This homemade Tart Crust recipe is buttery, crisp, flaky, and easy to make. Pair it with Homemade Pastry Cream and it’s the perfect go-to base for making Fruit Tarts.

Just like homemade Pie Crust, or even Pizza Dough, making your own tart crust is much better in flavor, texture, freshness, and quality than store-bought.

Sweet Tart Crust baked and surrounded with berries

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Tart Crust Recipe

I’ve always been disappointed with store-bought fruit tarts. They look so beautiful and they are tempting for sure behind the bakery glass window, but it’s the crust that I struggle with. They are typically so hard and thick that I’m literally sawing it with my knife which leads to the crust falling apart despite my best efforts to keep the tart looking pretty.

Making a Tart Pastry is as easy as making basic shortbread cookie dough. The beauty of this tart dough is you don’t need pie weights – it doesn’t puff up or lose its form. Incorporating an egg yolk also helps to ensure it doesn’t get overly tough and difficult to cut through later. 

Baked tart crust recipe ready to be filled and served

Ingredients for a Tart Shell

The ingredients for making tart dough are so simple and you probably already have them in your pantry and refrigerator:

  • Butter – use softened, unsalted butter so you can control the salt
  • Sugar – granulated sugar adds sweetness to the crust
  • Salt – use fine sea salt to balance the sweetness
  • Egg yolk – creates a tender dough
  • Vanilla extract – use homemade vanilla for the best taste and aroma
  • All-purpose flour – creates an ideal, sturdy crumb
Ingredients for homemade tart shell

How to Make Crust for Tarts

This dough is so easy to make and comes together in the bowl of a mixer (although you could make it by hand with a firm spatula and a mixing bowl).

  1. Cream together sugar, salt, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
  2. Add yolk and vanilla and beat to incorporate.
  3. Add flour and mix until a dough forms.
  4. Press dough squarely and evenly into the tart pan and trim off the edges.
  5. Bake over a baking sheet in the center of a preheated oven until golden brown.
  6. Cool on a rack then remove from the mold. Now you can use it to make a Fruit Tart.
Step by step how to make crust for tarts

Pro Tip: Use a non-stick tart pan with a removable bottom which will make it much easier to remove the mold after the crust has baked and cooled. To remove the outer ring, you can place the tart over something that is narrower than the ring and gently pull down the outer ring to remove it. You can then slide a knife gently around the base to help the tart slide off the base easily or serve it on the base.

Step by step how to mold tart dough into a tart pan

Common Questions

What is Pate Sucree?

This is a sweet pastry dough that is pre-baked and is often used for pies that don’t require any further baking after being filled. That makes it perfect for fresh fruit tarts.

What is the difference between Pâte Sucrée and Pâte Brisée?

Pâte Brisée is more of the traditional Pie Crust. It’s flakier and tends to puff out of shape while baking which makes it more ideal for a classic filled and baked pie such as Apple Pie or Blueberry Pie. Pâte Sucrée incorporates egg and is a short-flake crust that is more cookie-like and crumbly.

How to keep the tart dough from cracking?

Be sure the tart dough is cooled to room temperature before removing the tart pan. If the dough is warm, it will be softer and more likely to break.

What is the best pan for making tart crust?

Use a 11″ or 10″ “tart pan with removable bottom, or use a 9-inch square tart pan. This recipe will work for a 9” round tart pan, but will be a little thicker crust with a slightly longer baking time.

Tart pan with removable bottom

Make-Ahead Tart Crust

There are so many great options to make this sweet tart crust ahead of time, before or after it is baked:

  • Baked tart crust – can be covered and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days 
  • Raw tart dough – can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. 
  • Frozen raw tart dough – cover tightly with several layers of plastic wrap then set inside a freezer-safe zip bag, remove excess air and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To Thaw – place frozen tart dough in the refrigerator overnight before using then let it sit at room temperature just until it’s softened and malleable enough to press into the tart pan 
Tart Crust baked ahead of time

More Homemade Pastry Recipes

Learning basic pastry recipes like this Sweet Tart Crust will give you confidence for experimenting with new recipes and variations. Many pastries call for the same basic dough recipes. For example, the choux pastry dough used to make Cream Puffs is also used to make Churros!

