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Butter Tart Squares

Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 36 squares

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These Butter Tart Squares are so sweet and gooey — a shortbread crust makes these so easy and SO good! So much quicker than butter tarts.

butter tart squares overhead whole with four pieces cut on white cutting board

Please tell me you’ve had a butter tart.

If you haven’t, American friends, I am truly, truly sympathetic. Luckily, I’m sharing this recipe with you today. And Butter Tart Squares are so much easier than butter tarts.

When I cook, and create new recipes for the blog, I really try to think outside the box. I try to come up with some things that I (and maybe you) have never seen before.

But every once in a while I think maybe the best place to start is with what I already know and love. Maybe those are the recipes you really want. Maybe those are even recipes that you’ve never seen before.

So I know the butter tart is a Canadian thing, but tell me some American bakeries have caught on. If not, now is your chance to experience something totally unreal.

It’s butter. And brown sugar.

butter tart squares stack of four squares close up

And essentially, not much more. You need some eggs in there to hold everything together. And you need something to put it on.

I’ve been meaning to make actual butter tarts for the blog for a long time now, but the thought of making homemade pastry and forming tart shells is just overwhelming right now. So I texted my sister and asked her for a butter tart square recipe.

I was right in assuming she would have one. She texted me right back with a picture of her recipe card. And all of her notes on it. I think I even managed to interpret it correctly.

But some of her notes just didn’t work out for me, so I knew I definitely needed a place to document the version that worked for me. The funny thing is, I have this blog here.

So, please, if you’ve never had a butter tart, start with these squares. You won’t believe how easy they are.

butter tart squares with bite stack of four on white background

Updates to this Butter Tart Squares recipe:

This post, recipe and the images have been updated from November 2014 — five years later it was time!

I wanted to clarify which things I’ve adjusted from the original recipe to make it work even better, just in case you’ve been here and you’ve made them before:

  • I added a tablespoon or two of water to the base — just enough so that it holds together when you squeeze it.
  • I no longer recommend baking in a small cookie sheet — a 9×13″ baking pan will give you the best results and nice thick gooey layers!
  • I no longer recommend lining the pan with tin foil (as I did often 5 years ago) — instead I recommend using parchment paper or nothing at all but a good layer of non stick spray. The problem with parchment is that the crust won’t hug the sides of the pan as tightly, which means a bit of the filling will drip down the edges. This is a not a real problem — but you will have some caramelized sugar along the sides. Don’t worry, it won’t leak all over the bottom under the crust.
  • The vinegar, because some people have commented, is to cut through some of the sweetness and is a traditional ingredient in butter tart squares. If you prefer, or you’re worried about it, you can reduce to 1 tablespoon or omit, but I recommend enjoying with a strong cup of coffee.

How to store Butter Tart Squares:

  • These Butter Tart Squares can be refrigerated for one week in an airtight container
  • To store for a longer period, place in an airtight container or freezer bag, with wax paper or parchment in between the layers, and freeze for up to 3 months. They are delicious straight out of the freezer, or thaw at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
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Butter Tart Squares

4.59 from 24 votes
Quick, easy butter tart squares are perfect for fall or Christmas baking!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 36 squares
Calories 174cal

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp powdered icing sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter cold, cubed
  • 1-2 tablespoons cold water optional

Filling

  • 1/2 cup butter unsalted
  • 3 cups brown sugar lightly packed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • optional: ¾ cup raisins

Instructions

  • Line a 9×13" pan and line with parchment paper and spray with non stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour and powdered sugar.
  • Cut butter into icing sugar and flour with a pastry cutter or your hands until pea-sized lumps of butter remain. When you grab a handful and squeeze, you want it to hold together. If it doesn't hold together, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
  • Dump flour mixture into pan and press down evenly to form a crust. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare your filling. In a medium bowl, melt butter in the microwave.
  • Whisk in brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, then add the vinegar and vanilla. Stir in raisins if using.
  • Pour over crust and bake another 25-30 minutes until filling is set or almost set — a slight jiggle is fine but you don't want a lot of movement. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate several hours before slicing.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 174cal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 35mg | Potassium: 40mg | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 265IU | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Keywords butter tart squares, butter tarts

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Cristina says

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I made it for my son’s birthday and they were honestly the best butter tart bar recipe I have tried. It was a huge hit. 🙂

  2. Philly says

    Pretty sure I made a huuuge mess lol! I think my topping was too wet and it spread over a little… But I’m just about to take it out of the van a d it smells good!!

  3. Michelle says

    Oh. My.

    I think I’m going to add these to the dessert table at my holiday party next weekend. How far ahead do you think they can be made (under cover of darkness and hidden from the Menfolk is a double-secret location)…?

    • Ashley says

      Jacquee, I totally love raisins. But I know a LOT of people don’t, so I left them out of mine (though I guess I put them in the recipe as optional)!

  4. Denise | Sweet Peas & Saffron says

    Isn’t that funny, I had no idea butter tarts were a Canadian thing. I love these bars, I also can’t be bothered with pastry most of the time, so this is a perfect solution! And really. Butter and brown sugar, can’t possibly go wrong, with that combo 🙂

  5. Stacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat. says

    Butter tarts are a Canadian thing? I had no idea. I love butter tarts, and will most definitely be posting my fave recipe this Christmas! I haven’t made butter tart squares in eons though, I kind of forgot about them! Thanks for reminding me, now I need to make those again, so good!

    • Ashley says

      Thanks Sarah! I’m pretty sad for you right now, but luckily there’s still time! Lol. Butter tarts are kind of necessary here around the holidays 🙂

  6. Melanie @ Garnish & Glaze says

    Oh my gosh! My husband LOVES butter tarts! I had never heard of them either until I met him. His dad is from Canada so that’s how they know about and love them. My mother-in-law makes them but in muffin tins and adds raisins. Making them into bars sounds way easier.

    • Ashley says

      I’m SO glad you know what I’m talking about! The traditional way is as a tart, and we make them that way often but bars are so much easier! Plus, I’m lazy 🙂

    • Ashley says

      Oh Jess, you’ve been missing out! Butter tarts are #1 up here — in fact, MacDonald’s in Canada just started selling a Butter Tart pie! I was totally delighted. You should definitely try them!

  7. Natalie @ Tastes Lovely says

    How have I never had, or even heard of, a butter tart?! It sounds amazing! Is it normally in pie form? I feel like I like the idea of a bar even more, These pictures are just amazing too. Can’t wait to make these!

    • Ashley says

      I honestly don’t know how you’ve lived for so long without. They are normally in tart form, but I was WAY too lazy for that! Bars are one pan and done 🙂

      • Kathy Woods says

        I was born in Canada 64 years ago but we moved to the US when I was just 7. Since then I have not had a butter tart but over the years I have dreamed of them! 🙂 These bars sound so easy and I plan to make them for my daughter’s baby shower….attended by Americans who have never had a butter tart, I know they will be gone in a flash! Thank you so much Ashley, for this wonderful and easy recipe!

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