Homemade Pop-Tarts: The Dream is Real


Apologies in advance: You're going to be bummed that it's taken you so long to make these at home. They're blow-your-mind simple — you'll just need basic pastry dough and a fruit filling.

Pastry dough is essentially pie dough, but with more sugar. All that sweet stuff helps the pop-tarts brown while they bake, and it gives the pastry a hit of sweetness to complement the filling. (Don't freak out that this pastry is a little flakier than the commercial pop-tart pastry, because it's change for the better.)

When it comes to filling, jam is the best. Don't be lured by jelly: Though it looks more similar to the filling inside store-bought pop-tarts, it tends to melt too quickly and run out of the pastries while they bake. Jam has a better consistency and doesn't usually have pieces of fruit in it. Those chunks of fruit are tasty, sure, but they're not quite right for pop-tart filling. If your jam contains pieces, just leave them out. You can use any flavor of jam, from strawberry to apple to pineapple. 

You might be surprised, but I usually skip the white icing and sprinkles because these sorts of toppings don't hold up very well in a toaster. I like to toast these puppies until they're dark golden brown to give them an extra-crisp edge and to warm up the filling. But if you're in the "all frosting, all the time" camp, you can whip up your favorite chocolate ganache or a simple glaze of powdered sugar, milk and a dash of vanilla extract — just skip the toasting.

One more thing: This recipe only makes six pop-tarts, so you might want to double it. The cooked (un-iced) pop-tarts can be frozen and reheated in the toaster or toaster oven, so it's worth the effort to make a few more to have on hand when the craving strikes. 

Homemade Pop-Tarts Recipe

Makes six tarts


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, cold
  • 4-6 tbsp ice water
  • 6 tablespoons of your favorite jam 

Step 1

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Cut butter into several chunks and add to flour mixture.

Cut butter in using a pastry cutter or rub in using your fingertips. Do this until the mixture is sandy, and all pieces of butter are pea-sized or smaller.

Add ice water gradually, mixing your dough with a fork or spatula until it comes together in a rough ball. Knead gently with your hand and shape the dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Step 2

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

On a well-floured surface, roll the dough out into a rectangle that's ⅛" thick. Cut 12 rectangles that measure approximately 4-inches x 3-inches using a bench scraper or a chef's knife.

Step 3

Place about 1 tablespoon of jam in the center of six of the rectangles of pastry, making sure that the jam doesn't spread to the edges of the dough.

Brush a small amount of water (feel free to use your fingertip if that's easier) around the edges of each jam-filled rectangle and carefully place a piece of pastry without jam on top. Press the edges to seal and crimp with a fork.

Step 4

Transfer your pastries to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Allow them to cool on a wire rack before serving (or frosting, if you prefer). Dig in immediately, or toast un-frosted tarts again before serving if you like.

Rainbow pie pop perfection doesn’t require wizard-like pastry skills, fancy tools or even a ton of time in the kitchen. (And what it does require is probably already in your pantry!)
Erin Gardner
Round up the kiddos and tie on the aprons! It's time to explore the science of baking, with food blogger Kaitlin Garske as your guide. She'll whip up six recipes (including amazing stained glass cookies!), and you'll find out what happens when things go right — and when they go oh-so-wrong.
Kaitlin Garske
Kaitlin Garske
Elevate your pastries, pies and quiches with a flaky homemade crust you can whip up in your stand mixer. Freeze your dough for later, or use it to make sweet and savory toaster pastries filled with jam, chocolate hazelnut butter or mozzarella and basil. You'll never buy store-bought crusts again!
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Homemade Pop-Tarts: The Dream is Real