Butterscotch Budino Recipe with Salted Caramel

This Butterscotch Budino recipe, topped with a delicious salted caramel sauce, is like a pudding cup for grown ups. It’s a rich and creamy indulgent treat that’s not overly sweet.

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I’m going to come right out and say it – I’m not a chocolate fan. On any given day I’ll surely take a scoop of vanilla ice cream over some chocolately chunk creation. I’d say that at least 10% of the population agrees with me on this one, but we’re definitely in the minority.

But today, I’m sharing with you a recipe that is guaranteed to knock the socks off even die hard chocolate lovers.

This luscious pudding has an amazing velvety texture and the most insanely delicious flavor!

What is budino?

Budino is basically a fancy word for pudding. It’s an Italian custard with a thick and creamy texture.

I first learned about budino in a cooking class that I took at Dobbes Estate Winery. We made a chocolate hazelnut budino with fresh whipped cream. And, while it was amazing, this non-chocolate fan was dying to try it in a different way.

Enter butterscotch and bourbon… and just because we can, some salted caramel for good measure.

I’ve talked about my salted caramel sauce before, and my husband’s obsession with it. It’s easy and quick to make (just 15 minutes) and it’s the most buttery, yummy caramel sauce that you’ve ever tasted.

And, just like the salted caramel sauce, the custard for these butterscotch budinos is simple to make.

The most time consuming part is waiting for it to chill after the cooking process. The chill time will take at least 4 hours.

If you sample the custard on its own, you may be surprised when you’re cooking up the custard that it really doesn’t seem too sweet. It’s got a mild flavor, with just a hint of sweetness, that makes it easy to eat spoonful after spoonful.

It’s that salted caramel sauce on the top gives it an extra oomph and makes it just so yummy without being a major sugar bomb. It’s just the right balance of sweet, creamy and salty that makes it overly simple to say “yes” to seconds.

Salted caramel sauce in small weck jar.

Ingredients needed

  • Heavy Cream & Milk
  • Eggs
  • Brown sugar 
  • Butter
  • Bourbon – This is optional. You can omit the alcohol if you’d like. Or, swap it out for some dark rum or whiskey.
  • Cornstarch
  • Kosher Salt & Flaky Sea Salt
  • Chopped Pistachios – For topping. You can also use hazelnuts, almonds, etc.
  • Salted Caramel Sauce – You’ll need sugar, butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt.

How to make it

  • Combine the cream and milk in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together egg, egg yolks and cornstarch in a medium bowl. 
  • In a large heavy-bottomed pot, combine the brown sugar, water and salt over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high and allow to boil without stirring, until it bubbles and turns thick and dark amber, about 7 minutes. 
  • Add in cream mixture and whisk to combine and dissolve any sugary bits. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. 
  • Whisk half of this hot caramel mixture into the egg mixture. Return mixture to pot and whisk to combine until custard boils and thickens, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in butter and bourbon.
  • Pour the custard into ten 6-ounce ramekins, cups or jars. Chill until cold, about 4 hours.

How to make the salted caramel sauce

  • Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add in the sugar and stir until it’s liquefied and turns an amber color.
  • To that, you’ll add in some butter. Be careful, because it will bubble up. Just keep on stirring and things will settle down a bit.
  • Then, add in the heavy cream, let it heat through for just a minute longer.
  • Finish it off with a sprinkling of sea salt and a splash of vanilla.

How to serve

  • Spoon caramel sauce over each budino.
  • Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and coarse sea salt, if desired.
  • These butterscotch budinos are also topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
Side view of three jars of butterscotch budino topped with pistachios and salted caramel.

Can you make butterscotch budino ahead of time?

Yes! You can make the budino up to three days ahead of time. I like to divide the custard among some small serving jars, and place them in the fridge. They’re almost like a fancy pudding cup.

