old school butterscotch pudding Recipes

butterscotch pudding

One of my worst cooking traits is that when I get frustrated with a recipe, it can take me years to get back to it. I mean, I’m theoretically too old to be having tantrums, kitchen or other, but there’s no other way to describe this behavior where I get frustrated, throw my jangly measuring spoons in the sink and huff off to gaze at jeans I could probably fit half a thigh into, which is how I mope.* Sure, you could just say that I need a little space, a break, it’s-not-you-it’s-me from the recipe so I can gain some perspective, and consider other approaches but six years? That is how long it’s been since I last attempted to share a recipe for old-school, dead-simple butterscotch pudding from scratch which refused to set. A six-year tantrum. (Fine, I snuck some pudding pops in there, but it’s so cold today, I cannot even look at them.)

for classic butterscotch pudding

There’s a reason butterscotch pudding is a classic, and no, and I don’t mean custard or pastry cream with 6 egg yolks and over a quarter-pound of butter. I don’t mean mousse, with all of those egg yolks, twice the butter and also egg whites and heavy cream. I don’t mean budinos, flan or any of the other luxurious jiggly desserts we order in restaurants. I mean, butterscotch pudding, the kind a grandmother would make with just milk and a little thickener, like the kind that comes in a box but will never, ever taste as good as this.

a little butterbriefly cook your brown sugar caramelbring to a gentle simmerthickened

I know food writer types are always trying to tell you how “easy” and “quick” things are to make — we’re always trying to get you out of the kitchen, aren’t we? — but butterscotch, the buttery brown sugar, vanilla and sea salted counterpart to white sugar caramel, really, truly is. Melt some butter, add brown sugar and let it bubble a little, then add salt and cream, finish with vanilla and you’ve got a dessert sauce from the gods. Stovetop butterscotch pudding uses this same process, adds a little thickener and then milk instead of cream, although you can use some of both if you’re a resolution-snubber. It sets in cups in the fridge, looking rather beige and suspect. But you don’t eat it for its looks. You eat it because there is more dynamic flavor compressed into single spoonful than you’re going to get from even the best scoop of ice cream. It’s rich and toasty, faintly buttery, comforting and unlike most butterscotch desserts, not tooth-achingly sweet. It’s something of a midwinter miracle.

to cool and set
butterscotch pudding
butterscotch pudding, not sharing

* I could probably learn some coping skills from this guy.

But where’s the scotch? Would you believe that butterscotch, in the classic confectionary sense, doesn’t have scotch in it? I mean, I’m not saying butterscotch sauce and scotch (or rum, or bourbon) would taste bad together, but the name is misleading. Wikipedia says that the origin might be “scorch” (for heat) or “scotched” cut into squares, like the candy) instead.

Puddings, previously: Best Chocolate Pudding, Chocolate Pudding Pie, Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Mango, Vanilla (Bean) Pudding, Vanilla Custards with Roasted Blueberries, Caramel Pudding, Baked Pumpkin and Sour Cream Puddings, Almond-Vanilla Rice Pudding, Arroz Con Leche, Silky Decadent Old School Chocolate Mousse and Yogurt Panna Cotta with Walnuts and Honey

One year ago: Coconut Tapioca with Mango
Two years ago: Ethereally Smooth Hummus
Three years ago: Apple Sharlotka
Four years ago: Vanilla Bean Pudding
Five years ago: Caramel Pudding
Six years ago: Potato and Artichoke Tortilla and Fig and Walnut Biscotti
Seven years ago: Goulash and Lemon Bars
Eight years ago: Really Simple Homemade Pizza and Balthazar’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings
1.5 Years Ago: Slow-and-Low Dry Rub Oven Chicken
2.5 Years Ago: Blackberry Gin Fizz
3.5 Years Ago: Flatbreads with Honey, Thyme and Sea Salt

Butterscotch Pudding
You can make this pudding even more rich by swapping 1/2 cup of the milk with heavy cream. Read to the end for a dairy-free coconut version.

Cook time: 10 minutes plus 1 to 2 hours to set in the fridge
Yield: 6 1/2-cup servings or 8 petite ones (I love these glasses for tiny hands and also puddings). The photos here show a half-batch of pudding.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Several pinches of sea salt (I use a scant 1/2 teaspoon of flaky Maldon salt)
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and reduce heat to medium-low. Let it heat and bubble for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let it smoke or burn, which brown sugar is always very eager to do. Reduce heat to low. Add salt and cornstarch, stirring until combined — it’s going to look like a thick paste. Switch to a whisk and add the milk in a thin drizzle, whisking the whole time, so that no lumps form. Once all of the milk is added, you can switch back to a spoon. Cook over low to medium-low, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to a gentle simmer. Let it simmer for a full minute, stirring, it should clearly thicken at this stage, although it will finish thickening in the fridge. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla extract. Divide into glasses or pudding cups and let chill in fridge for 1 to 2 hours, until set.

Those decorations on top: A dollop of whipped cream and chocolate crunchy pearls. I highly recommend the dark chocolate ones (you can get them from Callebaut, Valrhona and a few other brands); they’re so much more delicious and fun to eat than chocolate sprinkles. I highly recommend that whatever you do, you never try the beige ones, which are made from Valrhona’s Dulcey Chocolate, their in-house take on salted, caramelized white chocolate. I regret ever discovering it. Trust me, the safest thing is to never find out how good it is.

Variation: Coconut Butterscotch Pudding: Okay, I realize that making butterscotch without butter is of questionable logic. But, I did it anyway, using coconut oil instead of butter, and canned full-fat (and well-shaken) coconut milk for the milk above, yielded a totally dairy-free pudding. The result is something distinctly delicious, a little darker and more translucent in color than the dairy version, with a nuttier butterscotch flavor. Don’t skimp on the salt here.

See more: Photo, Pudding

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224 comments on butterscotch pudding

  1. illana

    Dear Deb –
    Please come to California, where it is not quite so cold. Then, be my best friend and cook in my house.
    –illana

    PS, Yum, and am making this asap.

  2. Aron W

    Thank you Deb for what I’m sure will be another delicious pudding. Your chocolate and caramel puddings came out perfect, and so I’m sure this will too. Again thank you for your wonderful recipes.

  3. Deanna

    This looks so much easier than the butterscotch bundino from the Mozza cookbook. I’d still probably make the cornmeal-vanilla bean-rosemary shortbread to go with it, but they’re my favorite so I look for any excuse to make them.

    The Sister’s Grimm is adorable! I read the first few when I was nannying a couple years ago. I think I liked them more than the girl I was reading them to. I should finish the series. It’s normal for late 20 somethings to read books for the under 10 set for fun right? RIGHT?

  4. Lisa

    These look amazing! All I have in the house is fat-free milk. Would this recipe work with nonfat miln or do I need to wait until my next shopping trip to make the pudding?

  5. I know how you feel about those disastrous recipes that you just can’t bring yourself to tackle. That was me and Italian meringue buttercream for a very long time, until I realized it wasn’t me, it was my mixer. But now that I’ve finally succeeded in not turning it into curdled goo, it’s my go to recipe for icing, and it was worth all the pain and heartache over the years. This recipe looks incredible, when I’m over my New Year’s resolutions (ermm..next week maybe?) I will have to try this!

  6. Whoa…
    I was already going to wing it with coconut milk after reading your initial intro, but having read your all coconut version.. I think I’ll be making this today. Right after I work out.
    Balance, right?

  7. Elaine

    Do you think this would work at all with nonfat milk? Rest assured, I’m all about the good stuff–this was just the only milk in the company-stocked snack fridge and I snagged some for a different recipe already.

  8. SpinachInquisition

    OK, I know you said those lovely decorations on top are fancy-pants Callebaut or Valrhona… but I saw Reese’s Puffs… so that’s where I’m taking this. To cereal town.

  9. Amy

    Not into puddings, (or any other colloids for that matter, like mayonnaise), I wondered if anyone had ever attempted to morph this into an ice cream. Foolishly, I skipped past your own Search bar and went to Google. The first suggestion there for “butterscotch ice cream recipe” was for Smitten Kitchen. Clicking on it, I realized I looped straight back in internet time to the exact moment 6 years ago when your pudding tantrum began and, lo and behold, you morphed it into an ice cream. Full Internet Circle.

