This rich, silky homemade Butterscotch Pudding is a classic dessert that always satisfies. Serve it warm or cold and be swept away to your happy place with every spoonful.
When it comes to dessert, I am a complete sucker for anything creamy. You can have your cake and cupcakes, but I’ll fight you for a slice of cheesecake, some Creme Brûlée, and any type of pudding. Especially tapioca pudding, chocolate pudding, or butterscotch pudding.
What is Butterscotch?
Butterscotch is really just a combination of brown sugar and butter cooked together. Of course, there are more ingredients added depending on what you’re making, but that’s the gist of it. It can be in the form of hard candies, a drizzling sauce, or a fantastic flavoring in desserts like this pudding recipe. The taste of butterscotch can be lighter or stronger depending on whether you use light brown or dark brown sugar.
What is the difference between butterscotch and caramel? They’re really similar, the biggest difference being that caramel is made with white granulated sugar, while butterscotch uses brown sugar. Butterscotch candies are usually hard, whereas caramel candies are soft and chewy. Butterscotch, in my humble opinion, has a richer, more complex flavor profile.
This homemade butterscotch pudding recipe is pure bliss – creamy, rich, and Heaven in every wonderful spoonful.
Butterscotch Pudding Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need:
- whole milk, room temperature
- heavy cream, room temperature
- large egg yolks
- dark brown sugar
- unsalted butter, room temperature
- vanilla extract
- Caramel sauce and whipped cream, for topping
How to Make Butterscotch Pudding
Ditch the instant box pudding powder and discover what real pudding tastes like – it’s amazing. And still super easy to make! (Scroll down the detailed printable recipe.)
- Combine whole milk and heavy cream. These two together are the best combination for really wonderful pudding. You want them both room temperature, which will help prevent a ton of seizing when you add the liquid to the hot caramel.
- Whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and a splash of milk. This acts as your thickening agent.
- Cook brown sugar, salt, and water. The water helps the sugar dissolve and cook down more evenly. It will bubble for a while until the mixture turns a thick, dark amber color. This step is critical with creating the butterscotch flavor, so don’t rush it or you’ll basically just be eating brown sugar pudding.
- Add the milk and cream mixture to bubbly caramel. Do this slowly and carefully, then bring to a boil.
- Temper the egg mixture. Transfer about 1 cup of the hot liquid to the egg mixture and then back into the pot. This helps prevent the eggs from scrambling.
- Remove from the heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer. You can skip this step, but putting it through a sieve will get you the creamiest results.
- Stir in the butter and vanilla. Add in the butter, followed by the vanilla, stirring until completely melted and smooth. You can also add in a splash of bourbon or rum!
- Pour into custard cups. Divide the mixture to custard cups (but not before sampling the warm pudding, because YUM!) and then chill for at least a few hours, where it will thicken up.
What goes with Butterscotch Pudding?
Butterscotch is a warm, homey flavor that pairs so well with fall flavors like apple pie spice, cinnamon, vanilla, maple, and apples.
Is Butterscotch Pudding Gluten Free? Yes! Butterscotch pudding is naturally gluten free, since cornstarch (made entirely from corn) is used to thicken it instead of flour. (However, be aware that many cornstarch manufacturers process the product on equipment that’s also shared with wheat products.)
Is Butterscotch Pudding Eaten Warm or Cold? This pudding can be enjoyed either way! I love it right out of the pot, but chilling it will give you a thicker consistency.
How to Store Butterscotch Pudding: this pudding will keep in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days. (To avoid a skin developing on the surface of the pudding, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface before chilling.)
Watch it Being Made
Other Pudding Recipes
Homemade Butterscotch Pudding
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk , room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream , room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into slices, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Caramel sauce , for topping (optional)
- Whipped cream , for topping (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine milk and heavy cream. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and a touch of milk until smooth. Set both bowls aside.
- In a medium heavy duty pot set over medium heat, whisk together the brown sugar, salt, and water until sugar dissolves. Once bubbling, allow to cook without stirring, until mixture turns a thick dark amber color, about 6 minutes, keeping a close eye so it doesn't burn. (Don't stir, but it is okay to swirl the pan around a bit to distribute the heat, if necessary.)
- Slowly add in the milk/cream, whisking as you pour. (The sugar will seize up and become hard, but don't worry, everything will melt as it continues to cook on the heat.) Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly to dissolve the sugary bits.
- Transfer 1 cup of the hot caramel mixture to the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking to combine, then pour back into the pot, whisking the entire time so the eggs don't scramble.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to cook and stir until the custard thickens, about 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and immediately pour it through a fine mesh strainer over a bowl (preferably one with a spout for easier pouring.) Stir in butter until melted and completely smooth. Then add in the vanilla.
- Divide pudding among 4-6 custard glasses (depending on their size.)
- Chill until cold and set, 4-6 hours.
- Once the puddings are mostly cool and set, you can spoon a thin layer of cooled caramel sauce on top. Then let them finish chilling completely.
- Pipe a little homemade whipped cream on top and enjoy!