Homemade Pop Tarts

by Andie Mitchell on July 13, 2010

Think of all the things I could have baked with pastry dough. The tarts, the quiche, the sweet cherry pies. And yet…I chose pop tarts.

You heard that right. Homemade pop tarts.

Remember those crisp-edged toasty pastries that came two to a foil pack? The ones that remind you of embroidered initials on L.L.Bean backpacks and stirrup pants and french braids? Well they’re proof that nostalgia has a flavor, and it tastes even richer than the most decadent of confections.

Especially if said pastries have gooey centers filled with brown sugar and cinnamon.

…or rose-hued cherry centers.

Buttery and slightly crumbly, these taste of sweater vests and New Kids on the Block, sleepovers and making jazz squares.

Everything that was good in the world of 1991.

Homemade Pop Tarts (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold milk or ice water

1 egg (to brush on pastry)

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Filling (enough for 9 tarts)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour

Jam Filling
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water  (Using cornstarch is optional, I omitted it)

Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl and pour it into your food processor. Add the cold, diced butter and pulse a few times until the mixture has pea-sized lumps of butter, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. You can also make the pastry without the food processor- to do so simply cut in the butter to the bowl of flour, salt, and sugar using a pastry blender or a fork until it is a coarse meal. In either method, once the butter and flour mixture is combined, stream in the ice water and pulse or stir a few times just to moisten the dough and make everything hold together, not to make it wet.

If you didn’t use a food processor, you may find it helpful to knead the dough briefly on a well-floured surface.

If you know what’s good for you- you’ll go with the food processor. It is a world easier.

Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches.

Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Make the filling: whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat the egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on.

Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it.

Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides.

Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries.

Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.Whisk

Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley July 13, 2010 at 12:42 am

Oh my gaaawd. I have wanted to make these since I saw the post on SK’s blog. They look awesome! I never got that dang LL Bean backpack either! haha


Can You Stay for Dinner July 13, 2010 at 8:46 am

Thanks, Ashley!! They are as tasty as they are fun


lisaou11 July 13, 2010 at 12:51 am

oh my gosh. you are amazing. those look way better than those crap pop tarts out of a box!


Sophie @ yumventures July 13, 2010 at 6:51 am

I saw these on Smitten Kitchen too, and they are on my “to make” list as well. I always loved the strawberry ones with the frosting…call me crazy, but the cinnamon brown sugar ones just never did it for me. Its all about the frosting really =) I’m glad you’re came out so well. This may be my next rainy day project.


Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman July 13, 2010 at 7:06 am

Your husband is a lucky man. These look sooo good!


Faith July 13, 2010 at 7:07 am

Aww, these look great! And with ingredients I can actually pronounce ;) Definitely reminiscent of sleepovers and middle school breakfasts!


Can You Stay for Dinner July 13, 2010 at 8:46 am

Thanks, Faith! I know, the ingredient list is a big thing for me. I’m always stunned at the 67 things on most processed foods lists.


Anna July 13, 2010 at 7:43 am

You are officially brilliant. These are A-dorable!


jess December 3, 2014 at 10:54 pm

I agree.


Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday July 13, 2010 at 7:45 am

They look like the real deal!

There’s not a lot of processed breakfast food that I like, but sometimes at the grocery store in the cereal aisle I see the poptarts, pause and sigh because I really really want one.


Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine July 13, 2010 at 7:51 am

Oh wow. I won’t lie, Pop Tarts are one of my biggest fear foods, but if I actually made them myself, I think I’d be able to eat them. These look so freaking delicious, and ten times better than what comes out of those foil packets!


Katie @ Health for the Whole Self July 13, 2010 at 8:02 am

I’m freaking out right now – these look amazing!!!

Unfortunately Pop Tarts used to be a big binge food for me, so I have to be very careful around them…but I think I’m to the point where I could handle them. Especially if they’re homemade, which have to be 10 times better!


Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life July 13, 2010 at 8:24 am

They look so good!!


homecookedem July 13, 2010 at 8:47 am

I LOVE pop tarts!! These are like pop tarts times 1000 though!! They look sooooooo much more amazing than store bought!!


