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.
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


  • 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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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    5 stars
    The very best butterscotch pudding I have ever tasted.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    4 stars
    Are there any bad reviews? Followed the recipe exactly. I’m not the best cook in the world, but found this too time consuming. The test will be if my husband likes it.

  • Reply
    Deb Kelner
    February 19, 2021 at 5:43 pm

    5 stars
    Sue, you’ve done it again! I have searched for butterscotch pudding that wasn’t so overly sweet that you couldn’t taste the lovely caramelized flavor. This is it! Made this today (doubled the recipe) because I brought dinner to the neighbor who just had hip replacement surgery. Couldn’t make it for them and not have some for us….. Holy yum! I’ve decided that your pecan sandie recipe will be a yummy accompaniement. Thank you!

  • Reply
    February 13, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    5 stars
    This is the most delicious butterscotch pudding I have ever tasted. We ate it all warm and it was amazing! Followed the recipe exactly and wouldn’t change a thing! Also, I wouldn’t bother with the whipped cream on top because it is perfect. 11/10

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 13, 2021 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks Joy…there’s nothing better on this earth than warm pudding.

  • Reply
    Barbara Wagner
    February 12, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Hi – Can I make this a day ahead?

  • Reply
    February 10, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    Would this be the recipe to use for a pie as well as a pudding? (Dumb question probably…) but I’m making a butterscotch icebox pie and this recipe looks great.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 11, 2021 at 5:18 am

      You could use it but remember it does need to get cooked.

    • Reply
      Dotty McClelland
      February 11, 2021 at 4:50 pm

      5 stars
      Definitely! I was trying to think about a topping. Praline? Delicious pudding. I also think it would be a great ice cream base without the cornstarch. Didn’t strain and didn’t need to.

      • Reply
        Dotty McClelland
        February 11, 2021 at 4:51 pm

        Meant to give 5 stars.

        • Reply
          Sue Moran
          February 12, 2021 at 5:44 am

          I fixed it for you, thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Amy Appell
    February 1, 2021 at 7:26 pm

    5 stars
    Excellent pudding! Because we are a large family andwe do not like a lot of sugar, I doubled the recipe, except for the sugar. I also used three cups of milk and one cup of heavy cream and it came out beautiful… We didn’t strain it either, and there was none left (in fact, one of the kids who was too slow on the draw didn’t get to taste too much)! Definitely a keeper!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2021 at 4:27 am

    5 stars
    This was simple and perfect for a chilly day, warm out of the pan. I doubled the recipe, and everything came out very well – and I had plenty left to chill & set! Really nice balance of flavors.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    5 stars
    It’s a cold gloomy day here in South Dakota. I just made this pudding and it is beautiful! I didn’t have cream so used a can of evaporated milk and added whole milk to make the two cups. It turned out perfect! I did not strain and it is perfectly smooth and satiny. Probably the best homemade pudding I’ve ever made. Thank you! ( did not add the bourbon)

  • Reply
    Heather Mader
    January 23, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    5 stars
    Made this today using the exact recipe except instead of regular milk I only had coconut milk. I still used the heavy cream and all the other ingredients. It was delicious and worked perfectly. Thank you!

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