Little Lemon Tarts

Little Lemon Tarts | Butter Baking

I have the day off today. Yay!

That really never happens in my world. Like, really never.

When I’m not at work I’m baking from home to sell to a little cafe, or I’m baking for the blog, or I’m shooting and editing photos, or I’m running errands, or I’m seeing friends, or hanging out with my gorgeous man, or doing one of another million things.

Little Lemon Tarts | Butter Baking

So today I was off work, but I was meant to be baking macarons. I make them at home and sell them (along with a few other little treats) to a cafe/champagne bar.

But I was very easily convinced, by said gorgeous man, to just take the day off and chill. Out.

Little Lemon Tarts | Butter Baking

So that’s what I’m doing.

I was up early (but that’s a given in baking life) and had a very long, lazy breakfast at my new favourite spot – Candied Bakery. They make these amazing Nutella croissants (which were breakfast this morning! Yum!), and they only have the best almond croissants and coffee, like, ever. I was pretty much in heaven.

Little Lemon Tarts | Butter Baking

And then I chilled. I replied to all your comments. I watched Ellen. I rugged up, because it’s freezing out. I wore my new pyjamas. I sat on my bum. I walked my dog. I caught up on all my way-behind-schedule blog reading. And later tonight, I’ll hang out with my boyfriend.

So today was lazy. It involved no work. No baking. No photo editing. No errands. No appointments. No meetings. No commitments. No nothing.

And I loved it.

Little Lemon Tarts | Butter Baking

So as I was supposed to be baking from home for the cafe today, I’m sharing a recipe for one of the treats I make them – these little lemon tarts!

I have shared a lemon tartlet recipe with you before, but these are a hybrid of my favourite ever lemon bars and the best ever tart pastry, and are on a whole. Other. Level.

The pastry is ridiculously flaky, buttery and crisp, and the filling just screams of lemons. These are the stuff that dreams are made of. You hear me? Dreams.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Now please excuse me while I go back to being lazy!

PS. The last couple of photos were taken by a girlfriend of mine who’s studying photography. She also styled this shoot, and so beautifully! Thanks Olivia!

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

  • For the tart pastry:
  • 180g unsalted butter (6 oz)
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups flour (300g, 10 oz)
  • For the lemon filling:
  • ¼ cup plain flour (35g, 1¼ oz)
  • 1 cup sugar (220g, ½ pound)
  • ½ cup lemon juice (125ml, 4 oz, about 3 lemons)
  • zest from 1 lemon, grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch of salt
  1. To make the tart pastry, preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F) and get out two mini muffin pans.
  2. Place the butter, water, oil, sugar and salt in an overproof bowl.
  3. Put the bowl in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the butter is melted, bubbling, and just beginning to brown around the edges.
  4. Carefully remove the bowl from the oven and dump in the flour. Stir quickly, until the dough comes together and pulls away from the side of the dish.
  5. Put a teaspoon of dough into one mini muffin hole, and press it into the base and up the sides using your fingers. Repeat until all the dough has been used.
  6. Prick the dough with a fork once or twice.
  7. Bake for 8 - 12 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown all over.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  9. To make the tart filling, reduce the oven to 150 C (300 F).
  10. Combine the flour and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix to dissolve the sugar.
  11. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and the egg yolk with salt.
  12. Add the eggs into the lemon and sugar mixture and whisk until well combined.
  13. Put the mini muffin tins back in the oven, pull the oven rack out of the oven slightly and pour the filling into each pastry case while it is still in the oven.
  14. Shut the oven door and bake for 5 – 10 minutes, until the centers are just set.
  15. Makes 36 mini lemon tarts. Recipe can be halved.
  16. Happy baking!

Pastry adapted from David Lebovitz.
Filling adapted from this recipe by Tartine.

109 Thoughts on “Little Lemon Tarts

  1. Pingback: June 20, 2013 | Mommy plus 5

  2. Love your post :) Glad that you could just lay back and enjoy a day without work :) Your little tarts look as amazing as ever and I think I might have to copy that pastry recipe 😛

  3. These look beautiful Natasha :-) I love lazy days so much…I’m well overdue one I think! It’s first on my list when I stop work for the summer holidays (I’m a teacher) in 4 weeks time :-)

    • Thanks Joy! Me too, they’re fantastic, and I’ve missed them! Lucky you, you get an entire summer’s worth of lazy days! Will you be vacationing, or will you be busy blogging? Enjoy 😀

  4. Love these lemon minis!

  5. Carole on June 22, 2013 at 10:55 am said:

    Lovely work! Would you be happy to link it in to the current Food on Friday which is collecting snacks and treats? This is the link . I do hope to see you there. There are already quite a lot of links for you to check out. Cheers

  6. Gorgeous tarts – is it horrible that I’ve never sampled a lemon tart before? I’ve had passionfruit though, but not lemon… -.- I think I should get on to it! :)

  7. Oh, it looks really really great!!! :)

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  9. i82much on June 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm said:

    Yummy … dont have mini muffin pan only the normal ones. Will be using them. Should I extend the baking time of the tart and the filling.Hungry

  10. Camilla on July 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm said:

    Hey! I’m currently planning a graduation party and looking for cakes I can bake in advance. Do you think the little lemon tarts would be suitable for that purpose? They look amazing :-)

    • Hi Camilla! Absolutely! These freeze really well for up to a month, and you can just pop them out of the freezer an hour before you need them :-) enjoy!

