces Butter Tarts with raisins on a white floral tablecloth background

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.

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.

close up 3 pieces Butter Tarts with raisins on a white floral tablecloth background

So go ahead.

Cheat. A lot.

You’ll feel all the better for it.

Love,

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

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How To: Make Butter Tarts

How to make tasty and simple butter tarts. A Canadian classic!
5 from 12 votes
close up 3 pieces Butter Tarts with raisins on a white floral tablecloth background
Prep Time
4 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Total Time
19 minutes
Course
Dessert
Cuisine
Canadian
Servings
16
Calories
173
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients
 

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

Instructions
 

  • 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 pastry, 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.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 173kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 91mg, Potassium: 59mg, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 210IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1.5mg

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 Christmas baking

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Sawyer says

    Hey Karlynn,
    Do you have any video tutorial of this recipe?

  2. Chantelle says

    I used your recipe to make these tarts for my Christmas party. First time ever attempting butter tarts and they did not disappoint!!
    Your recipe is quick, easy to make and I had more than one person tell me they were better than their mother/ grandmother’s butter tarts. My new go to, thanks 😉

  3. Kathryn says

    I was looking for a recipe without corn syrup and I hit the jackpot with this! My new go to! Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  4. Shirley says

    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?

    • Dana says

      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.

  5. Diana says

    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!

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      I feel that it makes them too sweet and sticky, this recipe is my favourite I have yet to find it’s match!5 stars

  6. NickiDee007 says

    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.

  7. taito1956 says

    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! 

  8. taito1956 says

    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.

  9. Sue Lassesen-Fowler says

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

  10. Ang Fleming says

    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

  11. Jodie Moncrieff-Hennigar says

    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.

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      Uh oh, you’d better make sure hahaha!

    • Jodie Moncrieff-Hennigar says

      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

  12. Racheal Hamel says

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

  13. Audrey Murray says

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

    • Dianne Galway McCracken says

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

      • taito1956 says

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

    • Audrey Murray says

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

    • Maureen Hudson says

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

    • Dianne Galway McCracken says

      Okay Brian, your sister and I are waiting …

    • Audrey Murray says

      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.

  14. louise2 says

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

  15. Eileen Bulger says

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

  16. Lana Link Teers says

    Even better if you add chopped pecans ❤️

  17. Sharon Watchel says

    Yes it is indeed the Five Roses one – mouthwatering!

  18. Renee Ritchey says

    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.

  19. Lisa says

    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!!

  20. Tracey L Bureyko says

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! ❤️

  21. Tracey Malinowski Demuynck says

    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 …! 😉

  22. The Kitchen Magpie says

    The more fat content the richer the tart!

  23. Gloria Taylor says

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

  24. Erika Boyer says

    a really good butter tart recipe is a TREASURE!

  25. Heather Pollock says

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

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