Best Butterscotch Pudding

Butterscotch Pudding | #recipe

Are you a butterscotch person? I’ve admittedly never been a big butterscotch person, perhaps out of lack of exposure. My pudding experience as a kid consisted solely of vanilla and chocolate; butterscotch wasn’t something that was even on my radar, save for a piece of Werther’s candy that I would snag when we were visiting relatives. Even then, it seemed sickeningly sweet and I definitely never sought out the flavor.

Fast forward decades and here we are… butterscotch pudding that I would drink if I could. I’m honestly not sure if this should be called butterscotch pudding or salted caramel pudding because, basically, this tastes like thick, creamy, cold salted caramel sauce. In other words, this pudding is worth every ounce of effort put forth and every extra calorie consumed.

Butterscotch Pudding | #recipe

In order to make this pudding, you basically make a salted caramel sauce, add some extra milk, a few egg yolks, a thickening agent, and… voila! Butterscotch pudding. I press it through a fine-mesh sieve to ensure that it’s silky smooth, then refrigerate for a few hours until it’s cold and set.

Butterscotch Pudding | #recipe

I think that I’ll probably need to eat an absurd amount of this to make up for all those years that my life was lacking butterscotch.

I’m up for the challenge. Pass the whipped cream.

Butterscotch Pudding | #recipe

One year ago: New York-Style Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberry Topping
Two years ago: Mississippi Mud Cake
Three years ago: Scalloped Potatoes
Four years ago: Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
Six years ago: Cheddar Corn Chowder

Best Butterscotch Pudding

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

A fabulous butterscotch pudding that tastes like a cross between salted caramel and a Werther's candy.


¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
2¼ cups whole milk, divided
4 egg yolks
¼ cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Bring butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, water, corn syrup, lemon juice, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar and melt the butter. Once the mixture is at a full rolling boil, cook, stirring occasionally, for until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer (about 5 minutes).

2. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer (the mixture should maintain a slow, steady stream of bubbles), stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 12 to 16 minutes longer (it should be the color of dark peanut butter and have a slight burnt smell).

3. Remove the pan from heat; carefully pour ¼ cup of the heavy cream into the caramel mixture and swirl to incorporate (the mixture will bubble and steam). Allow the bubbling to subside, then whisk vigorously and scrape the corners of pan until the mixture is completely smooth, at least 30 seconds.

4. Return the pan to medium heat and gradually whisk in the remaining ¾ cup heavy cream until smooth. Whisk in 2 cups of the milk until the mixture is smooth, making sure to scrape corners and edges of the pan to remove any remaining bits of caramel.

5. Meanwhile, microwave the remaining ¼ cup milk for 45 seconds (it should be simmering). Whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch together in large bowl until smooth. Gradually whisk in the hot milk until smooth; set aside.

6. Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, whisking frequently. Once mixture is boiling rapidly and beginning to climb toward the top of the pan, immediately pour it into the bowl with the yolk mixture in a single motion (do not add gradually). Whisk thoroughly for 10 to 15 seconds (mixture will thicken after a few seconds). Press the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and whisk in the vanilla extract.

7. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray and press on the surface of pudding. Refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours. Whisk the pudding until smooth before serving. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, with plastic wrap pressed against the surface, for up to 4 days.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)


38 Responses to “Best Butterscotch Pudding”

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks on April 22, 2014 at 12:14 am

    One of my bucket list recipes Ive always wanted to make is scratch butterscotch pudding and this inspires me to get around to it. I loveeee homemade. My grandma used to make it and yes, “thick, creamy, cold salted caramel sauce”. Pinned!


  2. Debra on April 22, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Yes, I am a butterscotch girl. Always have been. My sisters would have their ones dipped in chocolate, but not me. As a child, I was the one eating potato soup as opposed to tomato soup. Took me years to warm up to tomatoes, lol. Kinda used to being odd man out 🙂


    • Debra on April 22nd, 2014 at 1:40 am

      edit – * should be CONES, not ones, lol


  3. Nazia @ This Baker Girl Blogs on April 22, 2014 at 3:09 am

    I am a huge butterscotch person so this is right up my street 🙂


  4. Silvia Moreno on April 22, 2014 at 5:41 am

    A recipe for my mom, she loves the butterscotch. 🙂


  5. Sues on April 22, 2014 at 6:36 am

    I seriously just thought YESTERDAY, I need more butterscotch in my life. And here it is 🙂 And it looks delicious!


  6. Lisa @ Simple Pairings on April 22, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Maybe it’s the little kid in me, but I still love puddings. I loved them as a little girl and still do! I love this simple butterscotch one – what a classic flavor!


  7. David | From Ballparks to BBQ on April 22, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Does pudding make anyone else immediately think about Bill Cosby and smile?! 🙂


    • jk on December 23rd, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      I don’t think so…..not anymore!


    • J K on July 14th, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      Are you kidding?
      I’ll never think about butterscotch pudding again with out almost puking! Thanks a lot!


  8. Katrina @ WVS on April 22, 2014 at 8:29 am

    I looooove butterscotch pudding. This recipe looks great!


  9. Lisa@Mummy Made It on April 22, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Arrggh! It’s way past my bed time already but I’m contemplating staying up til the early hours of the morning so I can make this RIGHT NOW!! Love the idea…now I’ll have to dream about eating it tomorrow!


