Skip the foil packs from the store and make your own Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts! These pop tarts are filled with REAL strawberry jam and topped with an easy frosting. Recipe includes a how-to video!
As the before or after school snack of so many childhoods, pop tarts have a special place in our hearts. With an ever-changing variety of flavors, shiny foil wrappers, and quite possibly the easiest preparation ever, store-bought pop tarts might seem hard to beat–but today’s recipe proves otherwise!
My homemade strawberry pop tarts have a delightfully flaky (not crumbly) golden brown crust, a bright strawberry jam filling, and a firm, tasty icing that is totally foolproof. Oh, and did I mention they have no preservatives, artificial colors, or artificial flavors? Once you taste these, you won’t be reaching for the store-bought version anytime soon!
When developing this recipe, I opted to use my versatile and foolproof homemade pie dough for the crust. Not only is it buttery and tender, it’s also SO simple to bring together with absolutely no guesswork required. The strawberry jam filling is quick and easy too, taking just a few minutes on the stove. And finally, the glossy, perfectly-set icing is the same one I use on my easy sugar cookies–it tastes so much better than royal icing! Top them off with your favorite sprinkles, and you’ve got yourself a delicious homemade breakfast, snack, or dessert.
Let’s get started!
What You Need
While they’re not as simple as tearing and toasting, these homemade strawberry pop tarts are still easy to make. Here are some of the key ingredients you’ll need:
- Flour. Use all-purpose flour. As you work with the dough, you may need to add more flour to keep it from sticking.
- Sugar. You’ll need granulated sugar for the crust and filling, and powdered sugar for the icing.
- Butter. While you can use either salted or unsalted for the filling (only a ½ Tablespoon), you should stick with unsalted butter for the crust–and it should be very cold.
- Sour cream. Sour cream adds moisture, binds our crust together, and infuses a lovely flavor. Don’t worry, you won’t actually taste the sour cream itself!
- Cornstarch. Corn starch helps thicken the filling so it becomes its own layer. No soggy crusts here!
- Strawberries. While I’m using fresh strawberries today, I’ve also included instructions on how to use frozen fruit below. Also, if strawberry isn’t your thing, you can use another berry, or you could even use one of the filling suggestions from my hand pies.
- Lemon juice. Just a small amount of lemon juice brightens the flavor of the strawberry filling.
- Egg. Before and after we fill our homemade pop tarts, we’ll brush them with an egg wash. Yes, we’re brushing both sides! Putting egg wash on the inside keeps the filling from soaking into the crust, ultimately helping us achieve a crisp crust throughout. Brushing egg wash on the outer crust adds a nice golden color.
- Corn syrup. For a glossy, firm-setting icing, you’ll need a little corn syrup. For those concerned, this is NOT the same as high-fructose corn syrup! I love using this ingredient for a firm, but not too hard, glossy icing. If you really must skip it, you can, but your icing won’t set as firm and won’t be shiny.
- Milk. To make sure our icing is spreadable, we’ll add some milk. You may need more than I call for if you decide to skip the corn syrup.
- Sprinkles. These are optional, but really, what’s a strawberry pop tart without the sprinkles?
SAM’S TIP: If you’re looking for more of a toaster strudel result, you can use the same filling with a double batch of my puff pastry dough or a store-bought puff pastry.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts
Making the Crust
- Pulse together flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, then add butter and pulse until the butter is incorporated and the mixture has a coarse-crumb consistency.
- Add sour cream and pulse until the dough starts to cling together.
- Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap. Using the wrap to help you, form your dough into a ball before flattening it into a disc, then chill the dough for 30-60 minutes while you prepare your filling.
- Once your filling has been prepared and cooled, transfer your chilled dough to a lightly floured surface and roll it into a ⅛″-¼″ thick rectangle. Cut the dough into precise 2.5″x4″ rectangles using a sharp knife, pizza wheel, or cookie cutter.
- Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan then stir in strawberries and lemon juice, cooking over medium heat until berries soften and release juices.
- Mash the strawberries with a potato masher and continue to cook, stirring until the mixture thickens, then remove it from the heat and add your butter. Stir this until it is combined, then set it aside (or in the fridge) to cool completely.
How to Assemble Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts
- Place one rectangle of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and lightly brush the surface with egg wash.
- Add a rounded tablespoon of strawberry filling into the center of the rectangle, then place another rectangle on top.
- Crimp the sides with a fork to seal, then brush the surface with additional egg wash. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the surface of the pop tart to allow steam to escape while it cooks.
- Repeat with remaining rectangles, then bake until golden brown. Let the pop tarts cool on your baking sheet before icing and topping with sprinkles.
