What Is Butterscotch?


Butterscotch is a sweet flavoring that combines various sugars and creams to make candies, sauces and chips. The tawny cream-brown color is characteristic of most butterscotch desserts.


  • The origins of butterscotch can be traced to England in the early 1800s. The name comes from one of the prime ingredients, butter, and the word scotch, which means to cut into pieces.


  • Butterscotch is primarily made of butter and brown sugar, with corn syrup, vanilla and salt added. The mixture is heated to bond the ingredients together. Butterscotch syrups generally contain sweetened evaporated milk to keep it creamy and pourable.


  • Butterscotch can be made into hard candies or combined with creams to make a thick syrup, often used to top ice cream or cakes. Butterscotch flavoring can be put into puddings and ice cream. Butterscotch chips can be used like chocolate chips in cookies, brownies, cakes and melted dips.


  • Butterscotch and caramel are not the same flavor. Butterscotch is cooked at a lower temperature than caramel. Caramel is generally a darker brown and its flavor comes from the slight scorching of sugars during the candy making process.

Expert Insight

  • The word "butterscotch" appeared in The Oxford English Dictionary with its first citation in 1865.

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