Butterscotch Pie

A friend emailed yesterday asking if I had a recipe for butterscotch pie. I did, but couldn’t remember which one was the best. Butterscotch pie is Todd’s favorite, but I’ve had varying degrees of success with the recipes I’ve used. The main problem has always been runniness. Since I wasn’t sure which recipe to recommend, I sent my friend a copy of Richard Sax’s Midwestern Butterscotch Pie from Classic Home Desserts, then went to the kitchen and tested it myself using my new 7 inch pie dish.

Butterscotch Pie

This was a very good pie. The graham cracker crust was perfect and if I can remember, I am going to make it my go-to recipe for graham crusts. As for the filling, it came together quickly and tasted good. My pie was a little on the runny side, but I’d only chilled it for 3 hours and I used low fat milk because it was all I had. For a less runny pie, go with whole milk and chill for the full amount of time. Even if the pie doesn’t hold it’s shape perfectly, it still tastes great.

Butterscotch Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Butterscotch Cream Pie adapted from Richard Sax's recipe
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted (unsalted)
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3 cups whole milk**
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Topping: Sweetened whipped cream
  • 2/3 cup cream whipped with
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar and
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Make crust first. Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix the crumbs, sugar and butter. Press evenly into a buttered 9 inch deep dish pie plate reaching up to but not over the rim. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 and let cool completely.
  2. Stir together 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and the cornstarch in a bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the milk and the egg yolks; set aside. Bring the remaining 2 3/4 cups milk and the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and the salt to a boil in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat.
  3. When milk is boiling, whisk about 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture in bowl. Repeat 2 or 3 times. This helps prevent the eggs from curdling. Scrape the egg mixture into the saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Be sure to whisk around the edge of the pan. Boil and whisk for 2 minutes. Strain the custard into a clean bowl. Whisk in the vanilla and butter. Place a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool for about an hour at room temperature, then chill for at least 2 hours.
  4. Pour the cooled custard into the crust. Top with wax paper and chill for a few more hours – preferably overnight.
  5. Make sweetened whipped cream and pipe around edges.


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  1. Louise says

    You can never go wrong with the late Richard Sax’s recipes. I’ll have to try this pie, but not until I’ve exhausted all of the season’s fruit recipes I have on my “to do” list.

  2. cardamombraid says

    Years ago when I lived in SoCal a local newscaster had a butterscotch pie but it also had coconut added. I bet this too might be good with that as an optional ingredient.

  3. Cheryl says

    Since you did a 7inch pie how did you reduce the ingredients for the crust and filling. I would like to know this when you do these smaller pies since there are only 3 in our family and we wouldn’t have to throw out the extra.

    Perhaps you can put the reduced amounts in ( ) and note the reduced cooking time if this was a factor.

  4. says

    I’ve also never had butterscotch pie but I love butterscotch so it sounds really delicious! I’ll have to see if my husband would eat it – because I can’t just make a pie for myself, ya know? (I could – but I just think it’s not a good idea -ha!)

  5. says

    This brings back memories. When I was in third grade, all of my classmates submitted a favorite recipe for a class recipe book that our teacher mimeographed. Each student made a decorative cover for the gift to their Mom. The recipe I submitted was for Butterscotch Pie!! Last year when I was home visiting my parents I ran across the the recipe book. It made me smile.

  6. says

    Butterscotch pies are tricky, aren’t they? My mother used to have a wonderful recipe. I’m going to dig it out and compare. Is this perhaps a pie that our mother’s made a lot?

  7. joan says

    For years my father used to talk about a butterscotch pie that one of his sisters used to make. He remembered that it started with melting butter and sugar in a skillet, and then adding a hot liquid to it. One day, I found a recipe with similar directions. It was called Old Fashioned Butterscotch Pie, and was in Maida Heatter’s New Book of Great Desserts. I made it for him, and he declared that this was the pie he so fondly remembered. It was delicious! It had a layer of chopped pecans on the bottom.

  8. says

    I’ve never tasted (and had never heard of) butterscotch pie. I’m curious, though, as while I don’t like butterscotch chips, I do love brown sugar. I think it’s interesting that most butterscotch recipes seem to lack any scotch, and really be brown sugar based….

  9. says

    After reading about this, I’d remembered a butterscotch pie Donna made a good year or so back (she used to be with the TWD baking group) The butterscotch pudding recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours. I believe Donna dressed hers up with real scotch and I know she made it into a pie. I remember everyone in the TWD group raving about this one. (I skipped it because the husband hates butterscotch and I just didn’t want to make homemade pudding at that time.

  10. says

    Cheryl, sorry I’m just now answering this. Yes, I reduced the recipe. For this one, I just cut it in half. I need to start writing down all the reduced fractions for everyone’s convenience. In this case, cook time wasn’t an issue.

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