A Spicy Perspective

Italian Butterscotch Pudding (Budino)

Butterscotch Budino – This classic Italian dessert recipe makes a delightfully thick, creamy, and sweet butterscotch pudding in under 30 minutes. Add a layer of salted caramel for an extra decadent treat!

jars filled with homemade butterscotch pudding topped with caramel and sea salt

We have a local wine bar that used to serve an amazing Butterscotch Budino. Since they no longer offer it on their menu, I decided it was time to make my own.

This Italian-inspired version is a thick, creamy butterscotch pudding recipe. It’s covered with a layer of salted caramel for extra kicks and giggles.

What is Budino?

It’s the Italian word for pudding. Most budinos rely on eggs for thickening, instead of cornstarch (like American puddings). However, since this recipe starts with a thin butterscotch base, we added both eggs and cornstarch to thicken it properly.

Butterscotch vs Caramel

If you’ve ever wondered “what is butterscotch?” you are not alone! I have made traditional American-style butterscotch pudding countless times, but only recently realized I wasn’t entirely sure what it is.

Butterscotch is sort of a lighter version of caramel, started with brown sugar so it doesn’t have to cook and “caramelize” as long as true caramel (which is made from white granulated sugar). Also, it should be stated there is no scotch whisky in butterscotch. You can add booze like we did… scotch, bourbon, or rum, but it’s an add-on and not a requirement for the recipe.

Can’t choose which you like more? Lucky for you, we use both butterscotch AND caramel in this decadent dessert recipe. Butterscotch in the pudding and thick caramel on top.

top view jars topped with caramel and sea salt

What You Need To Make This Italian Butterscotch Pudding Recipe

  • Light brown sugar – packed
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Half and half – or light whipping cream
  • Egg yolks – not the whites
  • Cornstarch
  • Butter – for richness and a glossy finish
  • Rum or bourbon (both optional)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Optional garnishesthick homemade caramel sauce and course sea salt
spoon scooping butterscotch pudding from a jar

How to Make Italian Butterscotch Pudding (Budino)

First, set a large saucepot over medium-low heat. Combine the brown sugar, water, and salt in the pot. Swirl the pot (don’t stir) and heat until boiling.

Cook for 5-6 minutes, until a rich brown color is formed. Immediately turn off the heat and set it aside to cool.

large pot with water and sugar simmering

While the sugar is cooling, set out a mixing bowl. Mix the half and half, egg yolks, and cornstarch. Whisk well until smooth.

Add the dairy mixture to the slightly cooled sugar, whisking continually. The sugar will seize up at first, but will meltdown as it cooks.

whisking egg yolks and half and half into the mixture

Place the pot back over medium-low heat. Continue to whisk as the mixture becomes smooth and then thickens into a firm pudding consistency.  

Remove from heat. Stir in the butter, rum (if using), and vanilla extract at the end.

whisking as the mixture thickens

Then set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the budino into the strainer. Use a spatula to push it through. This helps remove any potential clump of egg or cornstarch so the budino is nice and smooth.

Get the Complete (Printable) Homemade Butterscotch Pudding Recipe + VIDEO Below. Enjoy!

Pour (or scoop) the budino into ½ cup ramekins or serving jars.

glass jars with budino

Allow the homemade butterscotch pudding to cool slightly, then top with thick caramel sauce and sea salt (if desired.)

Trust me, you will want this add-on.

top side view several glass jars with homemade butterscotch budino topped with caramel and salt

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

side view several glass jars filled with caramel and butterscotch pudding

And there you have it – a delicious, luxurious, utterly irresistible dessert treat that’s ready to devour in less than 30 minutes.

Buon appetito!

spoon scooping budino with butterscotch and salted caramel topping

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this homemade butterscotch pudding recipe without alcohol?

Absolutely you can. Simply omit from the recipe for a booze-free butterscotch pudding.

What other toppings can I add to the budino?

Feel free to add all kinds of extra goodies on top of the puddings! Try chopped candied walnuts or pecans, crushed cookies, or mini chocolate chips for some great texture.

How long with butterscotch pudding keep?

They will last for up to a week stored in the refrigerator. Allow them to cool completely. Then make sure to cover the tops tightly with plastic before refrigerating.

jar with scoop removed

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Italian Butterscotch Pudding Recipe (Budino)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
A classic Italian budino recipe for delightfully thick, creamy and sweet homemade butterscotch pudding in under 30 minutes. Add a layer of salted caramel for an extra decadent dessert!
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups half and half 2 cups milk + 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoon dark rum or bourbon optional
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Optional Garnishes: thick caramel sauce, course sea salt

Instructions

  • Set a large saucepot over medium-low heat. Combine the brown sugar, water, and salt in the pot. Swirl the pot (don’t stir) and heat until boiling. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until a rich brown color is formed. Turn off the heat.
  • While the sugar is cooling, set out a mixing bowl. Mix the half and half, egg yolks, and cornstarch. Whisk well until smooth.
  • Add the dairy mixture to the slightly cooled sugar, whisking continually. The sugar will seize up at first, but will melt down as it cooks.
  • Place the pot back over medium-low heat. Continue to whisk as the mixture becomes smooth and then thickens into firm pudding consistency.
  • Remove from heat. Stir in the butter, rum, and vanilla extract. Then set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the budino into the strainer. Use a spatula to push it through, if needed.
  • Pour (or scoop) the budino into ½ cup ramekins or serving jars. Allow them to cool slightly, then top with thick caramel sauce and sea salt (if desired.) Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Video

Notes

The alcohol is completely optional, to add a little oomph. Feel free to skip it entirely, or use bourbon-flavored vanilla extract instead.
Leftovers will keep well for up to a week stored covered in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 326kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 171mg, Sodium: 344mg, Potassium: 171mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 708IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 138mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert, Holiday
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Sommer Collier

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3 comments on “Italian Butterscotch Pudding (Budino)”

  1. Oh my goodness, this is such an amazing dessert! I can’t wait to give this a try! YUM!

  2. I absolutely love butterscotch, especially when you add caramel & salt!! What a delicious treat!!

  3. this pudding is soooo good! I love it so much!