Cooking and baking have become one of my favourite pastimes. When I lived in Canada, I would always have a dozen frozen unbaked tart shells in the freezer so I could easily whip up some goodies in a pinch – like mini quiches, Hong Kong style egg custard tarts to mini pumpkin pies. Since living in the United States, I have, however, been in the constant search for frozen unbaked tart shells to stock in my freezer. When asking the many baking departments I’ve visited here, “Where can I find the frozen unbaked tart shells?”, the baker replies, “You mean the pie shells.”. Then I am graciously directed to the frozen unbaked pie shells. Tart shells or “mini pie shells” or “tartlets” are no where to be found … yet.
In the U.S., the term “tart” seems synonymous to “pie” – a savory/sweet goodie cooked in a 6 to 10 inch pastry shell. By contrast, in Canada, “tart” refers to a goodie in a 2 to 5 inch diameter pastry shell, whereas a “pie” is still a pastry shell at 6 to 10 inches wide.
Both sweet and unsweetened varieties of frozen unbaked tart and pie shells are readily available in major Canadian grocery markets like Loblaws (Superstore), Save-On-Foods, Safeway Canada, etc. They are found in the bakery section, or frozen goods freezer aisles. Tenderflake is the most common brand, otherwise, you can also find local or in-house made ones too.
In Silicon Valley, only pie shells seem easily available. I have searched many supermarkets for tart shells – from Safeway USA, Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Costco Wholesale, Target and to individual bakeries in this area. Googling hasn’t provided anything useful either.
But I haven’t lost hope in finding the elusive frozen unbaked tart shells yet. Still on my list of places to search are: Walmart, Lucky Supermarket, Nob Hill Foods and Robert’s Market. — Wish me luck!
P.S. If you know where to find frozen, unbaked tart shells, please let me know 🙂
apparently WALMART carries Dutch Ann Frozen Tart Shells, 10 oz. – but ONLY in certain locations – in store only. Safeway used to make their own brand, but not anymore. When I asked Safeway, the person I spoke to said they never had them, but I still had a couple packages sitting in my freezer! They were great. Maybe the Dutch Ann Frozen Tart Shells, 10 oz. are o.k, but I can’t find them in my area 😦
Thanks a bunch for your comment, K. Good to know that Walmart carries Dutch Ann Frozen Tart Shells (10 oz.) at some locations. I’ll also give Safeway a try. Thank you again 🙂
So far, I am only able to find frozen tart shells at Cash & Carry Store (Smart Food Service) in San Jose, CA. But they only sell them in cases of 200+ tart shells – too much baking than I’m willing to take on 😉
I found 3 inch frozen mini pie shells at cashing carry in Oakland California. You have to buy them by the case and for the case that I purchased they were 120 tart shells for the price of $35 this was on sale
They also had 2″ pie shells by the case for $30. Great deal. I used the 3″ pie shells tonight and they were perfect. Cash and carry in Oakland.
Hi May! Thanks for dropping a line on where you’ve found frozen mini pie/tart shells.
I found somewhat of an alternative … Since the hunt for frozen tart shells (in small household quantities) has been difficult, I have been purchasing pie crust sheets, rolling them out slightly more thinner, cutting circular disks from the sheet, and finally pressing them into a muffin pan to bake. This process is quite timely, but less effort than making the shell dough from scratch. Each boxed package usually has 2 rolled 9″ pie crusts. Each pie crust yields about 9-12 tart shells and 18-24 mini tart shells; number of tarts depends on thickness of resulting tart shell and its diameter.
Pie crust sheets can be found in the fridge section of the baking supplies aisles or the fridge section of ready-to-bake pastries (e.g. near products like the Pillsbury Doughboy pastry dough). Whole Foods Market carries the brand “Immaculate: Naturally Delicious” ready-to-bake pie crusts. Safeway has the “Pillsbury” ready-to-bake pie crusts.
I am a Canadian living in the states and I have been on the same hunt. I cannot find them anywhere! I thought I was going to hit the jackpot tonight, when a google search, turned up Dutch Ann and showed that Walmart carried them. I called our local walmart and they didn’t have them. I just want to make butter tarts for Christmas! Lol
I’m in the same boat as you… Canadian living in Colorado and can’t make my butter tarts for Christmas. I’ve tried the pie crust way but they’re just not the same. 😦 My sister flew down this summer and brought a case of them in a cooler bag as her carry on. Baked up a storm but didn’t save any for now.
