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Zingerman’s Roadhouse Butterscotch Pudding Recipe

A glass full of creamy butterscotch pudding and a spoonful being lifted out.

The proof (that you really CAN taste the difference) is in the pudding

The Big Deal About This Dessert—Pudding It In Your Own Words

If we held a Roadhouse dessert popularity contest, our butterscotch pudding would easily win it—spoons down. But you don’t need to just take our word for it! One Roadhouse regular drives over two hours to get their hands on this pudding and Billie, another guest declares, “Butterscotch pudding is LIFE!” Roadies regularly overhear oohs and aahs and exclamations, so we know Roadhouse guest Nikki isn’t alone in her sentiment: “The butterscotch pudding is a top 5 dessert of all time for me.” You might not be surprised to learn that many years ago it was an occasional dessert special—consistent customer clamoring turned it into a permanent addition! In fact, despite our Roadies’ best efforts, sometimes we run out of butterscotch pudding because it’s so sought after by Roadhouse diners.

It’s What’s Inside That Counts

As is always the case with our dishes, high-quality ingredients are what make our butterscotch pudding so special. Zingerman’s co-founder Ari Weinzeig says, 

I don’t really eat much in the way of sweets, but I surely do love this. And so do loads of other regular customers. Made with butter, cream, and a lot of naturally made, dark muscovado sugar (the same stuff that goes into our Bakehouse pecan pie and Roadhouse donuts). Served sprinkled with a pinch of what the French call fleur de sel, it’s really something special!

That unrefined dark muscovado sugar from Mauritius (an island off the coast of Africa) gives the pudding that deep caramel flavor. The cream comes from our friends at Calder Family Dairy in Carleton, Michigan and the flavorful cultured butter is from Vermont Creamery.

Sometimes it’s about what’s not inside, too. Our butterscotch pudding is naturally gluten-free! It’s just one of the Roadhouse’s many gluten-free menu options! As former Roadhouse chef and current co-managing partner of Zingerman’s Cornman Farms Kieron Hales shares, 

We needed a dessert that was completely gluten-free that people would love. This was early in my time at the Roadhouse, and I presented several gluten-free desserts. We had that amazing muscovado brown sugar and it just sang through. It was an ingredient that sang from the rooftops. It was the cheerleader in the dish, and we fell in love with it.

Looking to elevate your meal’s end even further? Pair your pudding! Bar manager Felipe Diaz recommends pairing it with a glass of New York Madeira or a Roadhouse Kentucky Bedwarmer cocktail, saying, “The spice and the citrus counter the sweetness, and the bourbon picks up the caramel notes of the butterscotch.”

By now, you likely have a hankering for a little butterscotch pudding to call your own. Good news! You can now whip up a batch whenever the urge strikes because we’re sharing our recipe:

Zingerman’s Roadhouse Butterscotch Pudding Recipe

1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons salted butter
1 ½ cups dark Muscovado sugar
2 ½ cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
¼ cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Pinch of fleur de sel or flake salt for garnish (optional)

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add heavy cream and vanilla. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
  2. While the cream is heating, in another medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, stir in the sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is bubbling all over and appears smooth, about 10 to 15 minutes. It should reach 285ºF.
  3. Carefully add the warm cream (the mixture will bubble and steam) and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the cream is fully incorporated and the mixture returns to a simmer, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. In a large metal bowl, whisk together the milk, yolks, cornstarch, and kosher salt.
  5. Temper the milk and egg mixture by whisking in 1 cup of the hot sugar mixture, then slowly add this mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly.
  6. Cook the pudding, whisking constantly, for 10 minutes, or until it thickens. It should reach 193ºF.
  7. Pour the pudding into a heatproof bowl (or individual dishes), cover with a layer of plastic wrap, and refrigerate until fully chilled, an hour or two depending on the size of your container. (If you’re a pudding skin fan, you know who you are, skip the plastic wrap.)
  8. Serve as is, or with a sprinkle of salt.

Whether you whip (and whisk) up a batch at home in your kitchen or you want to pull up a stool at the chef’s counter in our kitchen, we hope a sweet, salty spoonful of butterscotch pudding is in your future.
Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth even more, and in a full-flavored way, of course? Check out our full dessert menu!