  11. AnnellaW on July 23, 2013 at 3:20 pm said:

    Made these today – I think the pastry was a little greasy; is it supposed to be? It cooked ok and the tarts were delicious but maybe I’d add a tiny bit extra flour next time if the dough turns out the same. Super tasty and I’ll definitely be making these again. Certainly a success for a novice baker!

    • Hi Annella! The pastry is a little buttery, but that’s what keeps it so flaky and lets it come straight out of the tins :-)
      Let me know how it turns out with extra flour!
      Very happy to hear you liked these 😀

  12. Audrey on August 7, 2013 at 9:58 pm said:

    Made these today for family and friends and they turned out great! There was a really nice balance between tangy and sweet. I love baking with lemons – and this was an awesome recipe. :)

  13. Tchanyl on August 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm said:

    First time making mini pastries. I wasn’t sure how thinly I could pat the dough so they turned out a bit thicker than I had hoped. But, the end product tasted divine! Thanks for posting this recipe. Will keep working on my technique since we just picked 70 lemons from our backyard :)

  14. I just made these little tarts and they were amazing. The pastry was easy and delicious and the tangy lemon filling was sensational. A definite make again recipe. Thank you very much :)

  15. for storing these for a day or 2 should they be refrigerated?

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  17. Olivia on March 5, 2014 at 1:59 am said:

    I already try your amazing lemon tart.
    I will do it again for a party this week-end but a big one. I would like to add “meringue”, do you have some tricks ? Thank you for all your wonderful recipes and for your help.
    (Sorry for my English I’m French speaker)

    • Hi Olivia,
      I’m happy to hear you liked the tarts! When I top these with meringue I use the Italian meringue from my macaron recipe :-)

      300g caster sugar
      75ml water
      110g egg whites

      Make an Italian meringue. Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Do not turn on.
      Put the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir. Place over a medium heat and fit with a candy thermometer.
      Watch the sugar as it boils. When the mixture reaches about 110 C, turn the egg whites onto a high speed. Whip these until they form very soft peaks. The sugar should be 115 C at this stage.
      When the sugar reaches 115 C, turn off the heat. While the egg whites are still beating on high, pour the sugar syrup, very slowly, into the eggs. Aim for a point in between the side of the bowl and the moving whisk. Continue to beat until the mixture cools (feel it through the base of the bowl).

  18. Emily on March 19, 2014 at 1:40 pm said:

    I tried these once and they were amazingggg perfect balance between sweet and sour :)
    I was wondering if it would be ok to use lime juice instead of lemon?

    • Hi Emily! I’m happy you liked them :-)
      Lime juice isn’t as tart as lemon juice, so you can play with it, but you might find them much too sweet. You could always try half and half? Reduce the sugar a little?
      Definitely don’t try orange though. I did it once with a bit of orange juice and a bit of lemon and it was horrible, so sweet :-(

  19. I have never been able to eat lemon tarts, but these are phenomenal. Thank you for this delicious recipe. Will be following your recipe suggestions henceforward.

  20. Hi, these look excellent! I was just wondering how long they can be stored for and how’s best to store them? Thank you :)

  21. Hi Natasha, was wondering if I would make these the day before I needed them or are they best served on the day? Thanks. Kelly

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  23. Rocio on April 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm said:

    Thanks very much Natasha for the wonderful recipe for the pastry, I made it today for Easter dinner. I replaced a little of the butter with coconut oil and worked fine. I filled the tarts with my own lemon curd, very similar to your lemon filling. They were delicious, I received lots of compliments. I will use your pastry recipe for all other tarts. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Julie on May 27, 2014 at 7:03 pm said:

    Just tried these tarts as an experiment for a friend’s party. Wasn’t convinced at all by the recipe but was attracted by the fact that you don’t have to blind bake the pastry. I have to take it all back!! The pastry was amazing and so easy to work with and they tasted gorgeous – will definitely be making them for the party. The filling did crack though – is that because I hadn’t cooked them for quite long enough? Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Julie! Happy that you liked the tart pastry so much :-) it’s my favourite! The tarts with crack due to over baking (not under baking). You still want them to have a tiny wobble when you pull them out. Good luck! :-)

  25. Hi, I have just made these and the mix tastes devine. Just a few questions. Do you have any trick on getting them out of the trays without damaging or having them break. I’m struggling to get mine out. Plus, when doing the pastry, can you out it in the pans quite thin? Mine puffed up a bit. I can’t wait to try them. They smell delicious. Thank you.

