Budino Recipe

With Caramel Butterscotch Sauce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Chill: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 9
Yield: 9 ramekins
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
778 Calories
42g Fat
90g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 9
Amount per serving
Calories 778
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 42g 53%
Saturated Fat 25g 124%
Cholesterol 170mg 57%
Sodium 563mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 90g 33%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Total Sugars 75g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 248mg 19%
Iron 7mg 38%
Potassium 509mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A heavenly dessert that does not garner enough attention, budino is the silky, smooth pudding we crave most nights. This specialty treat may take a little more time to prepare, but is well worth the effort. Whether you want to impress guests at a dinner party or simply looking to brighten the weeknight dinner line-up, budino is your answer.

We top this recipe with a spoon-licking caramel butterscotch sauce that balances some of the more bitter notes of chocolate with salty-sweet flavor. If you don't have enough time on your hands or simply wish to skip this step, you can use a store-bought caramel or butterscotch, but we insist this is something you'll want to try down the line.

What is Budino?

Literally translated to “pudding” in Italian, Budino is a blanket term nowadays used in the past to describe only savory puddings. Somewhere along the march to modern day the term changed its meaning and washed over Italy’s sweet custards and America’s sometimes too-sweet puddings.

Today Budino encompasses a large swath of puddings that find themselves on bistro, fine-dining, Italian, and (lets-face-it) ALL menus around the world. Budino is a delicious testament to the arguments that texture trumps almost anything else when designing a beautiful dessert. And, lucky for us, the texture of the creamiest, most perfect Budino, is something easily replicated at home! Serve these tiny personal desserts in individual cups, preferably in clear rocks glasses to showcase the layers.


Chocolate Budino

  • 4 large (220g) eggs

  • 2 cups (340g) high-quality milk or dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

  • 2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar

  • 1/3 cup (42g) cornstarch

  • 5 cups (1200g) milk, separated

  • 3/4 cup (80g) cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Caramel Butterscotch Sauce

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

  • 2 teaspoons bourbon

Steps to Make It

Make the Budino

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Whisk together the eggs in a medium bowl. Place the chocolate in a large bowl.

  3. Whisk to combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of the milk to the mixture, then whisk together to form a slurry.

  4. Add the remaining milk, cocoa powder, and salt to a medium pot and bring to a boil.

  5. Pour a small ladle of the hot milk mixture into the beaten eggs a little at a time to temper, whisking constantly. Pour the warmed egg mixture back into the pot.

  6. Bring the mixture in the pot back to a boil for 2 minutes, whisking vigorously. Pour over the chocolate, then let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk to combine until the chocolate mixture is smooth.

  7. Portion the chocolate mixture into 9 ramekins or cups, placing plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool in the fridge for 3 hours.

Make the Butterscotch Sauce & Serve

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the sugar and water in a medium pot or saucepan, swirling to coat the sugar (should look like wet sand). Cook over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally to dissolve the sugar, until the sugar turns a dark amber color, about 10 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, microwave the heavy cream in a small heatproof bowl until warmed, about 30 seconds.

  4. Once the sugar in the pot reaches the desired color, add the butter, stirring, until melted, then slowly add the heavy cream a little at a time (be careful as the mixture will bubble over).

  5. Once all the cream is combined, add the dark brown sugar, salt, vanilla, and bourbon. Boil for 2 minutes before pouring into a dish to cool. Place plastic wrap on the surface and allow to cool in the fridge for a few hours.

  6. Once ready to serve, spoon the caramel butterscotch sauce over the budino and top with more flaky sea salt, if desired.


You can store leftovers in a tightly-sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Allow to cool completely before covering tightly with plastic and refrigerating.

Recipe Tip

Make sure to cook out your cornstarch! Cornstarch is a thickener that requires thorough cooking. Once your pudding comes to a full boil, stir vigorously for 2 minutes with the heat still medium. As long as there are bubbles still going you should be good. A smooth Budino relies on this step.

Recipe Variations

  • You can omit the alcohol in the butterscotch, if desired.
  • You can top the finished budino with everything from crushed cookies to chocolate chips to toasted coconut.
  • Add a little spice to the budino or butterscotch, like cinnamon, cardamom, or even lavender.

Working with Caramel

  • Choose a pot that is NOT nonstick. Nonstick pots make it hard to see where your caramel is at in terms of color, and conducts heat in a way that is hard to control.
  • Choose a pot that doesn’t have a double bottom, or thick bottom. Pots like this conduct heat well on the bottom but do not bring the heat up the sides, making it nearly impossible to make a caramel without crystallizing. 
  • HEAT YOUR CREAM. I do it in the microwave, but heating your cream before adding it to your caramel is a critical step. This ensures your sugar will not seize up or clump with the addition of a cold liquid.
  • When you think your caramel is a nice color, cook it further. A deep dark color of sugar will result in a deep, flavorful caramel. Adding the cream too early will result in a sweet caramel that lacks depth.

What is the difference between budino and pudding?

First and foremost, budino means pudding in Italian, so they are close relatives if not the same. American pudding is simply a combination of sugar, milk, and a thickening agent; whereas, budino is thickened with eggs. Budino offers a more firm, silky texture, while pudding can be more fluid.

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