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Butterscotch Sauce – Easy, Tasty & Versatile

Silky smooth & buttery, Butterscotch Sauce has a special and specific flavor. Sure, I like salted caramel as much as the next guy, but I’m sooo ready to close the book on salted caramel for a little while. Let’s try Butterscotch Sauce for a change.

butterscotch sauce in a jar and on a plate

While doing some spring cleaning, I found a bottle of butterscotch schnapps in the back of the liquor cabinet. It’s a long story how it got there, but suffice it to say that it’s been there for a number of years and no-one was drinking it. That bottle of schnapps triggered me to play around with butterscotch recipes.

To start my butterscotch exploration I decided to make a simple sauce, with a shot of that long abandoned schnapps added to the mix. It tastes pretty good, too. If you don’t happen to have butterscotch schnapps in your cabinet you can use rum, bourbon, or scotch in place of the schnapps. If liquor is not to your taste, simply use more heavy cream in place of the schnapps.

Butterscotch vs caramel:

Caramel sauce is made by melting and caramelizing white sugar, then adding a liquid to that caramelized sugar to turn it into a sauce. Caramelizing sugar is a complicated and specific process that I won’t go into here.

Believe me, I adore the flavor of caramelized sugar, but butterscotch is different and also really delicious. Butterscotch sauce starts by melting brown sugar and butter together and then adding a liquid. Brown sugar has molasses in it, which is not the same thing as caramel. So butterscotch has notes of butter, molasses, vanilla and salt.

Scroll through the process photos to see how-to make Butterscotch Sauce:

butter and brown sugar in a pot

When you add the brown sugar to the melted butter, the mixture will look like wet sand. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes and stir occasionally.

boiling butterscotch sauce

The butter and sugar mixture will begin liquify. Then you’re ready to add the cream.

photos shows a pot with a  whisk adding cream into butterscotch sauce

Whisk the cream into the sugar & butter mixture. Whisk in the schnapps and cook over medium low heat for 10 minutes. Whisk occasionally.

a pot full of bubbling butterscotch

The sauce will bubble up while cooking.

a pot of smooth butterscotch sauce

The sauce will become more viscous as it cooks. The final sauce should be silky smooth and not at all gritty.

Now I have to go see what else I can do with butterscotch…stay tuned for more recipes. I’ll need to make a lot of butterscotch to finally use up that bottle of schnapps.

a spoon drizzing butterscotch sauce onto a plate

butterscotch sauce on ice creamIf you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider giving it 5 stars.

butterscotch sauce on ice cream

Butterscotch Sauce

Yield: 1 1/4 cups sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Silky smooth & buttery, Butterscotch Sauce has a special and specific flavor with notes of molasses, butter, vanilla and salt.


  • 1 cup (7 oz, 200 g) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz, 55 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch schnapps (or other liquor or more cream)
  • 2 teasoons real vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (not table salt, if you use table salt use 1/4 teaspoon)


  1. Melt butter over medium low heat. (see note). Add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar looks like wet sand. Cook on medium low, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. The mixture will begin to liquify.
  2. Whisk in the cream, then whisk in the schnapps. BE CAREFUL, the mixture will bubble up and steam when the liquids are added, Keep your face away from the pot.
  3. Cook over low heat for for about 10 minutes, whisking occasionally until the butterscotch becomes more viscous, very smooth and silky. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt.
  4. Pour into a heat proof container to cool. I like to use canning jars to store the butterscotch sauce.


The main thing that can go wrong with this recipe is if you cook it too hot or too fast. Be patient and let it cook over medium-low heat for the times listed in the recipe. If you cook it too hot, bits of the sugar will caramelize and separate from the butter. You'll end up with a gritty texture.

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Wednesday 23rd of June 2021

Oh this is so good!

Laura Sampson

Wednesday 24th of May 2017

OH! I've never made butterscotch sauce before--what a great idea. Gorgeous photos too. Thanks for linking up to the Friday Frenzy!

Mayuri Patel

Sunday 21st of May 2017

Its been ages since I've had anything with butterscotch in it. I love butterscotch ice cream. Thanks for sharing a step by step process of making butterscotch sauce.


Sunday 7th of May 2017

Simple and delicious. I would eat this straight from the jar until I'm sick lol. I actually like butterscotch sauce more than caramel and I bet salted butterscotch would be tasty too!

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 9th of May 2017

I did eat it straight from the jar and it was goooood.

Kylee from Kylee Cooks

Monday 1st of May 2017

Wow - I totally want to eat this with a spoon. Or just pour it in a glass, and I'll drink it. I do love me some butterscotch.

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