Chocolate Budino Recipe

With Caramel Butterscotch Sauce

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 18 mins
Chill: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 43 mins
Servings: 9 servings
Yield: 9 ramekins
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
658 Calories
29g Fat
89g Carbs
11g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 9
Amount per serving
Calories 658
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 17g 83%
Cholesterol 130mg 43%
Sodium 530mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 89g 32%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Total Sugars 74g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 225mg 17%
Iron 7mg 38%
Potassium 475mg 10%
*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.

"The chocolate budino (pudding) was thick and rich, and the caramel was amazing. I made the caramel butterscotch a few times, and it was great with the bourbon and just as good with extra vanilla replacing the bourbon. Next time I'm going to add a cookie crumb crust." —Diana Rattray

chocolate budino with butterscotch caramel
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Chocolate Budino

Caramel Butterscotch Sauce

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 2/3 cups heavy cream

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more for topping, if desired

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

  • 1 tablespoon 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 to 2 tablespoons of the milk to the mixture, then whisk together to form a slurry. Whisk the slurry into the eggs until well blended; set aside.

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

  5. Pour a 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 the pudding mixture through a mesh sieve over the chocolate, then let stand for 5 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). Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and cook, swirling the pan occasionally to dissolve the sugar, until the sugar turns a dark amber color, 8 to 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, lower the heat to low and add the butter, stirring, until melted. Slowly add the heavy cream a little at a time, stirring constantly (be careful as the mixture will bubble over), until fully added.

  5. Once all the cream is combined, add the dark brown sugar, salt, vanilla, and bourbon. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, stirring for 30 seconds.

  6. Pour the caramel into a heatproof bowl and place plastic wrap on the surface. Allow to cool in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

  7. Once ready to serve, spoon the caramel butterscotch sauce over the chocolate 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, or replace the 2 teaspoons of bourbon with an extra teaspoon of vanilla.
  • 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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