Homemade Butterscotch Pudding
Make this butterscotch pudding recipe and get rave reviews! So easy & quick, and it has the most incredibly nostalgic flavor!
*I originally posted this butterscotch pudding recipe on September 6, 2016. I thought it was about time for a refresh. So I’ve improved the recipe, added a new video, and provided lots more tips for success. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this dessert as much as my family and I do.*
Today I’m sharing one of the most nostalgic treats ever: butterscotch pudding!
This dessert was a staple at my elementary school cafeteria, and every time I see it now it takes me right back!
I love it for this time of year because the cool, silky texture makes it so refreshing for warmer days, but the flavor just screams fall!
Something about brown sugar is just so cozy and comforting, and I’ve been on a bit of a kick lately. As soon as the kids go back to school, I’m all about brown sugar cookies, pecan tassies, and caramel cheesecake.
And this butterscotch pudding recipe lands right in that same category of warm, toasty fall flavor.
Best of all, it’s so easy to make. This dessert can be whipped up in less than half an hour, and I bet you already have all the ingredients on hand!
WHAT IS BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING?
In the US, “pudding” just means any kind of sweetened, thickened milk that you eat with a spoon as a dessert or snack.
- Banana Pudding
- Pistachio Pudding
- Lemon Pudding
- Tapioca Pudding
- Vanilla Pudding
- Rice Pudding
- Bread Pudding
- Chocolate Pudding
and of course, butterscotch!
Butterscotch pudding is infused with the flavor of butterscotch candy, which is mainly just butter and brown sugar. It tastes very much like toffee or caramel.
The “scotch” part of the name could denote the idea that it hails from Scotland, or it could be because originally the butter was “scotched,” or scorched. (Source: Brittanica.) It does not mean that there is Scotch whiskey in it, or any kind of alcohol at all. This is a booze-free dessert!
WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
This dessert is truly a flavor bomb!
You will taste the sweetness of brown sugar, but also a rich, buttery flavor.
There’s a hint of salt that really carries the flavors through, so if you’re a fan of that sweet/salty combo, you will love this homemade butterscotch pudding.
And since it’s made with milk and cream it has that creamy dairy quality that is just so satisfying.
HOW TO MAKE BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING WITHOUT A MIX
When I was a kid, almost all puddings were made from a boxed mix. But as I grew older and wiser, I learned that is so easy to make pudding from scratch.
It really doesn’t take much longer than a mix would, and this way, you can control the ingredients and the flavor so much better (and improve them!).
The ingredients are very simple pantry staples.
Start by combining dark brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small pot.
Mix these ingredients together with a whisk, breaking up any lumps of brown sugar.
Then, drizzle in the milk in a slow, steady stream, while continuing to whisk. Go slowly, so you don’t get any lumps.
Stir in the cream, and cook the mixture over medium-low heat.
Keep whisking so that things cook evenly and the pudding doesn’t scorch on the bottom.
You’ll notice that just as the mixture starts to come to a simmer, it will magically thicken, right before your eyes. That’s the cornstarch, doing its job!
Take the pot off the heat and whisk in the yolks (these are optional; see below), butter, and vanilla extract.
Then pour it into individual serving dishes and let it chill in the fridge!
It’s that simple!
IS IT HEALTHY?
As a dessert, this recipe is naturally going to be a little higher in sugar, carbs, and fat. That’s to be expected!
I’ll let you be the ultimate judge by reviewing the nutritional info in the recipe card below, but let’s talk a little about ingredient subs and making this allergen-free.
This recipe is naturally gluten-free.
To make dairy-free butterscotch pudding, swap out the dairy milk, cream, and butter with your favorite plant-based products. Just make sure they can be substituted 1:1.
VEGAN & EGG-FREE
For a vegan version, swap out the dairy as noted above, and skip the egg yolks entirely.
Eggless butterscotch pudding is totally a thing. You won’t even notice the difference.
Honestly, the first time I made this I did it without eggs, and the only reason I’m including them now is because they add a really pretty, fall-like color.
Skip the chopped pecan garnish and substitute with any of the following:
- Toffee Bits
- Sunflower Seeds
- Crushed Pretzels, Potato Chips, or Buttery Crackers
- Crushed Graham Crackers, Biscoff Cookies, or Vanilla Wafers
- Chocolate Shavings
for a nut-free option.
WHAT GOES WELL WITH IT?
I love to top mine with softly whipped cream and a sprinkling of chopped pecans. And any of the above-listed garnishes would also be fantastic.
A FEW MORE OF MY FAVORITE FALL RECIPES:
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Homemade Butterscotch Pudding
- 3/4 cups (178.5 g) heavy cream,, whipped to soft peaks with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.
- 2 tablespoons (29.57 g) toffee bits or chopped toasted pecans, (approx.)
- Place the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium pot and whisk together to combine.
- Pour in the milk in a slow, steady stream, while continuing to whisk.
- Stir in the cream and place over medium-low heat.
- Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the pudding has come to a simmer and thickened.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks, butter, and vanilla.
- When the butter has completely melted and is fully incorporated, transfer the mixture to small jars and chill.
- Serve cold, with whipped cream and toffee bits or toasted pecans.
We had a good one. It was nice and long. The kids were off school on Friday and Monday, and my husband was also home for a lot of it. I think everyone got really relaxed and now they’re all ready for a new week.
Everyone, with the possible exception of me. Sunday was a lazy day in front of the pool, but other than that I’ve been baking up a storm, getting ready for an upcoming trip. On Wednesday morning I’m hopping on a plane to travel across the country to Washington, to tour the Stemilt orchards and learn all about how they grow their fruit. It should be fun! I’m really looking forward to it, but it’s been a lot of prep to get recipes developed, made, and photographed so that they can keep on coming while I’m away.
It’s times like these when you’re really grateful for a simple, easy, and quick dessert with tons of fabulous flavor! And this homemade butterscotch pudding delivers on all counts.
Butterscotch pudding is such a classic. I love pudding and I think it’s so underrated. It’s cool, comforting, and takes me right back to my childhood. In my family, it’s a huge favorite. And I love it for this time of year because the flavor is so warm and homey.
Lately, the nights have been much cooler, but during the day we’re still seeing temps in the 80’s or 90’s, so it’s nice to have a no-bake treat to serve the family as an after school snack or dessert. And this one comes together in a snap.
Up until a few years ago, I had no idea how easy it was to make homemade pudding. I had only ever made the kind from a box, but one day the kids had a craving and I didn’t have any on hand. So I just started throwing stuff in a pot, stirring and cooking, and before I knew it we had pudding. It was so simple and SO much more delicious than anything store-bought or pre-packaged. Plus it’s all stuff you probably already have in your pantry and fridge. Seriously, who needs that box?
If you’ve ever wondered “what exactly is butterscotch,” it’s pretty simple: brown sugar and butter. There’s no actual “Scotch.” No alcohol of any kind. All of the warm, nostalgic flavor just comes from those two ingredients, plus a little salt for balance. We add cornstarch to thicken it and milk and cream to make it creamy, a little vanilla for flavor, and that’s about all there is to it.
It cooks right on the stove and thickens up right before your very eyes. You can eat it warm if you’d like, but I prefer to pour it into little jars and chill it in the fridge. Then, just before serving, top it with a little whipped cream and some toffee bits or toasted pecans.
It’s a nostalgic dessert with tons of rich flavor! I hope you’ll give it a try sometime soon, and let me know how you like it in the comments section below.
If your family loves pudding as much as mine, be sure to check out my Easy Chocolate Pudding Pie Jars!