Lemon Tart with Poppy Seed Shortbread Crust

Lemon poppy seed mini tarts

My Lemon Tart with Poppy Seed Shortbread Crust is a sunny, tangy dessert that’s perfect for sweetening up these last weeks of winter. Just whisk together the lemony filling and bake, it couldn’t be easier.

holding a lemon tart with poppy seed crust

What’s the best way to make a lemon tart?

I love this lemon tart. Lemon tarts have always been one of my favorite desserts, and there are several schools of thought when it comes to putting them together  ~

  • One method is to cook a lemon curd on the stove and then pour it into a baked tart or pie shell. The filling sets up as it cools and requires no further baking. It’s nice and tangy, but has a soft set.
  • The way I did it here was to simply whisk together my filling, then strain it and pour into my mini crusts. Everything bakes together. Doing it this way saves steps and results in an incredibly smooth filling that slices beautifully. It’s firm but still has that silky mouthfeel we all love in a great lemon tart.
Making lemon poppy seed tarts
poppy seed shortbread crust in mini tart pans

I like to keep my lemon tart crust super simple

In keeping with the quick and easy theme, the shortbread crust for these tarts is a press-in, rather than roll-out, kind of deal, so put away the rolling pin and use your (clean!) hands. The poppy seeds add a bit of interest to this otherwise very classic crust. They look pretty and provide a nice delicate crunch. Leave ’em out if you want.

Poppy seed tart dough pressed into mini tart pans.

This recipe can make one large, or several small lemon tarts

I made four mini tarts with this recipe, but it’s also easily adaptable to one standard (9 inch) size tart. Simply follow the same recipe, but adjust your baking time to more like 30-35 minutes, keeping an eye on it while it cooks and watching for when it is just set in the middle.

lemon tarts with poppy seed crust

Tip ~ place your tart shells on a baking sheet before filling them. They’ll be much easier to transfer to the oven without sloshing.

Plus, the baking sheet will capture any leaks that might dribble out during baking.

Lemon Poppy Seed Tarts on a baking sheet

If you’re not feeling up to baking a full-on pie or layer cake, but you’re craving a little something sweet, give this recipe a try. There’s something about tarts that makes them perfect for spring (or almost spring)

Lemon Poppy Seed Tart with Fork

Other pretty tarts to try ~

tvfgi recommends: mini tart pans

mini tart pans

A set of nonstick mini tart pans with removable bottoms, just like the standard size pans, don’t take up much room in your cupboard and come in so handy when you want to make individual sized tarts, pies, quiches, etc.

Lemon poppy seed mini tarts
3.86 from 41 votes

Lemon Tart with Poppy Seed Shortbread Crust

My Lemon Tart with Poppy Seed Shortbread Crust is a sunny, tangy dessert that’s perfect for sweetening up these last weeks of winter.  Just whisk together the lemony filling and bake, it couldn’t be easier.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Yield 4
Author Sue Moran


Poppy seed shortbread crust

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 stick 8 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled slighlty
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds

Lemon filling

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 eggs + 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus one tablespoon lemon juice

For serving

  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  • Preheat your oven to 350F
  • For the poppy seed crust, combine the flour, melted butter, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and poppy seeds in a bowl and mix until all dry flour is incorporated and a dough forms. It will be slightly crumbly, but will hold together when pressed between your fingers.
  • Pat the dough into four mini tart pans with removable bottoms, and put the tart shells in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • For the filling, whisk the ingredients together well, making sure the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
  • Pour the mixture through a strainer and then into the mini tart shells. (Note ~ before filling them, place your tart shells on a baking sheet, that way they’ll be a lot easier to transfer to the oven. The baking sheet will capture any leaks that might happen during cooking, too.)
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the filling is cooked through. You should have a very slight wobble in the middle of the tarts, but nothing that still feels liquid-y. The shortbread tart shells should be lightly golden.
  • Let the tarts cool at room temperature completely in the tart pans, then remove the tarts from the tart pans, and top with powdered sugar when ready to eat.

Cook’s notes

Tart filling lightly adapted from Donna Hay
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Make these Lemon Poppy Seed Tarts your own ~

  • I think these little tarts are the perfect canvas for edible flowers like lavender buds, rose petals, or pansies.
  • You could also top them with a layer of fresh raspberries, and then give it all a shower of powdered sugar for a gorgeous presentation.

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    Leave a Reply

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  • Reply
    June 12, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    I would like to just bake the crust and fill it later with some lemon curd that I have on hand. How long would I bake just the crust and would it be at the same temperature, i.e. 350?

  • Reply
    June 24, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    WOW! I made this today in my 9″ tart pan. UN-BE-LIEVABLE texture and taste!!!
    It took about 45 mins to bake to perfection.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Your recipe is perfect! We love it so much!!! I just have one question I doubled it and made heaps lol. Do you think some would be okay to freeze?

    • Reply
      June 9, 2020 at 5:09 pm

      That should work fine Kayla.

  • Reply
    joan nass
    January 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    These tarts look so yummy and easy. I got my answer about using almond flour and 9″ pan. (reading other questions) But if I do use a 9″ pan how long to bake? Also , do I still put the crust in the frig for 30 minutes? Thanks

    • Reply
      January 12, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      I would still chill the crust, and as for baking time, check on its progress after 35 minutes.

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    March 1, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    You know I love lemon desserts! These tarts have my name all over them! 🙂

  • Reply
    February 27, 2019 at 8:05 am

    Love the look of it and sounds yummy.

    Can i make this is another type of baking pan/dish or my larger White Corning dish?
    I don’t need another ‘gadget in my cupboard’!

    • Reply
      February 27, 2019 at 8:29 am

      You can make a single tart in a standard tart pan, a pie plate, or perhaps your corning dish if it’s about 9 inches in diameter. It won’t be as easy to slice if your dish is deep, though.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Your recipe was super easy to make, you don’t find many good recipes that are fast. I did make this and loved it. My question is, I thought the crust was really hard to cut into. Any suggestions for me? I did pat it in the shell and chi it for 30 minutes.
    Thank you,

    • Reply
      February 25, 2019 at 8:13 am

      Thanks Becky, and a couple of things come to mind about the crust. I make a point not to pat the crust in TOO hard, in other words, I lightly pat the dough into the pan, without over-compacting it. The other thought is it might have gotten a tad over-baked, which would make it harder or crunchier. It’s always better to under bake than over bake shortbread. (Check your oven temp with an inexpensive oven thermometer)

      • Reply
        March 9, 2019 at 5:51 am

        Thank you, I’ll give that a try.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Sue these look and sound delicious. How long will they keep. Thinking to make some for a bake sale. Thanks

    • Reply
      February 24, 2019 at 10:53 am

      I’d say they would keep ok in the refrigerator for a day or so, but you might consider making and forming the crusts ahead, and whipping up the filling separately, then all you’d have to do is fill and bake when you are ready.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2019 at 8:07 am

    Looks fantastic, I love lemon curd and poppy seeds.
    How would it be using Almond Flour?
    My girlfriend said her Mom only used almond flour when she was growing up.

    • Reply
      February 24, 2019 at 8:08 am

      I think that would be wonderful. The crust should hold together well enough with almond flour, particularly since you aren’t rolling it out, but patting it into the tart pans. I would be careful removing them from the pans, since a gluten free crust will be delicate.

  • Reply
    Tricia | Saving Room for Dessert
    February 24, 2019 at 4:51 am

    Very pretty! I adore lemon desserts and these cute little tarts look fantastic. A great spring time dessert for sure

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