    • Hi Skye! I use non stick trays and run a knife around the outside to pop them out. If you don’t have non-stick trays, maybe try greasing them a little :-)
      Yes I put it in quite thin! Prick it with a fork a few times to stop it puffing too much :-)
      Hope you enjoy!

  26. Michelle on June 2, 2014 at 11:35 pm said:

    AMAZING!!!! And so quick and easy! Great flakey light pastry and perfectly balanced lemon filling, love it and will be making them again and again! Thanks for sharing. xo

  27. My wife found your site while looking for a lemon tart recipe, imagine that!! I showed here that I had subscribed to your site a good time ago. I printed this page for your recipe and plan to make it for a late Father’s Day celebration tomorrow afternoon. Thank YOU!!

    Michael :)

  28. Bridget on September 1, 2014 at 4:44 am said:

    I just made these and they are delicious! Do I need to refrigerate them?

  29. Georgia on September 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm said:

    I need to make a large tart for a birthday- would these quantities work okay for a standard flan tin?

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  31. Hi! Love the look of the lemon tarts and making them tomorrow. Can I make the pastry today and keep in fridge or is it better made day of! Thanks. Susan

  32. Hi Natasha,
    Not sure if someone has already asked .. .can’t see it above .. Can these tart shells be made in advance? If so, how long would they likely keep? and would they need to be reheated before being filled and baked?

    • Hi Adele! Yes they can be made in advance, they do keep reasonably well, well wrapped. I would leave them in their tins, and reheat them before you fill them :-)

  33. amazing recipe, feels like cooking in Papa Louie’s restaurant games at tarts looks super delicious :) i’ll give it a try this evening. Btw, excellent quality photos!

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  35. This is the best tart ever! I made these with limes instead of lemons and I used 3/4 cup of sugar instead of 1 cup, and I used a big muffin pan instead of a mini one. They turned out really well! Thanks!

  36. Oh. my. Gosh. Made these tonight as a naughty treat for me and hubby after dinner, I halved the recipe and used a regular 12 case muffin pan and made 12 beautiful size tarts. They were absolutely delicious. And SO fuss free, which I love! It was all just so easy, so much that I thought it can’t possibly work haha. But wow, I am blown away and will be saving this recipe in my favorites. We served it with a lovely scoop of vanilla ice cream 😉 Thank you so much x

  37. Hi, thank you for the recipe! I enjoy lemon treats and I just harvested ~60 lemons from our lemon tree in the backyard, so I made these last night. Of course I used more like 12 hand-squeezed lemons to fill a 1/2 cup, but they are smaller (and sweeter) than store-bought lemons. I also made it in a 12 cupcake pan, so I had to leave it at 300F for 20 minutes instead of 10. Anyway, I ate 2 yesterday right when they finished baking (at like 12am) and just had one for breakfast. Yum. Now I just have to remember that they are 300 calories each and control myself.. :)

  38. Susannah on November 22, 2014 at 6:18 am said:

    I accidentally made the shells too small and have about 1 cup of uncooked lemon mixture left over. Do you have any tips on cooking it so I can use it as lemon curd? Thanks in advance!
    By the way, even with my mistake, the extra-mini mini tarts are still delicious. I’m relieved, because I (American) am baking them for an English tea for my friend from Coventry.

    • Hi Susannah! You could always make more lemon tarts! You could probably cook it over the stove on a low heat until it coats the back of a spoon, but it might not be like the lemon curd you imagine as it has flour in it! :-) Happy to hear they went well!

  39. Can I just confirm that this is plain flour (not self raising?). And would it work to heat the pastry ingredients in a saucepan over hot plate until bubbling & then add the flour? Very keen to try- they look delicious! Have a big lemon tree & four chooks in the back yard- just need a cow & a butter churn!!

    • Hi Emily! Yes, always plain flour unless otherwise stated. And no, unfortunately the pastry doesn’t work when heated over the stove – an old colleague tried. Sorry!

  40. My pastry lost its shape and shrunk back so the bases were thick and the sides not very high. It also was very greasy. Tasted good but needed a lot of work – did i overwork the dough? I only have 1 tray so the dough cooled down after the first batch as well. Should i have heated it in the oven to warm up?

