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Bourbon butterscotch pudding: A childhood favorite with a grown up twist

Once you taste this butterscotch pudding, you'll never go back to the cardboard box version

Pudding doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. Sadly, it’s gotten a somewhat boring reputation from the instant varieties that are so popular. Whole sections of the baking aisle are dedicated to these little boxes, ranging in flavor from Candy Cane to Pistachio. And sure, it’s understandable. Add a little milk, and bam — instant mediocrity. But if you’ve ever had real homemade pudding, you know what an offense to dessert those little boxes are. Made with just a few simple pantry ingredients, homemade pudding is a silky, creamy, decadent indulgence. And when that homemade pudding is of the bourbon butterscotch variety — a rich and warming, flavorfully old-fashioned delight to the senses — you’ll never again reach for one of those little cardboard boxes.

This pudding recipe is sinfully delicious. It combines an innocently wonderful flavor of childhood with the deeply sophisticated and spicy warmth of bourbon.

Bourbon butterscotch pudding

Sally's Baking Addiction

(From Sally’s Baking Addiction)


  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon


  1. Whisk the milk and cream together, set aside.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch together, set that aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, whisk the brown sugar, water, and salt together over medium heat. Without stirring, allow to bubble it darkens in color, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Carefully whisk in the milk mixture. Cook on medium heat until it begins to boil. Once boiling, remove about 1/2 cup of the mixture and, in a slow and steady stream, whisk into the egg yolks. Keep those egg yolks moving so they don’t scramble. In a slow and steady stream, pour and whisk the egg yolk mixture into the pot.
  5. Turn the heat to low. Whisk and cook an additional minute, then remove from heat.
  6. Stir in the butter until completely smooth, then add the vanilla and bourbon.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes, then pour into serving glasses. Cover tightly with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate for 4-6 hours, or overnight until chilled and thickened.

Bourbon butterscotch pudding tips and tricks

  • Dark brown sugar contains more molasses — the ingredient that makes brown sugar brown — than light. Because of this, it is richer and deeper in flavor, which is perfect for butterscotch. You can use light brown in a pinch, but dark brown will give you a much better result.
  • Tempering egg yolks is a very easy, but very important step for many dishes. It’s done by adding a bit of the hot liquid you’re cooking to the eggs first, instead of adding the eggs directly to the pot. This allows the eggs to be slowly heated and properly mixed so they don’t scramble when added.
  • You’re probably familiar with what some like to call “pudding skins”— the flabby film that forms on top of cooled puddings. To prevent this, when refrigerating, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding.
  • Pudding, especially this recipe, is delicious on its own. But feel free to garnish and serve with anything you desire, from whipped cream to flavored syrups to fruits and nuts.
Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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