If you like pop-tarts, you will love my Homemade Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts. 100% from scratch. The frosting “sets” after an hour making them identical to the originals.
Hi! (I’m currently wiping pop-tart crumbs off my keyboard.)
I made a homemade version of my all-time favorite high school snack food. My high school vending machines never had anything interesting (mixed nuts, stale granola bars) but it did supply pop-tarts. In only one flavor. The BEST flavor in the entire world.
Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon – the toaster pastry putting all other toaster pastries to shame. The food of which heaven is made. Although chocolate pop tarts are a close second! Unwrapping those silver wrappers is the sound of angels singing. Right?
When I was 15, I would eat two brown sugar cinnamon pop-tarts at a time in about 20 seconds, twice a day – not caring for one second about all the processed junk going into my body. Oh, to have a teenager’s metabolism again…
It’s been way too long since I tasted one of life’s greatest pleasures, so I set out to make my own. None of the unrecognizable ingredients, all of the cinnamon goodness. And frosting. So much frosting. And brown sugar!!! Sweet, sweet brown sugar. (By the way…if you love brown sugar as much as I do, you must give these brown sugar cookies a try as well.)
Can ya tell I’m a little excited?!
I’m going to be honest. Making pop-tarts at home, 100% from scratch, isn’t the easiest. It’s not impossible, nor should this recipe intimidate you – but you have to take your time, read all of the instructions before beginning, and be patient. There are lots of steps, but I have about 1 billion photos to walk you through it. I feel the same way about croissants… a labor of love, but totally worth it!
I highly suggest reading each step and viewing each photo before beginning.
Alright pop-tart lovers, here are my Homemade Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts. With pictures of the process and the full recipe written out towards the bottom.
(just keep scrolling, just keep scrolling…)
First step. Homemade pie crust is what you use as the pastry. My homemade pie crust is simple. Nothing fancy or intimidating. My buttery pie crust uses both shortening and butter to obtain optimum flakiness and tenderness. These fats must be COLD.
You also need very cold ice water.
Why the emphasis on temperature here? Keeping your pastry dough as cold as possible prevents the fat from melting. If the butter melts before baking, you lose the flakiness of the pie crust. When the lumps of fat melt in the oven as the pop-tarts bake, their steam helps to separate the crust into multiple flaky layers. Warm fats and water will lend a hard, crunchy crust instead of the nice flaky crust you want for the pop-tarts.
After the two discs of dough have chilled as described in the recipe below, remove one from the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes. This makes rolling out the dough much easier.
Roll disc into a rectangle about 1/8 of an inch thick – about 9×12 inches in total size. Trim off the sides of this rectangle as needed. Cut dough into three even sections, then cut each section into three sections. Does that make any sense?
Use a pizza cutter for ease; it’s the easiest tool to use in this process. You’ll end up with 9 rectangles, each 3×4 inches. These will be the bottoms of your homemade pop-tarts.
Place each rectangle onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Place the baking sheet in the fridge and repeat with the second half of dough.
Always keep the pastry dough chilled as you are working.
Roll 2nd disc out into a rectangle and cut into 9 even rectangles like you did with the first half of the dough. These nine rectangles will be the tops of your homemade pop-tarts. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator as you make the brown sugar cinnamon filling.
The filling! This is the best little filling to ever come out of my kitchen. I say that because brown sugar is my favorite ingredient to use in baking.
The homemade brown sugar cinnamon pop-tart filling is made with lots of cinnamon, lots of brown sugar, a touch of flour. That’s all, just 3 ingredients.
Mix it up with a fork, or even better– your fingers. Messy recipes are the best recipes.
Before filling the homemade pop-tarts, you have to brush the bottoms with a little egg wash. This helps the filling “melt” down and stick to the bottom. We’ll also brush the tops of the pop-tarts with the egg wash.
My egg wash = 1 beaten egg, 2 teaspoons milk.
(Thanks for the new pastry brush, Jaclyn!)
A few more steps.
