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Butterscotch Pudding

Rich, creamy butterscotch pudding is the best way to enjoy butterscotch flavor. With buttery brown sugar notes, this homemade recipe is what butterscotch is supposed to taste like!

Butterscotch pudding with whipped cream on top

Butterscotch is an under-rated flavor for desserts. While I love Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies and Salted Butterscotch Blondies, I think butterscotch pudding is my absolute favorite. It’s pure comfort food—cool, creamy, sweet, and pretty much perfect in my book. 

Why You’ll Love This Butterscotch Pudding Recipe

  • Butterscotch, the way it’s supposed to be. Think you don’t like butterscotch? I think you might be wrong. You probably don’t like artificial butterscotch flavor. Real butterscotch, like in this homemade butterscotch pudding, is basically just brown sugar and milk and/or cream. What’s not to love about that?
  • An easy dessert. The best thing about this pudding is how incredibly simple it is to make. All you need is a handful of ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen right now, a heavy saucepan, a whisk, and a little planning ahead to get it chilled in time to eat.
  • Excellent for making ahead. The toughest thing about making this pudding is waiting for it to chill. But, if you have a spare 10 or 15 minutes earlier in the day, you can quickly whip it up and get it chilling. 
Overhead view of butterscotch pudding ingredients

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.

What’s the Difference Between Caramel and Butterscotch?

Caramel is made from heating granulated sugar until it turns a deep golden brown color and has a slightly bitter taste. It can also be made by adding cream or butter to melted sugar. The result is a rich, sweet flavor with a slightly nutty undertone.

Butterscotch, on the other hand, is made from melting butter and brown sugar together. The result is a sweet and creamy sauce that has a distinct buttery taste. It can also be made by caramelizing sugar with butter and cream for a richer flavor. Overall, butterscotch tends to have a smoother and sweeter taste compared to caramel.

How to Make Butterscotch Pudding

  • Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy medium saucepan.
  • Add the liquids. Whisk in about 1/2 cup of milk, then add the remaining milk and cream, whisking to combine.
  • Boil. Bring the butterscotch pudding mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute.
  • Add the butter and vanilla. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.
  • Chill. Pour the pudding into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Press the plastic directly onto the surface of the pudding and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Serve. Spoon into individual serving bowls. If desired, garnish with sweetened whipped cream and cocoa powder.

Tips for Success

  • Make sure your ingredients are ready. Have everything you need measured and ready to go before you start. This recipe moves quickly and you won’t have much time to stop and measure.
  • Keep whisking to prevent scalding. I like to use a ball whisk so I can easily get to all the edges of the pan.
  • Press the plastic wrap directly onto the pudding. This prevents a skin from forming on the surface. (Although if you like a skin on the surface, you can loosely cover the pudding instead.)
Butterscotch pudding topped with whipped cream and cocoa powder

Serving Suggestions

Butterscotch pudding is delicious on its own, but you can also dress it up with different toppings. Here are a few ideas:

  • Add a sprinkle of flaky sea salt for a sweet and salty twist.
  • Top with crushed graham crackers or cookie crumbs for a crunchy texture.
  • Serve with fresh berries or bananas and whipped cream.
  • Layer with whipped cream and crumbled cookies for an easy parfait.
  • Sprinkle chocolate shavings over the top.
Overhead view of butterscotch pudding with whipped cream

How to Store

Store any leftover butterscotch pudding in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Press the plastic wrap back onto the top to keep a skin from forming.

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

Yes, you can freeze this butterscotch pudding recipe for up to 3 months. To thaw, place it in the refrigerator overnight and then give it a good whisk before serving.

Spoonful of butterscotch pudding held over cup

More Pudding Recipes

Butterscotch Pudding

Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes

Homemade butterscotch pudding is delicious, quick and easy to make, and you probably have all of the things you need to make it on hand.

Butterscotch pudding with whipped cream on top


  • 1/2 cup (100g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups (355ml) milk*
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Sweetened whipped cream and cocoa powder, for garnish


  1. Place the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Whisk to combine.
  2. Add about 1/2 cup of milk and whisk until combined. Add the remaining milk and cream, whisking to combine.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute.
  4. Remove the pan from heat. Add the butter and vanilla, and whisk to combine.
  5. Pour the pudding into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding.
  6. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
  7. If desired, garnish with sweetened whipped cream and cocoa powder.


*Whole milk likely works best, but I've successfully made this many, many times with 2% milk.

Recipe slightly adapted from Epicurious.

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    16 Comments on “Butterscotch Pudding”

  1. You’re absolutely correct about butterscotch. Most of us probably had the really bad artificial-tasting butterscotch versions of things, which is nowhere near the real deal. I love a good, homemade, REAL butterscotch pudding (like this one) 🙂

  2. I would choose pudding over most other desserts. I have long looked for a good version of butterscotch. I will most definitely make this!

  3. What is your favorite brand of butterscotch chips? The only brand I’ve ever seen is Nestle in the store. I’d love to try a less artificial brand. Thanks!

  4. I made this today and it’s awesome! I’ve never made pudding before that didn’t have eggs in it, so was curious how it would come out differently. The texture is exceptionally smooth, and I didn’t have issues with lumps. I used muscavado sugar in place of regular dark and came out with a flavor that resembled dulce de leche.

  5. You’re probably right! Real butterscotch sounds completely amazing!! and this pudding looks so silky and flavorful

  6. My husband is obsessed with pudding…but I am lazy and always buy it for him…this looks easy and like a must try! Pinned!

  7. awe, this brings back memories. My dad was a HUGE butterscotch pudding lover! I may have to make a batch in his memory!

  8. YUM, I have never had butterscotch pudding before but I think that needs to change soon! 🙂

  9. I didn’t think I liked butterscotch pudding… but I’m willing to give it a go with this recipe! Thanks!

  10. I always think of butterscotch as the brown sugar version of caramel…and who doesn’t love that!? This pudding sounds absolutely divine. definitely something I need in my life.

  11. It looks fantastic!
    I’d really like to try this recipe, so I’m saving it 🙂

  12. I can remember as a kid, well teenager, making homemade butterscotch pudding. However that recipe as long been lost to me. Well today I found it again in your recipe. The thing is I did not wake up today with the plan to make any kind of pudding so when I decided to make it I had already done my shopping for the week and I was missing the cream, so I used all milk in it. That said it is still perfect butterscotch pudding. Oh I did make one other small change I used coconut sugar for the regular brown sugar. Either way this recipe is getting saved for me to use next time to mood strikes to make my favorite pudding!!!

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