Butter Tarts – A Canadian Tradition

traditional Canadian butter tarts

There are three things that Canada is known for when it comes to food.  Poutine, Nanimo Bars and the Butter Tart!  

You may have heard these sweet, buttery tarts are a bit more popular in Eastern Canada with butter tart festivals throughout “Cottage Country” in Ontario, trust me, they are known all over the country.  One of the biggest festivals is in Midland, with more than 50,000 butter tarts being sold every year!

Fresh out of the oven, the filling is bubbly and a bit on the runny side.  Once cooled, it sets up to create a deliciously, sweet, gooey filling.

traditional Canadian butter tart

A traditional Canadian butter tart is made with butter, eggs, brown sugar and syrup.  Pecans or raisins are often added to the tart shell before pouring in the filling.  

While the filling has even been adapted by some to include pumpkin, chocolate, apple or even Nutella, that would make it no longer a butter tart in my opinion!  

I prefer to keep it old school and stick with a traditional butter tart recipe.  Although, these maple butter tarts are pretty darn good too.  We prefer a “firmer” filling, while some like their filling a bit runnier.  

Raisins are the most popular add in, but my husband loves pecans added to his tarts.  Most weekends that he is scheduled to work, he likes to bring in some baking for his yard crew and these butter tarts are the most requested treat.  I am okay with that because I can whip up a batch in no time.  Especially using pre-made pastry tarts!

Traditional Canadian Butter tarts

These delicious tarts will satisfy even the sweetest of sweet tooths!  

Try them warm straight from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Bliss!

Until next time….

Red Cottage Chronicles




Butter Tarts
Serves 18
A rich, sweet, buttery tart that is so well loved in Canada, festivals are held in their owner!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 18 3" frozen tart shells (thawed)
  2. 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  3. 3/4 cup golden corn syrup
  4. 1/2 cup butter, melted
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 1 teaspoon regular vinegar
  7. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  8. 3/4 cup pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange tart shells on a cookie tray lined with parchment and place a few pecan halves in each.
  3. In a large bowl mix brown sugar, syrup and melted butter with a whisk until well blended.
  4. Add eggs, vinegar and vanilla and whisk until smooth; pour mixture into a large measuring cup with a pour spout.
  5. Pour filling over pecans, filling each tart shell to the top.
  6. Bake for 5 minutes and reduce heat to 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
  1. You can substitute raisins for the pecans if you wish.
  2. Store in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days or freeze for up to a month.
Red Cottage Chronicles https://www.redcottagechronicles.com/


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  1. Butter tarts! Yummy! They’re probably just as popular in the prairie provinces where good home-style cooking is ‘king’. I actually learned to make butter tarts at school in Manitoba where I grew up. When I moved to Saskatchewan as an adult, they could be found at every church supper or social gathering. Women out there don’t use recipes. Recipes are passed on through genes!

    Not being a great fan of the raisin myself, I prefer mine with pecans or walnuts with token raisins thrown in gor good luck (and tradition). However, as I’ve grown older, I’m more willing to tolerate raisin ones, especially if they’re not the ‘plump’ squishy raisins.

    Unfortunately (for me), my kids and husband have always had little interest in sweets of any kind. My husband came to our marriage that strange way. As for my kids, I guess they take after their father. I’m not sure they’ve got any of my DNA because I’ve got a real sweet-tooth. Most sadly, butter tarts are not popular in this home because of that fact. Could be because the hubs is an American. Never ate them as a child!

    However, I will happily do my part to keep the Canadian Butter Tart tradition available for others to enjoy!

  2. Mmmmn! These look delicious! I grew up eating butter tarts too. How I miss them! A butter tart festival?! OMG…how lucky you are. 🙂 Pinning!

  3. Boy these look good! Pecans are plentiful here in the south and one of my favorites. This recipe is definitely going into the “to try” file.

  4. These look amazing! My Mom makes a pie something like this and it’s amazing. I’ll have to try the little tarts – they are so elegant!

  5. Oh goodness! It’s like a northern version of a southern pecan pie. I love how they are individual little tarts instead of a big pie slice.

  6. Oh I love my moms butter tarts!! So good that every year she entered them into the towns competition and won first prize ….I believe its her crust…. its a lard,flour one pop bottle of sprite crust and is super flaky and oh SO GOOD!!!

  7. OK…first things first…I’m pretty sure these would ship just fine. BUT, in the off chance that you don’t get a shipment in the mail to me any time soon…I just checked and our local World Market does carry Golden Syrup…not something you typically find on the shelves here in the US. So, worse comes to worse, I can make my own.

    Thanks for sharing my friend. Pinning for future reference.