    P.S. When I make the ice cream, I think I’m going to fold in chocolate shavings and maybe top it with a graham cracker crumb/coconut crumble to emulate those yummy 7 layer bars that I make for Christmas each year. 7 layer bar ice cream?? Whoop! Whoop!

  10. Kaye

    OH I’m totally going to make this with the coconut milk and coconut oil. Actually I’d love to make it with goat milk butter instead of cow butter. It would make it just decadent because the goat milk butter is so very rich. If you’re looking to make it low glycemic you could totally use coconut nectar for a really rich caramel flavor and would really do it to taste, like start with a 1/4 cup of it and add slowly. I love me some butterscotch. I may need to whip this up tonight even. YUUUM!!!

  11. Thanks so much for confessing that you have kitchen tantrums too! I still haven’t gotten over my fear of the last time I tried to make Potatoes au Gratin and it ended up a watery, soggy mess.

    And of course, this recipe looks fabulous, especially with the festive, decorative pearls. Thank you!

  12. jo

    I feel so lucky as here in the UK we used to have butterscotch tart for pudding in our school dinners (showing my age here). I may spend some time this weekend using this recipe to re-create my school days. Thanks!

  13. Kel

    I was always one who skipped butterscotch because of its cloying sweetness. But this…this sounds like it would be silky smooth and just perfect.

    I wonder if I have little cups around here…

  14. deb

    Andrea — It will set in a big bowl, too.

    Jeanne — I haven’t used it, but it might work here. Only dark brown sugar will give you the true butterscotch flavor, though.

    Lisa — Your mom sounds awesome.

    Sarah O — Maybe. The main thing with the non-dairy milks and puddings is that they seem to have less body; the “milks” are more watery. The pudding color is darker and more translucent, not necessarily a bad thing.

  15. Jill

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve had butterscotch pudding, but I love it and will make it immediately for my family! So excited! (And I might just get those cute glasses from Amazon, as well. They look like the perfect size!)

  16. Diane

    You rock….as does this recipe! The coconut version is dynomite….thanks so much. I read your blog regularly, so many food items to make, so little time. Happy New Year!

  17. Maro

    you must have been throwing off little butterscotch pudding vibes before you posted this, because not an hour ago I was trolling your archives, reminding myself sadly that you didn’t have a true butterscotch pudding recipe on here.

    so excited!

  18. Daria

    I use an old school pudding recipe (light brown sugar, but not additionally cooked), but I have to try this one. No eggs, wow.

  19. Shannon

    Random comment. Did you notice ‘one year ago’ you made tapioca, and ‘four and five years ago’ you made vanilla and caramel pudding? You must get pudding cravings this time of year! :P

    1. deb

      Shannon — I noticed that too! I am getting so predictable. Last recipe of the year: cocktail. First: soup. Five minutes later: I WANT PUDDING. I never knew my food tastes were so cyclical until I started putting those links in.

  20. Mary

    Thanks so much for the dairy free version- my sister in law who is celiac also went dairy free so my go-to GF desserts (like cheesecake) are going out the window for dinner parties with her.

  21. Eily

    Dear Deb — this looks incredible! Do you have thoughts on running it through the ice cream maker? I’m not one for earnest desserts, but, comparing it to your butterscotch ice cream recipe, I can’t help but note the distinctly lower fat profile of the pudding. What do you think? Is butterscotch pudding ice cream blasphemy? Or worth a shot?

  22. Suzi S.

    Thank you so much for a dairy-free version!! I usually just glaze over recipes for dairy-centric foods since being forced dairy-free a year ago, but I just couldn’t give up my love for butterscotch pudding, so I read all the way through. I’m so happy I did!

  23. Brittany Wood

    Hi Deb, Have you by chance ever made creme brulee, and if so, would you consider adding it to the site? I would love to use a Smitten Kitchen recipe for my husband’s birthday.

  24. Amy

    When I was younger, my parents would make us *finish* our from-a-box butterscotch pudding with bananas on top. I think it was a way to get us to eat more fruit…

    Ever since then, the thought of butterscotch pudding has made me want to hurl. This looks and sounds so good, though, that it might help me get over my extreme aversion!

  25. Butterscotch pudding was one of my mother’s all time favorites. I made some ridiculously complicated version for her birthday one year and I can still see her sideways glance at her husband (not a butterscotch fan) taking seconds of the dessert she wanted to savor. I wish she was still around so that I could test this far simpler version on her. Alas. Instead I will save it for a day when I miss her comfort.
    Thanks

  26. Bridgit

    Thank you Deb! Every month we do dinner w friends. One person is vegitarian, another is GF, but just discovered dairy is a problem too :(. We are hosting next week, and now I have dessert figured out! (With shashuska, rice and roasted beet salad.) loo,king forward to the site changes!

  27. I was on a pudding kick a few years ago and decided to attempt a caramelized banana butterscotch pudding that refused to set. After a few choice curse words and frustrated handwringing, my husband poured it into a mug and drank it. We still joke about having a glass of “banana milk” when we want dessert but don’t have any.

    This looks like a nice simpler and lighter alternative to the salted brown butter caramel pots de creme I make and love but don’t make often because I’d like to fit into my clothes.

  28. Only a few hours after my first comment and.. I’ve already got a coconut batch sitting in my fridge, just waiting for after dinner.
    I licked the saucepan clean.
    SO GOOD.

  29. Dougie C

    Oh no you didn’t just post this recipe. I just tried making butterscotch pot de cremes inspired by gjelina and Suzanne goin. Delish. Now will have to try this recipe as I still have most of the materials still out on the counter! Thanks much!

  30. juliet

    Pudding is not really part of the NZ culinary scene, but i might have to give this a go.
    Deb, have you ever tried the ridiculously simple recipe called lemon cream? You heat cream, sugar and honey until boiling point, then add lemon juice and pour into ramekins. By magic it sets in the fridge in about 5 hours. No gelatine, no cornstarch required. I think a SK take on this could be a worthy pursuit for the new year :). I was thinking lemon-lime, or maybe mandarin or blood orange (or would that be too weird coloured?) I just don’t have the patience to try :)

  31. Hey Deb! Just to let you know, if you only have light brown sugar, add a bit of molasses and it bumps up the butterscotch flavor. (I do this all the time when I make butterscotch pudding. Though my previous go-to recipe was Mark Bittman’s. Can’t wait to try yours!)

  32. Susan

    Okay, I will own up to actually liking the cook and serve box stuff. I know, it’s probably loaded with preservatives, but I ignore those feeling of ‘I’m doomed’ and like and eat it anyway. There, I said it! I went there because of all the failed attempts at BS pudding…insipid flavor and color, grainy texture and boring. Then I found the ATK version and loved it, but what a production! Geez, it too drove me back to the box. It sure was good though. They used white and brown sugar, 2 Tbsps golden syrup to recrystallize the sugar and 2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp dark rum for flavor boost. I used those flavorings in other recipes since then as the combo is so good (in choc chip cookie dough..swoon) Okay, I’ll give this a go and see what I think. It looks easy enough. Sounds like I’m doing you a favor, right? Just shoot (ignore) me..

  33. Katie

    Hi Deb,

    How long might this last in the fridge? I don’t think my boyfriend will help me eat this so it might take me a few days to get through…:)

  34. Kristie

    I never make meatloaf (we’re not big meat-eaters) but per my husband’s request, I’m making it tonight. This sounds like the perfect way to top off the meal! I’m sure my husband and toddler will gobble it down :) Thanks for such a simple recipe! I didn’t have dark brown sugar, so I used light brown… tastes ok to me!

  35. JP

    Agree with #54- Cook’s Illustrated recently had a butterscotch pudding recipe and although their recipes are stellar, I just can not bring myself to go though all of those steps for pudding. Your recipe looks much easier and I don’t have to buy any booze. This is pudding, folks, and should not be a huge production to get it on the table. Must try yours and see…I expect, like so many other recipes I have tried, that this will be another winner. Thanks!

  36. Mel

    First of all this looks incredible. This will be made asap. Second of all I am about to start reading your book. I got it a while ago but haven’t had the chance. But this weekend…I can’t wait. Third of all, the expressions on your son’s and husband’s faces is just priceless. Love how they are so into their book!

