Butter Tart Squares

28 Comments 4.2

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Jump to Recipe

Crisp shortbread is layered with a gooey, sweet mixture of nuts and fruit topped with a crisp caramelized layer of brown sugar crust to make these irresistible Butter Tart Squares.

Butter Tart Squares

This recipe transforms classic butter tarts into a simple bar dessert recipe that you can make in a fraction of the time. To make this recipe, you’ll press the crust into a baking pan, with no need to form individual tart shells.

Butter Tart Squares

Butter Tart Squares were described by Beth as The Ultimate Canadian Food. You know that I could not resist baking something described that way!

I’m super happy to say that this dessert lived up to its reputation. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made these Butter Tart Squares over the past ten years.

Butter Tart Filling Ingredients

The filling for butter tarts is a base of butter, sugar, and egg. Some recipes create a sweet, syrupy, runny filling, others make them gooey, but firm enough to slice and hold.

We like our butter tarts made into bars and very generously filled with chewy raisins and nuts.

  • melted butter
  • light brown sugar
  • eggs
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • vanilla extract
  • kosher salt
  • raisins
  • chopped pecans or walnuts
Butter Tart Squares - the classic Canadian treat made easy!

Butter Tart Crust

You’ll need only three ingredients to make the crust for this recipe: butter, flour, and sugar.

This is a simple shortbread crust that is crisp and buttery. It’s lightly sweetened and almost melts in your mouth.

Butter Tart Squares with a shortbread crust

I’m a big fan of a simple shortbread crust – and shortbread-style cookies and bar desserts too! Nothing beats the ease of combining just a handful of ingredients for these simple treats.

Baking Tip: Here’s a tip for pressing shortbread crusts into baking pans. I tear an extra section of parchment paper and lay it on top of the dough. Use that paper to press the pan into the crust. Your hands will stay clean and the dough will spread smoothly across the pan.

Butter Tart Squares are often described as the ultimate Canadian treat!

Butter Tart Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9″ square pan with parchment paper or grease it very well with butter.
  2. To make the crust, beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth. Add the flour and stir just until combined. Press into the prepared pan and then bake for 15 minutes. Let the crust cool completely.
  3. When the crust has cooled, mix together the filling ingredients. Stir the brown sugar into the melted butter and then add the remaining ingredients. Pour the filling over the crust.
  4. Bake until the top springs back when lightly touched, approximately 22-25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.
Canadian Butter Tarts in a simple bar dessert recipe!

Get New Recipessent to your inbox!
We never share your information with third parties and will protect it in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Butter Tart Squares with a shortbread crust

Butter Tart Squares

4.2 from 5 votes
Crisp shortbread is layered with a gooey, sweet mixture of nuts and fruit topped with a crisp caramelized layer of brown sugar crust to make these Butter Tart Squares.
Pin Print Review
Servings: 18 servings

Ingredients 

Crust Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour *
  • 1/2 cup sugar

* Gluten Free Alternative for the Crust

  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour **
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

** Gluten Free Alternative for the Filling

  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9" square pan with parchment paper or grease it very well with butter.
  • To make the crust, beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth. Add the flour and stir just until combined. Press into the prepared pan and then bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
  • When the crust has cooled, mix together the filling ingredients. Stir the brown sugar into the melted butter and then add the remaining ingredients. Pour the filling over the crust.
  • Bake until top springs back when lightly touched, approximately 25-28 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

Notes

Here’s a tip for pressing shortbread crusts into baking pans. I tear an extra section of parchment paper and lay it on top of the dough. Use that paper to press the pan into the crust. Your hands will stay clean and the dough will spread smoothly across the pan.
This may be made in an 8-inch or 10-inch pan as well. You’ll need to adjust the baking time accordingly. (An 8-inch pan typically bakes in about 30-32 minutes.)
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

Pin this nowto remember it later
Pin this recipe0

{originally published 6/21/12 – recipe notes and photos updated 7/13/21}

Check out all of the Gluten Free Dessert Recipes on this website!

Butter Tart Squares - the ultimate Canadian dessert.

Filed under: , , ,

Related Posts

Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

Reader Interactions

28 Comments Leave a comment or review

    Rate & Comment

    Rating




    You can now include images of your recipes in your comments! You'll need to register or log in to upload images.

  1. Monet says

    Oh honey! These look so delicious. I can't believe that they are gluten-free too. Wow! I have to forward this to a few of my GF friends right now. Thank you for sharing another delectable post with me.

  2. Faleen says

    Would you kindly clarify something in the recipe for me. I see in the filling where you mention that 1 cup regular flour can be substituted, but in the crust i assume that 1 cup of regular flour is substituted for the other, but what happens to the 1/3 cup potato starch? Is that simply omitted and taken over by the larger amount of the regular flour or does that stand on its own and get readjusted also? Thank you in advance.

    • Mary says

      1 cup of all-purpose flour substitutes for the 2/3 cup brown rice and the 1/3 cup potato starch. I hope that helps!

  3. puja sharma says

    hello…its a fantastic recipe…but could u pls tell me abt recipe measurements…i have google n saw that
    1 cup flour= 140 gms/ 5 oz
    1 cup sugar = 200 gms/8 oz
    1 cup sour cream = 240 ml/10 oz
    do u also use this measurements for all ur recipes and also my oven has 3 racks…in which rack should i bake…top,middle or last rack? pls help…thank u … 🙂

  4. Lee Robins says

    Hi there. I made these for christmas and the taste is wonderful! I did, however, have a problem with the crust. I made as written the first time, and the crust was no where near cooked when I was supposed to add the filling. It was a mess. The second time, I baked the crust much longer and they worked out great. Did I do something wrong.? Thank you for the recipe. My daugter-in-law is gluten intolerant and these helped here indulge in the “butter tarts” along with everyone else.

    • Mary Younkin says

      It’s hard to guess without being in your kitchen with you, Lee. The crust should be very close to baked through though before you top it with the filling though. I’d adjust as needed to make sure it is. I’m glad your daughter in law enjoyed the tarts!