  10. Jennifer on April 22, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Butterscotch pudding from scratch! Now you’re talking… pinned & printed…my kids are going to love this 🙂


  11. Erin | The Law Student's Wife on April 22, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Oh I am a HUGE butterscotch person. I think it’s an underappreciated flavor, and I’m so happy to see it represented in pudding, one of my top all-time comfort foods!


  12. Tiff on April 22, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Oh yum! I’ve always been very fond of butterscotch.


  13. sheila on April 22, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Butterscotch pudding is my husbands favorite! I will have to make this version for him!


  14. Linda on April 22, 2014 at 10:01 am

    My husband hired some lady to make caramel pie for him. He decided what she had made was butterscotch. My daughter caramelized the sugar and I finished it. He said the pie was good. He is not a fan of butterscotch.


  15. Cookbook Queen on April 22, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Butterscotch get SUCH a bad rap but OMG how I love it so. This is perfect!


  16. My Linh on April 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Hello, butterscotch lover over here! It doesn’t matter how full I am, when there’s a butterscotch dessert I have to have it. This sounds divine… Can almost taste it by just reading this post hehe…


  17. Jaclyn on April 22, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    This looks perfect! I need more pudding in my life :).


  18. Robin Christensen on April 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I saw the folks on America’s Test Kitchen (PBS) make this on their show – OMG it looked delicious there, but it is even more fabulous on your blog! Girl, I am so going to try this now!


  19. Mary S on April 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I’m in Butterscotch Heaven!!! This is how you do it, if you’re going to do it right!! No box of Jello can even begin to compete, though, I will admit to eating many over the years! Thank you for posting all your wonderful pics, it makes me want to run right to the pantry for the box of dark brown sugar!! 🙂


  20. Jane on April 22, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I’ve made this CI butterscotch pudding several times and it’s wonderful. I grew up eating homemade butterscotch pudding and it’s still my favorite. Maybe I’m odd, but I like both butterscotch and caramel.


  21. Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts on April 22, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    butterscotch pudding is a favorite of mine. this looks perfect!!


  22. Vicki E on April 22, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    I’ve been looking for a good butterscotch pudding recipe for years. Over 30 years ago, I had butterscotch pie in a small inn in Nova Scotia and I’ve never forgotten it. Tried making it with jello pudding mix and it wasn’t the same. I can now give it another go. Thanks for a great looking recipe!


  23. Sally T. on April 22, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    I make this all the time,recipe was from my mother-in-law,
    only she made this into a pie with meringue on top.
    It is my husbands favorite.


  24. Moira @ Hearth and Homefront on April 23, 2014 at 9:52 am

    I’ve always loved butterscotch but haven’t really seen it since we moved away from the east coast. Is it a regional thing? Either way, this will satisfy that craving nicely!


  25. Michelle C. on April 23, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I’ve made this before-it is absolutely delicious! We couldn’t even wait for it to chill and it was still wonderful.


  26. Corrie Hart on April 23, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    I was just daydreaming about making something butterscotch yesterday, but didn’t manage to see this until today. Brainwaves! I am so making this. Love your recipes (your scalloped potatoes were on my dinner table for Easter Sunday; comfort food at its best!). Thanks :o)


  27. Charlotte Christensen on April 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    That looks so good!!! I just have to try and make this now… or soon anyway 🙂


  28. Donna Gavin on April 27, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Hi , Just wondering if this would work in a butterscotch pie? it looks to be the yummiest recipe i found,


    • Doona on April 27th, 2014 at 7:26 am

      I should have read the other comments first. Thanks Linda!


  29. Laura Dembowski on May 2, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    I love butterscotch pudding but I’m not a huge fan of other butterscotch things, like chips. This sounds like one special treat!


  30. faith on June 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    looks delish


  31. Hungry on July 6, 2014 at 10:02 am

    So did anyone commenting actually make the recipe?


  32. Irritated on July 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Nobody cares if butterscotch is your husbands favorite or that you think this looks great or that it’s time to include more butterscotch in your life. For the people that want to know if this recipe is good– it is. It’s a little sweet, maybe nix the corn syrup (I used agave- I couldn’t bring myself to buy corn syrup, yuck!) it also takes a long time to set, chill overnight or at least 6-8 hours if possible.


  33. Donna on October 9, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    I just wanted to say that you’ve contributed to an elderly man’s happiness. My Dad is 87 and just out of the ICU to a nursing facility for rehab. We thought a few days ago we’d be bringing him home with a feeding tube for his last days, but now he’s able to swallow pureed things and working his way up. I brought this to him and he smiled like a little boy. Butterscotch is a favorite of his.
    (The recipe does take a long time to set up, but it’s worth it.)

    Happy Cooking from Pittsburgh neighbors!


  34. JC on February 21, 2015 at 11:23 am

    The original from, from America’s Test Kitchen of Cooks Illustrated claimed one of the advantages of this method was that it eliminated the need to put it through a fine sieve. I found that to be NOT true, as apparently did the poster of this “adaptation”. (leaving out the original rum and putting through a sieve are the adaptations as far as I can see)

    You can also make this with FAR FAR less butter. I only used 1/4 of a cup. No pudding needs a stick and half of butter for heavens sake!

    Oddly the video on America’s Test Kitchen does not agree with their printed recipe, as no where in the video, does it ever tell you to add the rest of the heavy cream, after stopping the boiling with a 1/4 c.

    Milk works for that 1/4 c. just fine.


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