A classic and timeless dessert, butterscotch pie, is made with a rich, buttery custard, delicate flaky crust and sweet meringue. Every blissful bite of this decadent homemade pie is creamy, sweet and a must-have for any fall gathering!
Creamy, sweet and perfectly wonderful, butterscotch pie is comforting, classic and may evoke memories of days gone by with its old-fashioned name! This beloved homemade pie recipe is timeless for a reason, though!
The butterscotch custard filling is sweet and complex, the pie crust is buttery and flaky and the meringue on top is light and fluffy. Each bite is a culinary delight!
The taste may remind you of salted caramel with a more elevated deep butter taste. While it’s perfectly fine to make this year round, it would be the perfect pie to make for Thanksgiving or any fall get together!
Table of Contents
Why You Will Love This Classic Pie
- No pudding mix: The filling may remind you of instant butterscotch pudding or a pudding cup, but it is a 100% homemade butterscotch pudding pie!
- From scratch: From the homemade pie crust to the filling to the fluffy meringue, it’s worth the extra effort to prepare this old fashioned pie from scratch!
- Buttery flavor: Hints of caramel, butter and molasses give the butterscotch custard its signature rich taste that is like none other!
- A classic dessert: Creamy butterscotch meringue pie is the perfect harmony of sweetness, sophistication and old fashioned comfort!
Ingredients for Butterscotch Pie
- Pie crust: I love to use my homemade pie dough for the best flaky pie crust but a store bought crust works well, too. Just be sure to blind bake the crust before adding the creamy filling.
- Unsalted butter: Adds the buttery taste to the butterscotch. Use a good quality butter for the best rich taste.
- Light brown sugar: Light brown sugar will give your pie a mild butterscotch flavor. If you like a more deep butterscotch flavor with more molasses taste, use dark brown sugar or a combination of the two.
- Milk: Whole milk is best for a creamy custard filling, but 2% milk works great, too. You will scald some of the milk for the butterscotch and need cold milk to make a paste for thickening purposes.
- All-purpose flour: This helps bring the filling together.
- Egg yolks: Egg yolks are needed for binding the filling together.
- Pure vanilla extract: To add another layer of rich flavor to the butterscotch pudding filling.
- Meringue: For the meringue you will need 2 egg whites, granulated sugar and cream of tartar.
How to Make Butterscotch Pie
To start, blind bake your pie crust and then cool completely.
Make the butterscotch filling by first scalding 2 cups of the milk. Add milk to a medium to large pot and heat it over medium heat until right before it boils.
Next, make the butterscotch sauce. Add butter and brown sugar to a medium saucepan and over low heat stir until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has completely melted, add the scalded milk, stirring to combine.
In another bowl, add the flour, egg yolks and cold milk. Stir together to achieve a smooth paste. Add your flour mixture into the brown sugar mixture on the stove and stir constantly for 5-10 minutes over low heat until your butterscotch pie filling has thickened.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
To make the meringue topping, using a clean bowl and either a hand mixer or stand mixture, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together until soft stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, one Tablespoon at a time beating on high speed until the sugar has completely dissolved and stiff glossy peaks are achieved.
To put it all together, pour the creamy butterscotch pie filling into the cooled crust and place meringue on top of the pie. Make swirls with the back of a spoon if desired.
Bake butterscotch pie until the meringue is golden brown. Cool completely before serving or chill if desired.
- Other crust: Use a graham cracker crust or make a Biscoff cookie crust.
- Topping: Instead of meringue, use homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip.
- Garnish: Add some chopped roasted cashews for a salty sweet taste and crunchy texture.
- Flavored meringue: To make an orange meringue, add up to 2 teaspoons of orange extract to the meringue. For a vanilla meringue, I would recommend using clear vanilla extract up to one teaspoon.
Butterscotch Pie Recipe Tips
- Pie dish size: An 8 inch pie pan or springform pie pan both work as well as a deep dish pie pan. The main thing is to pick a pan that allows you to fill it all the way to the top with the butterscotch filling.
- Stir butterscotch filling often: Otherwise you risk bits of burnt butterscotch in your pie.
- Prevent a soggy pie crust: Blind baking ensures that the pie crust holds up to the creamy filling. To blind bake a pie crust, prick the bottom with a fork then cover with parchment paper. Add dried beans or pie weights and bake for 20 minutes.
- Separating eggs while cold: This helps decrease the chance of getting yolk into the egg whites.
- Tips for fluffy meringue: Allow eggs to come to room temperature before whisking and ensure there is no trace of oil or butter on any equipment being used to make the meringue.
Store leftover homemade butterscotch pie recipe in an airtight container for up to 3 days. A pie carrier is preferred so the meringue topping isn’t disturbed.
Covering your sweet pie with plastic only works if you make a toothpick tent. To do this, stick a few toothpicks into the meringue topping about half way. Then tent the plastic wrap over the toothpicks. This will allow your pie to be covered for freshness but keep the delicate meringue
Can I make butterscotch pie ahead of time?
Yes this butterscotch pie is a great make-ahead dessert! In fact, most people might prefer butterscotch pie chilled overnight.
Should the pie filling be hot or cold before adding to the pie crust?
Neither! It’s best if the pie filling is at room temperature before filling the pie crust otherwise it won’t spread evenly.
Can I freeze butterscotch pie with meringue topping?
No, this is not recommended due to the egg whites in the meringue. Texture would drastically change when thawed.
Can I use a store bought pie crust?
Yes! That is a great shortcut especially if you are short on time. A pre-baked pie shell will work great for this delicious pie.
I hope you enjoy this Butterscotch Pie as much as we did! And let me know what you think. Enjoy!
More Favorite Pie Recipes
- 1 Pie Crust – Blind baked
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup Light brown sugar – lightly packed
- 2 cups milk – scalded
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 large egg yolks – lightly beaten
- ½ cup cold milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 egg whites
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F / 180C.
- Fit the dough into a greased and floured 8 inch pie or springform pie pan. Prick the dough with a fork, cover the bottom of the crust with parchment paper and add dried beans or pie weights on top, bake for approximately 20 minutes (if pie is not baked, then bake for an additional 5 – 10 minutes without the paper and beans). Remove from the oven and let cool.
- In a medium/large pot add the milk and heat until right before it boils (scalded).
- In a medium bowl add the flour, egg yolks and cold milk and combine them all together to make a smooth paste. Set aside.
- In a medium pot add the butter and the brown sugar and heat over low heat until the sugar dissolves. It will take a while, so be patient. When the sugar has dissolved and it becomes liquid, add the scalded milk.
- Gradually add the paste to the sugar mixture stirring constantly. Cook over low heat or a bain marie until thickened. About 5-10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
For the Meringue Topping
- Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together until soft peaks form, gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff and glossy and the sugar has dissolved.
Putting it Together
- Pour the butterscotch mixture into the cooled pie crust and top it with the meringue making swirls with the back of a spoon if desired.
- Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes or until the meringue is golden. Let it cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Enjoy!