SAM’S TIP: Unlike store-bought pop tarts, once these have been frosted they won’t hold up in a toaster (the icing will melt right off). I like to pop mine in the microwave for a few seconds–but just know that the icing becomes pretty melty when heated.
Frequently Asked Questions
These homemade strawberry pop tarts have a homemade strawberry jam filling (though you can use just about any fruit filling you’d like, or even my raspberry cake filling). I will be sharing another homemade pop tarts recipe later this week that has a not-so-fruity filling…stay tuned!
Store-bought strawberry pop tarts have a very small amount of dried strawberries (plus apples and pears too) in the filling. In fact, there’s currently a lawsuit about strawberry pop tarts not having enough strawberries in them! Just another reason why homemade pop tarts are better–there are no imposter fruits in this recipe 🙃
Yes! These homemade strawberry pop tarts freeze well. Just make sure to thoroughly wrap them before you put them in a sealed bag/container in the freezer.
More Homemade School Snack Recipes You Might Like
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts
For the Crust
For the Filling
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50g)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 8 oz strawberries quartered (226g) (see note to use different fruit)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ Tablespoon butter salted or unsalted
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
For the Glaze
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar (190g)
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup see note
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Nonpareils sprinkles, or coarse sanding sugar for decorating, optional
- Small saucepan
- Potato masher
- Cookie cutter optional, for even rectangles
- Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the basin of a food processor.
- Scatter butter pieces evenly over the surface of the flour mixture and pulse until the butter is cut into the mixture and your mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You should still see some pieces of butter remaining, some may be as large as chocolate chips, this is fine!
- Add sour cream and pulse until sour cream is incorporated, flour is absorbed, and mixture is beginning to cling together.
- Remove dough from food processor (be careful of the blade!) and transfer to a piece of plastic wrap. Form into a ball then flatten into a disk. Chill for at least 30-60 minutes before rolling out. In the meantime, prepare your filling.
- Combine sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan and whisk together until combined.
- Add berries and lemon juice and stir to combine.
- Transfer saucepan to stovetop over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the berries release their juices and begin to soften. Mash them with a potato masher or large fork until no large pieces remain.
- Stir while the mixture bubbles and cook until it begins to thicken and begins to approach a jelly-like consistency. Note that the filling will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Once the filling begins to thicken, remove from heat and stir in butter until completely combined. Set aside and allow to cool completely before filling pastry (you can speed up the process by placing the filling in the refrigerator).
- Once dough has chilled and filling has cooled, preheat oven to 400F (205C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Prepare egg wash by thoroughly whisking together egg and water.
- Transfer pie crust to a clean, lightly floured surface and dust with additional flour as needed. Roll dough into a rectangle about ⅛-¼” thick then cut into 2.5”x4” (6x10cm) rectangles (I use a rectangular cookie cutter to do this, but you can just use a sharp knife or a pizza wheel!).
- Place one rectangle on prepared baking sheet and lightly brush the surface with egg wash. Drop a rounded Tablespoon of strawberry filling into the center, then top with another rectangle of dough. Use a fork to crimp the sides to seal, then brush the surface of the dough with egg wash. Use a toothpick or wooden skewer to poke 6-8 holes in the surface of the pop tart to allow it to vent.
- Repeat steps above until you have formed all of your pop tarts, then transfer to 400F (205C) oven and bake 15-17 minutes and beginning to turn golden brown. Allow pop tarts to cool on baking sheet before decorating with icing.
- Combine sugar, 1 Tablespoon of milk, corn syrup, and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. If mixture is too thick, add remaining milk as needed until smooth (if icing becomes too thin, you can always thicken it with a bit more powdered sugar). Icing has reached ideal consistency when you lift the spoon from the icing and the ribbon that drizzles off the spoon holds its shape for several seconds before dissolving back in the bowl.
- Drizzle icing over the center of the pop tarts and top with sprinkles, if using. Allow frosting to harden before serving and enjoying.
Food processorA food processor will make preparing the pastry much easier, but if you do not have one you can instead use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture and then stir in the sour cream by hand. The mixture will be dry so this will require more effort.
FillingYou can substitute a different berry or a blend of different berries instead of strawberries, if you would like. Frozen fruit will also work, but you may need to add a Tablespoon of water in with the fruit to help everything combine.
Corn syrupYou can omit the corn syrup if needed. The finished glaze will not be as shiny/glossy and will not dry as firm and you may need a bit more milk.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Homemade pop tarts may also be frozen for several months.
Making in advanceThe pie crust can be made up to 3 days in advance of using, and the strawberry filling may be made 1-2 days in advance of assembly. I recommend making the icing immediately before using.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.