Kelly July 13, 2010 at 8:49 am

OMG Poptarts are like my most favorite thing ever. So sad I don’t eat them anymore, yours look amazing!


Jennifer July 13, 2010 at 9:14 am

Andrea your cooking ideas and abilities are beyond words. I have bookmarked so many of your recipes. Your food looks so delicious, yet you make it seem so easy to make. Make your own cookbook and sell it off of this blog. I’m serious!


Can You Stay for Dinner July 13, 2010 at 9:44 am

Jennifer you always make me smile! Thank you so much! I would absolutely die and go to heaven to write a book, a cookbook no less. But I would have no clue where to start, nor how to approach a publisher. I do appreciate your kindness, though!


Cindy July 13, 2010 at 9:33 am

these are adorable. I try and not even buy poptarts because my family has no self control. I consider them dessert…and when hubs lets the toddler have one for breakfast I get all irked. haha

I did try buying “organic” ones; hoping it would alleviate my bad mother guilt, but no…a pop tart is a pop tart. As a kid we used to toast them and then spread real butter on the top (had to be frosted too). It’s the only way I’ll eat them. It’s horrible! It’s like when Domino’s started stuffing cheese in their crusts.

C’Mon…pizza is already laden with fat and calories…you HAD to go and take my favorite ingredient and shove it any nook and cranny you could.

I wonder if I made HOME MADE poptarts if my mommy guilt would be better? you could fill them with eggs and zucchini???

either way your poptarts are adorable and no doubt amazing!
I’ll probably made them; cuz you know, I love a parade! :)


Can You Stay for Dinner July 13, 2010 at 9:42 am

So agreed that cheese stuffed crust pizza is madness. Years ago I thought it was great, but now I just feel like it’s sensory overload. The notion of frosted pop tarts that have been toasted with butter spread on top is out of this world decadence. Sounds divine! You should try the homemade pop tarts in the sense that you can identify the ingredients here- unlike the name brand. But they’re still loaded with butter. You know what- a good idea might be to make pop tart minis and then freeze them. Portion control, I suppose!


Shanna, like Banana July 13, 2010 at 9:44 am

What a creative idea! I never allow myself poptarts because I think I’d eat the whole box. Sometimes I’m NO good at willpower. But once I’ve mastered baking the healthy version, I’m not as apt to over do it. Thanks!


Tina July 13, 2010 at 9:48 am

That is so awesome! Brown sugar + cinnamon was definitely my favorite growing up. I bet these taste so much better too. And it’s nice to know they don’t include a ton of scary ingredients.


Can You Stay for Dinner July 13, 2010 at 9:53 am

Tina, the brown sugar cinnamon taste a startling amount like the name brand version. I just need to figure out how to frost them!


Jenn January 22, 2013 at 10:07 am

If you really wanted to frost these, I would think a simple 10x sugar and milk mixture would do the trick.


Kelly July 13, 2010 at 10:01 am

HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! I want….these look amazing girl!!! AMAZING!!!


Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth) July 13, 2010 at 10:06 am

ahhhh love this!!!! poptarts are a childhood favorite of mine :)


Christine @ Grub, Sweat and Cheers July 13, 2010 at 10:29 am

Oh how lovely do they look? I’ve never liked poptarts but those are in a different class.

I may cheat and use the leftover packet of puff pastry I have (from when I made your awesome meat pies!) but I will make up for it by making my own fruit compote for the filling!


foodiefresh July 13, 2010 at 10:34 am

Those look scrumptious. I said recently that my children will not be allowed to have poptarts every day for breakfast like we did at my house, but maybe they can have them every once in a while if I make them from scratch. :)


peggyhogan July 13, 2010 at 10:42 am

These look fabulous. what a fun idea to make them yourself.


Fit Chick in the City July 13, 2010 at 11:00 am

That is amazing. I don’t think I would ever in a million years have thought to make homemade pop tarts. Now, I’m inspired and must remember to make these some day.


