Butterscotch vs Caramel (Everything You Need To Know)

caramel in jar with salted caramel pieces

Butterscotch and caramel are used in many wonderful dessert recipes. And if you need to know the difference between the two, as well as how to use them, you will find the answers to all your questions in this article.

I use both caramel and butterscotch in all sort of delicious treats and I make them both from scratch regularly.

But you can also find excellent premade versions of both butterscotch and caramel at your local grocery store.

Now, read on for more of butterscotch vs caramel.

Caramel and Butterscotch Differences, Similarities, and Uses

frosted caramel cupcakes topped with butterscotch

So what is the difference between butterscotch and caramel?

While there are many different recipes for making both caramel and butterscotch, there are some distinct differences between the two no matter what recipe you are looking at.

Caramel is usually made by heating granulated sugar with milk or cream. While butterscotch is made using brown sugar and butter.

You will find that many butterscotch and caramel recipes also contain salt and vanilla extract.

Related: How to store and freeze caramel

Caramel Uses

caramel cake slices

Caramel is a sweet and rich mixture that is popular in many types of recipes. It is usually used as a thick sauce for topping, dipping, or filling desserts. It’s sweet flavor has notes of smokiness that comes from heating it.

Caramel pairs wonderfully with many flavors and can be used to sweeten up all types of recipes. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Related: Caramel vs Cajeta

  • Top coffee with whipped cream and caramel
  • Drizzle on ice cream
  • Top cookies
  • Fill chocolate candy
  • Top a spice cake
  • Top rice crispy treats
  • Pour over popcorn
  • Add to chocolate ganache
  • Top donuts
  • Top bagels with ricotta cheese and caramel
  • Add on top of pecan pie
  • Drizzle on cheesecake
  • Caramel apples
  • Pumpkin caramel cookies

Butterscotch Uses

butterscotch topped popcorn

Butterscotch also offers a sweet flavor. But because it uses brown sugar you will also find flavor notes of molasses.

With it’s deep and complex flavor, butterscotch makes a wonderful addition to all types of recipes. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Related: Flavors that go with butterscotch

  • Butterscotch sandwich cookies
  • Drizzle on crème Brule
  • Add to coffee cake
  • Top ice cream
  • Top coffee with whipped cream, chocolate, and butterscotch
  • Make pudding
  • Make a butterscotch mousse pie
  • Mix with toffee and make a cake
  • Pair with pumpkin

Caramel vs Butterscotch FAQ

coffee topped with cream and caramel

Can caramel be substituted for butterscotch?

Yes, caramel can be used instead of butterscotch in most recipes. Both ingredients pair well with with similar ingredients and can be subbed at a 1:1 ratio.

Related: How to store butterscotch

Can butterscotch be used instead of caramel?

Yes, butterscotch can be substituted for caramel. They both offer a sweet and deep flavor that goes well in similar desserts and beverage mixes.

Do butterscotch and caramel taste the same?

Caramel and butterscotch offer similar flavors but they are not exactly the same. Caramel is made using white sugar that is heated, creating a sweet, nutty flavor. Butterscotch is made with brown sugar creating a sweet flavor with hints of molasses.

Related: Dulce de Leche vs Caramel

Is salted caramel just butterscotch?

No, salted caramel is made using granulated sugar, butter, sea salt, heavy cream, and vanilla. Butterscotch is made using brown sugar and butter (sometimes it includes salt and vanilla).

Is butterscotch made with scotch?

No, scotch is not used when making butterscotch. While there is debate on how butterscotch got it’s name, there are two likely origins to it’s name. Either it was named due to being first made in Scotland or because “scorched” butter is used when making it.

Written by Liv

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