  37. kerri

    I will try to type between drooling.
    I hopehopehope this is easier than actual caramel, which I’ve tried three times to make and failed miserably for no reason anyone can clarify for me. I will also attempt to make this in spite of living in the southern hemisphere and being smack dab in the middle of a smokin’ summer. Because it just looks that good!
    ps: thank you for your ‘other side of the world’ section! We are so used to being overlooked, but love knowing that your awesomeness is also now seasonally relevant!

  38. Sabra

    So funny. My son is sitting next to me eating Valrhona chocolate pearls. I’ve got to track down the Dulcey ones. Where did you find them? Thanks!

  39. bellsieshell

    I see two previous commenters asked about using nonfat milk but (as far as I can see) neither Deb has answered nor has anyone else chimed in with “oh, I tried that and it worked [or didn’t work]”. So…. anyone? (I was actually hoping to use 1% since that’s what we generally have on hand.)

  40. KatieK

    I actually went and bought some pudding bowls–everything I had was too big. Used light brown sugar, for some reason we had two bags of it. My only comment is that it took much longer to thicken up; but no matter. Not too sweet, creamy and lush. A definite keeper. Thanks, Deb.

  41. I am such a sucker for butterscotch! I’ve tried a few other recipes, but haven’t been happy with my “healthy” substitutions…thankfully I fell short of a kitchen tantrum (although a few expletives may have surfaced from time to time). I think I may have to give your dairy-free version a whirl, and because I’m also a huge sucker for coconut, I may try subbing coconut crystals for the brown sugar :) Thanks for the recipe!

  42. Eastland

    Just made this. Texture is lovely but mine stayed quite beige and it tastes rather mild/milky. I wonder if I should add more sugar next time. Nice easy recipe, need to to tweak for the rich butterscotch flavour. Can only really taste the vanilla!

  43. Sarah

    I just finished making these and had to lick the spoon, the taste is delicious! Although… I only had regular brown sugar, I suppose they are not as “butterscotch-y” as they could be, but they are still really tasty.
    Question: did u cover then in the fridge? Will they get a “skin” if not covered…?
    Please advise. Thanks!

  44. Susan

    Deb,
    Thank you for the decorating chocolate pearls link and the recipe! Butterscotch pudding is my favorite pudding and one of my favorite deserts.
    I am certain that you have answered this question before but I can’t find the answer. Where did you find those spice jars? I beg you to answer this question one more time, please.
    Thank you for your fabulous blog! I have it bookmarked on my Power Book.
    Susan

  45. deb

    Kimberly — There are some links to the two types of chocolate pearls I used at the end of the recipe. They’re crunchy and fun to have around.

    Susan — I use these spice jars. They’re pretty cute, and you can fully take them apart (rubber/plastic seal too) so they can get very clean in the dishwasher between refills.

    Sarah — Yes, uncovered pudding will get a skin. You can cover with plastic to prevent it.

    To get a darker color, deeper flavor — You want to cook the brown sugar caramel step until it’s a shade darker to get more of a color in your final pudding, being careful not to let it smoker or burn. You can also add more brown sugar, which will also make it sweeter as well as deepening the color. This pudding is on the not-very-sweet side for butterscotch pudding; I think 3/4 cup dark brown sugar would be closer to what you’d normally get from a box or at grandma’s house.

    nonfat milk — I haven’t had great luck with it in cornstarch puddings, but I do feel it should theoretically work.

    Sabra — I actually ordered them from Valrhona online. Er, total impulse purchase when I had to add something so I could get to the free shipping price bracket. :)

    kerri — What happens when you make caramel? Perhaps we can counsel. That said, this is definitely easier because you’re not dry-melting sugar or anything that can be harder.

    Katie — I’d say several days.

    Susan/ATK version — I checked it out. The thing is, pudding can be something really barebones like this — milk, cornstarch, sugar and little else — or it can be really rich and fancy. When I see eggs and all of that butter and cream, I definitely think of more of a custard in the classic French sense, an elegant dessert, and absolutely delicious, but not the homey comfort food I was going for here. (Spoiler: My mother made cornstarch puddings growing up.) I’m curious for those of you that have tried it, was it really sweet? It seemed to have 2x to 3x the sugar here for the same amount of milk. Of course, more dark brown sugar = better butterscotch color.

    juliet — Is it anything like this? I’m definitely curious now, would love to see a recipe.

    Brittany — I haven’t, but I should. My family gets really nervous when I bust out the blowtorch though. I’m kind of a Known Klutz.

  46. MelissaBKB

    Bahaha, I was clicking through some of your posts from around when you made the Butterscotch Ice Cream, and found this in your Q&A Part IV, “The cauliflower salad was no obsession: butterscotch pudding? Oh, it will be mine!”

    Can’t wait to try this one! :)

  47. Megan V.

    Hi Deb,
    This recipe is perfect for tonight; it’s freezing out (30 degrees in coastal Alabama, brr!), and my boyfriend has taken over the living room (with our only tv) for an amateur taxidermy project. So….I need something to do, and lo and behold, I actually have all the ingredients! I hope it turns out well. I’ve never made a pudding from scratch, but I have a go-to recipe for caramel frosting that’s kind of similar :) And butterscotch was one of my favorites growing up. To the kitchen!

  48. Barb

    I was very excited to see this as I’ve been wanting pudding so I came home from work and made it today. I’m disappointed in the flavor. It really tastes more like vanilla than butterscotch and I followed the directions exactly.

  49. Deb that part about food writers (and especially cooks on Food Network nowadays) trying to get us out of the kitchen rather than into it… Ugh this is why I love you. I thought I was the only one that noticed that. It truly is a pain to turn on Food Network and see the chefs advertising “easy” “fast” cooking. It seems no one truly finds joy in spending the time to cook anymore, taking time to enjoy doing things from scratch.

  50. Emily

    Hello Deb-
    I have been making your recipes for at least five years and they are absolutely wonderful. I just made your silky chocolate pudding again today and now will have to try this one! Your recipes have truly been an inspiration and have undoubtably improved my cooking skills. My boyfriend and I just want to say thank you so much for bringing this amazing food into our lives!

    (p.s. I’ve made your chocolate pudding with whole milk and skim milk… skim seems to work just fine! and it makes me feel a little better about eating a bowl full :) )

  51. Becca

    Deb, thanks so much for adding the 1.5 yrs ago feature to give us some cooking inspiration in the southern hemisphere (not sure if it’s the first time you’ve done it or just the first time I’ve noticed). I read so many American food blogs and although the recipes are delicious-looking, they’re always out of season- It’s hard to get excited about stews and soups and all things pumpkin when it’s 35ºC and all I can stomach is ice blocks :-)

    Also this pudding looks delicious, I will file it away for the 2 short weeks in July when it actually gets cold here in Brisbane.

  52. Susan

    Thanks for checking out the ATK version. I think the sugar is double, 1/2c white and 1/2c brown, though I used 1/3 c white and 2/3 brown, so it is sweeter, but not cloyingly sweet. The increased amount of salt (and I used salted butter, too) takes care of toning it down some. It’s what they do to the brown sugar that deepens the flavor, probably. Adding the water and all that butter makes you really dissolve and cook the sugars longer so it concentrates the brown sugar a little more. That’s my opinion, anyway. I can’t remember why they said they used the tsp of lemon juice…the added acid does something. Anyway, it makes a delicious custard but it is fussy when all you really want is all that flavor but a simpler way to get it!

  53. Lynn

    I made this today and was kind of disappointed that it was bland and didn’t have that rich butterscotch flavor. Did I not cook the sugar for long enough? And also, would this work if you dissolved the cornstarch in cold milk and then added that to the sugar? I had a hard time getting all the lumps out since I didn’t have a whisk.

  54. Christine

    Re no52 sounds like lemon posset which is great, don’t know if it would work with other citrus. Recipe on BBC website.

  55. Stuart

    So curious about your vanilla extract. I see beans and a murkiness at the bottom. Do you extract your own extract? And if so, please tell us how. And also how you got so many vanilla beans and still have money to feed your husband and child!

  56. Emma

    thank you -so- much for the other side of the world links, it’s so thoughtful! I’ll be sure to try these in six months’ time.

  57. I LOVE butterscotch pudding! As a kid, my mum would allow snack-packs maybe once every three months. I’d always get the one with 3 chocolate and 3 butterscotch. I’d eat all of the chocolate first because I liked to save the best for last!

