Everyone needs a classic tart crust recipe in their arsenal. And this one is mine. It’s incredibly easy to make (it utilizes the food processor!), requires just 6 ingredients, is wonderfully crisp and just sweet enough.

For this classic tart crust recipe you can either partially bake it, which is perfect for tarts with fillings that need to be cooked, or fully bake it, which is great for no-cook fillings. Two cheers for options!

Photograph of lemon curd being spread into a tart crust.
So, what’s in a tart crust recipe?

This tart crust recipe requires only 6 ingredients, all of which are probably already in your pantry or fridge. Good news all around!

Ingredients in a tart crust:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Confectioners’ Sugar
  • Butter
  • Egg yolk
  • Cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt (Since we’ve all got salt on hand, I don’t usually add it to the total ingredient number)

Photograph of an unbaked tart shell in a tart pan set on a marble table.
How do you make a tart crust?

STEP 1:

Pulse dry ingredients together, scatter butter over top and pulse until a coarse meal is formed. Add yolk and cream mixture and pulse until a dough comes together.

Butter cubes on top of flour in a food processor.STEP 2:

Turn dough out onto a work surface.

Crumbly tart dough scattered on a marble surface.STEP 3:

Form dough into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap; chill 1 hour.

Tart dough, patted into a disk, on top of a marble surface.STEP 4:

Roll dough out then press into bottom of pan and up sides; trim edges and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

STEP 5:

Blind bake crust until starting to brown and dry to the touch. To blind bake, line the unbaked tart crust with foil, fill with baking weights (or beans) and bake.

Photograph of a baked tart crust in a tart pan set on a marble table
Can you freeze tart crust?

Yes! You can freeze tart dough and the baked crust. Here are some options for both refrigerating and freezing:

Freeze tart crust dough

Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling.

Freeze tart crust dough in pan

Dough-lined tart pan can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Bake frozen tart crust according to recipe instructions, adding a few minutes on to the baking time as needed. No need to thaw before baking. 

Freeze baked tart crust

Wrap baked tart crust with a layer of plastic wrap and foil; freeze for up to 1 month. Let that at room temperature before filling.

More Tart Crust Recipe Options

Make a whole wheat tart crust

Swap in whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour. The result? A toasty/nutty crust that’s just as crisp as the regular all-purpose variety.

Make a naturally sweetened tart crust

Swap ground sucanat in for the confectioners’ sugar. You can also use ground coconut sugar, but the crust will be a bit darker and not quite as crisp.  

side angle photograph of wedges of layered rhubarb tart set on a marble table.
Put your tart crust to use in these tart recipes!

Pear, Hazelnut & Blue Cheese Tart

Sweet, nutty and just a bit savory!

Photograph of a long pear tart on a gray background

Blueberry-Lemon Curd Tart

A favorite around here, this stunning tart is a show stopper!

Tart slices, with yellow and purple layers, set on top of a marble surface.

Pear & Almond Tartlets

A take on the classic frangipane tart, these mini tarts are absolutely delicious!

Overhead image of a mini tart on a balking sheet topped with layered of poaches pears

Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or comment below if you make this Tart Crust Recipe.

To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can click the button on any of the photos, or the red button on the side bar or below the recipe.  Happy baking!

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Tart pan lined with baked tart crust set on top of a marble surface.

Classic Tart Crust Recipe

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes + 1 ½ hours chilling
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 ¾ hours
  • Yield: one 9-inch tart crust 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Foolproof recipe for a crisp tart crust. Easy to make and requires just 6 ingredients!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups (6 ¼ ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces and chilled

Instructions

Whisk egg yolk, cream, and vanilla together in bowl. Process flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter chilled butter over top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses. With processor running, add yolk mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 12 seconds.

Form dough into 6-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour. (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling.)

Let chilled dough sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes, roll dough into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, letting excess dough hang over edge. Ease dough into pan by gently lifting edge of dough with your hand while pressing into corners and fluted sides of pan with your other hand (make sure edges are about 1/4-inch thick). Run rolling pin over top of pan to remove any excess dough.

Wrap dough-lined pan loosely in plastic, place on a large plate, and freeze until dough is chilled and firm, about 30 minutes. (Dough-lined tart pan can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375°. Set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet, discard plastic and line with a double layer of aluminum foil, covering edges to prevent burning; fill with pie weights. Bake crust until golden brown and set, about 30–40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.

For a par-baked tart crust: remove weights and foil and let crust cool.

For a fully cooked tart crust: remove weights and foil and continue baking crust for an additional 5-10 minutes until deeply golden brown.


Notes

Equipment Needed:

  • 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom
  • Food processor

Make a whole wheat tart crust

Swap in whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour. The result? A toasty/nutty crust that’s just as crisp as the regular all-purpose variety.

Make a naturally sweetened tart crust

Swap ground sucanat in for the confectioners’ sugar. You can also use ground coconut sugar, but the crust will be a bit darker and not quite as crisp.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: ⅛ of a recipe
  • Calories: 194
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 158mg
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 17g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 59mg

Keywords: Tart Crust Recipe, tart crust, Tart

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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