Thanks for your comment, June. Even though this article was written some time ago, I too am still on the hunt. I have asked grocery store bakeries like Whole Foods and Safeway on whether they could sell unbaked tart shells that they already buy in bulk to make their in-house baked goods, but no luck there. So far, it looks like checking out restaurant food suppliers for bulk frozen tart shells and splitting a case with friends is the best option. Hope this helps.
is near impossible finding tart shells here in the states, in Canada you can find them anywhere. The only ones I found so far are business size to many for my household and am really dying to make butter tarts . I might get together with someone else to buy the business size one and share the cost
Starting to think a Butter Tart Meetup group might be something to look into …
Elisa, sorry to hear your local Walmart doesn’t carry Dutch Ann frozen tart shells. My New Year’s resolution will be to find a market in Silicon Valley that carries frozen tart shells for sale in small quantities. I just want to make butter tarts too 😛 Happy Holidays!
On the off chance that you still want to make butter tarts, I can relate! I too am a Canadian and have been on the same hunt. I have an unorthodoxed idea. What if we buy the box of 200 and share them? This seems like a great idea and an easy way to get tarts. What do you think?
Maggie, splitting a bulk 200-something case of frozen tart shells from Cash and Carry is a good idea. Unfortunately my freezer only has room for 20 😛 A frozen duck and frozen bag of dumplings are constant in our freezer. Hope we’ll find other fellow bakers in the Valley who are willing to share.
Any luck finding the shells in the SF Bay area…? I am also looking. My local walmart doesn’t have the ones referenced above. Thanks.
I replied above, but if you are interested, I would be willing to split one of the giant cases with someone.
I had the same problem. Berkeley Bowl sells “Whollly Wholesome Organic Pie Dough”. A box contains two rolled up, 9″ crusts. I found that they didn’t unroll all that easily. This was easy to fix by rolling out the pastry with a rolling pin. I used a bowl to cut the circles I needed and then popped them into a muffin tin to make butter tarts. It is not ideal, but it’s a workable solution.
Maybe these will work? Might even be available in store. http://www.worldmarket.com/product/clearbrook+farms+sweet+tart+shells.do
This must be where the internet directs all Canadians looking for tart shells in the US. Seems to be a common problem. I am a Canadian living in Dallas, TX. I have looked all over for tart shells for butter tarts. I finally gave up and made them from scratch (also made a LOT of friends!) but it is SO time consuming. Today I am looking for tart shells for mini quiches. Did anyone have luck at World Market in store? I will try there after work.
From what I’ve seen, Kristin, tart shells sold at World Market are pre-baked and ready to eat, more suitable for bite-size eats where the filling doesn’t need to be baked. For instance, a lemon custard tart or fruit tart. I’m not sure how well they would fair after another baking.
I have been experiencing this as well…I think I’m going to resort to getting my mom to bring me ones from costco when she comes to visit…guess I’m making home made tart shells this year!
I am happy to report I tried the bulk ones and they worked beautifully! I have a couple dozen shells left over in my freezer if anyone wants them!!!
Where are you located. I would like to take some off of your hand.
Give me a call. 408-329-3963.
Thank you. I realized you are in Northern California. I am in Southern California in San Diego County. Do you think they are shippable?
Angie I am also in SD looking for tart shells would love to split a case with someone if we can find them here.
Kris, I will continue to search in the south. If I find them I am willing to split a case and I’m hoping vice versa. Keep me informed and I will do the same for you.
For sure searching now have you tried smart and final
I too am Canadian and can’t believe that no one in Phoenix sells frozen tart shells. All I can find is phyllo dough ones. I guess I’ll have to make them myself.
Looking without success in the D.C. area for individual tart shells. (And I’m not even Canadian!) After reading everyone’s posts, think I will cut this short and make my own. This is obviously a nationwide problem.
I am Canadian too n I am having a hard time looking fir unbaked tart shells. I am going to Vancouver next month (June) and I will bring 100 pieces. I just wonder how long can I keep them in the freezer.
I am American but I can’t believe they don’t sell these… they have desserts like this in bakeries all the time, so why not sell the shells? I’m fine with pre-baked ones because I’m trying to make fruit tarts this weekend (50 count), but even pre-baked are hard to find! I’m in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley and looking… will check out Cash & Carry. Anyone know where to find pre-baked ones? Would prefer 3 inches.
