Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts

The Canadian classic The Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts recipe, the only butter tart recipe I will ever use!

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The Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts recipe is literally the only butter tart recipe that my family has ever used. Period. We don’t stray away from it, we don’t mess with it (ok fine, I use cream instead of milk and have we talked about margarine before? Yes, we have. But I’ll talk about it again in a bit.) and this is what we make every year for Christmas.

red Christmas table cloth underneath a white plate with 6 pieces of Butter Tarts

Once upon a time, in the days before this website was a full-time job, I used to bake up butter tarts for friends that asked me to during the holiday season. I’d charge them for my time and my ingredients and they were thrilled, because these were the best butter tarts that they had ever tasted.

If you’ve been hanging around here for a while, you’ll know that it’s because of margarine.


Look. I get a hard time about this EVERY TIME I TALK ABOUT IT but I’m going to talk about it again.

Butter tarts taste great with a non-hydrogenated margarine as well. Mike actually prefers the taste of margarine in them. I also make my Whipped Shortbread with half margarine when I want them to hold a beautiful dome shape.

Do what you want with this information, I’m washing my hands of the matter entirely now 😉

Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts in a white plate ready to be enjoy!

The Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts recipe uses no vinegar.

The Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts recipe has no nuts.

The Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts recipe is perfection.

I honestly have never understood the recipes that have vinegar in them, to be honest. Perhaps that is because I was raised with these butter tarts and every other butter tart pales in comparison to them. I have never tasted a butter tart like this one.

Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts in white plates

You’ll notice that I also use pre-made tart shells and I ain’t about to quit now. I literally make hundreds of butter tarts every Christmas. Sure, I love a homemade pastry tart just as much as the next person but I’m going to be honest here : the filling to pastry ratio is MUCH better with the store-bought shells. Homemade shells are thicker and it’s just not the same.

Seriously. Raise your hand if you have time to make hundreds of butter tarts in homemade shells this time of year. I don’t. I refuse to feel guilty over the fact that I use pre-made tart shells and neither should you – and that’s why you all keep coming here. Gotta keep it real. I’m a cheatin’,  mistreatin’, butter tart eatin’ pre-made tart user. Terrible, I know.

If you are wanting to know my favourite brand of tart shells, it’s the No-Name unsweetened packs of 30 at Superstore ( which might be Loblaw’s for you all out East.) They are cheap, cheerful and most importantly have no hydrogenated oils.

Now I can’t be the only one that grew up with the Five Roses Cookbook prize butter tarts as THE recipe every Christmas. Who else has eaten these amazing little bundles of Canadian joy?

Happy Baking everyone!

Love you more than butter tarts,


Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts

The Canadian classic The Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts recipe, the only butter tart recipe I will ever use!
4.94 from 49 votes
Prep Time
3 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
15 butter tarts
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • cup or margarine or butter melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 15-18 unsweetened and unbaked tart shells


  • Kick the tires and light the fires and pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Melt your butter then add in the vanilla,egg, cream and brown sugar.
  • Mix in the raisins.
  • Put your tart shells, still frozen, on the tray and fill a good ¾ 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 15-20 minutes, until the rims of the tarts are beautifully browned and the filling is bubbling.

Recipe Notes

  • Nutritional values will vary with products used. 
  • This recipe doubles and triples easily!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 182kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 86mg, Potassium: 388mg, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 140IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 1.7mg

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!

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  1. Angela L says

    I just wanted to THANK YOU! Our family lost mom’s book (from the 50-60’s) along with all her recipes. I’ve made these tarts ‘off and on’ for 40+ years, so losing the original butter tarts recipe was a killer! Since I’ve been eating vegan for about 6 years, I haven’t even thought about making them. This year…I’m cheating!5 stars

  2. Joan Van Wyckhouse says

    I made these tarts with my new 5 Roses book received as a wedding present in 1959. It’s now 2022 and I made them again from the very same well worn book yesterday. Dec 23, 2022.
    It’s the only recipe I’ve ever used and now I’m 81 years old. That’s 72 years very single Christmas. As long I can stand up I’ll use the 5 Roses recipe. Why do I do it , two husbands, three sons and 100’s of friends can’t be wrong. Why change when they are the best and I’m to old to change now. Raisins or currents are my choice.
    Thank you from British Columbia.5 stars

  3. Kelly Edwards says

    love these! made them with margarine, but did not come out how I’d like them to, so next batch with be butter. so yummy tho!!5 stars

  4. ShirleyD says

    I’ve been using this Five Roses Cookbook recipe for 54 years. Love it – it’s the perfect tart – I bake them for 8 minutes at 430 degrees F and then 9 minutes at 350. Come out perfect every time.

  5. Jean says

    Thank you so much, I had a copy of this Recipe but it’s been misplaced somewhere. I’ve always used the ingredients as posted, but last year I used 3/4 cup of brown sugar and 1/4 cup of regular sugar (ran out of the brown sugar). The end result had more of a chewy center that my family loves, sort of like a toffeeish center with raisins.4 stars

  6. Margot Koopmans says

    I bought a five roses cookbook 55 years ago just after I was married . Different same recipe but slight difference I triple the recipe add 1/2 cup each raisins and currants and chopped pecans . Also oven time is different calls for 8 minutes at 450 degree oven then turn down to 350 degree oven foe 15 minutes I still make this 55 years now just made them today so delicious

  7. Leslie says

    I love this recipe and I grew up eating them from my mom’s kitchen. I’ve been making them for years and everyone loves them. I do make my own pastry as I enjoy my grandmother’s trusted and true pastry recipe from years ago. To save time and energy I make the pastry first, wrap it in wax paper and put it into the fridge. Then the following day I make the filling and put it into the tart shells. It is a lot of work to make these so I do it only twice a year but believe me it is a labour of love and it is very much appreciated when I present these tasty tarts.

