If you’re looking for a great make-ahead dessert to serve for company, this Butterscotch Budino is a total showstopper in both taste and presentation. 

How budino is not more popular and well known is one of my many questions about life. It is one of the most heavenly desserts I’ve ever had, and this dessert hits spots I didn’t even know could be hit.

Budino - in Two Glasses with Butterscotch Sauce and Dollop of Cream

My first time tasting it was at a restaurant in Minneapolis, where they did a straight rendition of Nancy Silverton’s Butterscotch Budino. Even despite all the hype from my friends about how good it would be, I couldn’t believe how spectacular it was.

When I got home I put the Butterscotch Budino on my “to-make list” and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this dessert is to prepare. It’s altered ever so slightly from Nancy’s original, and also halved, because having a full batch around gets me into too much trouble, haha.

Because this dessert can be made in advance, and arguably has to be since it’s best served chilled, I made it for a dinner party, since I always like to have dessert made ahead for entertaining. It was a wild success! This recipe is so perfect for company.

What is Budino?

If you’ve never tried it before, it’s basically a fancy pudding. Served chilled, it’s sweet and creamy, and the butterscotch gives it a complex flavor that pairs so nicely with the sweet dairy.

Butterscotch Budino - in Two Glasses with Dollop of Cream

The most important part is to watch the caramel very closely at the end, because it can go from perfect to burned very quickly.

How to Make Butterscotch Budino:

Start by combining brown sugar, salt, and water in a saucepan:

Brown Sugar, Water, and Salt in Saucepan

Cook this mixture until it’s really dark and almost smoking, but not burned:

Simmering Butterscotch Mixture in Saucepan

Add heavy cream and milk to stop the cooking:

Cream Added to Saucepan

Heat it up again until the cream and milk combine with the caramel.

Next, whisk together some eggs and cornstarch:

Whisked and Frothy Egg Yolk Mixture in Bowl

Temper the caramel with the egg mixture, then bring the custard back to a boil, until the custard thickens:

Budino Dessert Mixture in Saucepan with Whisk

Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer just in case there are any lumps:

Straining the Budino Recipe Batch through a Fine Mesh Strainer

Portion the custard into glasses:

Spooning the Pudding Into Glasses

Chill for three hours, then top the budinos with homemade caramel sauce and whipped cream:

Two Butterscotch Budino Glasses with Dollops of Cream

For more make-ahead desserts, I also love Tiramisu and Brown Butter Blondies. Enjoy!

Budino in Two Glasses with Butterscotch Sauce and Dollop of Cream

Butterscotch Budino

If you're looking for a great make-ahead dessert to serve for company, this Butterscotch Budino is a total showstopper in both taste and presentation.

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  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoons dark rum
  • caramel sauce
  • whipped cream for serving


  • Combine the brown sugar, water, and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan, and place the pan over medium high heat. Cook until the caramel is very dark, and almost smoking, which should take about 10 minutes.
  • Standing back with caution, add the cream and milk to the caramel. This will probably make the mixture seize up at first, but if you keep whisking and let it heat back up, it will combine. Bring this mixture back up to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, and cornstarch.
  • Now we’re going to temper the caramel mixture into the eggs by adding a cup of caramel to the eggs, whisking constantly, then pouring the egg mixture back into the pan.
  • Increase the heat to bring this mixture to a boil, and keep whisking as the custard thickens from the cornstarch, which should take about two minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and rum.
  • Strain the custard through a fine strainer to remove any big lumps that might have formed, and portion the custard into ramekins.
  • Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and chill the custard for at least 3 hours. It's best around 6-8 hours ahead, or even made a day ahead.
  • To serve, pour on a thin layer of caramel sauce, then add a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!


 Recipe adapted from Nancy Silverton.


Calories: 560kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 44g, Saturated Fat: 26g, Cholesterol: 281mg, Sodium: 320mg, Sugar: 32g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Post updated with re-edited images, writing, and tips in July 2018. Originally posted July 2014.