Super easy homemade pop tarts! These incredibly simple strawberry puff pastry pop tarts can be made start to finish (cleaning the plate) in about 30 minutes. Fun, versatile and delicious!
What is a 'Pop Tart' and Why Make it Yourself
Many of you may already be familiar with the toaster treats 'pop tarts'. A pop tart is essentially just a hand pie - a filling encased in pastry so that you can eat it with your hands, no plate or fork required. These are pre-packaged and sold as a sweet breakfast, available in a multitude of flavors. They can be warmed in the toaster or eaten cold straight from the packet.
The benefit to making your own is that you have complete control. Want it frosted? Then frost it. Want a bespoke filling? The choice is entirely up to you! You also get to avoid the preservatives that are used to make pop tarts last for months, therefore getting a more fresh and natural product.
So, these easy pop tarts are really just three ingredients:
- Puff pastry - puff pastry sheets or ready-rolled puff pastry. These can be found either in the refrigerator aisle or in the freezer section. If using frozen pastry, check the instructions on defrosting before use. You'll want it chilled, but workable.
- Strawberry jam - you can either use store bought for convenience or make your own. I have a quick Small Batch Strawberry Jam recipe that gives you plenty for these pop tarts and a bit extra to save for later! If making your own, you'll need this to be chilled and set before making these pop tarts.
- Egg - really any size will do. This is just for an egg wash that will help your pop tart pockets to stick together and hold the jam. Plus brushing it over the top will make them extra golden as they bake.
For the Frosting
Frosting on a pop tart is a bit controversial. Personally, I love a good plain pop tart, but I've definitely been told that that is boring! So, if you're a frosted pop tart fan (or just like a bit of a decorative finish), you'll need a few extra ingredients:
- Powdered sugar - or icing sugar. Sifted if lumpy.
- Vanilla extract - this is again optional, but I love vanilla! It helps accentuate the strawberry flavor and you can never go wrong adding a bit to your dessert.
- Water - a couple teaspoons of water is all that's needed to bring this together.
How to Make a Homemade Pop Tart
The benefit of using puff pastry sheets is that you don't even need to roll these out by hand! Place your puff pastry sheet on a parchment lined or floured work surface and then cut into shape. For my pop tarts, I've decided to make them heart shaped, because I recently bought some fun heart shaped cutters. But, you can make these rectangular (or other shapes) if you prefer. See below for some tips on shapes.
You need both fronts and backs (or tops and bottoms depending on how you view a pop tart). From my sheets, I cut 14 large hearts. The number of pop tarts you're able to make will vary based on the size/shape of your cutter. Important Tip: Whatever the shape or size, you want to ensure that you cut an even number so that these pair up.
Place half of your shapes, spaced about an inch apart on a piece of parchment paper. Top with about half a tablespoon or so of your jam, dolloped into the centre of the pastry. Tip: be sure to leave space around the edges to enable you to sandwich your top sheet of pastry!
In a small bowl, beat your egg lightly to create your egg wash. Brush this around the edges of your pastry shapes. Then, place the top sheets over the filling and press down around the edges. Use a fork to firmly crimp around the edges. This will give the traditional pattern of a pop tart edge, while also playing the important role of sealing the filling into the pockets!
Finally, brush the tops with egg wash and place in a preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes until risen and golden.
Once baked, remove and allow to cool slightly before frosting and serving.
How to Frost a Homemade Pop Tart
So, personally - I like an unfrosted pop tart. These homemade versions are ready to eat essentially straight from the oven. Give them a couple minutes to cool down, so you don't burn yourself on the jam, but otherwise, dig in!
For the frosted pop tart lovers though - these homemade puff pastry pop tarts are best frosted with a quick and easy powdered sugar glaze. Simply whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and water. Drizzle or gently spread over the tops. Tip: puff pastry is very delicate and flakey. To spread, dollop some of the frosting in the centre of the pop tart and gently nudge with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Too much pressure will damage the pastry.
Top off with some added sprinkles for good measure! Tip: this frosting sets quickly, so if using sprinkles, it is best to frost then immediately sprinkle each individual pop tart.
Substitutions and Easy Adjustments
This recipe is extremely versatile!