The salted caramel sauce can be made ahead of time as well, even up to a week beforehand. When you’re ready to serve, simply heat up the caramel, drizzle a bit over each budino and top them with a sprinkling of pistachios.

Recipe FAQs

Where did budino originate?

Budino originated in Italy.

What’s the difference between budino and pudding?

While both are custard like desserts, pudding is typically thickened with cornstarch or gelatin. Budino is thickened primarily with eggs.

What’s the difference between butterscotch and salted caramel?

Butterscotch is made using brown sugar and butter. Salted caramel is made using white sugar, butter, heavy cream, salt and vanilla.

How do you pronounce budino?

It is pronounced boo/DEE/noh.

Wine pairings

  • Tawny Port is one of my favorite wine pairings for creamy, custard dishes – It’s hints of caramel and slight nuttiness pair nicely with the flavors in this butterscotch budino.
Four jars of butterscotch budino topped with salted caramel and pistachios.

More salted caramel recipes

Did you try this butterscotch budino recipe?

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Note: For the jars I used, click here.

One jar of butterscotch budino topped with salted caramel.

Butterscotch Budino

This Butterscotch Budino with Salted Caramel is like a pudding cup for grown ups. It's a rich and creamy indulgent treat that's not overly sweet.
5 from 22 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 4 hours
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 10



  • Combine heavy cream and milk in a large bowl. Whisk together egg, egg yolks and cornstarch in a medium bowl. 
  • In a large pot set over medium-low heat stir together brown sugar, water and salt until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and allow to boil without stirring, until the mixture turns thick and dark amber in color, occasionally scraping the sides of the pot with a rubber spatula, about 7 minutes. 
  • Immediately add in cream mixture and whisk to combine and dissolve sugary bits. Bring mixture to a boil, watching pot carefully to avoid boiling over, then reduce heat to medium. 
  • Whisk half of this hot caramel mixture into the egg mixture. Return mixture to pot and whisk to combine until custard boils and thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and bourbon.
  • Divide custard among ten 6-ounce glasses or cups. Chill uncovered until cold, about 4 hours.
  • Spoon 1 tablespoon caramel sauce over each budino and top with a sprinkling of chopped pistachios and sea salt. Enjoy!


The jars I used are available here.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 191mg | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 143mg | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 1390IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 0.4mg

This salted caramel butterscotch pudding post was originally published in 2019. It was updated in 2023 to add new content. The original budino dessert recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

35 thoughts on “Butterscotch Budino Recipe with Salted Caramel”

  1. OMG!!! These look so darn dreamy! And Budino? Custard? Either way I’d go to the gym every day for 2 hours in exchange for one of these every evening 🙂

  2. I am super excited to make these! I am going to be making these for potential clients of mine to try and wow them! Maybe sweeten them up a bit 😉 Wish me luck
    Is there a certain bourbon you suggest or like to use for these?

    • Good luck!!! These Butterscotch Budinos are sure to win anyone over! I would go ahead and use any bourbon – Since the amount used is so small, the brand won’t make much of a difference.

  3. Looks great! Is it fine to top with carmel and them refrigerate for a few hours or should I wait till just before serving?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Jessica – I’ve prepared these ahead of time, with the caramel on top, and placed them in the fridge and they were just fine that way. It shouldn’t be a problem at all! Enjoy!

  4. Hi there-
    Would these work as a make ahead dessert? I’m looking for something that will last 24 hours in fridge before I can serve it.

  5. 5 stars
    Made this for our Christmas dessert and it was such a huge hit! I make it for every special occasion now at the request of my family. I also bought the tulip jars you recommended for serving and they’re such a lovely detail.

  6. 5 stars
    These were such a treat! I was a little intimidated at first but it was actually quite simple. They turned out perfect, totally crowd-pleasing for my dinner party, added such a touch of culinary class to the end of our meal. I think I’ll add a touch more bourbon next time to play w it! I’ll be making minis for our neighborhood holiday party this weekend


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