Warm Skillet Butter Tart Bars

There are a few things some of us take seriously in this country.

Hockey.  The weather.  Politics.  Poutine.  Back Bacon.  Maple Syrup.  Nanaimo Bars (we made these first!).  Good beer.

And Butter Tarts.


It’s a classic Canadian treat, that is beloved for its flaky pastry filled with brown sugar, melted butter and syrup.   Most people have a preference about how they should be filled.  Raisins or no raisins.  Nuts or no nuts.  Made with maple syrup or corn syrup.  Runny or firm.  Some use currants or cranberries.  Perhaps a splash of Whiskey or Maple Whiskey.

There’s also the popular Butter Tart Bars, that have that gorgeous buttery, tender shortbread crust with all of that gooey Butter Tart goodness on top.  They are very easy to make, great for serving at parties and potlucks, and on the Christmas holiday baking list of moms all across this country.

Everyone, we have got this Butter Tart thing down to a science.


I for one, am a complete sucker for a warm Butter Tart Bar, slightly runny, filled with raisins and walnuts, with a splash of Maple Whiskey, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  So baking a full on Butter Tart Bar in a skillet is only natural.  I  haven’t met anyone yet, who doesn’t swoon over the warm, buttery piece that comes out.  The scoop of ice cream, just pretty much takes it over the top.  Insanely, buttery, gooey, good.


I think most families have a recipe that’s been passed down.  Aside from all of the additions, the base recipe of Butter Tart Squares is essentially the same.  Instead of powdered sugar in my shortbread base, I use brown sugar.  I saw it used in another recipe for bars and have made shortbread crust that way ever since.

Do you love Butter Tarts as much as me?  What are your filling preferences?

Happy finger licking, slightly runny, full of raisins and walnuts, Butter Tart baking friends,




Warm Skillet Butter Tart Bars

For the Crust:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling:

  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. Maple Whiskey (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°

  1.  In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the crust, using a fork or pastry blender.  Press into the bottom of a well seasoned skillet (I did a quick swipe of shortening around the sides first, very little) or baking pan lined with parchment.  Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the first six ingredients for the filling and mix until well combined.  Stir in the raisins, walnuts and whisky.  Pour the filling on top of the crust and bake for an additional 30 minutes.  Serve slightly warm with ice cream!


  1. This recipe can also be made in an 8 x 8 pan.
  2. Butter Tart Squares freeze very well.   If making ahead, bake in an 8 x 8 pan lined with parchment.  Freeze when cool.



Filed under Bars

45 responses to “Warm Skillet Butter Tart Bars

  1. oh wow, this looks incredible. I like your version with the maple syrup rather than corn syrup, it must add a nice smoky flavor.

  2. I’ve never heard of this tart but very happy that I have now. I’m a sucker for butter and brown sugar anything.

  3. Homeschooled Girls

    Look awesome! I’ll be keeping this in mind. Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a wonderful idea baking it in a skillet. Looks so yummy 🙂

  5. I absolutely love butter tarts! My preferences? Firm, no raisins, no nuts, corn syrup, and no whiskey (thought whiskey on it’s own is always appropriate). I do use powdered sugar, but our shortbread recipe has been in our family for over 100 years- I can’t change now!! Also: Go Jets, Go!

  6. Oh, my! This looks amazingly delicious!

  7. These look absolutely delicious. I always make my butter tarts with maple syrup, but the bar idea is awesome. I’ll have to try it. Love your photographs too.

  8. Wow, this looks great. I don’t like mine with much in it and my fam doesn’t like nuts but this would totally hit the spot at the end of one of those typically wonderfully, winter Canadian nights, watching hockey. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Oh my. These look AMAZING!!!! I’m definitely pinning this recipe!!

  10. Wow. This sounds amazing and one of those desserts you can make on-the-fly.

  11. thornthwaitec

    I have never had Butter Tarts before, but not only does this recipe look very simple to make. But, it seems like it would be a perfect companion to a hot cup of coffee on a cold winters day! (With or without the ice cream!)

    • I’m sorry you’ve never had a butter tart before! Truly sorry! Geez, that apologizing must be the Canadian in me 🙂 It really is a must try for you then! So good with coffee, you’re right!

  12. jasonsandeman

    Okay, you found my weakness. Buttertarts are the devil! Making them like this is crazy! I have blood sugar to take care of. LOL.
    Honestly though, I wish I would have known about this a while ago. This would have used this on the hot dessert section of brunch to replace the disgusting Pouding Chomeur the owners used to make me put out.
    I’ll clip this for further use… mwah ha ha ha!

  13. I have SUCH a sweet tooth, and love me some butter tarts. Hope to try this out next time I’ve got a crowd over!

  14. I love the idea of making this in a skillet, instead of individual tarts!

  15. What a great idea! I can never resist butter tarts and I’m one of those weirdos who likes them pretty much any way they are made. Sometimes I wish I was pickier. Hehe. Love this idea so much! 🙂

  16. Every now and then when we want to stir things up on the FBC social media channels we ask “butter tarts: raisins or no raisins” and every time it turns into a firestorm. I get a huge kick out of it. I’m in the raisin camp but no nuts. And I love the addition of maple syrup. So good – the idea of it in a skillet is really appealing!

  17. I’ve lived most of my life within miles of the Canadian border and, yet, I’ve never had butter tart! Your recipe can change all that!

    • Yay! Well I certainly hope you try it! You don’t know what you’re missing!
      PS. Great post on “Making A Living VS…” As someone who is returning to work at school (20 years in for me!), after having the summer off, I can really relate to it!

  18. Ah maaaan! I just came back from Canada 2 days ago and now I’m bummed for not having taste the butter tart! It was looking me in the eye while I was buying chai latte from Second Cup but went with the pecan bars instead, which was flippin’ amazing so I don’t regret it! But now I’m curious at what the butter tart is all about. Guess I’m gonna have to make your recipe to find out. It looks soon delicious. I’m all about buttery and gooey and this looks like just the thing. PINNED! Also…poutine…me adore!

  19. cleobuttera

    Ah maaaaaa! I just came back from Canada 2 days ago and now I’m so bummed for not trying the butter tart! It was looking me in the eye while I was buying a chai latte from Second Cup, but I went with a pecan bar instead which was incredible, so I don’t regret it. Your post though, made me so curious to know what the butter tart is all about. Guess I’m gonna have to make your recipe to find out, which looks incredibly delicious! I’m all about buttery and gooey and different textures and that looks just like it.
    Oh and poutine…I’m hooked!

  20. excuse my drool… this recipe is so perfect for fall! I love how you used maple syrup and butter is always good :). I’m so excited to make this for my friends! Poutine and Bacon are also always good…:)

  21. wow. i have never heard of these! i love things cooked in a skillet, but besides that, it really looks fabulously comforting, especially with the ice cream. yum!

  22. These look utterly divine!!

  23. I have never heard of a butter tart but now I think it has to be on my to do list, it looks incredible! Really beautiful blog, thrilled I found it!

  24. Pingback: Warm Skillet Butter Tart Bars | thehatecafe

  25. Pingback: 25 Nostalgic Comfort Food Recipes - FoodiePages

  26. lindseylabouef

    that is so cool! I have a food web too. it’s seasonsnacks.wordpress.com. you should check it out!

  27. Could you tell me what size of skillet you used? I’m a transplanted Canadian, living in Tennessee – and I have many sizes. 🙂 Planning on making this for Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday!

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