Butter Tart Squares Recipe – Butter Tart Shortbread

Butter Tart Squares

This Butter Tart Squares Recipe is one that I make every holiday season. Butter tarts are the classic Canadian treat, and if you have never tried one, you are missing out. Butter tarts are usually, well, tarts. The filling is made with yes, butter of course, and also brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Sometimes there are raisins, or currants, walnuts, or pecans, too. In fact, many people have very strong preferences about the add ins. Usually leaning to how their grandmothers and mothers did the recipe.

Butter Tart Squares
Butter Tart Squares

These delicious treats are a little bit similar to a pecan pie. But not the same. If you are Canadian, then you know exactly what I mean. One thing for sure, butter tarts are delectable, sweet, gooey treats, and they are everywhere during the holiday season. In our house, we love these butter tarts squares, and the pastry tart shell has been replaced with a brown sugar shortbread instead. Making a sheet pan of these butter tart squares is much easier than individual tarts, and there is no pastry to roll out.

Some recipes for butter tarts use corn syrup, but I'm not a fan of it, and this recipe is a classic. No corn sryup is involved. Brown sugar, eggs and butter combine to make their magic, and pecans add a delicious, nutty crunch. As they bake, the squares form a light caramelized crust on top, while the filling stays gooey.

The squares will keep, covered, at room temperature for a couple of days, otherwise, put in fridge for up to a week. These can be frozen, but be warned, it won't stop anyone from eating them up. They are delicious when frozen, we have discovered at my house.

Looking for more shortbread treats? Try Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Cookies, or Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Butter Tart Squares
Butter Tart Squares

Butter Tart Squares Recipe – Butter Tart Shortbread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 24 squares

Serving Size: 1 square

Calories per serving: 181

Fat per serving: 9.3g

Butter Tart Squares Recipe – Butter Tart Shortbread


  • *Shortbread Crust
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • *Butter Tart Filling
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped


  1. *Shortbread Crust
  2. Pre heat oven to 350°
  3. Prepare a 9 x 13" baking pan by lining with parchment paper
  4. Use a mixer to beat the butter, brown sugar, salt and vanilla until combined
  5. Add the flour and continue mixing until incorporated. The dough will be crumbly, but will press evenly together.
  6. With your hands, press the dough firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  7. Bake in centre of oven 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you make the filling
  8. *Butter Tart Filling
  9. Using a mixer, beat eggs. Add sugar and beat, then butter, vanilla, flour, and salt.
  10. Beat for a couple of minutes, then stir in pecans.
  11. Spread filling evenly over crust
  12. Return to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until filling is set. The top should be brown and the filling should still jiggle a little when you move the pan.
  13. Allow to cool completely on a rack before removing from pan. Cut into squares


Butter Tart Squares
Butter Tart Squares

12 thoughts on “Butter Tart Squares Recipe – Butter Tart Shortbread

  1. Awesome! Butter tarts are one of my new found favorite Canadian desserts! The fact that these don’t incorporate the usual shell is wonderful…great to take on a walk and enjoy with a thermos of hot tea!

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