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Sweet Tart Crust (Pâte Sucrée)

5 from 28 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Sweet Tart Crust Baked and garnished with berries
This homemade Tart Crust recipe is buttery, crisp, flaky, and easy to make. The best part is, you don't need pie weights. Serve this with homemade Pastry Cream to make the best fresh Fruit Tarts.
Prep Time: 17 minutes
Cook Time: 28 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 1 tart crust

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, salt, and butter and cream together on medium speed just until combined (2-3 minutes), scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Add flour and mix on low speed until the flour is fully incorporated and dough comes together (1 minute). Transfer dough to a clean work surface and shape the dough into a flat disk. Press the dough into an 11-inch or 10-inch round tart pan. The dough should be about 1/4” thick on the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the corners squarely. Flatten the finished top edge with your fingertips or trim the top edge with a paring knife so it sits flush in line with the top of the tart pan (I repurpose any scraps by patching any thin-looking areas). Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 30 minutes while you preheat the oven.
  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Set the tart pan over a baking sheet to make it easier to transfer and Bake at 350˚F in the center of the oven for 25-28 minutes or until golden brown then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once the dough is at room temperature, carefully remove the outer rim by pushing on the base of the mold. To release from the base, carefully insert a knife between the pan and the crust to release, moving around the edges of the pan until the base releases easily.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Pate Sucree, Sweet Tart Dough, Tart Crust
Skill Level: Easy/Medium
Cost to Make: $

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Sylvia
    April 11, 2024

    I just finished this recipe and I’m very happy with the results! My dough was perfect just like you described it. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 11, 2024

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Sylvia!

      Reply

  • Sarah
    April 3, 2024

    Wondering if this tart dpugh would taste good with a chocolate tart filling? Have you tried filling with other filings?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 3, 2024

      Hi Sarah! I have not, but I imagine it’s very versatile.

      Reply

  • Sara
    March 31, 2024

    Hi I just wanted to ask what your tips would be if the dough is too crumbly and not forming a ball before chilling. I tried adding water and that sort of worked. What do you think? Thank you

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 31, 2024

      Hi Sara! The temperature of your ingredients and how things are measured is likely the culprit. You’ll want softened butter that’s not cold, but not warm. Watch my tutorial on How to measure ingredients to ensure you’re measuring your flour correctly. Adding too much will make this crust crumble. Adding water should help bring it together if that’s the case.

      Reply

  • Kelly Lepinski
    March 24, 2024

    Can this tart be made gluten free
    Like with almond flour
    Thank you

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 24, 2024

      Hello Kelly, I have not tested making this gluten free version to advise. If you do an experiment, we’d love to know how it goes!

      Reply

  • Yolanda
    January 16, 2024

    Hi Natasha, I made this amazing tart today and it is amazing. Thank you

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 16, 2024

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Yolanda!

      Reply

  • Marcia Smith
    August 26, 2023

    I found this dough very hard to work with – any body else have that issue??? Help!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 26, 2023

      Hi Marcia! I wonder if you used too much flour? This can make the dough hard to work with. I have a tutorial on how to measure ingredients. I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Irene
    August 10, 2023

    One more question. After refrigerating the raw dough for a day do I still need to freeze it for thirty minutes ?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      August 14, 2023

      Hi Irene, the freezing is a quick way to cool the dough. There’s no need to freeze if it has been refrigerated for a day.

      Reply

  • Irene
    August 10, 2023

    Just wondering.Is it
    Possible to overwork the dough when you’re mixing or patting the crust into the tart pan?Should one worry about that?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      August 14, 2023

      Hi Irene, this is more forgiving than say a pie crust, but you don’t want to overwork this crust either – the less you handle it the better, especially if you have very warm hands.

      Reply

  • Shideh
    July 31, 2023

    I’m looking forward to make this for my mother in law’s birthday. My question is Can I make this crust ahead of time? How do I store it?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 31, 2023

      Hi Shideh, it can be. Please see the section in the recipe titled: “Make-Ahead Tart Crust” I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Ag
    June 13, 2023

    Step 1 of your instructions – you might want to chamge it to “stand mixer” instead of stand mixture

    Reply

  • nancy
    June 8, 2023

    Made your pastry cream and that came out great. I have to make a tart in stages- and I need to shop for a tart pan! I’d like to get the dough done, its says you can refrigerate the dough, but should I let it come to room temp before putting in it the pan and proceeding?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      June 8, 2023

      Hi Nancy! I’m glad to hear that. You can refrigerate or freeze the dough. To thaw, you’ll want to leave it in the refrigerator overnight before using then let it sit at room temperature just until it’s softened and malleable enough to press into the tart pan. This also applies to the dough that’s been refrigerated and not frozen. You just want to let it sit out long enough that it’s easy enough to work with and shape. I hope that helps!

      Reply

  • Kelly
    May 22, 2023

    Why does it have to be mixed using a paddle attachment? I have a very old stand mixer with the normal beaters. I don’t know what difference (if any) that it will make when it comes to mixing the dough together. Can I use my regular beaters? Thank you.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 23, 2023

      Hi Kelly! Yes, you can use regular beaters too. I prefer the paddle attachment because the way it’s designed helps for cutting butter into dough for light and flaky pastries like pie crusts.

      Reply

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