  58. Debs

    Looks great! Snowing and 9 above in New England soooo great for snow-bound theater dessert!! Thanks for the vegan translation – will make for dinner with the vegan – boy in our family next week.

  59. Laurence

    Oh my goodness that vanilla extract looks divine and like you perhaps concocted it yourself? What about the true vanilla beans therein?

  60. deb

    Amy — A fully-baked pie crust, yes, I think it would work. It looks like I use similar proportions (3 cups milk) to fill a chocolate pudding pie in the archives.

    Lynn — You can absolutely dissolve the cornstarch in milk, first making a slurry. I do it this way to save an extra step/bowl. For deeper flavor/color, cook the caramel longer. Or, if you don’t mind it being sweeter, bump the dark brown sugar to 3/4 cup.

    Laurence, Stuart and other questions about my vanilla extract — I did make my own, spring 2014! And it’s almost time to make more, because it’s best to give it time to steep. I’ll do a Tips post on it this time; it’s very easy. In the meanwhile, go buy some vanilla beans! I highly recommend buying them by weight, not number. From what I hear, buying by, say, the dozen seems to lead to people getting rather skimpy beans. If you’re buying by the quarter-pound, you won’t care what size each one is because it’s all the same value. (Since someone asked about price, it looks like I paid $24 with shipping for a quarter pound. Don’t remember the # in there, but it was more than enough for 3 16-ounce bottles like this. Comparatively, the Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract I’d usually buy was often $16 to $18 for an 8-ounce bottle, although it looks like there’s a 32-ouncer for $28 on Amazon right now. Making your own is still unquestionably cheaper, although I actually did it because I was curious if it would taste better. It absolutely does. Anyway, real post on it soon!)

    Lemon posset — Ah, now I see! Thank you. I want some now.

  61. Lisa

    Well, I know what *I’ll* be making this cold, snowy NYC weekend. Good thing I know to buy extra milk – and yeah, cream – tonight before heading home. Thanks!

  62. Julia

    I absolutely love butterscotch pudding! I have to make this! I can see how a recipe failing can be frustrating. My grandmother used to throw similar kitchen tantrums when her bread didn’t rise enough!

  63. Hillary B

    I also make my own vanilla extract and it is SO EASY and DELICIOUS! I bought vanilla beans online and a big bottle of vodka from Sam’s Club (make sure to buy Vodka in a glass bottle), split the vanilla beans and put them in the bottle of vodka and let it sit for months (at least 6 months), shaking occassionally. Strain and then pour into bottles. Awesome and makes great gifts! I can’t wait to read about your how-to post!!

  64. Mels

    I can’t thank you enough for providing a dairy free alternative. I love your blog but I read it less and less these days since discovering I can no longer tolerate casein, the milk protein found in everything from yogurt to butter. A good percentage of your recipes call for dairy in all forms, many times in a manner where I can’t swap in an alternative (I am specifically referring to my former love, browned butter). I love (or loved) butterscotch pudding or anything really that has that toasty sugar taste, so I was reading your blog post with a heavy heart until I read that last paragraph of the recipe. I’M SORRY FOR SHOUTING, BUT THANK YOU, DEB!I can’t wait to try out the dairy free version and promise I will report back for the benefit of anyone else who avoids dairy by necessity or choice!

  65. inga

    Hi , I’ve been wanting to ask this regarding a couple of recipies. Does dark brown sugar meen muscovado? It kinda smells funny….. Thanks.

  66. JP

    I am amazed that something can be made into pudding (lemon posset) that only has lemon, cream and sugar. At first, I thought it was perhaps a drink, but no, apparently, it is a pudding that looks as thick as your butterscotch one, Deb. Do I have this right? What thickens the posset? Besides loving the name posset (sounds so cozy!), I have just never heard of this before…quite intriguing!

  67. JP

    Just jumping in here for you, Deb, to say to inga #106, that in the U.S.A. we have two kinds of brown sugar: light brown and dark brown. They are almost the same except dark brown has more molasses in it so it is a bit deeper in flavor. Not a lot of difference, though, and in most recipes you can use them interchangeably. Apparently there is both light and dark muscovado sugars too, but I am not sure how they measure up to U.S.A. sugar. Deb?

  68. Oooooo1 Lovely. My go-to is a chocolate pudding. I use 4 cups of milk and two egg yolks, and I may do the same with this. Do you think that the custarding (I don’t think that ‘s a word, but no matter!) effect of the eggs will counteract the additional cup of milk? I need to try this one. I mean, as with many comfort foods, I’m a creature of habit, but I’ll go out on a limb for butterscotch.

  69. Sandra

    I said it once, I’ll say it again-best butterscotch pudding I’ve EVER had is from Irving Street Kitchen in Portland. If you live anywhere near this place, you have to check it out. In the meantime, this one looks delicious too! Too bad I quit sugar. :(

  70. Sarahb1313

    But oh yes on the bourbon!!!
    Love butterscotch pudding. I do like a little egg in it too, it adds a little richness. But I will try this one.. You haven’t steered me wrong yet…

  71. Kathe

    I had dessert at Don Giovanni’s (Napa) bistro and had the best butterscotch parfait of my life….”Top Shelf” layering butterscotch pudding, chocolate pudding. I’m going to try making it with this recipe, but may add a touch of Scotch. I’ve tried a couple receipes lately and they just didn’t do it. This sounds great!

  72. CathyG

    For those asking about non-fat milk – that’s all we use at my house and I make the SK chocolate pudding all the time using nonfat milk. I haven’t tried this butterscotch recipe yet, but I can’t imagine it wouldn’t work.

    IMHO – if your household is used to nonfat, then a dessert made with it will taste really good. If you make it side-by-side with full-fat and judge them against each other, then non-fat probably won’t win. But I’m not doing that – all we ever use is nonfat, so nonfat pudding is delicious.

  73. leah

    The coconut version sounds like a Filipino dessert. Pour the hot pudding into a wide, shallow bowl lined with banana leaves (they add some flavor). Cut into parallelograms when cool and top each with roasted coconut. Or you can brown coconut milk — boil coconut milk until all the water has evaporated and you are left with coconut oil and brown bits, kind of like what you get when you brown butter. Use this as topping.

  74. Almut

    I just made this and it is heavenly! Thank you for inspiring me to create such deliciousness out of basic on-hand ingredients.

  75. Mel

    Just made the puddings and what a surprise, I could only get four servings out of my saucepan!

    I used one cup of cream and two cups of milk. I poured the cream in first and the brown sugar/butter mixture seized up like caramel — got rock hard and stuck to the bottom of the pan. It eventually melted (well, most of it) and the pudding was nice and thick so no harm done. But wondered if this had happened to anyone else? Thanks for another great recipe, perfect for a cold winter night.

  76. Your ‘tantrum’ with a recipe—I understand. That is me and phyllo pastry. After ruining two or 3 packages, I avoid those recipes and I love the stuff. I also liken it to getting bad food at a restaurant and then you won’t eat there again for the rest of your life despite the fact they probably changed chefs many times over.
    Sigh. I am laughing. Hooray for your for getting back on the butterscotch horse. Maybe I will try phyllo dough again.

  77. Gail

    In the third paragraph, the sentence that begins with Melt seems like it’s missing a word – “add” probably, before “salt”. Don’t know if these kind of wordsmithing comments are annoying or helpful, but since I read *every* word of your posts – all of them! – I noticed… :)

    Love the idea of pudding. Hate the idea of stirring things on the stovetop waiting for the magical ‘thickening’ moment. Custards and creams and puddings etc routinely fail in my kitchen, despite my liking them very much.

  78. Erin

    I will make this soon; I grew up loving the pudding cooked from a box but I know this will be better. What made me comment was your link to the French glasses. I have one just like them but 2.5 ounces. A couple years ago we were in Paris, and I told the bartender in my pathetic, high school French that I liked his shot glass. He washed it and wrapped it up and gave it to me and it is still my preferred glass for digestifs. Every time I use it I feel like I’m in Paris. Thanks for the memory and I’m going to order the bigger size for this pudding!

  79. Carrie
  80. Funny, I could have sworn you had already made these! Nice to have a definitive version, will be trying these soon. I just made a milk pudding from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem whose simplicity was tempting but ultimately a little bland. I think I will be happier with the brown sugar butter version.(What if you browned the butter too?? Hmm.)

