How to Make Tart Crust

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Learn How to Make a Tart Crust that is crisp yet tender, rich and buttery in flavor, and a little sweet (pâte sucrée). It’s a classic French recipe that is easy to master.

A tart crust on a wire cooling rack.


 

I learned this tart crust in culinary school, and it quickly became one of my go-to recipes. At the time, we used it to make a stunning Fresh Fruit Tart, but you can really get creative with a good tart crust recipe.

If you don’t feel like handling puff pastry, try my Mushroom and Leek Tart in this tart crust. You can also use it for Quiche Lorraine or Chicken Pot Pie. This crust is delicious with either savory or sweet fillings. No food processor or pastry cutter needed!

Recipe ingredients

Labeled tart crust ingredients.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Equipment and ingredient notes

  • Pie weights: Used when blind-baking a crust so the crust stays flat. You can use store-bought pie weights or substitute dried beans or uncooked rice (you cannot eat the rice or beans after they’ve been baked). After baking, cool the beans completely and store them in a plastic bag for future baking projects.
  • Butter: I tend to keep salted butter on hand (and I prefer the taste) so that’s what I use here, but unsalted butter is fine too. 
  • Flour: The easiest way to sift flour is with a fine-mesh sieve. Over a sheet of parchment paper, foil, or a large bowl, add flour (or any dry ingredients) to a fine-mesh strainer and tap the side with one hand. Any clumps left in the bottom can be pushed through with a spoon.

Step-by-step instructions

To make the tart dough:

  1. In a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or with an electric mixer by hand, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Butter and sugar being creamed in a silver mixing bowl.
  1. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add egg. Continue mixing until combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and salt to the mixture, and mix until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour and baking powder and blend on low speed until the dough forms (do not over-mix).
Tart dough in a silver mixing bowl with a beater.
  1. Scrape dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and chill at least 1 hour.
A ball of tart crust dough wrapped in plastic wrap.

To blind-bake the tart crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a thickness of 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch. If the dough crumbles or breaks apart, press it back together with your fingertips.
A tart crust on a wooden cutting board.
  1. Loosely roll the dough around the rolling pin, then gently unroll it over a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
A tart crust before being trimmed and baked.
  1. Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Trim any excess dough.
A tart crust before being cooked.
  1. Cover the dough with parchment paper or foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans (you will need about 2 pounds, see note 1). Bake 12 minutes.
A tart crust with pie weights in it.
  1. Remove pie weights and parchment paper.
A tart crust on a baking sheet.
  1. Place on a baking sheet. Return to oven and bake until golden brown and fully cooked, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Cool tart shell on a rack completely.
A tart crust on a wire cooling rack.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 1 (9-inch) tart crust.
  • Storage: Unbaked tart dough may be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months. Remove from freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge before rolling out to bake.
  • Pie Crust: Whether it’s the best pie at the state fair or the best pie at the potluck, it all starts with learning How to Make a Pie Crust from scratch. This recipe is for a flaky pastry dough is easier than you might think. 
  • Fresh fruit tart: This tart crust was designed to be filled with pastry cream, topped with fresh fruit, and brushed with a shiny apricot glaze.
A whole, unsliced fresh fruit tart.
Fresh Fruit Tart filled with Pastry Cream, topped with fresh fruit, and brushed with an apricot glaze.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you sift flour?

Add flour to a fine-mesh strainer set over a sheet of parchment paper, foil, or a bowl and tap the side with one hand. Anything left in the bottom can be pushed through with a spoon.

How many pie weights do I need?

It may be tempting to fill the pan to the brim with pie weights, but you really need just a thick layer over the bottom. You’ll want at least 8 ounces or up to a pound.

More delicious desserts

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A tart crust on a cooling rack.

How to Make Tart Crust

Learn how to make a tart crust that is crisp yet tender, rich and buttery in flavor, and a little sweet (pâte sucrée). It's a classic French recipe that is easy to master.
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chilling time 1 hour
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Calories 197
5 from 9 votes

Equipment

Ingredients 

Instructions 

To make the tart dough:

  • In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or with an electric mixer by hand, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add egg. Continue mixing until combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and salt, mix until combined.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour and baking powder and blend until the dough comes together (do not over-mix). Scrape dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and chill at least 1 hour.

To blind-bake the tart crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a thickness of 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch. If the dough crumbles or breaks apart, press it back together with your fingertips.
  • Loosely roll the dough around the rolling pin, then gently unroll it over a 9-inch tart pan. Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Trim any excess dough.
  • Cover the dough with parchment paper or foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans (you will need about 2 pounds; see note 1). Bake 12 minutes.
  • Remove pie weights and parchment paper. Return to oven and bake until golden brown and fully cooked, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Cool completely.

Notes

  1. Pie weights: Used when blind-baking a crust so the crust stays flat. You can use store-bought pie weights or substitute dried beans (you cannot eat the beans after they’ve been baked). After baking, cool the beans completely and store them in a plastic bag for future baking projects.
  2. Flour: The easiest way to sift flour is with a fine-mesh sieve. Over a sheet of parchment paper, foil, or a bowl, add flour (or any dry ingredients) to a fine-mesh strainer and tap the side with one hand. Anything left in the bottom can be pushed through with a spoon.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes 1 (9-inch) tart crust, enough for 8 slices (or more or less, depending on how you slice it).
  4. Storage: Unbaked tart dough may be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling out to bake.
  5. Fresh fruit tart: This tart crust was designed to be filled with pastry cream, topped with fresh fruit, and brushed with a shiny apricot glaze.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 197kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 3gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 182mgPotassium: 28mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 336IUCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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