This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
This Butterscotch Pudding is rich, decadent and tastes undeniably like butterscotch. It is simple to make with ingredients you probably have on hand.
A few weeks ago, I could not shake the craving for butterscotch pudding and I HAD TO create the best butterscotch pudding recipe ever. It was not optional. It was a deep seated need. This is the pastry chef’s burden to bear.
It took a few tries and adjustments but I did it! This version doesn’t even require any complicated steps like creating a caramel with the brown sugar before making your custard. This is an easy, no fuss recipe for butterscotch pudding. The process is just like this dark chocolate pudding and the vanilla bean custard in this banana pudding recipe, with all the butterscotch goodness of my butterscotch brownies!
Table of Contents
Why You Will Love this Butterscotch Pudding:
- It is a quick and easy, no bake recipe. Everything is made in a pot on the stove top. This recipe does not require making a caramel with the brown sugar!
- Professional tips for lump free pudding. Follow my easy instructions and tips for making lump free pudding! I have developed a foolproof method for incorporating the cornstarch into the mix. No straining required!
- Smooth, rich and creamy. Finishing the pudding with butter not only adds that butterscotch flavor but it makes the pudding extra smooth, rich and creamy!
- Make as large a batch as you want! A layered budino (pudding) was on the menu at one of the restaurants where I was a pastry chef, so the largest batch I have made served 100. You are only limited by your pot selection and the strength of your whisking arm!
What is Butterscotch flavor?
I have read enough old cookbooks to know that traditional butterscotch candies or desserts do not actually contain any alcohol. The flavor comes from the combination of brown sugar and butter. The butter gives it that smooth texture and rich flavor. The brown sugar gives it the depth of flavor. Together they make amazing butterscotch pudding magic!
Professional Tips for Smooth Butterscotch Pudding
- Smooth pudding starts with the combination of ingredients. Whisking the dry ingredients together distributes the cornstarch and keeps it from clumping. The cornstarch also protects the eggs from denaturing in the presence of all that sugar.
- Choose a heavy bottomed sauce pot that is the right size for your batch. You want at least 3 inches between the top of the pot and the top of the pudding ingredients. You also don’t want the ingredients to be spread out too thin. At least an inch deep in the pot. Trust me, I have made plenty of bad pot choices out of desperation both personally and professionally.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface while the pudding cools to keep a skin from forming on top. Some people don’t mind the skin, but I personally find it off-putting.
- Salt: The kosher salt is essential in this recipe. I would argue it is the most important ingredient! Ok, fine. Maybe not the most important but it does play a supporting role balancing the flavors and all that sugar!
- Dark Brown Sugar: This is half of that flavor. It is significantly more sugar than is in any of my other custard recipes. You can reduce it but some of the flavor impact will be lost.
- Eggs and Cornstarch: The thickening power of eggs and cornstarch come together to make a thick and smooth butterscotch pudding. Egg yolks are the real thickener but I developed the recipe using whole eggs for simplicity. I whisk my cornstarch in with the sugar and eggs to keep it from getting lumpy.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract compliments and augments the butterscotch flavor with out adding any alcohol.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter for baking, because you want to control the amount of salt you are adding. Every brand is different and it makes adjusting the recipe a challenge. You can reduce the butter but it will dampen the flavor.
- Alcohol: You can add up to 1 ½ tablespoons of Scotch, whiskey, brandy or dark rum to this recipe. Just whisk it in after the butter.
- Butterscotch Pudding Pie: Pour this amazing butterscotch pudding in baked graham cracker pie crust or gingersnap pie crust for an easy pie! Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream and dessert is served.
- Butterscotch Trifle: Layer pudding, rum pound cake, whipped cream and old fashioned gingersnaps for an easy, delicious dessert!
- Make Less: You can reduce this recipe in half with success. Less than that will be difficult to make lump-free. Be sure to choose a pot that is an appropriate size without too large of a base.
How to Make Butterscotch Pudding
Follow this easy recipe for homemade butterscotch pudding that is smooth and creamy! Additional instructions and measurements in the recipe card.
Prepare the pudding:
Step 1: In a pot, whisk together the dark brown sugar, cornstarch, and kosher salt.
Choose a medium sauce pot with a heavy bottom for the best results.
Step 2: Whisk in eggs until smooth and homogenous. There should be no streaks of eggs! Once incorporated whisk in the milk. Before you begin cooking the pudding measure or weigh out the butter and vanilla extract in small bowls so they are ready when you are!
Cook and cool the pudding:
Step 3: Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until bubbly and thickened. Continue whisking after it boils until the bubbles dissipate. After the bubbles disappear continue boiling for 1 minute to thicken the pudding.
Step 4: Remove pot from the burner and stir in butter and vanilla extract.
Step 5: Pour the pudding into a bowl, individual cups or a plastic lined sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a few holes to allow steam to escape. Refrigerate until set.
Optional: To keep the pudding completely smooth, you should pour the hot pudding into a bowl set in an ice bath. Then cool actively with a whisk or spatula. This keeps it from clumping as it cools. Once cooled it can be loosened and smoothed by whisking vigorously.
Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip
As someone who made 10 kilograms of pudding on a weekly basis for years, it is worth investing in the right whisk for the job. Choose a French whisk which is more elongated rather than a balloon whisk. The French whisk will get in the edges of the pot and keep your pudding lump free!
Cool pudding with a piece of plastic over the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Once cool, wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Pudding does not freeze, sadly. You’ll just have to eat it up!
I love to serve pudding with a lightly sweetened or completely unsweetened whipped cream. Then I layer on crushed old fashioned gingersnap cookies, baked brown sugar streusel or toasted pecans for crunch. These butterscotch chews are great for dipping into the pudding! You could also be a rebel and serve it with cubes of sour cream pound cake! Fresh berries, cherries or peaches would be a welcome addition. Serve them raw, macerate or grill the stone fruit to concentrate the flavors.
If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!
For the Pudding:
- Choose a medium sauce pot with a heavy bottom for the best results. In the pot whisk together the dark brown sugar, cornstarch, and kosher salt.
- Whisk in eggs until smooth and homogenous. There should be no streaks of eggs! Once incorporated whisk in the milk. Before you begin cooking the pudding measure or weigh out the butter and vanilla extract in small bowls so they are ready when you are!
- Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until bubbly and thickened. Continue whisking after it boils until the bubbles dissipate. After the bubbles disappear continue boiling for 1 minute to thicken the pudding.
- Remove pot from the burner and stir in butter and vanilla extract.
- Pour the pudding into a bowl, individual cups or a plastic lined sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and poke a few holes to allow steam to escape. Refrigerate until set.
- If your pudding is lumpy, strain through a metal sieve while hot.
- Optional: To keep the pudding completely smooth, you should pour the hot pudding into a bowl set inn ice bath. Then cool actively with a whisk or spatula. This keeps it from clumping as it cools. Once cooled it can be loosened and smoothed by whisking vigorously.
Before you go!
I hope you enjoyed this professional chef tested recipe. Check out our other delicious, chef-developed custard recipes!