  8. Dory says

    I used this recipe once 30 some odd years ago, and never changed. It’s awesome!
    No mess, no fuss. I add raisins to the shells before adding the good stuff.5 stars

  9. MARLIE says

    whipping cream only- no substitutes – i add pecans crushed – and plump raisins in water boiled prior and drain well – i add cup of shredded coconut – mix all together and put in tart shells – BLUE RIBBON WINNER MANY TIMES OVER IN LOCAL FALL FAIR

  10. Darlene says

    I have been using my mom’s recipe for years which is almost identical but I never knew where it came from, guess now I know. I am famous for my butter tarts and I also use the premade shells because the same as you I make hundreds. Ain’t nobody got time to make that much pastry!!5 stars

  11. Kate Sarginson says

    I have never made butter tarts with raisins. Always with currants. My mother’s recipe comes from my great great grandmother. I much prefer them to raisins as raisins make the tart too sweet for me. Maybe that is what the vinegar is for to cut the sweetness of the raisins/sugar. Otherwise the recipe is the same. I wonder if currants were either cheaper or more available in Canada 150 years ago.5 stars

  12. Marilyn Reed says

    Best butter tarts I’ve ever made and so, so easy!!!5 stars

  13. Marie E Louis says

    Super easy to make and sooo good:) Followed the recipe to the letter but substituted broken walnuts for the raisins. Perfect tarts.5 stars

  14. Elaine says

    Very well done and written!
    I started writing a blog recently and have seen many writers simply rehash old content but add very little of worth.
    It’s good to read a useful post of some real value to your
    followers and myself.
    It’s going down on the ist oof things I need too emulate
    as a new blogger. Audience engagenent and content quality are king.

    Many awesome suggestions; you have most certainly madde it on my list of blogs to watch!

    Carry oon the great work!
    All the best,
    Clive4 stars

  15. Kitty says

    I’m confused, this recipe is very different from the one in my five roses cookbook and different from the one on their website. Have you adapted it over the years for better results or is this just another version of theirs but perhaps from a different source that I’m not aware of?

  16. nancy hendershot says

    I too have had a copy of the Five Roses Cookbook since I was a teenager in Moncton, NB quite some time ago. These were the first butter tarts I made and frankly, the recipe I use when I need the prefect barbecue dessert. My daughters use this recipe too. These are perfect and reliable. Thank you for sharing this piece of deliciousness! The world needs to eat more butter tarts!5 stars

  17. Sandra B. says

    This is the only recipe I have ever made going on over 40 years now. I’ve tried a few others but this one is still the one everyone I make them for just loves.5 stars

    • Nikki says

      This recipie is really good, but sadly my tarts came out too jiggly in the middle after 16mins in the oven. I’ll try to put it in the over longer and hopefully this stiffens it. Other than that super easy.4 stars

  18. Charlotte ebel says

    My pastry turns out fantastic But when I make tart filling it is taste less I follow instruction although tart are picture perfect no flavor in fillimg

  19. Kate Sarginson says

    This is my Mum’s recipe. She used margarine but no raisins. Just currants. I think that is an Old Country thing (UK) Fabulous butter tarts.5 stars

  20. Sandra Croley says

    This is my favourite recipe for butter tarts and will be making them again for Christmas. Last time I made them, though, I think they turned out “hollow” after they were done, and I’m not sure why

  21. Ravishingrosie says

    This is the ONLY recipe used in this household and it is the only one my family will eat. I have three, yes three different copies of the “Five Roses Cookbook “. Two belonged to each of my grandmothers’ and of course, the one I received 40 years ago when I got married. This is the best cookbook ever. I too, use the store brand ready-made tart shells. I use the store brand from Wal-Mart, but if I can find them at Costco, I will use them. Every time I make these for an event, I receive multiple requests for more. I think that the reason that they taste so awesome, is the love that goes into each batch.5 stars

      • Karlynn Johnston says

        I always use salted, as the salt cuts the sweetness but it’s up to you. You can add a dash of salt if you prefer.

  22. claude gagnon says

    i’m a diabetic so I use truvia brown sugar which reqiures 1/2 the amount of the regular sugar, does this screw up the recipe because of the lack of volume,

    • Lynn says

      My husband is diabetic, I use the Splenda brown sugar, 1/2 cup, works out fine..might make 1 fewer tart. I also use frozen premade shells, why would you not?5 stars

  23. Mari says

    Hey there, was wanting to try your recipe but I’m not sure what kind of cream you mean…do you mean coffee cream? whipping cream? or anther type?…please help, thank you for your time

      • Ulli says

        Thank you so much for pinning this recipe. I’m on my third Five Roses cookbook as well. This is the only recipe I’ve ever used. I also cheat with premodern tart shells, but nobody in Yuma,Az. Has heard of tart shells made with anything other than phyllo dough. Making these today for friends tomorrow. Thanks again.

4.94 from 49 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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