Old Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding

butterscotch pudding in tea cups

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.

butterscotch pudding in cup with whipped cream

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.

butterscotch pudding with whipped cream

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.

butterscotch pudding in a blue cup

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.
2 cups of butterscotch pudding

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.
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4.96 from 91 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

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

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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69 Comments

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    Please rate this recipe!




  • Reply
    Sheila
    January 8, 2021 at 10:25 am

    5 stars
    I made it with whole milk, no cream, tho I’m sure cream would’ve been even tastier. Also, I used coconut sugar so not sure the taste was the very best. No need to strain, it was totally smooth and delicious.

  • Reply
    Kristin Daniel
    December 26, 2020 at 11:32 pm

    5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! I made it two nights in a row. The first batch was lighter than the first in color and taste. I figured I didn’t let the brown sugar brown long enough. I was a afraid of it burning. I also cut the bourbon in 1/2 for kiddos. Second night (no kiddos!): I let the sugar brown for 1-2 min longer and added the full bourbon the recipe calls for. It was amazing! My husband (who tried both and loved both) agreed that the second batch was perfect. Topped with whipped cream and a shavings from a spiced chocolate bar. This could seriously be served at a very nice restaurant. It’s a keeper.

  • Reply
    Leah
    December 26, 2020 at 7:00 am

    5 stars
    This pudding is delicious and cooked up exactly per the instructions. The only thing I wouldn’t do next time is strain it as there were no lumps.

  • Reply
    vivian
    December 5, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    5 stars
    This was so good! I haven’t had pudding in a long time, maybe because I got turned off by the packaged kind. This is a totally different thing – so smooth and rich. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Reply
    Jake
    November 24, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    5 stars
    Great recipe! This came out perfectly smooth and tasty on the first try! I’ll add a little more bourbon next time, for my own taste buds, but great texture and flavor. Excellent instructions also.

  • Reply
    chris
    November 16, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    the flavor is very good but there must be something wrong in the amounts of ingredients. it turned out like paper mache paste! so sticky and thick. to bad we were looking for a good recipe.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 17, 2020 at 7:05 am

      So sorry this didn’t work out for you Chris, without more details I’m not sure what could have gone wrong.

  • Reply
    Laurie D
    October 10, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    5 stars
    Wow! this pudding came out so well! It’s absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe exactly – no additions or changes were needed. We love it! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Susan
    September 30, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    5 stars
    My mother use to make Butterscotch pies. She would make a pie crust, the butterscotch pudding, and top it with merengue made with the reserved egg whites….delicious!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 30, 2020 at 6:32 pm

      That’s a classic!

  • Reply
    Vanessa
    September 19, 2020 at 3:18 am

    5 stars
    Is it ok if we only have whole milk? I don’t have heavy cream, but I have all of the other ingredients! I want to make this today, since it’s National Butterscotch pudding day!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 19, 2020 at 5:45 am

      yes definitely ~ and Happy Pudding Day 🙂

  • Reply
    Trudy
    September 14, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    5 stars
    This pudding is AMAZING! I make it all the time. Thanks for an absolute fav recipie

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