Place 1 heaping Tablespoon of filling onto each rectangle. I used the back of my measuring spoon to spread it around. Leave about a 1/4 inch border around the rectangle. Brush the rectangle “tops” of the pop-tarts with egg wash. Place on top of the filled bottoms, egg wash side down. Poke holes in the tops of each pastry to allow the steam to escape. This helps get your pop-tart pasty nice and flaky. I used a toothpick to poke 8 holes in each.
Seal the edges by crimping with a fork.
Now, place the ready-to-bake pop-tarts in the refrigerator. Let the pop-tarts rest before baking. This firms up the pastry, since it has been out at room temperature for so long at this point. Chill for 20 minutes as your oven preheats. Once chilled, brush tops with egg wash. This egg wash will give your pastry that beautiful golden sheen.
Now it’s time to bake, then frost. A visual of these steps:
The frosting is so simple. It’s more of a glaze, less of a frosting.
Just a few ingredients including confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk. Whisk until slightly thick, but still a little runny. Use a knife or the back of a spoon to spread on top of each homemade pop-tart.
The pop-tarts are finally ready to eat. 🙂
I told you, this isn’t the easiest of my recipes – but it sure as heck isn’t the most difficult. I really want you to try these! My homemade pop-tarts taste just like the original, but 10x better. I can’t believe I just typed that. But seriously! You don’t get a flaky, slightly crumbly crust with store-bought pop-tarts. You just get… crumbles. You know what I’m taking about? And you get about twice the amount of filling with my homemade version.
The frosting isn’t an exact copycat because there aren’t any preservatives, brown food dyes, or strange things– but it’s absolutely incredible paired with the warm homemade pastry and brown sugar cinnamon filling. The frosting takes about 1 hour to set. We actually loved these homemade pop-tarts the next day. The frosting slightly hardened, making them taste much more like the originals.
Did you make it down this far? Enjoy this recipe, everyone!Print
Homemade Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts
- Prep Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
- Yield: 9 pop-tarts
- Category: Pastries
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
If you like brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts, you will love my homemade frosted brown sugar cinnamon pop-tarts recipe! They taste one million times better and are made completely from scratch with REAL ingredients. I encourage you to read this entire recipe before beginning, as well as viewing the step-by-step photos to help guide you. Plan ahead, the pastry must chill for some time.
- 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 2/3 cup (130g) vegetable shortening, chilled
- 1/2 cup (120ml) ice water
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed dark or light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon (8g) all-purpose flour
- egg wash: 1 large egg mixed with 2 teaspoons milk
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (90g), sifted
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- For the pastry: This is the same recipe as my homemade pie crust. See step-by-step photos in the pie crust post if you need visuals for making the pastry. I usually make the pastry the night before. First, mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add cold unsalted butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal (pea-sized crumbles with a few larger bits of fat is OK). Measure 1/2 cup of water in a glass. Add ice. Stir it around. Slowly drizzle in the very cold water 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring with a large spatula after every Tablespoon of water that you add. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to clump.
- Roll out the dough on a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Form the dough into a ball. Divide in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months).
- Assemble the pop-tarts: Remove 1 chilled dough disc from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. This will help make the dough easier to roll and work with. Keep the other disc in the refrigerator. After 15 minutes, place disc onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick and 9×12 inches in size. Trim the sides as needed. Always be gentle with your pastry dough. You don’t want it to tear. Cut each piece of dough into thirds and each third into thirds again. You will end up with 9 rectangles, each measuring 3×4 inches. Use a ruler to help make this process easier and more accurate.
- Place each of the 9 rectangles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. The pop-tarts will not spread in the oven much, so you may place them relatively near one another. Place the baking sheet in the fridge. Roll 2nd disc out into a rectangle and cut into 9 even rectangles like you did with the first half of the dough. These nine rectangles will be the tops of your homemade pop-tarts. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator as you make the brown sugar cinnamon filling.
