Baking Butter Tarts: Traditional and Simple Brown Sugar Tart

Butter tarts are smooth and sweet, and made mostly of brown sugar (not butter). Variations often include raisins, walnuts or pecans to the brown sugar filling. Two of these recipes call for pre-made tart shells, so you can use shells from the store or use your own home-made pastry dough.

Recommended Reading: Get started with baking by reading our Ultimate Guide to the Best Baking Equipment for Beginners!

Classic Butter Tart Recipe

This is the simplest version and you can make these tarts in minutes. Makes 8 butter tarts.

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar from sugar bowl
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 8 unbaked pastry tart shells (3-inch)


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Beat egg and brown sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add vanilla, then butter. Mix until well combined and blended. Fold in the raisins.
  3. Divide the sugar mixture between the 8 empty pastry shells.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature down to 350F. Continue to bake the butter tarts for another 10 minutes. Let cool on cooling rack and serve.

English Style Butter Tarts

The name is a bit misleading, because there is no butter in this recipe. Gives the final tart a bit of a different consistency. Makes 14 small tarts

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 14 unbaked pastry tart shells (2-inch)


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Divide raisins between the empty tart shells.
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, corn syrup, shortening, egg and vanilla. Beat well until very smooth. Pour into each tart shell, over the raisins.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Let cool, serve and enjoy. They’re small enough to have two without guilt.

Butter Tart Squares

For a more versatile version of the classic butter tart, why not make squares instead? Makes one 9×9 pan of squares.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tbs sugar

Sweet Sugar Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. For the crust, cream together butter and sugar until light and smooth. Stir in the flour.
  3. Push dough into the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan, making sure to get it somewhat even and right into the corners of the pan.
  4. Bake just the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  5. In another mixing bowl, beat brown sugar, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Stir in raisins (or use nuts if you prefer a crunch). Pour the sugar batter over the crust.
  6. Put the pan back in the oven and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is firm and set. Let cool and cut into squares. They can be eaten alone or served with ice cream.

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