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Butter Tarts

Who's ready to indulge in the most delicious tarts on the Thanksgiving dessert table? Historically speaking these are a famous Canadian Thanksgiving tradition. But Canadian or not once you've tasted a rich butter tart there's no going back. You will insist these be on your holiday dessert table every.year.

Unfortunately, I spent too many years not knowing these decadent butter tarts even existed. Luckily 11 years ago that changed as I was looking forward to enjoying my first Thanksgiving married to my Canadian husband, or as you know him... "the hubs." In the days leading up to Thanksgiving I overheard his family favorably chattering about my mother-in-law's butter tarts. They could hardly wait to indulge.

And then before I knew it, my first Thanksgiving with these on the dessert table came and went. Soon years went by and so did the Thanksgiving celebrations. Straightaway I'm going to confess I drooled every year over my mother-in-law's famous butter tarts.

That was until I perfected a gluten and dairy free butter tart that is rich and decadent to share with you.

A white plate full of mini little baked tarts filled with a brown sugar gooey mixture with a pumpkin in the background.
Pin this recipe now to your Thanksgiving Pinterest board.

Above all these need to be on your dessert table too. You won't believe how something gluten and dairy free can safely taste so luscious and rich.

Make no mistake about it -- butter tarts are a dream Thanksgiving dessert. Not only do they taste rich with an outside buttery and flaky crust, but also consider the sweet gooey inside that oozes out with each bite. These The Canadians definitely got this dessert right!

Also consider how simple this classic butter tart recipe is. Keep in mind these are a more rustic dessert. What that really means is enjoy your free time because you won't be in the kitchen for hours trying to roll out the perfect crust or even spend endless time crimping tart edges. These butter tarts are meant to look imperfect and yet taste perfect while taking very little time in the kitchen.

2 more reasons to enjoy these tarts

  • first, the individual tarts are ideal to serve your family or a large crowd. They are a casual grab and go dessert item that unfortunately goes too fast. Bake an extra batch.
  • second these can be baked a few days in advance of the big holiday and stored in an airtight container. Make ahead desserts are always a win-win for me.
A hand holding a mini little baked tars filled with a brown sugar gooey mixture.

butter tart recipe ingredients

  • gluten free all-purpose flour-- our go-to is Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Mix. We buy it in bulk here. And this blend does contain xanthan gum. Almond flour works as well. Use the spoon and level method.
  • xanthan gum-- omit if your all-purpose flour contains this or guar gum
  • brown sugar-- packed
  • salt
  • shortening
  • dairy free butter-- we use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • ice water
  • corn syrup
  • egg
  • vanilla extract

butter tart recipe tips

  • first measure the palm shortening and place it in the refrigerator to chill along with ½ cup of water while you gather your ingredients. The key to a delicious flaky crust is cold ingredients.
  • place the tart dough in a 24 mini muffin pan like this one here.
  • these tarts can be made up to 5 days in advance when stored in an airtight container and refrigerated to maintain freshness. However, these are best when served within a day to two.
  • serve your butter tarts at room temperature.
  • butter tarts also travel well. If you're traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday these will be your go-to dessert. Place them in an airtight container until you reach your destination.
  • optional: some Canadians prefer their butter tarts with raisins or chopped walnuts in the filling. Either can be easily added to this filling recipe. If using raisins soak ½ cup in boiling water until full and plump. Add them to the tart crust before you add the filling. If choosing walnuts, add to the tart crust prior to adding the fillings as well.

more gluten + dairy free holiday recipes

  • Crock-pot stuffing--perfect for your Thanksgiving table. Not only is this an easy Crock-pot recipe, it can also be prepped ahead of time.
  • sweet potato bake--a delicious Thanksgiving side dish you don't want to do without. Imagine melted marshmallows, softened sweet potatoes mixed with oats and brown sugar. It smells and tastes absolutely wonderful.
  • Crock-pot chex mix-- is the perfect game night snack food during the holidays. Everyone will want a handful... or two while playing their favorite family games or watching them on the big screen.


As you can see gluten and dairy free butter tarts are a "must have" on your Thanksgiving dessert table. In a world of so many food "can'ts" let's celebrate a can. Let these decadent butter tarts be a part of your holiday celebration. You will look forward to these every year.

Lastly, after you've baked these tarts, leave me a 5 star review.

Then let's connect on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Like and comment often so our posts keep showing up in your feed.

We don't want you to miss the very best of gluten and dairy free.

Eat well and feel well this Thanksgiving,


A white plate full of mini little baked tarts filled with a brown sugar gooey mixture with a pumpkin in the background.

Butter Tarts

4.34 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 26 tarts
Author: Eating Gluten and Dairy Free


Pastry Ingredients

  • c all purpose gluten free flour suggestions in post
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum, omit if your all purpose flour mix has this in it
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ c shortening, cold
  • 10 tablespoon dairy free butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 6 tablespoon ice water

Filling Ingredients

  • ½ c packed brown sugar
  • ½ c corn syrup
  • ¼ c dairy free butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • optional: ½ c raisins, chopped pecans or walnuts


Pastry Instructions

  • First place the shortening and water in the refrigerator to chill while you gather your ingredients.
  • In a large bowl combine all pastry ingredients except ice water with a pastry blender or food processor until reduced to pea sized pieces.
  • Next add water in by the tablespoons and toss with a fork until evenly incorporated throughout the dough. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
  • Then form the pastry dough into 2 balls.
  • Place each ball on a piece of saran wrap and form into a round disc. Wrap the plastic around it and place in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  • Remove dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Flatten to ⅛th inch thickness.
  • Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter or the top of a glass cut out circle dough crusts.
  • Fit each pastry crust into a mini muffin pan cup.
  • Then place muffin pan in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the filling.

Preparing the Filling

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • In a large bowl combine all the filling ingredients and mix well.
  • Fill each muffin cup ¾ full of the syrup mixture.
  • Then place on the bottom shelf of the oven for 12-14 minutes
  • Lastly, cool completely on wire rack; then remove tarts from pan.
  • Store refrigerated in an airtight container up to 5 days. Serve at room temperature.


Optional raisins or walnut add in- some prefer these in their butter tarts. If using raisins soak ½ cup in boiling water until full and plump. Sprinkle them in the bottom of the tart before adding the filling. Otherwise add chopped walnuts directly to the bottom of each pastry tart prior to adding filling.

Nutritional Disclaimer

These Nutritional Facts are ESTIMATED. Your actual nutritional info with this recipe may vary depending on the brands you choose. “Eating Gluten and Dairy Free” is not a registered dietician or nutritionist. The provided nutritional info above is based on a generic calculator, if you want more accurate info, use your nutritional calculator of choice where you can choose brands and get more info that way.

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Recipe Rating


Thursday 26th of December 2019

I have been craving these for years! My pastry was a bit hard to handle but I finally got the hang of it- enough flour on counter and rolling pin. I also did what my Mom taught me years ago and made a little “sling” with 2 crossed strips of parchment for each tart -makes it much easier to get them out of the pan. Thank you for recipe!


Saturday 1st of February 2020

Thank you for your comment! I'm so glad you adapted the recipe to work best for you. Thank you again, Jill

Lynda Del Rio

Saturday 9th of November 2019

Can any filling be used in these tarts? Like a pumpkin pie filling?


Saturday 9th of November 2019

That's a great question! You could definitely change out the filling for a pumpkin pie filling. I would suggest making a large batch of tarts otherwise you'll have extra pumpkin filling. Also keep an eye on them in the oven as the bake time might be different. Sounds yummy. Enjoy.