- Make the filling: Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a small bowl. Set aside. Remove 1 baking sheet of rectangles from the refrigerator. Brush egg wash over the entire surface of each rectangle. These will be the bottoms of your pop-tarts and the egg wash will help glue the lid on. Place a heaping Tablespoon of the prepared brown sugar filling into the center of each rectangle, spread it around, leaving around 1/4 inch of space on the edges. Brush the second baking sheet of rectangles with egg wash, then place each rectangle on top of the filling-topped rectangles – egg wash side down. Use your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides.
- Poke holes in the tops of each filled pastry to allow the steam to escape. This helps get your pop-tart pastry nice and flaky. I used a toothpick to poke 8 holes in each. Seal the edges by crimping with a fork, to prevent the sides from opening as the pop-tarts bake. Refrigerate the filled pop-tarts uncovered for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour. This chilling let the pop-tarts rest before baking. It also firms up the pastry, since it has been out at room temperature for so long at this point.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Once unbaked pop-tarts have chilled for 20 minutes, remove from the refrigerator and brush the tops with the remaining egg wash. This egg wash will give your pastry that beautiful golden sheen. Bake for about 22-28 minutes or until they’re golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Let the baked pop-tarts cool on the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
- Make the glaze: whisk all of the glaze ingredients together in a medium bowl until it reaches a spreading consistency. You want a thick glaze, but not too thick that it is hard to spread. Add another teaspoon or two of milk if needed. Use a spoon or knife to glaze each pop-tart. The glaze will slightly harden in about an hour, if you prefer to wait that long.
- Store pop-tarts in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 6 days. To reheat, bake in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 10 minutes.
- Freezing Instructions: Baked and unglazed pop-tarts freeze well, up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat as directed in step 9. I am unsure about reheating in a toaster.
- Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls, Pastry Cutter, Rolling Pin, Silpat Baking Mat, Baking Sheet, Pizza Cutter, and Pastry Brush
- Pastry: I’m sure store-bought pastry would be fine, but this homemade version creates that unique flaky, slightly crunchy yet tender texture you know and love from regular pop-tarts. I prefer shortening in my pie crust and pastry dough recipe for the best texture. Feel free to use your own favorite pie crust recipe that uses all butter if you prefer. Butter can not be replaced for shortening in this particular pastry recipe.
- Filling: Get creative! Use your favorite fillings instead of brown sugar cinnamon. Like jam, Nutella, etc.
- Adapted from King Arthur Flour.
Keywords: homemade brown sugar pop tarts, brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts
Reader Comments & Reviews
Love these! This was by far my most ambitious baking project to date but with the detailed instructions it felt like Sally was holding my hand all the way through. Mine turned out perfectly flaky, with super moist and flavorful filling. My tips:
-Think through your setup in advance, especially making room in your fridge for the baking sheets. I put one layer of pastry on top of the other, separated by tinfoil, to save fridge space.
-I used Sally’s all-butter pie crust recipe since I didn’t have shortening and it worked great.
-I used tinfoil since I didn’t have parchment paper or silicone mats. Don’t do this! It was very difficult to separate the poptarts from the tinfoil. (Sally, do you have a better substitute baking surface recommendation?)
-I did half with the brown sugar cinnamon filling and frosting from this recipe. The other half I filled with raspberry jam and made frosting from powdered sugar + raspberry jam + milk. The two flavors were equally delicious, and I’m sure you could do this with any flavor jam.
My only complaint is that the edges on most of mine split. This didn’t really seem to affect the flavor, and they all held together enough to eat in one piece, but they weren’t as perfect as they could have been. I think the problem was that the filling seeped into the egg wash and spread closer to the edges, making them harder to seal. My plan for next time is:
One at a time, add filling to bottom rectangle, then brush egg wash just around the edges, then egg wash the top rectangle, seal it on, and stick it in the fridge. Then move to the next one. Sally, do you think this would help reduce seepage of the filling?
Hi Jess! Thank you so much for trying this recipe. Your idea for filling the pop tarts next time you make them could definitely help. What I also find helps is crimping the edges with a fork right before baking and right after chilling the shaped tarts. Colder pastry is easier to crimp and seal.