    • Hi Sandy! That’s a shame! It does shrink a little but shouldn’t that much! Did you prick it with a fork?
      I wouldn’t heat the mixture up with a fork, but wrap it directly in plastic wrap (covering the surface) and keep it in it’s warm pan. You could always make the pastry in two batches, too! :-)

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  43. Lemon tarts are my absolute favourite! I’ve been enjoying your site, and I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award here: Feel free to take part or not as the mood takes you. I really enjoy your site :)

  44. M Graham on April 11, 2015 at 3:51 am said:

    Thinking of using decorative mini paper liners in the mini muffin pans. Would they peel away from the lemon tarts easily?

  45. brenda on April 11, 2015 at 11:41 am said:

    I am making these and wanted to cheat, using store bought meyer lemon curd. Would I need to cook the shells anymore then the 8-12 mins?

  46. Elizabeth :) on May 23, 2015 at 5:04 pm said:

    Is that a traditional lemon tart?
    Can you use an homemade lemon curd instead and is there a recipe

    • Hi Elizabeth, no this isn’t a traditional lemon tart. This recipe is more along those lines.
      Yes you can use a homemade lemon curd, but they will be different and you wouldn’t bake them. And no I don’t have a recipe for lemon curd on the blog.

  47. laila on May 29, 2015 at 8:20 pm said:

    OMG THESE ARE AMAZING thank u for sharing the tasty recipe they are the best tarts i have ever made.

  48. Made them last night and they are totally, perfectly, amazing! I am not a baker but found this very easy… to try it out, we made a third of the recipe (works fine with just 1 egg!). They were spectacularly crumbly when we had them warm last night. Today, they are still crisp and the lemon is just a tad bit more lemony! Thank you for sharing it!

  49. I can taste the tangy awesomeness from here!

  50. virginia tate on August 3, 2015 at 1:35 pm said:

    Do you have any tips to help press the dough into the mini muffin tins? My cups came out a little jagged. l

  51. Hi Natasha, I just made these and they are SO DELICIOUS and that pastry recipe is super easy!! Any tips for making the lemon filling not so bubbly? Mine have little bubble marks on top. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Hi Tammy, happy to hear it! When you pour the filling into the jug, place a piece of kitchen paper gently on top, tun lift it off – it should take the bubbles with it :-)

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  53. These were delicious! Best lemon tarts I’ve had!! I took some photos of my attempt and posted them on my blog – I’ve linked back to your fantastic recipe!!
    Thanks for sharing this great recipe!!

  54. Hi Natasha :) love your photos and tried thi recipe today. Super yummy. However some of my tarts could not come off, just wondering if it’s under baked that’s why. Appreciate if you could advise if I should use fan baked or no fan for these lovely tarts :) thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Tracy! Maybe it’s because some of the filling leaked through the pastry and stuck the tarts to the tin?
      I think I used fan at home and no fan at work and it doesn’t really make a difference :-)

  55. can these tarts be make up in advance and fozen

  56. Firstly i love your blog! completely foolproof delicious recipes!i have made your brown butter lemon bars but the filling always cracks so i was wondering if i can make this recipe in a 9 by 13 pan since you said this filling is much more stable??

    • Hi Rania! Thanks so much :-) This recipe is the same filling as the brown butter lemon bars :-)
      If it always cracks I would say you may be over-baking! Take them out when they are juuuust set, even with a tiny wobble still in the very centre. Good luck!

  57. I love this recipe! I have made these tartlets several times for different parties and they always disappear very quickly. Going to make them again for a potluck at work next week because I know they’ll be a hit.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  58. deidre on March 4, 2016 at 12:36 pm said:

    Have you ever put fruit like raspberries on top of these mini tarts? Want to make for a bridal shower.

  59. Those look great. Do you think I can make them in a normal muffin tin as well (the ones that have 12 muffins on a pan are those that I use)? Mini muffins seem really really small.
    Greetings from the student kitchen,

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  61. Lisa on May 8, 2016 at 8:01 pm said:

    I just made these lovely little tarts and they were devine. I was a little bit worried about the pastry because it was a bit buttery but it turned out perfectly and so tasty. I’m so glad I saw you on everyday gourmet and had to look you up. Great recipe and can’t wait to try more of your yummy recipes

  62. Kara on May 9, 2016 at 1:13 pm said:

    Made these yesterday morning (along with your salted caramel tarts which I turned into mini tarts) for a Motherls day high tea ‘brunch’ I had at home, and these were divine! I had never made my own pastry before, let alone mini tarts and these turned out perfectly. The pastry was so easy to make, and despite the recipe saying it would make 36, using a teaspoon measure I ended up only needing the one batch of pastry for about 52 tarts (I did half as the lemon, and then used the rest for the salted caramel). I will need to refine my technique as I noticed that they shrunk back a little in the tin as they baked, and some puffed up a little despite pricking with a fork. Plus, the edges browned yet some of the bases remained a bit undercooked. Happy to practice further if it means I get to ‘sample’ the results! Thank you for your beautiful recipes.

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