Old Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding

Old Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding ~ this silky, crave-able pudding recipe satisfies a primal need for comfort. Warm or cold, homemade butterscotch pudding is always right.

A perfect butterscotch pudding recipe is long overdue on the blog!

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long because one of the best things I’ve ever eaten was a dense, rich, butterscotch pot de creme at a restaurant that haunted me for years after. I eventually made my Salted Caramel Pot de Creme, which scratched that itch for a while, but I’ve been craving a simpler, throw it together on a whim recipe that would give me the butterscotch-y experience without the extra trouble. Enter this old fashioned homey butterscotch pudding, yum.

butterscotch pudding in a cup

This simple butterscotch pudding recipe has been well tested

I must have made 4 different versions till I got it perfect. I’m not complaining, we ate every last bite of every batch. But this final pudding is just what I was looking for.

I first tried the simplest approach, using just cornstarch to thicken the pudding. But I didn’t get that super thick lush texture I was after. I discovered that you can’t really leave out the eggs in a great classic pudding without sacrificing richness and texture.

What exactly is butterscotch?

Butterscotch is a simple mixture of  brown sugar a butter. It can be a hard candy, or a sauce, or a flavor profile like it is in my pudding recipe today.

The difference between butterscotch and caramel? Caramel uses white sugar and also includes heavy cream.

Pro tips for making butterscotch pudding ~

  • Use a good heavy bottomed pan so the pudding cooks evenly without scorching.
  • Adding a little bit of water helps your sugar melt evenly.
  • Don’t stir while your brown sugar is bubbling.
  • I like to have both a whisk and a silicone spoonula available while the pudding is cooking so I can switch back and forth as needed.
  • When adding the butter at the end, I make sure to whisk very well to get it all incorporated.

Warm or cold?

I love to eat at least one serving of pudding warm, right out of the pan, there’s nothing like it. But it won’t be as thick as it is after it’s been chilled. I like to enjoy it both ways.

If you’re making this for guests, allow at least 2 hours of chilling time.

Butterscotch pudding with whipped cream.
4.97 from 78 votes

Butterscotch Pudding

Old Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding ~ this silky, crave-able pudding  satisfies a primal need for comfort.  Warm or cold, butterscotch pudding is always right.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Calories 497kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp bourbon (optional)


  • Over medium/medium-low heat, melt the brown sugar with the salt and the water. The water helps the sugar to dissolve and melt evenly. Heat until bubbling, and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes more, keeping a close eye on it and making sure it doesn't burn. Don't stir it while it is cooking, but you can swirl the pan around a bit to distribute the heat if needed.
  • Allow the melted brown sugar to cool for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in a little bit of the milk, and whisk until very smooth. Add the egg yolks, and whisk until smooth.
  • Add the corn starch slurry to the rest of the milk and cream, and whisk briefly to combine everything.
  • Add the milk/cream mixture to the partially cooled brown sugar, whisking as you go. The sugar will seize up and become hard, but don't worry, everything will melt once the pan goes back on the heat.
  • Return the pan to the heat, and gently bring the whole mixture to a boil over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Once all the brown sugar has dissolved and the mixture is beginning to thicken, switch to a silicone spatula so that you can scrape the bottom and sides of the pan as it thickens.
  • Once the pudding comes to a boil, (it should be quite thick), take it off the heat and immediately pour it through a fine mesh strainer.
  • Add the butter, vanilla extract, and whiskey (if using), and whisk vigorously to combine (I whisked mine for a good minute or so to get the butter well incorporated.)
  • Pour the pudding into serving containers, and enjoy warm, or allow it to fully set in the fridge. It will be fully set in a couple hours.


Calories: 497kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 257mg | Sodium: 430mg | Potassium: 181mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 1431IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 1mg
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.
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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Corinna Kennedy
    December 17, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    5 stars
    We are sitting down enjoying warm bowls and can’t wait to try them chilled with whip cream tomorrow (maybe for breakfast!). Soooo good! Just what I was hoping for.

  • Reply
    Steve Gooch
    December 8, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    5 stars
    I made this tonight. Very easy and good. Instead of pouring it through a strainer, I used an electric mixer to get rid of any clumps. It worked great and I had beaters to lick instead of a strainer which gets pudding on my nose, cheeks and beard

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    5 stars
    This was my first time making pudding from scratch. It turned out so delicious and was so easy to make. Thank you so much for the recipe it is definitely a keeper.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      November 11, 2021 at 5:57 pm

      Thanks Tina, I’ve got more homemade puddings for you to explore on the blog 🙂

      • Reply
        November 30, 2021 at 2:59 pm

        I would like to serve this at a college bake off but dont have a lot of small glass containers to serve it in. Can i chill it in a baking dish then scoop out into plastic cups after it is chilled?

        • Reply
          Sue Moran
          December 1, 2021 at 5:11 am

          Yes, that would be fine.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2021 at 6:29 pm

    5 stars
    Hands down the best butterscotch pudding recipe. My husband LOVED it! So simple to make, just have to be patient for the boil, it was perfect.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    5 stars
    This is by far the best recipe ever for butterscotch pudding!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    5 stars
    This pudding is so luscious. I love that it’s not super sweet. Chilling it really enhances the flavor. The texture is so smooth and creamy and flavor is delicious. I only have had a spoonful so far, but when I’m ready to have a little bowl I’ll top it with some whipped cream.

  • Reply
    Lisa E
    August 15, 2021 at 3:12 pm

    5 stars
    I always thought butterscotch pudding was simply ok. But this recipe intrigued me. I tried it today. I’m not a very patient person and the cooking/thickening seemed to take forever! But wow! I tried it when it was warm, right before putting it in the refrigerator and it was really good! And the cold version is so rich, thick and creamy! This is amazing!

  • Reply
    August 12, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    5 stars
    Holy (insert favorite expletive)! I’ve never been a fan of butterscotch, always too sweet or artificial tasting. I made this for my brother-in-law, who needs to keep weight on while undergoing throat cancer treatment. No spice, little salt, smooth, calorie-dense foods with real, clean ingredients are hard to find. He loved my vanilla pudding, and requested butterscotch next,, so I gave this a try. Very easy, but so completely decadent and delicious! I tried it and changed my mind about butterscotch! I can believe these simply ingredients combine to make something so rich and complex. I’m so happy I doubled the recipe, b/c I can keep some for myself without feeling guilty. Thank you, thank you! You’ve helped to bring some enjoyment and comfort to a man who is really going through it. Peace and love!

  • Reply
    May 12, 2021 at 9:39 am

    5 stars
    WOW! Butterscotch pudding has always been my 85 yr. old dad’s favorite pudding flavor! Now that he ie elderly and loosing weight from a chronic illness, I’ve been looking for ways to boost his calories, and this recipe is perfect! Super easy and really rich and delicious. I added the whiskey and vanilla, so delicious! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Lori Grevstad
    April 26, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    I wa afraid to burn the brown sugar and took it off the heat too early. Perfect texture but it’s a little too buttery and not a deep butterSCOTCH flavour. Anything I can do about it now?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      April 26, 2021 at 5:35 pm

      Probably nothing you can do once it’s made, Lori, but definitely try it again when you have a chance.

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