Thanks! I crimped before chilling. Will try crimping after chilling next time.
These were fun to make, and they tasted good. The only change I’d make is not letting the refrigerated dough warm up for 15 minutes before rolling it out. The colder dough was much easier to work with. We had visible chunks of butter in the dough, and I was worried about that, but we did NOT get oozing butter or filling when we baked. The pastries were all perfectly self-contained and looked great.
These were delicious! Worth the extra effort. Next time I’ll use my own pie crust recipe though. This crust recipe was flakey when baked, but initially crumbled when I rolled it—added water and it improved.
These were so fun to make! A fun challenge with all of the steps, but the recipe was very easy to follow. And they turned out amazing – can’t wait to make them again!
These were amazing!! Followed the recipe as written and they came out perfect – with the effort. Will definitely be making again.
I made these twice and will agree with someone else’s comment on how awful these are. There’s to much flour going on leaving you with a very dry pop tart taking away the flavor. It’s like having a mouth full of sand. I used your pastry dough recipe the 1st time and then I used my pastry recipe. Both came out dry. Yours more than mine which is unusal because my recipe is just a standard pie crust recipe straight out of a recipe book that I’ve used for over 20 years. The problem is with the brown cinnamon filling. Perhaps if you remove the flour and use just a dot of butter to that brown cinnamon filling it will add some moisture to the inside giving you that flavor instead of just a dry rub taste. Please don’t get offended with my comment. We all learn from each other and part of our learning is by helping each other.
Such a fun project this week, thank you for sharing! We love this flavor pop tart but it’s so nice to make them at home. These were easier than I thought once we got going!
I have a scratch pie dough recipe use frequently. The dough in this recipe is AWFUL. I left it in the fridge for THREE days and it was still too sticky to roll and I had to trash it all. My thoughts are: 1) shortening never gets “cold” (even after being in fridge overnight) and does not cut in like butter and you’d be better off using actual lard; 2) with only 2T of iced water added, there is no way too much water made the dough sticky and 3) 3 days of dough refrigeration should be sufficient to keep dough cold and rollable after 15 min of “thaw”…..it was nothing but a hot sticky mess on my floured Silpat and cloth covered rolling pin. I am not sure where my user “errors” were but I have never had issues with pie crust before. Too bad as the recipe looks great.
Hi Jill, 2 Tablespoons of liquid in pie dough isn’t enough. I expect the dough was too sticky because the fats were worked into the dough too much. Was the shortening cold as well as the butter? Thanks for trying it!
I was busy making some peach hand pies and had a fair amount of dough left over, so I thought I would give these a shot. I did your recipe for the brown sugar and some with my wife’s home-made prickly pear jelly. Very tasty and I will be making them again.
If you have not tried homemade puff pastry dough give it a try. Once you do it you won’t go store bought.
Made these today and they’re sooo yummy. I will definitely make them again.
I’ve always been pie crust phobic, but this makes me want to give it one more try! I mean.. home made pop tarts? What could be better?
Taste just like the ones in the store, but fresher! Super easy to make, and will definitely experiment with other fillings now
Hi Sally, I’m going to *attempt* to make these yummy poptarts tomorrow for hubby’s birthday. I couldn’t get all the ingredients for homemade pie crust at the store right now but did find premade rolled Pillsbury crust. I grabbed a box and am hoping it’ll work okay. Anything I need to do differently to accommodate the switch? Will they be moist enough to help melt down the filling? Thank you!
Hi Morgan, Don’t skip the egg wash and they should still turn out with store bought crust. I hope he has a great birthday!
Hi Sally! I don’t have vegetable shortening handy – but can I use coconut oil since that’s a fat that’s solid at room temp? I can’t wait to try these!!!!
Hi Catherine! No– instead I recommend my all butter pie crust.
I’m just wondering if the filling changes consistency when baked, because with just sugar, cinnamon and flour it sounds like it could be dry.
