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!
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.
What You Need To Make This Italian Butterscotch Pudding Recipe
- Light brown sugar – packed
- Half and half – or light whipping cream
- Egg yolks – not the whites
- Butter – for richness and a glossy finish
- Rum – or bourbon (both optional)
- Vanilla extract
- Optional garnishes – thick homemade caramel sauce and course sea salt
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
And there you have it – a delicious, luxurious, utterly irresistible dessert treat that’s ready to devour in less than 30 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely you can. Simply omit from the recipe for a booze-free butterscotch pudding.
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.
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.
Looking for More Decadent Dessert Recipes?
- Best Homemade Chocolate Pudding
- Chocolate Pots de Creme with Espresso Whipped Cream
- Best No-Bake Chocolate Lasagna Recipe
- Creamy Lavender Flan Recipe
- Layered Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake
Italian Butterscotch Pudding Recipe (Budino)
- 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
- 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.
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I made this and put swiss meringue on top (to use the egg whites) and it was so good! Would definitely make again. Thanks!
Hi! Can I make this with just milk or does it have to have heavy cream as well? Looks amazing!
You can make this with just milk, but the texture won’t be quite as thick and decadent. :)
Oh my goodness, this is such an amazing dessert! I can’t wait to give this a try! YUM!
I absolutely love butterscotch, especially when you add caramel & salt!! What a delicious treat!!
this pudding is soooo good! I love it so much!