This silky and decadent Butterscotch Pudding is the ultimate comfort food creamy dessert, packed with rich flavor and caramel notes from dark brown sugar. Topped with whipped cream, toffee bits, caramel, and grated chocolate this homemade pudding recipe will satisfy all your cravings.
Decadent Butterscotch Pudding
Dark brown sugar turns into a dreamy butterscotch pudding with the help of a handful of simple ingredients like whole milk, heavy cream and large egg yolks.
The incredibly rich texture of this butterscotch dessert reminds me of the deliciously famous French dessert creme brûlée. Adding a splash of liquor such as scotch whiskey or spiced rum adds depth of flavor and complexity to this smooth brown sugar pudding.
Served warm, hot or cold, once this butterscotch pudding recipe hits the table, no one will be able to keep their spoons away!
Why You’ll Love This Butterscotch Recipe
- Quick:Don’t you love easy recipes that are ready in 15 minutes?
- Flavor: If you love butterscotch candy, you’ll love the delicious clean and complex flavor of this homemade pudding.
- Make Ahead This is a great dessert to make ahead of time. Serve this pudding in individual dessert bowls and have them ready to grab and go.
Butterscotch Pudding Ingredients
Check the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and their exact amounts.
- Egg yolks: I use large egg yolks (from large eggs).
- Cornstarch: This ingredient is used as a thickener.
- Milk: Use whole milk for a creamier pudding. If you choose fat-free milk, you may need to add a bit more cornstarch.
- Heavy cream: Heavy cream makes this pudding incredibly rich, creamy and decadent. Swap it out for half-and-half if that’s what you have.
- Dark brown sugar: This is a key ingredient to make a the absolute best, intensely flavored butterscotch sauce or pudding! You can use light brown sugar but the flavor of the pudding won’t be as intense.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter but you can use salted butter if that’s all you have.
- Salt: I use Kosher salt or sea salt.
- Liquor: Optional but recommended, whiskey, scotch, rum, or bourbon.
How to Make Butterscotch Pudding
For specific instructions and times, please check the printable recipe card below.
- Egg Cornstarch Mixture: In a medium bowl combine egg yolks and cornstarch. Both ingredients will thicken the pudding.
- Liquid Mixture: In a large bowl or measuring cup, mix the whole milk and heavy cream.
- Caramelize: In a heavy saucepan over medium heat combine the brown sugar, salt and water. When the mixture starts to bubble up on the edges, allow to cook without stirring, until darker brown, and just starting to smell caramelized, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add Liquid Mixture to the Caramel: Carefully, add the milk mixture into the caramel (like when making caramel sauce). Pour slowly in a steady stream while stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about a minute, then set aside.
- Temper the Egg Mixture: Slowly and while stirring constantly, pour some of the hot mixture into the egg mixture.
- Cook. Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pot while stirring. Once well combined, turn the heat to low. Continue stirring until large bubbles burst through the top and the pudding thickens.
- Add Flavorings: Remove the pudding from the heat and whisk in the butter, vanilla extract, and liquor (if using).
- Cool: Pour pudding into serving glasses and press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding to prevent a film or “pudding skin’ from forming. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
What Is Butterscotch?
I love what Bon Appetite says about butterscotch:
“Butterscotch, is caramel’s more reliable and less dramatic cousin!” I have to completely agree with that statement!
Butterscotch is very similar to caramel (or caramel sauce) but the biggest difference is that butterscotch is made with dark brown sugar instead of white granulated sugar. Brown sugar contains molasses, which adds flavor, moisture and acidity to the sugar. Moisture and acidity makes brown sugar more stable than white sugar. Stability (moisture and acidity) is what prevents crystallization when melting and caramelizing brown sugar.
What is Butterscotch Pudding Made From?
Homemade butterscotch pudding (not instant-pudding from a dry mix) is a rich custard made with egg yolks, a thickening agent like cornstarch, dark brown sugar, heavy cream, milk and butter. Sometimes the pudding is spiked with a splash of scotch whisky or spiced rum which adds extra flavor.
The end result is a rich, silky smooth and intensely delicious butterscotch flavor pudding that will knock your socks off!
What Flavor is Butterscotch?
Butterscotch has a complex flavor profile with deep notes of caramelized sugar, molasses, and even browned butter. If you remember the iconic butterscotch candy your grandma or mom used to always have around, you can almost close your eyes and taste the toasty, buttery goodness of sweet butterscotch.
This butterscotch pudding is perfect as is but, to take it over the top, serve it with salted caramel sauce and whipped cream. Add some crunch by sprinkling candied pecans, chopped heath bars or chopped nuts on top. if you must have chocolate (I must!) grated chocolate, chocolate shavings or chocolate sauce can work their magic wonderfully!
Making Ahead, Storage and Freezing
Can you Make Homemade Pudding Ahead of Time?
Yes, this is an excellent make ahead dessert. You want to make the pudding at least 6 hours ahead so it has time to cool and set. You can make it a coupe of days before serving which is helpful when you need a quick dessert for the holidays or when planning a dinner party.
How Long Will Homemade Pudding Last?
Store butterscotch pudding in an airtight container or individual serving glasses in the refrigerator for up to 4 days., Make sure to cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap to prevent pudding skin from forming.
Can you Freeze Pudding?
I don’t recommend freezing pudding as the texture changes when thawing.
Butterscotch Tips for Success
- Not all sugars are created equal: Use dark brown sugar for a deliciously intense butterscotch flavor.
- Use a candy thermometer: Stop wondering if the sugar is golden brown enough or completely burnt. When making caramel, a candy thermometer takes the guess work out the window!
- Stay away from low-fat ingredients: Low-fat or non-fat milk will yield a thinner pudding that just won’t do the recipe justice!
Take A Look At Some Other Amazing and Easy Dessert Recipes
- Spanish Flan
- Arroz con Leche (Spanish Rice Pudding)
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars
- Butterscotch Pie
- Butter Pecan Ice Cream
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- 1 Pot
- 1 Whisk
- 1 Medium bowl
For the Pudding:
- Whipped cream
- Heath bar toffee bits
- Dark chocolate grated
- Flaky sea salt
- In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and cornstarch and set aside.
- In a large liquid measuring cup or a bowl, combine the milk and the heavy cream. Set aside.
- In a saucepan combine the brown sugar salt and water. Heat over medium heat. As soon as the mixture starts to boil vigorously around the edges, allow it to cook, without stirring, until darker brown, and just starting to smell caramelized, about 5-6 minutes. The sugar will bubble vigorously the whole time. If you have a candy thermometer, the butterscotch is ready when it registers around 240°F (116°C). (Be careful not to touch it; it is extremely hot.)
- Immediately, pour the milk-cream mixture slowly into the caramel mixture. The mixture will bubble and steam and the butterscotch will harden up. Bring to a boil, whisking occasionally and scraping the edges of the pot to dissolve the hardened butterscotch then, reduce the heat to low.
- In a slow and steady stream, whisk about 1/2 cup of the simmering butterscotch mixture into the reserved egg yolk mixture. Make sure to whisk constantly and vigorously to prevent the eggs from cooking like scrambled eggs.
- Slowly pour the tempered egg yolk mixture into the pot, whisking constantly. Tun the heat to low and cook, continuing to whisk constantly, until large bubbles burst through the top and the mixture is thickened, about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter, vanilla extract and liquor (if using).
- Cool for about 5 minutes and then, pour the pudding into serving glasses or bowls. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface (to prevent a film from forming) and refrigerate until chilled, at least 6 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, top the pudding with toppings and a pinch of flaky sea salt.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.