DIY Food

How to Make Homemade Pop Tarts

September 26, 2014

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home. 

Today: Take a walk down memory lane with Kathryn of London Bakes as she makes a sweet childhood treat.

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I ate a lot of Pop Tarts in my youth -- I think my mother was so pleased that I was eating something before school that she didn't really mind what it was. Even now, whenever I'm in a grocery store, I can't help but linger in the toaster pastry section, just to see what new and exciting flavors have come out.

While you can't quite recreate that magic artificial flavor and texture of a commercially produced Pop Tart, the homemade version is definitely superior. Flaky pastry encases a layer of jam or whatever else you like (I'm partial to Nutella or something -- anything -- that involves salted caramel).

Homemade Pop Tarts

Makes 8

For the pastries:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pinch salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 cold egg, beaten
1 tablespoon cold water (optional)
8 tablespoons jam or preserves
2 tablespoons milk or beaten egg, for brushing the top of the pastries

For the topping:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons hot water or milk
Sprinkles, to decorate

Place the flour, butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times until the butter is pea-sized. Add the egg and pulse again until the dough starts to come together; if necessary, add a little ice water so that the dough coheres. Bring the dough together with your hands and knead it a couple of times until it's smooth. Wrap it in plastic and chill it for half an hour.

Once it has chilled, divide the dough in two balls and roll out each part out as thinly as possible. 

Cut each piece of dough into eight rectangles, about 3 x 4 inches in size. You may have to re-roll the scraps to get the eight, but it should work.

Place eight of the rectangles on a baking sheet and add a heaping teaspoon of jam or the filling of your choice to the center of each. Place one of the other rectangles over each filling-topped pastry and press down to seal the edges.

Use a fork to get a pretty pattern on the sides, then prick a few holes in each pastry so that the steam can escape.

Place the pastries in the freezer until they're firm. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F. When you're ready to bake, brush the pastries with a little beaten egg or milk and put them in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove to a wire rack to cool. If you want to eat them like a real Pop Tart, enjoy them straight from the oven, while the filling is so hot that it burns your mouth.

Or, leave them to cool a little while you make the glaze by mixing together the powdered sugar and a little hot water or milk until you have a dollop-able consistency. Spread the pastries with the glaze and top with colorful sprinkles. Now all that's left to do is relive your childhood.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Kathryn of London Bakes

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Jenn Baechle
    Jenn Baechle
  • Karen Waligora
    Karen Waligora
  • Eileen
  • Trish
  • Vivian
Kathryn writes the baking blog London Bakes ( and likes a proper English biscuit to dunk in her cup of tea.


Jenn B. January 16, 2017
Finally made this recipe a couple of weeks ago and we loved them so much I'm making them again for guests. My crust was pretty flaky and pastry like. I read the comments and decided to prepare the dough like I do pie crust - I grated my frozen stick of butter with the large-size cheese grater and combined the ingredients by hand. Didn't take too long and worked great. I also substituted ginger sugar for regular sugar to add a bit of flavor. My husband loved them. Finally, I made the pop tarts the night before and stuck them in the freezer so they would be nice and toasty when I baked them in the morning and I wouldn't have to get up super early to prepare them.
Karen W. February 25, 2016
I thought they looked so cute, but the crust was too dry and not much flavor. I'm thinking more butter and a touch of vanilla.
Eileen February 25, 2016
I'm going to try these. But I will try whole-wheat pastry flour.
Trish November 20, 2014
We made these last night and they turned out ok. I was expecting a bit more flavor from the crust. It would have been totally bland without the filling or the topping. Any suggestions on how to make them a little flakier would be great as well!
petalpusher February 25, 2016
In the food processor blend the butter and sugar until white and fluffy, then add the egg until blended. Add your flour and salt bit by bit until just blended. Then wrap in plastic and set to chill at least 3 hours or overnight.
When you roll them out, don't over work the dough and by all means have some with rounded sides where the dough is not perfectly square. They're homemade for heavens sake. As far as flavorful crust, poptarts were pretty bland, but you could add microplaned lemon zest, finely chopped candied ginger or a spoonful of instant chai tea. Add the flavor in the butter and sugar stage of the crust making.
Vivian October 5, 2014
Has anyone made chocolate ones, if so how did you fill them?
chelsea M. September 30, 2014
Birthday cake pop-tarts! If anyone even thinks they can come up with a DIY recipe for that flavor. Please post! I am assuming the filling would kind of be like a chocolate cream cheese cake ball...
stephanie L. September 29, 2014
pop tarts forever! these guys look awesome kathryn!
Shakirah September 29, 2014
I love that this recipe uses minimal sugar. Definitely trying these.
pearly September 28, 2014
A fantastic recipe and so easy to make organic and chemical-free. Hate the commercial version passionately but this recipe will fix all that!!!
Moema B. September 28, 2014
Has anyone tried making these pop tarts yet? I would love to know how they came out. They look super delicious!!
Ashlae W. September 26, 2014
Oooh, Kathryn! These are perfect. High fives, woman!
Nadja September 26, 2014
Ooh, these look so good!
Sarah J. September 26, 2014
My friends and I were having a heated debate on the topic of superior Pop Tart flavors the other week. My vote is for S'mores (duh) and the unbeatable classic, Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon!
Cynthia C. September 26, 2014
YAY! These are so precious, Kathryn!!! True story: whenever the vending machines in the work kitchens have strawberry Pop Tarts, I still can't resist getting one. (How did we ever eat them on a regular basis as kids?!)
molly Y. September 26, 2014
ahhh!!! these are so cute!!!!!! the other day i saw birthday cake flavored pop tarts at the store and i was actually tempted to buy them before coming to my senses. SPRINKLES FOREVER!!!!