1. Different Pastry Crusts
You can use this same technique for a homemade pop tart with different pre-made pastry crusts. A more standard pie crust will make for a more similar texture to the traditional pop tart - being thicker and more pie like. Puff pastry offers a delicate crisp and flakey crust which I think works nicely for a DIY pop tart!
If using pie crust, the process remains the same, but baking times may vary. Keep an eye for the crust going golden.
2. Different Flavors of Jam
The nature of using jam in a recipe means you really have any jam flavor as an option if you wanted to make a swap. Especially in a pop tart, the pastry and topping aren't wedded to strawberry. If you wanted to make a cherry pop tart, grape pop tart, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry - you name it as a jelly or jam and you can add it in place of strawberry here!
3. Different Shaped Pop Tarts
So, I've opted for a heart-shape in my pop tarts, but you could cut rectangles, squares, circles, etc. Any shape that has a large surface area would work here. You wouldn't want to use a cookie cutter with a lot of small detail as you do need to pinch the edges together, which might damage the detail in more intricate cutters.
4. Frosting Flavours and Colours
My frosting here is a simple vanilla glaze. It is runny enough to spread on your delicate pop tarts, thick enough to coat the tops, but thin enough that it doesn't make them over sweet or weigh down the pastry.
You can alter this frosting, changing the vanilla extract for other flavourings. Lemon extract, orange essence or even a touch of maple syrup all work really well here. Be aware that some extracts are stronger and more pungent than others, so test as you go for flavourings and amounts may vary.
You can also add a shade to the frosting with food colouring. I would recommend using food colouring gels as these give stronger shades whilst using less product. With food colouring gels a little goes a long way! A gel will also not impact the amounts of liquid being added to the frosting. If using liquid food colouring, you may find that you need less water to create the desired consistency (or you may need a little extra powdered sugar to thicken things up!).
The prepackaged pop tarts that you buy in shops use a pie crust style pastry, similar to a short crust for their pastry case. But, you can also use puff pastry for your pop tart if you make this at home! My recipe here is for an easy pop tart made with puff pastry.
Absolutely! This recipe is for quick homemade strawberry puff pastry pop tarts using ready rolled puff pastry sheets. Personally I'm a huge fan of strawberry and love the delicate flake the puff pastry adds to a pop tart.
You can use other flavours of jam or filling, and other sheets of pre-prepared pie crusts. See my notes above about different substitutions and alterations you can make to have your very own BEST homemade pop tart.
These easy puff pastry pop tarts are best eaten fresh baked. This is because puff pastry does loose its crispness if left for long. That said, I've certainly eaten leftovers for about 3 days. They are less crisp, but still tasty!
If making in advance, you can construct the pop tarts (fill and sandwich the pastry sheets) a day in advance. Chill the jam filled pastry pockets and bake the following day. Pastry bakes well straight from the refrigerator, well chilled.
Looking for some super simple dessert recipes? Try:
- Two Ingredient Chocolate Mousse
- No Bake Potato Chip Cookies
- Blueberry Strawberry Shortcake Trifle
- Biscoff Puff Pastry Tree
Puff Pastry Pop Tarts
- 2 ready to bake puff pastry sheets
- ½ cup strawberry jam see note
- 1 egg beaten
Ingredients for Frosting and Decoration
- ½ cup powdered sugar or icing sugar, sifted if lumpy
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract optional, but compliments flavor of strawberry (and other jams)
- 2 teaspoon water see note
- sprinkles optional
- Pre-heat the oven to 425°F (220C/200C Fan) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a large heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut an even number of shapes out of your puff pastry sheets. (see note)
- Place half of these shapes on your baking parchment, spaced about an inch apart.
- Dollop about half a tablespoon of jam into the centre of each pastry shape, leaving room around the edges.
- In a small bowl, beat your egg to form an egg wash. Brush this around the edges of your pastry. Then sandwich your remaining pastry pieces over top, pressing around the edges to close the filling in place and use a fork to crimp the edges sealed.
- Brush the tops with your egg wash and place in the centre of your preheated oven to bake for about 10-12 minutes until puffed up and golden.
- When ready, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes while you make your frosting (if using).
Instructions for Frosting and Decoration
- If frosting, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and water.
- Once the pop tarts have cooled down a little, drizzle or gently spread the frosting over the tarts. Add sprinkles for a touch of colour! (see note)