    As for the lemon cream Juliet mentioned above, it is much simpler than the Martha Stewart recipe. I believe it is a version of syllabub? Posset? A long-distant relative gave me a recipe for a rosemary-lemon version which is incredible. Just the few drops of lemon thickens the cream into something resembling a white chocolate pot de creme. You only need espresso-cup-sized portions. And the rosemary stops it from being too sweet. I love rosemary. You need to try this, it’s like a delicious science experiment. (Not sure if I am allowed to leave a link, so will just say that recipe is on my blog, called Noretta’s Rosemary Creams.)

  81. Made this last night for the family and WOW! Good stuff! Mine was a bit lumpier than I’d like. I see your tip for mixing the cornstarch and milk together first. I will try that. But otherwise, the taste was amazing!

  82. There is something about kitchen alchemy that sends us back to our childhood, for better or worse. I have had plenty of giddy, hand-clapping-type moments when magic was achieved, but both me and the hubs have stories of food-flinging meltdowns. It’s, quite frankly, reassuring to see that the giants among us are occasionally guilty of arm crossing and foot stamping as well. Thanks for the peek and the pudding!

  83. Ever since I learned that store-bought butterscotch has trans fat in it, I’ve made sure to stay away from it. (I’m ok with natural fat–in moderation, of course– but trans fat is anything but natural; avoid it like the plague, seriously; The Trans Fat Solution by Kim Severson is a great resource about it) So glad to find that this pudding is made with natural butterscotch!

  84. Erin

    Carrie – why do people from wherever you’re from insist on being so pedantic? I write for a living. I suppose I felt in a casual mood while I was commenting on PUDDING. But really, I’m sure all of the Americans reading the comments feel humbled by your grammar lesson.
    Sorry, Deb, for bringing the grammar police to your blog.

  85. Adrianne G.

    I realize there’s a another Adrianne who posts comments here (Hi!), so I’m going to be Adrianne G. from now on. :)

    Deb, thank you. I adore butterscotch candy, pudding, sauce, whatever, and I needed a pudding recipe that was dead simple. You are a food goddess and I worship you. :D

  86. Susan

    This was really good for such a simple recipe. Finally, easy and delicious! I was still taken back by how pale it was especially after Mr. Susan said it was pale, too, so I did the unthinkable; I added 1/2 tsp of kitchen bouquet to it! It was just enough to darken it but it didn’t turn it to gravy, it really just added color and a little more saltiness to it (which isn’t a bad thing). I know, I just ruined it by using something with caramel color, but even so, it wasn’t enough to kill anyone! I will make this again. Too easy not to.

  87. Kelly Daiss

    Hi, you may have answered above, if so my apologies.
    My first attempt, sugar turned rock hard after adding corn starch- second attempt, liquified sugar, added milk then corn starch. The second never set.
    Can you help with my issue?
    Thanks, I really enjoy your site.

  88. Gabrielle B.

    Oh, Deb!
    Made this on a complete whim tonight – it’s setting in the fridge right now. What I had – some 2% milk and some cream, light brown sugar, salted butter…. whatever, I ‘winged’ it.

    Holy. Jesus. I licked the spoon and even though my caramel was a bit dark and there are totally some undissolved caramelly bits in it and I don’t have gorgeous decorative pearls but I do have some milk chocolate chips and enough cream to whip up and…

    Yeah. My few houseguests are gonna be happyhappyhappy. As am I!!!!!

  89. Debbie

    It’s been said before, but thanks for the dairy-free version. Tastes great! My coconut oil/brown sugar/cornstarch mixture turned rock-hard when I added the coconut milk (I think I had heated the oil/sugar mixture too much, perhaps to the hard-crack state), but I turned the heat to very low and stirred until most of it dissolved. The result is delicious and firming up nicely in the fridge.

  90. OMG! This looks AMAZING! I’m preparing to go onto a juice fast this week so I wish I hadn’t seen this right now. I have a feeling I’ll be making this before long. Yikes!

  91. Lauren

    Help, please! I made this tonight and just tried it after letting it set for 3 hours in the fridge. Nice flavor, but the texture is off. It’s grainy and did not fully set. Any ideas as to what may have happened? I used the correct ingredients and followed the directions to a T. I had similar results when I made your (delightful) butterscotch popsicles this summer. Am I butterscotch impaired? Please advise!

  92. Robin

    Made this today with Sucranat and served with chocloate covered cocoa nibs (gluten free not by choice)…..it was FANTASTIC! Thank you…..love your blog and recipes–even the ones I have to adapt for my dietary needs.
    RF

  93. Brianne

    I made this tonight (no substitutions) and probably won’t make it again. It wasn’t particularly butterscotch-y, rather bland, sort of mildly sweet and milky, as someone else wrote. And it hadn’t firmed up much after 1.5 hours. (Took 3+ hours.) The first step, when the melted butter and the dark brown sugar are supposed to bubble, never really happened. Could that be the cause? Or maybe it’s just a rare SK recipe that’s not for us, sadly. (No worries; there are so many others we love!)

  94. Stephanie

    Made this for dessert tonight. Delicious, and firmed up in less than two hours in some small (< 4 oz) cafe cups. I made sure the mixture was "tracing" (leaving trails along the top when I took the spoon out and let some of the mixture drizzle along the top) before I pulled it off the stove.

    I also made sure to brown/toast the butter a little first.

    I finished it with a light sprinkle of kosher salt flakes.

  95. Allison

    Tonight we had guests over, but for the last few days we had a wicked storm so I wasn’t able to get to the store. Thankfully, you posted this and all of the ingredients were in my kitchen! I made a parfait out of this combined with your chocolate pudding and topped with whipped cream and cocoa powder. It was incredible. Your chocolate and butterscotch pudding work like a dream together, especially when topped with fresh whipped cream. You must try it! Not only did everybody finish their entire serving, but I also noticed a lot of bowl scraping! This is a hit because it’s easy and the ingredients are common and few. Thank you! P.S. I used light brown sugar because it’s what I had, but I took another commenter’s advice and added a little molasses. It turned out fine.

  96. Homemade pudding is truly something magical. Having lived in the south, I have made more than my fair share of banana pudding and it is so much better than anything that could come from a box. Butterscotch pudding is one of my favorite treats. I’m super curious to try the coconut version. I love coconut everything and I can’t imagine butterscotch pudding is the exception.

  97. Alice

    Dear Deb,

    Thank you for all you do! I’ve had so much success with your recipes and really appreciate your good humor and good ideas.

    I tried this pudding and had the same “seizing” problem Mel noted above. Do you have advice? Maybe I should do the slurry step? I’ve made a similar recipe before (though it called for eggs) and didn’t run into this trouble.

    Many thanks, -Alice

  98. Andrea

    I’ve been following your site for some time now, but this is my first post. This pudding is incredible. My son and I have made it two nights in a row and thinking about a third (damn you!!). All the ingredients conveniently in my pantry, it’ll be an easy go-to. Realizing too late that I was about a table spoon or more shy of cornstarch, I substituted tapioca starch for an awesome result of teeny tapioca balls in the perfect silky pudding. This is how I’ll continue to make! Thanks for the recipe. It rules.

  99. Dahlink

    I made this without encountering any of the difficulties some others have noted, but I felt it needed a little something more, so when I whipped the cream (for a Golden Globe-worthy dessert last night) I added a slug of brandy. Our local grocery store didn’t have any of those adorable chocolate balls, so I it off with a scattering of mini-chocolate chips and Heath English toffee bits. Bingo!

  100. deb

    If/when your butterscotch base hardens — This didn’t happen in any of my testing rounds but isn’t abnormal with caramels. It’s why you want to add the milk just a tiny bit at a time. You want to loosen those chunks/ ensure they melt again, before adding more liquid. I’m sorry if the directions were not adamantly clear about this; will update to make sure they are.

    Lauren — It almost sound like it curdled, but it shouldn’t have here. The butterscotch pops had this problem more often because we simmered the cream from the beginning. Here, we only add the milk long enough for the pudding to thicken. Regardless, I’m sorry you had trouble. To be completely honest, every time I share a cornstarch pudding recipe, I swear to myself I never will again because they’re a little pesky. They work for me — I made this one four times, was pretty much begging people on the street to take it off my hands, and it always thickened/never got grainy — but there are always people who report that they just didn’t thicken and we rarely get to the bottom of it. Little consolation, I know.

    Gail — Thanks, now fixed.

    Carrie — I can hardly speak for all Americans, but as for this site, the language and conversation here have always been casual/colloquial, because I prefer to talk about food and cooking the way you talk about food and cooking to friends.

    Carol — Ha! You can read about my phyllo tantrums here and here! Those triangles — using just one sheet at a time, brushed with butter, are all that saves me.

  101. Toni

    This looked so good that not only did I have to try it, but I put it in a graham cracker crust and topped with Swiss meringue. I was thinking of my grandmothers butterscotch meringue pie. I wonder if this will be a little soft for pie as I seem to remember that if you use a box pudding for pie, you don’t add as much milk. I don’t care if it is soft this time- it will still taste good… For next time, though, would you reduce tge milk a little for a pie filling?

  102. Annette

    I made this with one substitution….I had potato starch but no corn starch. Family ate it but I found it to be too thick and gummy. The starch I used? Perhaps I cooked it too long?

  103. E

    I halved the recipe, following it exactly otherwise. I was sure I was headed for disaster when I poured in the milk and the butterscotch seized up and turned rock hard. I just kept the heat on medium, kept stirring, and eventually the rocks melted and I was left with silky, lump-free pudding. Next time I’m going to zap the milk in the microwave for 45 seconds or so to take the chill off and maybe prevent the seizing. Oh and I used 2% milk, no problem. It’s really delicious. I make cornstarch chocolate pudding often, so this was a nice change

  104. robinvv

    For the non-dairy, I swapped with coconut almond milk and it worked well. It was about to curdle which is when I pulled it off the heat and it firmed up in the fridge just fine.

  105. Brittany W

    Hi Deb, I ended up making the creme brulee this weekend to try it out, and it turned out really well. I used an epicurious recipe. The only complaint was that the very, very bottom had a slightly different texture. However, I blame this on my cooking time, since I had to cook it much longer than the recipe suggested, since my oven door does not completely close.

  106. Nancy J

    Love this recipe, I tried it out this past weekend and it worked beautifully. We did put it in individual bowls and it set up very quickly. I’m doing for a bigger event next weekend and will take in a larger bowl, hope that works. Any other suggestions for toppings the crispy pearls were more expensive than I wanted. I’m planning on using chocolate curls or nibs if anyone thinks that will work.

    1. deb

      Gege — I like to give it six weeks if you can. People will tell you you can use it sooner but I think it’s worth waiting for. I promise to do a post on it soon, when I make more.

  107. juliet

    Thanks for giving me the correct name: posset! I have now found a recipe using passionfruit! Now i just have to wait a month or so for my vine to produce some :)

  108. Tess

    My husband and I loved this pudding :) I got a little worried when the butter/brown sugar mixture wasn’t bubbling at all, and I kept it on the heat until it turned from a gritty paste into a fluid state. I wasn’t sure what the texture was supposed to be like but I just kept trying to keep it from getting too hot/smoking or burning. I was sure I had completely screwed up after adding the corn starch and it siezing up into solid pebbles… But I went on to add the milk (and salt) anyways, hoping it would all melt in together. It eventually did become all homogenous, though I made sure to bring it to a simmer really slowly. So I mean to say that even with the ways I unintentionally strayed from the directions along the way, this pudding is just so delightful. Thanks! :)

  109. Jen

    JUST made this – it’s chilling in the fridge. But from what I scraped out of the pan afterwards, and ate, it looks like this recipe is going to be filed under my ‘go to’s :)

  110. Julia

    Wow, that was one of the more antagonizing experiences I’ve had in the kitchen. It’s extremely difficult to whisk while adding a thin stream of milk. Ended up throwing it away before I had a chance to add all of the milk. Pudding is more difficult than we give it credit for.

  111. katalicst7

    Oh no… I think I shouldn’t have stirred my butter and sugar together should I have? It seemed fine and then I added the cornstarch and once I added the milk it was very hard clumps of toffee floating in warm milk! What did I do wrong?

  112. L Mc Mc

    Well, I just finished making this…. it took two tries. My first go around the sugar and butter weren’t coming to a nice bubbly simmer so I upped the heat and before I realized it – s m o k e. Barely any smoke mind you – I wasn’t sure it was smoke or steam so I started to add the milk/cream and voila – rock candy! It tasted like it had just begun burning. I had a bit of a rock pile in the bottom of the pot, but I melted/chipped it out and started over. Round two I was much more careful – not sure I let it go long enough really, though I think it will be pretty close to a perfect butterscotch. I love that it is not too sweet. While I was adding the milk/cream – I had some hard candy form but I kept stirring and as it warmed up they melted. My husband loves butterscotch; he’ll love it I’m sure.

  113. Stacey

    I just tried this simple, appealing recipe, and I may have found the reason that some are getting a bland, milky flavor, and others are ending up with hard chunks. Namely, after adding the sugar, the recipe says to let it heat and bubble for 1-2 minutes. I can report that 1-2 minutes after adding the sugar, mine was still just raw sugar. (My butter had been very hot, and I used in between the ½ cup of sugar in the recipe and the ¾ mentioned in the comments.) It took more than 10 minutes just to melt, and another 5+ to start bubbling.

    So, if people are proceeding 1-2 minutes after adding the sugar, they probably don’t have butterscotch. If, like me, they kept waiting and waiting, presumably too long, they make what becomes chuncks of hard butterscotch candy once the milk is added. Mine eventually dissolved back in, but with a touch of scorched flavor – my fault for pushing it a little too far in my attempt to avoid blandness.

  114. Mary

    I just made the dairy free version last night and it was soooooo great!!! I made a 1 and 1/3 size batch because I wanted to give a more generous portion to 6 people for dessert. And also, after you add the coconut milk and are waiting for it to simmer, it’s kind of a stand over the pot time and keep stirring because it’s so thick you don’t realize it’s starting to cook on the bottom unless you are stirring and keeping an eye on it. Also resist the temptation to turn up heat. I kept everything really low the whole time according to directions. But thicken it did to a wonderful silky smoothness that everyone was moaning over!
    And it set so nicely in 6 ramekins and I even found a dairy free coconut whipping cream in an aerosol can to top it with! Just make sure you quickly tell your guests it’s not creme brulee cause they get excited when they see the ramekins… but they’re fine once they get a taste. Thanks Deb

  115. Kori

    I just made this for a snack for some late night binge watching tv sessions. It got scary at first because the sugar started clumping, not making a paste, then it turned into a hard crystallized shard of sugar. i turned the heat up and it melted down right away and began to do its pudding thing. Now it’s chilling beautifully in the fridge and I can’t wait to dig in.

  116. In the past week I have made your Best Chocolate Pudding, as well as this Butterscotch one. (Craving pudding, clearly!).
    With this one, I had the same issues as Lauren #139… it was grainy and did not ever set fully. The flavor was fantastic, and I loved the delicate sweetness. My only change was to use 2% milk. (It’s what we keep on hand – and we are getting married in May! Cutting calories where I can). I did encounter the ‘rock candy’ problem, but that easily melted back out once the milk warmed through.
    With the Choc Pudding, I also found that it wasn’t as firm as I would have liked it to be. (Though it was more firm than this attempt). I know others have commented that they used a low-fat milk, and it worked… But I have to wonder – will I just not get that true pudding jiggle without using whole milk?
    I’ve never made pudding from scratch before, though I am pretty kitchen-capable. I suppose I just need to practice my cornstarch puddings. Perhaps I’m just one of those who find them finicky. Regardless, it was completely worth the time and calories!

  117. Lindsay

    I had exactly the same experience as Stacy #171 – after a minute or so the sugar hadn’t even begun to melt so I waited until it did and then let it go for the 2 minutes instructed. The pudding ended up with a burnt sugar flavor – not bad, but not really butterscotch. I think the key is to get just to when the sugar has melted and then add the milk. It will turn into rock hard candy by then, but it melts into a smooth mixture and starts to thicken when it comes to a boil.

  118. Kendra

    Hi Deb- I made this and it tasted more like salted caramel than butterscotch and I was wondering how that happened? Does yours actually taste like butterscotch? Mine turned into rock candy before I put in the milk and then melted after I cooked it into the milk, so maybe I cooked it too long? It tasted really good, but more like caramel or like a doughnut.
    Thanks for your thoughts on this!

  119. Brassica

    I’m visiting my mother for a week for her 79th birthday, and made this as a prebirthday treat. Amazing! I worried about insufficient character, and overcooked the sugar mixture a bit, so this was more burnt sugar caramel than butterscotch, so I sprinkled the tops of the cups with fleur de sel. It was utterly delicious warm, and I’m betting will be even better chilled.

  120. Deirdre Opp

    So I made this with 2/3 coconut milk and 1/3 whole milk to be more dairy light for my lactose intolerant daughter and I. However my husband doesn’t like coconut and thinks it tastes too coconutty and thinks it doesn’t event taste like butterscotch. UGH, so frustrating trying to please everyone. I used the butter and really tried to carmelize it with the sugar, and amped up the vanilla a little bit too. Any other ideas for anyone trying to go dairy light (but not vegan) but for coconut haters? I love coconut so I think it is delicious!

  121. kerri

    A bit of a delayed followup from my previous post, but when I make caramel, anything and everything goes wrong! (I’ll gloss over the parts where otherwise lovely partner absentmindedly shoves beer cans onto caramel trying to set in fridge, etc…) Even without that, in the latest attempt I could never get it to set. Despite cooking it until I was sore from stirring, using my trusty candy thermometer, and ensuring the temp said ‘firm ball’ stage, it never actually gets to firm. And it seems to take forever to get that far. And I put it in the fridge to set and it comes out in more or less the same state I left it. I use Scanpan pots… maybe the base is too thick? Maybe it’s not hot enough? Cooking too slow? Bewitched sugar? Not holding tongue the right way? Gah!

  122. SallyO

    Hrm, I usually never have any issues with Deb’s recipes but like so many others that have posted on here, this was a challenge. My butter and sugar wouldn’t get bubbly. It took almost 15 for it to start to melt and turn into something that looked bubbly. I was afraid of burning the sugar so I watched very carefully til I had something that looked like it could take the cornstarch. I added it, and it wasn’t too bad, it incorporated well into the mix. I had read several of the comments here so I was a little prepared when I started adding the milk and everything turned into hard brown lumps. Having read the comments, I kept going, and whisking and eventually the lumps did melt but it left my pudding quite lumpy. It thickened and it tasted like butterscotch (even though I used light brown sugar since that’s what I had). I decided I couldn’t mess it up that much more so I hit it with my immersion blender to smooth out the lumps, which worked fine. It is now setting in the fridge and we will see how it goes. I’m not a huge fan of butterscotch so it wouldn’t be horrible if it doesn’t work, but I would like to have an idea of what is going wrong in case, we happen to love it and want to make it again. I’m thinking slightly more butter, and letting it cool a little before adding the milk, and heating the milk a pinch like you do when making a béchamel so the sugar doesn’t instantly caramelize, not sure if it would make a difference. I’m not too well versed in candy making so, yeah, not sure what to do to fix it.

  123. Melody

    Lovely recipe. This is how I’ve always made butterscotch pudding. I found another ‘famous’ food network star who just mixes everything together, heats it up until it thickens and adds the butter in at the end. I thought (against my better judgment), let’s try it. Yeah…it tastes like a nondescript sugary pudding…no butterscotch flavor at all. It really is important to do that initial cooking of the butter and brown sugar to get that butterscotch-y flavor. Shortcuts rarely improve anything.

  124. Krista

    I just made the coconut version for a dinner party tonight (our friends are allergic to dairy) and it turned out *beautifully*! At first I was concerned that my coconut oil/brown sugar mix wasn’t turning into a bubbling caramel, but I proceeded anyway and it turned out just perfect. Can’t wait to serve it tonight!

  125. Well, I was super excited to try this because I LOVE butterscotch pudding and am currently dairy-free (for my 2-month old!). However, when I tried the coconut version…well, the sugar and oil immediately seized, never bubbled…and well, the oil just separated out of the entire thing, basically. :(

  126. Ashle

    This is perfect for Snowpocalypse 2015….lol, joking aside, even though my brown sugar/cornstarch so slurry seized into little pebbles, I was still able to melt them out with the milk and get the pudding to set – yay!

  127. Kari

    I made this last night and like many others had the problem of the brown sugar/butter/cornstarch seizing when the milk was added. Perhaps it would help somewhat to warm the milk first? The candy did melt back out and my pudding was lump-free, but it never set. I cooked it until steamy and thickening on the stove. Even this morning, still jiggly. :/ It tastes good, but it is not as satisfying. I used 2 1/2c 1% milk + 1/2c cream, so I doubt lack of fat is the problem.

    Deb, I know not getting the pudding to set was part of the problem you had with this pudding originally that kept you from posting it. Did anything get left out?

  128. Christina

    Hi Deb, I had a couple of the problems some other commenters had. I figured the brown sugar would need to melt, and like someone else it took closer to 10 minutes to get to that stage. It might be helpful to add a picture of what the butter/sugar mixture should look like before adding other ingredients. And when I added a tiny splash of milk the whole mixture turned hard as a rock. Should the milk be warmed before adding? It all worked out in the end but it was pretty sketchy for awhile.

  129. Hey Deb! I love your recipes so much, can’t wait to try these. I was actually looking through your scone recipes the other day, I got this amazing new jam and needed something simple. I’m going to blatantly promote a business I am not part of – if you are ever in Toronto (canada… Not that weird town in the US)you MUST go by Kitten and the Bear. They make the most unreal jams the old fashioned copper pot way. And their flavours are so creative, probably great inspiration for you! The one I just purchased is: “pear, burnt honey, and balsam fir”

  130. nancyjwb

    I’ve never commented here but I’ve enjoyed your recipes for the past year or so.
    This pudding is a bit, well, tricky! I have one question. Is the sugar supposed to melt completely before you add the cornstarch? I didn’t melt mine but just cooked it until bubbly, and it seems not to have the flavor it should. Would it have a deeper flavor if it had been cooked longer at that stage? I also had the problem others did, of the lumps forming as the milk was added; but they dissolved eventually.
    Thanks for the lovely recipes. I have never had one fail, but this one was close!

  131. Victoria

    Made this but it was a unedible. The texture not creamy. The flavor didn’t say butterscotch to us. We threw it out. Not sue what I did wrong. Cooks illustrated puts butterscotch syrup in theirs. I really liked your coconut tapioca.

  132. Deborah Crabtree

    I made this last night. Poured it, hot, into a big bowl and took it, with two big dessert spoons, to the den where my husband was watching TV. I placed it on the coffee table and gave my husband a spoon. We ate the whole thing. Divine.

  133. ESullins

    Deb, please help! I had the same experience as nancyjwb and Victoria – made it per instructions and it was completely un-butterscotch-like. It thickened fine, but the color was pale and it tasted like nothing but vanilla extract.

    I’ve made caramel and toffee with some success before, using your recipes. But in this case the brown sugar did not melt, just scratched around the pan in the butter, not bubbling or liquefying.

    1. deb

      ESullins — Did it get any darker? Most of my color was from cooking the brown sugar a shade darker. Melting may not have been the best term here, perhaps liquefy, it’s okay if it’s not totally smooth. That said, what I’m hearing from a lot of these comments is that people wouldn’t mind if it was a touch sweeter (I was really going for a not-too-over-the-top weeknight dessert). The sugar could be bumped to 3/4 cup without a lot of harm, and the color would be darker. The color comes from the brown sugar, of course.

  134. ESullins

    Hm. It did not do anything approaching liquefying – it was definitely sweet enough for my not-too-sweet sweet tooth, just didn’t get a butterscotch flavor. Maybe my heat was up too high and it seized without really liquefying? I’ll try it again.

  135. Rachel

    This recipe didn’t work for me. I couldn’t get the sugar to melt/bubble even though I upped the heat and let it go, stirring, for over 10 minutes. I don’t understand feh instructions to cook it on medium low heat until it simmers… Nothing will simmer unless you raise the hear first? And lastly, these didn’t set up at all. After overnight in the fridge they are still liquidy. Not sure what went wrong but I don’t think I will try it again. Too bad, it really sounded tasty.
    Any suggestions for what I can do with my soupy butterscotch liquid?

  136. I just used tried this recipe and added it to a trifle recipe I’ve been working on. I added a little more butter and mixed the cornstarch with the milk before adding it to the sugar. It turned out fine and tasted like a light butterscotch. For me this was a success. Thanks!

  137. Rayden

    I just attempted this, and it seized as soon as milk hit it, so I ended up with butterscotch candy and butterscotch milk, which are both delicious, but not what I was going for. What did I do wrong?

    1. deb

      Rayden — Keep stirring and heating until the sugar dissolves again. Usually this happens because milk was splashed in too fast, but not always.

  138. Renee

    Been reading your blog with total enthusiasm since I found it, but this is the first time I’ve jumped up and made one of your recipes. I make what my family says is world’s best chocolate pudding a lot, and have been hankering for a butterscotch version, so I was thrilled with the idea… sadly, not with the product it produced. Like others, mine seemed way too bland and milky. Total rarity in my house that we just throw away the extras, but we did it with this (the company was happy with it, and my resident tasters finished theirs, but won’t eat the ones left over)
    Yes, I could ramp up the amount of brown sugar or cooking time of the sugar… but I’m wondering if I just had a different vision of what would make sublime butterscotch pudding? Did yours offer really big, mouthfilling butterscotch flavor? That is what I’m after. Also, had trouble along the way with seizing – would coping with that have reduced the end flavor?

  139. Megan

    I quickly jotted down the recipe because my husband needed the computer. But I wish I had it near me when I was cooking it because I had questions… When I added my brown sugar to the melted butter I set the timer for 2 minutes but after two minutes nothing was bubbling. I was surprised how much more sugar than butter there was and was wondering if I had forgotten to write down the double amount of butter (I was doubling the recipe). So I think I should have cooked the brown sugar with the butter for longer to get it to bubble but I just went ahead and did the next steps. It still tasted good but it also didn’t get thick. I brought it to a simmer/bubbling boil for a full minute. Although we ate it before it was completely cool. I’ve made pudding plenty of times before (like using your vanilla recipe) and this is the first time I’ve had pudding so thin (and yeah, I always eat it before it’s cool).
    Also, I love your site and find it magical. I cringe when I read other sites that seem to imitate yours (although maybe since you’re the first site I’ve gotten into maybe yours isn’t unique but there seems to be a fine line between a great site and a “cringe”-worthy one). I love cooking food from your site!

  140. Ali

    Why are there no eggs?! I had finished the recipe by the time I remembered that pudding usually has eggs… If this doesn’t set, I may never forgive you.

    It’s not off to a promising start: there wasn’t enough melted butter for the brown sugar to “bubble” and it definitely didn’t turn pasty with the cornstarch. Nor did it thicken after simmering for a minute.

  141. Vivian

    While I’ve always consistently excellent results with the recipes from this site, I wanted to add to the vanilla warning for this recipe that I’ve seen in a few other posts. If you’re not using really nice vanilla, I’d probably scale back to half what’s recommended or leave it out entirely. I added the amount of vanilla called for, and with my imitation vanilla extract, it’s too much. There’s a slightly off aftertaste (which I’m hoping will be less apparent after it cools off) even after I tried to cook it out a bit and added a T more butter. My pudding also came out rather pale and straight-up sweet, but I think I was too worried about burning the sugar and didn’t brown it properly to get the nice caramel notes.

  142. Susan

    Hi Deb!

    My amazing boss loves butterscotch pie and I want to reformat this recipe to make a pie with a gram cracker crust. If I make this recipe without eggs will it set or stay like pudding?

    Thank you!

  143. Oh, Deb, how I love thee. One of our local haunts advertised on FB that they added butterscotch pudding to the menu, which made me begin to crave it. Per usual, I thought, I’ll just make some at home (so I know exactly what I’m eating.) Now, normally I would have just made your delicious vanilla pudding and tossed in some butterscotch chips, BUT the only butterscotch chips at the store were Nestle, who I’m currently boycotting for water reasons (I live in Cali) AND they have Palm Oil (and I just saw a VICE news piece on destruction of the Palm Oil forests) AND they have a ton of things in them I don’t want to ingest anyway. That’s the long part of the story.

    So I googled your site on my handy smart phone and *of course* you have a butterscotch pudding recipe. Which I just made and is chilling in the fridge.

    (The first batch turned scary hard in a second because a. the milk was cold and b. I poured it in too fast. After a quick 20 seconds to warm the milk in the microwave + patience, the second attempt looks gorgeous!) So I guess the short post would be – Thanks for another great recipe!

  144. Hi there:

    I made the butterscotch pudding for the first time. It has a dreamy, delicious flavor but has a texture like wallpaper paste. Do you have any idea what I could have done wrong? This was obviously pilot error…

    At the same time, hating to waste things, how can I turn this into ice cream?

    Thank you so much for your generosity of spirit by sharing these wonderful recipes with all of us. I know that we all appreciate you so much.

  145. Imogen

    Hi Deb, I tried these a month or so ago as I’d offered to bring dessert to a friends house as they were doing main dish for lunch! These can be made so quickly without having to leave the apartment as all you need are store cupboard ingredients. It couldn’t have been simpler. They went down a treat, although I did think to myself that they tasted a bit like butterscotch Angel Delight which I used to eat as a child. This isn’t a bad thing, but made it so nostalgic! Thanks again for a foolproof recipe. xx

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  147. Lizzie

    I just made this, and my only complaint is with the cook times. I just don’t think this can be made in 10 minutes, at least in my kitchen. It took at least 10 minutes for my brown sugar to melt and bubble at medium low heat and at least 10-15 minutes for it to return to a summer after adding the milk. It smells, looks, and tastes great so far though!

  148. Pamela

    Hey, Deb-

    What are these WHITE ramekins shown? I love the ridges. Made the pudding, and it did chunk up when I added the milk, but then it turned out great!! Thank you for this and for many other great things I have tried because of you.

    1. deb

      Pamela — They’re the Stockholm ramekins from Crate & Barrel. I think I bought them in 2005, and they’ve only discontinued them in the last year. You might find some on eBay or the like.

  149. Amibeth

    I’ve been on a pudding kick lately. Made the chocolate for my son a couple weeks ago and this butterscotch is chilling in the fridge and my initial taste testing results say I want it to hurry up already! I had no trouble and while my butter/sugar mixture did melt and bubble for a few minutes, resulting in a good butterscotch flavor, I think I could have taken it a bit further. I also threw in half a vanilla bean while the mixture simmered and scraped it into the pudding at the end because my 8 year old son loves seeing the specks. :)

    After the chocolate pudding win, I picked up some of the little juice glasses from IKEA (they are like 5ish is size) which seems to be the perfect serving size (second only to eating it out of a huge bowl by myself). Also your note about the beige Valrhona garnish led me to DL’s instructions on making carmalized white chocolate and a good reason to use up the block of white chocolate I have…. I’m setting up to make some carmalized white chocolate ganache French Macarons and all of my other Sunday plans are getting pushed out. #smittenkitchenmademedoit is going to start becoming more common in my IG feed. :D

  150. Louise

    Dear Deb,

    I absolutely love this pudding – I will be forever grateful to you for introducing me to the flavor of butterscotch. It reminds me so much of my favorite childhood candy (Werther’s Original). I’ve made this pudding a few times now and find it delicious as it is, without any topping! But what I highly recommend trying out is to top this pudding (once it‘s had its time to set in the fridge) with a crème brûlée-style caramelized sugarcrust using white granulated sugar and substituting about 1 cup oft the milk in the recipe with cream. This is also a very inexpensive, but oh so fun way to top your pudding :-)

    Viele Grüße from Berlin, Germany
    – Louise

  151. Monicab

    Made this an hour before a dinner party using creamline milk, it set perfectly and everyone asked for seconds! Topped with cacao nibs. Tastes cue the best memories of childhood and holidays…thank you Deb! (I have never made a pudding from scratch that has turned out until now.)

  152. Sarah

    My son had this recipe at a friend’s birthday and loved it! I’m attempting to make it now, but it is not thickening at all. What do you think went wrong?

  153. Cathy Sweitzer

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ve just made it and it taste much lighter than the boxed kind. Also liked your reference to the “finer” chocolate. Thank you again. I am an avid baker and cook everything from scratch. My favorite cookbooks are America’s test kitchen (all of them) and of course the TV shows. But Im not impressed with the country cooking show or magazines. I also like Mark Bittman recipes. Enjoy.