Hi Laurel! I haven’t seen pre-baked 3 inch shells, but Whole Foods carries 3 inch frozen ones. They come in a package of three, which equal to about one standard pie filling recipe. Hope the WF in Cupertino still carries them. It’s been over a year since I’ve purchased frozen shells. Happy baking!
I grew up on Tenderflake tart shell treats – from Northern NY – (on Canadian border, Mom is FC) now live in Orlando – DESPERATLEY seeking tart shells for upcoming holiday treats!
Thank God I am back on the east coast. They have them at Wal-Mart and other grocery stores. I am now able to enjoy my mini pies. I get 8 mini tarts in a pack for under $3.00.
I have been searching for these also since living in the US – there is a place online that you can order the Tenderflake from Canada and have them shipped, but the expense was phenomenal! When living in Minnesota, I had a bakery make them for me – was pretty affordable. Now, since living in California – I can’t find anything even close to what I need. So, about 7 years ago, I bought a ‘tart press’ from a company in Ontario (link is coming) – and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this press – it’s the only way I can make butter tarts in a foil tin (#100-20 as I elected to go with the smaller press than the 3″). I buy Betty Crocker boxed pie crust mix and make it, then use the ‘tart press’ with the foil tins (that I bought from the same company as the press because I can’t find the right size here in the US). It goes fairly quickly once you get a routine down and I pump out about 8 dozen butter tarts now in about 2.5 hours between making the shells and filling. Tart press and tins available at: http://birdshillenterprises.com/products/mini-tart-press?variant=957486355
Thank you so much! That’s exciting to see. I don’t make tarts enough to stress too much about this issue except … when I DO want to make them — then it’s stressful. A few months ago I made delicious custard-fruit tarts, and I just ended up speaking to the Whole Foods patisserie by my house, and they ordered me a large number of shells at a discounted rate. They were perfect and took much less work. I filled them, left them in the fridge, and they had softened up perfectly after several hours. I got many compliments! From now on, I may just order my shells in the same manner when making tarts. I like the idea of a press as well, though, since it’s more fun to make everything from scratch 🙂
Laurel, I know what you mean. I don’t make enough tarts on a regular basis, but when I do, it is stressful. How did you convince Whole Foods to help you order tart shells? I didn’t have any luck before, perhaps the number of tarts I requested was not enough?
Your tips would be most helpful to our readers. Hopefully with enough requests to pastry departments, bakeries will here will start selling unbaked tart shells.
Diane, thanks so much for sharing the tart press with us! What a brilliant kitchen gadget! How did you come across this wonderful baking invention?
Your post will help many looking for frozen unbaked tart shells with an alternative. Thank you again! Happy Thanksgiving!
I know you wrote your post a couple of years ago but I was wondering what bakery in Minnesota made the tart shells for you?
I found them in Canada…..the label says Loblaws Inc, Toronto
Tel number 1888-495-5111. Hope this helps.
Kathy, thanks for including a contact number labeled on the frozen tart shells from Loblaws Canada.
I have a little update but I don’t know if it will help. The following is the description of the tart shells I buy at the Cash and Carry. It is about $39 for 240 shells! They are called LBA UNBAKED TART SHELL 2 INCH. So I did a google search and discovered that they are actually from Le Boulanger. I am wondering if you contacted their head office if you might be able to get a supply. I hope that helps someone. I am much to lazy to roll out dough, so I happily spend the $39 and I just make a TON of tarts and donate them. Good luck fellow Canadians.
Maggie, Can you still get the tart shells at Cash and Carry? I looked and only saw a 72 package “KEEBLER TART SHELLS 3 INCH” for $25.18 at the Concord, Oakland, San Jose stores. Perhaps things have changed since your last post.
I live in PA. Expat from Canada. Was going to make butter tarts for my husband’s family reunion. Not only can I not find frozen tart shells, but I cannot find disposable tins for make the crusts myself. What the heck. Guess I am out of luck for making and transporting about 60 butter tarts next week.
Sorry for the belated reply. Amazon.com has a great selection of disposable tart tins – a plethora of sizes from pie tins, mini pie tins to 3″ tart tins. When I wasn’t able to find frozen tart shells, I used frozen pie dough, cut into tart rounds and placed each of them into the buttered muffin tin pan. You can also put the makeshift tart shell into muffin liners to make the cleanup easier too. Hope this gives you some ideas on frozen tart shell alternatives. Good luck!
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I have the same problem. I live in Mass and have been searching high and low. I would love to make mini pies and I thought it would be a breeze. NOT. Still looking for the frozen mini pie/tart tins. Let me know if and where you csn find them.
