Butterscotch Pie

A few days ago I made a butterscotch pie from one of my favorite cookbooks,  Classic Home Desserts. The pie tasted great, but it was slightly runny when cut. I’m not sure if this was because I used 2% milk or if that’s just how the recipe is supposed to be, but I decided to go ahead and try some new butterscotch pie recipes anyway.

This pie  is my second and it would have been great, but…

butterscotch pie

You know what they say about bad things happening in threes. What happened this time was I left my cream of tartar open, it took on a stale odor, and it ruined the flavor of the meringue. Since I didn’t bother to taste or smell the cream of tartar before adding it to the meringue, I didn’t realize what happened until the pie was complete. So this was my third baking accident and it should be smooth sailing from here on out. Lesson: Always smell your cream of tartar.

Butterscotch Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A delicious butterscotch pie recipe with a meringue topping. If you prefer, you can leave off the meringue and use whipped cream
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temp
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, warmed slightly in microwave
  • 1 big pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (salted European style was better)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
  • 3 large egg whites, room temp
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Have all Meringue ingredients laid out and ready to go - -you’ll need to make it quickly.
  3. Whisk the 3 egg yolks together in a bowl. In a second bowl, whisk flour with half of the warm milk, until smooth. Whisk the beaten egg yolks and the salt into the milk/flour mixture, then whisk in the remaining cup of milk. Set aside.
  4. Place the butter in a saucepan and soften it a little over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and whisk or stir for about 2 minutes or until butter is melted and sugar has dissolved. Whisk the milk mixture into the saucepan. Continue whisking constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and bubbles -- this should only take 2-3 minutes. After big bubbles start to form, continue whisking for
  5. another
  6. -3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the hot filling into the crust. Make meringue quickly so that you can put it on the filling while it’s hot (they say this helps prevent weeping).
  7. Make meringue. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks just begin to form. Beat in the vanilla, then slowly beat in the sugar. Scrape mixture over hot filling and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  8. Let pie cool at room temperature for an hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 4 hours or until set.


Related posts:


  1. marykate says

    is this the best butterscotch pie you’ve made so far? since you posted your first recipe, i’ve decided butterscotch is the perfect pie to bake for my dad’s 50th birthday. i eagerly await your recommendation and helpful tips!!

  2. says

    Marykate, yes. If you make this pie for your dad I am quite sure he will love it. I’m playing around with the recipe this evening and will have a slightly different version by tomorrow, but if you want to make this one as-is today, I think you will be happy with the results.

  3. krista says

    i’ve never had butterscotch pie! *gasp* but it sounds really yummy. i’m going to have to try this one!!!

  4. Amanda says

    Bummer about the cream of tartar! The pie looks great though, butterscotch is such a great flavor 🙂

  5. Shannon says

    That was my fave pie that my grandmother made. She would make it just for me when everyone else had lemon or others. I know hers was runny sometimes, but not all the time even with the same recipe, I think she said something about the humidity? I can’t remember. I think I have her recipe buried somewhere. Now I have a craving!

  6. Erin @ CelticHeart Designs says

    That looks so good. I’ve never had meringue before though. Is it good?

  7. says

    Erin, I love meringue! Some meringue is better than others, though. It can be eggy or runny or it can be sweet and candy-like. Making good meringue takes practice. The one that goes with this pie isn’t my favorite meringue recipe, but it’s convenient and uses the 3 leftover egg whites.

  8. says

    Dawn, that’s what I’m learning. I usually make pie on last minute impulses and 2% is all we have around, but I think I’m going to start buying whole.

  9. Louise says

    I’m with Dawn and use h&h too for baking and cooking. And I buy full fat cheeses as I’d rather eat a little of the real thing than more of something less tasty. But 1% is fine on cereal 🙂

  10. Jenny says

    I made this pie, it turned out really well. The family loved it. It set up just right, and the flavor was amazing!!

  11. says

    Jenny, thanks for the feedback!!! I’m glad you liked it, that it set up, and that you didn’t have any issues along the way.

  12. says

    Consider using brown sugar in the meringue instead of regular sugar. My grandmother made it that way. However, she didn’t use cream of tarter in her meringue. Feel free to take a peek at my blog if you want to see my grandmother’s recipe and the results with brown sugar meringue. I posted step by step instructions for my family since it is a family recipe.

    As for it being runny, you might need more flour. My grandma used 5 tablespoons of flour and only 1-1/2 cups of whole milk. But, butterscotch is tricky and you have to stir for what feels a long time to get the consistency right. In my experience, butterscotch does not thicken much more after it cools.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate This Recipe: