Butterscotch Pudding


Rich and creamy old fashioned butterscotch pudding, made with butter, brown sugar, cream, milk, and egg yolks.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

You asked for it, you got it. Please welcome guest author Garrett McCord as he shares this outstanding butterscotch pudding recipe. ~Elise

When I was interning at Grange restaurant the most popular dessert item on the menu was the butterscotch pudding. People just loved it, and the second it came off the menu the demand for its return was so high that we would inevitably put it back on.

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Maybe it was a dessert you had to grow up with? Maybe it was a generational thing? Who knows?

Either way, I didn’t get it. What was so darn great about butterscotch? Eventually, I decided to take one of the puddings off the cart and see what the fuss was about.

People, I get it now.

This butterscotch pudding perfectly captures that brown sugar – butter combo that’s so nostalgic and intensely satisfying. While the recipe makes four you’ll be hard pressed not to eat them all yourself. Furthermore, the recipe is easy, affordable, and utilizes very common ingredients.

It’s one of those delightful little recipes that requires no effort, but makes you a dessert god in the eyes of those you serve it to. Serve with freshly whipped cream and – if you want to go the distance – butterscotch cookies.

Butterscotch Pudding Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract


1 Preheat oven, heat water, prepare ramekins: Preheat oven to 325°F and set a kettle of water to boil. Set four ramekins or oven-safe bowls out and a large baking dish.

2 Make butterscotch base with butter, sugar, salt, cream and milk: In a saucepan melt the butter. Once melted add the brown sugar and salt, stir until well combined.

Add the cream and milk to the sugar mixture. Heat until steamy and tiny, pinprick-sized bubbles begin to show around the side of the pot and the ingredients are combined (about 170°F to 180°F). You do not want it to boil or even simmer as this will cause scalding or curdling of the milk. Remove from heat immediately.

3 Temper the egg yolks: Slowly, in a thin stream, pour the heated sugar-dairy mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm mixture, but not cooked by it.

4 Add vanilla and strain mixture through sieve: Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour through a fine mesh sieve to catch any cooked bits of egg.

5 Pour mixture into ramekins, prepare water bath: Ladle the mixture evenly into the ramekins. Place ramekins in a heavy bottomed pan and pour the hot water into the pan until the water rises halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Lightly tent the entire pan (not each individual ramekin) with some vented foil. The foil can simply be crimped on two opposite sides, it shouldn't be airtight.

6 Bake: Bake at 325°F for 45-50 minutes. Be sure to rotate the pan half way through cooking. If you shake them they will have a jell-o-like wobble. It should not ripple or move like a liquid when you shake it. Don't worry as they will set up after they cool. Chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

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Butterscotch pudding, once removed from Michael Procopio

Stove top butterscotch pudding by David Lebovitz

Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord is a professional writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in many print and online publications such as Gourmet Live, Saveur, Huffington Post, Smithsonian, and NPR. Past clients also include numerous food companies, wineries, and distilleries. Garrett writes about cocktails on his website, Coupe de Grace.

More from Garrett

46 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Baker

    Flavor is good but doesn’t set up. I’m an experienced cook with lots of experience (have worked as a pastry cook in a high volume restaurant) and this recipe misses the mark. I followed the directions exactly and it never got past liquidy, even with an additional 25 minutes in the oven. I guess we’ll drink it for dessert? Frustrating.


  2. clutchngrab

    I have a sous vide and would like to combine this recipe with the chef steps version which uses extract. Their recipe uses 8oz mason jars filled with 5oz of mixture set in the water bath at 176 for 1 hour. Then chilled similarly. Does this sound about right?

  3. Sarah

    I love every recipe I’ve tried from Simply Recipies. This one however sadly did not work for me. I followed the directions and my pudding seemed to separate into a liquid bottom and a very loose pudding on top. I’m so sad!!

  4. Jess

    Do you take it out of the water bath immediately or is it okay for it to cool down in the water bath?

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Lauren

    I haven’t made this yet, but I wanted to throw something out there for those having trouble with their pudding separating: I often make a custard in a bain marie. Although the original recipe says (as all bain marie recipes do) that the water should go halfway up the sides of the bowl, I find that the texture of the pudding changes considerably at the water line – creamier below, denser above. As a result I now set the custard bowl in water up to the level of the custard. Yes it takes ages to bake, but it’s worth it!

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