This Salted Caramel Pudding recipe shows you how to make a nostalgic creamy treat from scratch. Because making homemade pudding is only slightly more challenging than instant pudding from a box.
So read on to learn all the detailed tips and tricks for making salted caramel and turning it into pudding. Or just grab your sugar, hit that Jump to Recipe button, and let’s make salted caramel pudding!
Cream or milk is used for flavor and texture and act as a natural thickening agent. You can vary the amount of cream and milk, or even the type of milk you use, to change the richness of your caramel pudding.
Flaky sea salt is exactly like it sounds – flakes of salt that have a fine crystal texture and irregular shapes. Flaky sea salt is a finishing salt when you want the hit of salt on your tongue eating these caramel puddings or my salted caramel chocolate cookies.
Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
Variations and substitutions
- Sub a tablespoon of bourbon for the vanilla.
- Make a pudding in an entirely different flavor!
Recipe tips and tricks
The hardest part of this pudding recipe is the caramel. When I screw up caramel, it’s usually because I’ve cooked it too quickly and it gets too dark. But you can also mess up caramel by stirring it and crystalizing the caramel. The nice thing about that is that it’s just sugar and cheap enough for a second try. Or even a third time to make caramel for espresso brownies!
I recommend using a wide pan to have a thin layer of sugar. Heat the sugar slowly to prevent getting focal spots that burn before all of the sugar can melt. It also helps to tilt the pan around to get a more even melt once it has started.
Panels 4 to 6 of this photo show the sugar moving into the liquid phase. It’s here that you will want to pay the most attention as it can burn quite quickly. You’re looking for a color somewhere between new and old copper penny.
You can use your nose, but don’t try to taste caramel as it’s cooking. It is very hot!
Once you have the right color, you’ll want to stop the cooking. Remove the pan from the heat, add the warmed cream, and stir to dissolve the caramel. Adding cold cream to your hot caramel may cause it to seize and crystalize.
Add the larger quantity of milk and then the milk-cornstarch mixture. Heat slowly and whisk the mixture gently but constantly until it thickens. This is where having a pan with sloped sides comes in very handy.
Add the butter and vanilla, and then pour the caramel into a large bowl or ladle it into smaller ramekins. Cover the pudding with plastic wrap to avoid it forming a skin. And put it into the refrigerator to cool and solidify for at least two hours and no more than one day.
Top your caramel pudding with flaky sea salt before serving.
In the U.S., a pudding is typically dairy-based and thickened with cornstarch. A custard is often thickened with eggs or egg yolks.
Pudding is best on the day it is made, but it can be frozen. In fact, I’m really tempted to make another batch to see how it does as pudding pops!
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.
Salted Caramel Pudding
- ½ cup (100 grams or 3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk, divided
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons (43 grams or 1.5 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- flaky sea salt for serving
- Put the sugar into a thin layer in a large pot or frying pan.½ cup (100 grams or 3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- Warm the cream in a small pot.½ cup heavy cream
- Combine ½ cup of the milk with the cornstarch and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine.3 tablespoons cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 cups whole milk, divided
- Ready all the ingredients, except for the flaky sea salt, by the stove.3 tablespoons (43 grams or 1.5 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Heat the sugar over low heat. As it starts to melt, do not stir it, but you can tilt and swirl the pan to avoid an uneven melt. The goal is for the sugar to reach a uniform deep copper color without burning. This should take about 10 minutes, depending on how quickly or slowly you heat the sugar.
- Remove the caramel from the heat and immediately add the warmed cream. Return the pan to medium-low heat and stir to combine.
- Add the 1½ cups of milk (the larger amount without the cornstarch) and heat until small bubbles are starting to form. Do not let the mixture boil. If at any point it looks like it is about to boil, remove the pan from the burner and turn down the heat slightly.
- Add the milk and cornstarch mixture and heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is noticeably thicker and starts to coat the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and vanilla.
- Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl or 4 small ramekins and cover with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap down onto the surface of the pudding to prevent skin formation.
- Chill at least 2 hours to overnight.
- Serve topped with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.flaky sea salt for serving
This salted caramel pudding recipe was originally created for the 2021 reddit 52 weeks of baking challenge (Week 43: No Oven).
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