Hi Carla! The butter from the pie crust melts down and keeps it moist.
These pop tarts were amazing! You definitely need patience and time to get through the recipe, but it is well worth the effort. I decided to add 1/2 teaspoon of homemade bourbon vanilla to the filling for added flavor 🙂
My family loved these!!! Have you ever tried any other filling? Thanks! 🙂
We love using jam as a filling, too!
I made these today, but I had a pie crust in the freezer that was left over from Christmas. I bake all the time and my husband just told me these are probably one of his favorite things I have ever made. They were amazing!
These taste amazing! So happy to have something so delicious during our statewide “stay home initiative.” Making these is definitely a daunting task, but thankfully, I had two left over pie crusts I had prepared at Christmas and didn’t end up needing.
I am keeping the unglazed pastries in the fridge. I take one out for a few minutes then pop it in the toaster, which I lay on its side because I’m worried the filling will travel to the bottom if it’s upright. I also watch the pastry while its toasting so it doesn’t burn. The result is a piping hot flaky pastry which I then put a spoon of glaze on top of and let it melt all over. Best part of our by far.
Thank you for another great recipe! I hope you, your family and your team all stay safe.
I think I read everything. My icing is a very unattractive shade of beige/brown. No one else seems to have this problem. Any idea what I did wrong? It tastes fine but less than appealing.
Hi Kim, I’m glad you like the way these taste! The color of the icing could simply be from using a dark brown vanilla extract.
I added a raspberry jam on top of the brown sugar layer. Amazing! What a great recipe and my kids loved making them as much as they loved eating them!
The process of making these are not fit the faint of heart- it is A JOURNEY. BUT! They are insanely delicious and worth all the effort. I’ve had four all by my lonesome, just today…
Yum! My husband was so thrilled. Perfect instructions and SO much better than any pop TART you can buy.
I’m not normally a hater, but I am extremely disappointed with this recipe. Not only did this take longer than instructions said(though some may be my fault) but nevertheless I followed this recipe to a T. And the poptarts in my opinion are unappetizing. The crust tasted just like pie crust nothing like poptarts. The taste of the crust overcomes the taste of the filling(which wasnt very good to start with) and glaze. Now I’m sure that Sally’s baking addiction is an amazing baker, and I’m sure maybe some people enjoy, that taste. But these are just not for me.
I agree with Melissa. I don’t believe her flour was bad, as she mentioned the flavour was similar to pie crust, not sour like spoilt flour.
The pie crust flavour and dry sugar filling was missing something. I feel like the filling needed butter, or something to soften it up a bit. I will try it again with some tweaking.
Any idea how I would make this crust chocolate?
Sure! Here’s my chocolate pie crust.
Hi — might ask the same question on Instagram since this post is a couple of years old — but wondered if the pastry could be made in a food processor (like Ina Garten does it).
Hi Brad, You can use a food processor to make this butter pie crust, but I strongly recommend a pastry cutter (or two forks) to avoid over-mixing. Food processors are quick to over-work pie dough.
I love this recipe I had a competition with my family this weekend off of who could make a pop tart most simalar to a regular brown sugar pop tart and mine won because i used your recipe thanks so much :,)
Although a labor intensive undertaking, Sally’s Homemade Brown Sugar Pop Tarts are so worth the effort. The buttery crust topped with cinnamon kissed glaze, the infuse is chocked full of cinnamon sugar goodness. Oh my!
Hubby-approved and neighbor- endorsed by an eight, six, four, and 2 year old, you gotta try these!
Ok. Your crust recipe is my only crust recipe. Hands down the best. Having just made your blueberry crumb pie this weekend, I was left with half a crust. My daughter always begs for pop tarts at the store and I never give in. Well I gave in w this recipe. They were a visual fail, but were a fantastic taste. Too sweet for me but the flaky pie crust does its best to balance that!
Absolutely wonderful! Did all teenagers survive on pop tarts? I did, but these are galaxies better…this is also a great way for a novice pie crust maker to practice without committing to a whole pie