The Best Butter Tarts in Toronto
The best butter tarts in Toronto are sugary-sweet concoctions that double as national badges of honour. The pastry is one of the only recipes of truly Canadian origin; though its buttery sweetness is vaguely reminiscent of tarte au sucre, pecan pie, shoofly pie or the treacle tart, the butter tart is characteristically 'runnier'.
Each butter tart is made with butter, sugar, syrup and egg baked into a small tart shell until barely firm. However, recipes change from family to family, place to place, with contentious additions of raisins or nuts, or altered entirely to be made gluten-free or vegan. Any way they're made, there's something special about them - like a sudden rush of sugar to the back of your teeth - that signals to you that you've bitten into a Canadian classic, and you know you are home.
Here are the best butter tarts in Toronto.
See also: The best pies in Toronto
Andrea, of Andrea's Gerrard St. Bakery, uses her grandmother's recipe to make the finest butter tarts ($3.15 each) in Toronto. The sweet caramel crunch of the butter filling and crust is to die for. More »
Rich, sweet and caramel-y with a nice dense crust, the butter tart at Rosanne Pezzelli's bakery Bakerbots has a dedicated fan base - much like the shop itself. Their tarts ($2) come with or without chocolate. More »
St. Clair's sweet tooths have Leah's to thank for the neighbourhood's most satisfying butter tarts ($2.75). The rich, buttery filling features deep, browned sugars sitting nicely in a thin pastry shell. More »
Vegan butter tarts? And no gluten? Wow. The dark, crumbly crust and deep brown filling in Bunners' tarts ($3) come studded with raisins. More »
Another gluten- and dairy-free butter tart winner can be found at Tori's Bakeshop in the Beach ($2.25). Their crust is made of primarily garbanzo bean flour with some rice and tapioca and xanthan gum, and a filling of cane sugar, maple syrup coconut milk, pecans and currants. You won't believe it's not butter. More »
Called 'Abbey's butter tarts', they are cupped to look like flowers - but I think they are reminiscent of the maple leaf, and they taste just as Canadian. The made-from-scratch tarts sell for $2.93 each, or a half-dozen for $15. (Did I mention they also come in a bacon version?) More »
It is not surprising that a veritable community institution like Future Bakery - with locations in the Annex and St. Lawrence Market - makes butter tarts ($1.25) the way grandma used to. Their version includes a pale shortbread crust and a gelatinous and sweet butter filling studded with pecans. More »
The butter tarts at Phipps ($2.50) are not for the faint of heart. The crust is heavy and buttery, the filling is more of the same (plus sugar) and then they go and drizzle caramel on the top. POW! You've got your sugar intake for weeks. More »
You'll have to make it out to Etobicoke for San Remo Bakery's butter tarts ($1.50). Featuring a tender pastry filled with buttery gooey-ness and a liberal application of raisins, they are definitely worth the trip for downtowners, and a lucky bonus for those in the 'burbs. More »
This St. Clair bakery may draw mixed reviews over the quality of service, but one thing is spot-on - the butter tarts ($2.75) are flaky and sweet and sugary in all the right ways. More »
If you find yourself at 7th Sister Bakery's cute little shop on Roncesvalles, you'd be remiss to leave without trying their famous butter tarts ($3.50) - it's hard to have just one. More »