Perfect Tart Crust: buttery, just a little sweet, and tender as can be. This easy-to-make, basic dough will complement any kind of filling!

How to Make Tart Crust Recipe

Fall is in full swing now, my friend! Soon we will be knee-deep in pies and tarts!

I figured, why not get ahead of it, and post one of the most useful recipes in any good baker’s arsenal: Tart Crust! I’ve been using this recipe for years, and it’s even a component of many of the recipes you’ll find on this website. Check out this Salted Honey Nut Tart, these Lemon Cheesecake Tarts, and this Rhubarb Tart, and you’ll see what I mean!

Tarts are fun to make, mainly because they’re so versatile. You can fill a tart crust in so many delicious ways!

But the pastry dough is step one. You want a recipe that’s easy to make, tender and a little crunchy, buttery, and not too sweet, to provide the perfect contrast. And this recipe is IT!

Perfect Tart Crust Recipe


When you make a tart, the crust can be almost as important as the filling! You want to make sure that you have a sturdy base that provides a flavor contrast as well as a little bit of texture.

Tart crust is definitely it’s own kind of thing. It is buttery and a little sweet, and it has kind of a shortbread-like mouthfeel.

It’s not the same thing as pie crust. Pie crust, while also buttery and not too sweet, tends to have more of a flaky texture, while tart crust is more like a cookie. And honestly, tart crust is WAY easier to make! This dough comes together in about 10 minutes flat. You gotta love that!


I like to make this tart crust recipe in the food processor, but if you don’t have one, that’s totally fine! It can also be made in a stand mixer or the old-fashioned way, by hand!

Start by combining the dry ingredients: flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Just give them a quick stir.

Next, add the butter. It’s best if the butter is cold. If you’re using a food processor, just pulse it a few times until you have something that resembles coarse meal. This can also be done with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or by hand with 2 knives (or one of my favorite tools: the pastry blender).

Once the butter is cut in to the dry ingredients, you can add the liquids. An egg yolk provides richness and structure, a little cream will help keep the dough workable, and vanilla extract is added for flavor.

As soon as the dough has gathered itself into a ball, stop mixing. If the dough is overworked, the tart crust could come out tough and it could also shrink a lot as it bakes.

Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for about an hour in the fridge, just to stiffen it up a little and make it easier to roll out.

Best Tart Crust Recipe


Honestly, you can use this recipe for just about any size tart (within reason!). For the pictures and video you see here, I used a standard-sized 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.

But it will also work with an 8-inch round pan, a rectangular tart pan, or even with a set of 6 mini tarts. Just roll the dough out to just an inch or two wider than the diameter of your cake pan. This is typically about 1/8-inch thick, but if it’s a little thicker or thinner that’s totally ok.


Really, it depends. If you have a tart recipe, follow it. Sometimes tarts are baked filled, and sometimes just the pastry shell is baked, without the filling (this is known as “blind baking).

Just to give you an idea, the blind-baked tart shell you see here was baked for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F.

If you’re blind baking your crust, you might want to prick the bottom with the tines of a fork. This will prevent it from getting air trapped underneath and poofing up as it bakes. Sometimes it’s a good idea to place dry beans or pie weights in too, for the same reason. I didn’t do either of these things for what you see in these pics, and it was totally fine, but if you’re finding this to be a problem for you, give these solutions a try!

Basic Tart Crust Recipe


I would recommend making the dough about an hour ahead. If you chill it much longer than that, it might become a little too stiff to work with easily. Of course, this can be remedied just by leaving it out at room temperature until it becomes a little softer.

You can also pre-bake the shell (unfilled), if your tart recipe allows for that. It will keep in a zip-top bag for a few days at room temperature, about a week in the fridge, and around a month or two in the freezer.

When you’re ready to assemble your tart, just thaw the pre-baked crust at room temperature, and fill!

Sweet Tart Crust Recipe

Next time you’ve got the itch to make a beautiful tart, try this perfect tart crust recipe! It’s the perfect base to complement just about any kind of filling!

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Watch this quick video to see how it’s done!

2 reviews

Perfect Tart Crust

Perfect Tart Crust: buttery, just a little sweet, and tender as can be. This easy-to-make, basic dough will complement any kind of filling!

Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Total Time 40 minutes
Serves 10     adjust servings


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, stand mixer, or in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Pulse/stir/cut in the butter with a pastry blender, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Add the egg yolk, cream, and vanilla, and process/mix/stir until the dough gathers itself into a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8-inch.
  6. Press the dough gently into the tart pan(s), trimming away any excess.


Recipe Notes

A few other great crust recipes:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 slice
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 175kcal Calories from fat 92
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10g 15%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Transfat 0g
Cholesterol 44mg 15%
Sodium 50mg 2%
Carbohydrate 18g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 4g
Protein 2g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g