Brittany July 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I love you ;) can’t wait to make these! Thanks!


Can You Stay for Dinner July 13, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Yay! So glad you like them!


Jessica @ How Sweet July 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I have wanted to make these since I saw them on Smitten. They look FANTASTIC!


Can You Stay for Dinner July 13, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Jessica, I actually am surprised that you hadn’t made them yet! I feel like they’re right up your amazing baking alley!


Lindsay July 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm

You never cease to amaze me. So insane. I need to attempt these.


Can You Stay for Dinner July 13, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Thanks so much, Lindsay!!


Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) July 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Wow – I am VERY impressed!!!!!!


Can You Stay for Dinner July 13, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Thanks, Jolene!


theprocessofhealing July 13, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I’m NOT even ashamed to say that I loooove pop tarts… still crave them now and again!


Lauren @ Health on the Run July 13, 2010 at 9:18 pm

This is pure genius!! I love Pop Tarts and I love the thought of ones that are homemade! I definitely need to make these for my next brunch….or just for me. ;)


Anna July 14, 2010 at 1:25 am

Wow! You are so creative!!!! The ones with the preserves would definitely be my favorite. I gotta make these. Thanks for the recipe!!


mehserle November 6, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Jessica, I actually am surprised that you hadn’t made them yet! I feel like they’re right up your amazing baking alley!


chelsea November 12, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Do you think that you could make them with pumpkin butter instead of jam…I love pumpkin butter…yummmm!!


Can You Stay for Dinner November 12, 2010 at 3:40 pm

WOW, Chelsea!! The pumpkin butter idea never crossed my mind, but it would be outrageous!!!


Samantha August 20, 2011 at 6:11 am

I made these last night. it was super fun making them and they tasted great. (I made them with 3 different filling, apples and honey, peanut butter and banana, and a grape jam one) The only problem I had with them was that I had to add so much extra flour because the dough was sticking to everything! I even tried to let the dough get cold in the freezer for a little while but not even that worked. Did anyone else have this problem or was it just me?


Sabrina September 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm

These look absolutely delicious! One of my friend’s favorite guilty pleasure’s are those little tin wrapped poptarts, but due to her supervised diet never has them. She’s going to love it when I surprise her with these. If you know, approximately how many calories are in these?


Samantha September 17, 2011 at 5:32 am

in the pasty alone (no filling and using water not milk) there is 340 calories in one serving. (I also calculated in extra flour because when you roll out the dough you use more)


Kristi January 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm

My son is allergic to dairy so I would have to use shortening in place of butter. Do you think they would still taste as good as yours?
I have not purchased poptarts for years because they are so bad, but these would be a nice treat from time to time!


Haleigh Woolsey February 3, 2012 at 9:55 am

These look so good! I was wondering if you had any idea what the nutritional facts were like on these? I noticed some of you other recipes had that kind of information.



Renee March 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm

One of your followers mentioned the dough was rather soft/sticky. I found that, too. I went to the SK blog that you were kind enough to mention. Her recipe used an egg in the dough mixture. Did you omit the egg for a particular reason? Does omitting it make the crust more tender. I added the egg to my already prepared dough and it added the stiffness I needed. I am willing to try it without the egg. This morning I was in a time crunch and didn’t have time to experiment. The end product was flaky and better than the shelf variety.


Lydia March 30, 2012 at 3:04 am

really enjoy reading your blog. Your recipes are irresistible and the ingredients are all fresh and easily available. I live in Spain and “boxes of cake mix” don’t exist and they are never as satisfying as making the real thing from scratch!

Keep it up!!



Rene' August 27, 2012 at 11:22 am

I have been thinking about how to make poptarts! Could you use an alternative flour, like whole wheat flour or oat flour instead?
What about stevia for sugar and an egg white for the while egg?
Lastly, can we use an alternative for butter?
I am new to this healthy food stuff, but I just lost 30 pounds so I am trying to keep it up!


Rachel October 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm

How many calories for one of these? They look fabulous!


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