All the best in your continued search, Nancy!
Have you found them yet? Currently searching for them myself. Appreciate any assistance you can provide. Thanks!
Hi Ann Marie! Unfortunately looking for frozen tart shells is like searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Good luck to all who are searching for frozen tart shells!
I’m a Brit living in Chicago, Walmart said there is nowhere within 50 miles of me that sells the Dutch Ann shells. I wanted them for mince pies.
That’s a pity Dutch Ann shells aren’t available near you. Hope you can find another retailer in the Chicago area that carries Dutch Ann shells.
How is this even still a thing? I am also a Canadian who has grown up on Tenderflake and I too was not able to find ANY tart shells here. ACK! This is so frustrating! Does anyone know of any bakery that sells these shells in the Peninsula Area of Silicon Valley?
Canadian in SF here. I wanted to make some butter tarts for my coworkers and, of course, the first thing on my shopping list was frozen tart shells. Why don’t they exist here?! I guess I’ll go with the pie crust + cookie cutter route but I doubt it will be the same 😦
Hello fellow Canadians! Just moved to the bay area from Vancouver and boy is it hard to find mini start shells in the US. I am in the Bay Area and would love to split a case with someone. Please reach out!
Its funny how a forum like this exists! @Jenn you have a case from where? How big?
I meant how big is each shell
I am a New York State resident looking for unbaked tart shells! Can’t believe they are this hard to find! Anyone know where I can get them in NY?
So sad…..my Mom always packs a box of tart shells for me and won’t be coming now. I’m frantically looking for tart shells. I’ve called everywhere I can think and done internet searches. I found a huge box on Amazon. I’m in the San Diego area. If I order it does it anyone want to split it?
WOW! Just found this mini-forum — Canadians looking for tart shells! CULTURE SHOCK!! OK I am going to go to Amazon where I can get 100 disposable tart tins for ten bucks, then buy frozen pie shells or sheets of pie dough and cut my own shells (using a regular glass that I’d use for juice, and press it into the dough) and put them into the tins, see how that works. How can a civilized nation not make butter tarts and mince tarts???
try googling it all to find premade tart shells. I found 2 websites that carry them for just over $10/16 shells. Amazon & olivenation.com/tart-shells-ready-to-fill-by-clearbrook.
Thank you to everyone who mentioned Cash & Carry (now called “Smart Foodservice”). I’ve been searching for frozen unbaked tart shells for the last 8 years but today the search is finally over!
That’s fantastic, Robert! Hope the frozen unasked tart shells from Cash & Carry / Smart Food Service worked out well. Happy Holidays!
Did you ever find any frozen tart shells ?
Fellow Canadian in the Bay Area looking for them to …
lol – really late to the party here, but I’m an expat Canadian who has been looking for frozen tart shells for decades. It makes me insane every time that I can’t find them. I ask friends and they look at me as if I’m crazy. At least now I feel a little less lonely
We are also ex-pat Canadians on the lookout for tart shells. We have lived in the North Bay and Sacramento areas and searched for years without luck unless we wanted to buy commercial quantities. My husband finally gave up and started making a version using a small rectangular baking tin from the dollar store of all places. He pre-bakes a shortbread crust and then put the butter tart filling in it. He has to let it brown a little more than we would for tarts so it isn’t too runny, but he has it down to a science now. My office staff call it “Canadian Crack”. If you find a place that carries the shells, though, I would love to know!
I have been searching for frozen mini Tartlet shells and the only place I can find them online are from Canada and they won’t ship..I live in Southern California and am going crazy looking for them..If you locate them please email me..email@example.com. Thanks so much
I’ve been living in the US since 1998 and have struggled with making my family the staple of holidays, butter tarts. I ended up buying a ‘tart press’ the one biter size from https://birdshillenterprises.com/collections/tart-shell-presses and have been using this press for 15 years. This seems to be the only way I can have butter tarts in the foil tins (for shipping and freezing). I buy the one biter tins from them also, but this year (2022/23) – I would highly recommend that if you are going to get a press, get the 3″ so that you can get the pans in the US. NOBODY carries the one biter size tins in the US, so now I ‘must’ buy from Canada and they just jacked up their prices. A few on amazon come close to size, but the foil is so thin, fingernails go thru them just putting them into the press. It is amazing that we can’t find a single frozen tart shell in this country. The press is the bomb, the tins are another story in trying to find what I need.