Butter Tart Squares

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
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.
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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

4.74 from 97 votes
Quick, easy butter tart squares are perfect for fall or Christmas baking!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 36 squares
Calories 174cal



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


  • 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


  • 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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Reader Interactions


  1. Lisa says

    Hello. I have made these many times. Very delicious.
    Have you or your followers ever tried making it with gluten free flour? I have lots of celiac people in my circle.

  2. rose says

    I am dying to try these but I’m wondering if they can be made ahead of time and frozen? I’d freeze them in a airtight container precut and wrapped so no freezer burn but wanted to know if you have every frozen them and will it change the taste or the texture when you take them out?

  3. Joy Swatsworth says

    I have a recipe very similar to this one & we call them Funeral Squares. They are actually as Scottish as it gets. My Scottish great Gran Galbraith made them all the time. Her recipe went back generations. I can tell you this..it wasn’t a funeral in our family unless we had gran’s squares.

    I tried your recipe which is just a bit different in measurements but the vinegar in yours is not in my gran’s. I like the vinegar. I took suggestions and didn’t add the full amount of vinegar & it helped cut the sweet of my gran’s recipe.


  4. Pam says

    What is better to use foil or parchment , have you made these with just cooking spray if so were they good to get out of the pan?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      They do get sticky so I recommend lining the pan with something. Foil clings closer to the pan, but I know not everyone likes cooking with foil. Whether you’re using foil or parchment, spraying it with non stick spray is always a good idea.

  5. Jennifer says

    Love, love these. So much easier than making my own tart shells. I had to cook my base and the complete bars a bit longer than what’s suggested in the recipe. I lined my pan with parchment and heavily buttered the edges. Even with the heavy butter, the edges stuck. Next time, I’ll fold the parchment so I have a bit of overhang on all four sides. This is too good to leave any stuck to the pan!

  6. Karina says

    I’m Canadian, have eaten my share of butter tart squares, and these are divine. Thanks for the great recipe!

  7. Marci says

    Sorry, but I’m Canadian, have made and eaten a ton of butter tarts….so somewhat of a “subject matter expert”…lol! The flavour is good but the texture is way off. It’s “too eggy”….makes the filling sort of “lumpy”, like when a sauce “breaks”. I’m guessing 2 eggs is enough and will try that the next time I make bars. And instead of only brown sugar, a combination of brown sugar with some corn syrup would also help make it more silky.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Marci! There are 252 comments on this recipe and lots of love for it. I have never had the filling turn out lumpy, so I think something may have gone wrong when mixing up the filling.

  8. Tanya says

    Awesome! Sprinkled half of the base with walnuts and coconut. Sprinkled other half with raisins. Poured the brown sugar mix on top of both.
    I like my base to have a little more colour – will try baking for 13-15 minutes on the next batch.

  9. debbie donnelly says

    We just polished off a pan of these,they were perfect.I used raisins,lol.
    Did you know ?? Butter tarts ARE Canadian,yep they really are, originated in Quebec,lol.
    I researched it because my California cousin say’s ,no knows much about them,her dad an ex Canadian made them but when he passed that was the end of her tarts,she asked me for my recipe .
    Not trying to upset anyone just what I learned,Keep on the great work you do Ashley Love the recipes

  10. Celine says

    I had to bake mine for longer, about 35 minutes because it just wouldn’t set!
    Oven was set to 350, but could just be a difference in ovens!

  11. rosemarie Menassas says

    Making these for my next Guild meeting! When I lived in Michigan in the 60s, I took a plate of Butter tarts to my neighbor for Christmas and she cried, “Oh My favorite! Pecan Tassies!” So they do have a version, just differently named!

  12. Meagen Brosius says

    Freezer recipes have been my FAVORITE lately. I’ve been stocking up for the holidays because it always seems to be the last thing that I want to prepare. These came out great! Very yummy!

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