Butterscotch delight recipe is an easy layered dessert with a press-in crust, butterscotch pudding, cream cheese, and fluffy whipped topping. This cool and creamy gluten-free dessert, also known as butterscotch lush, is an effortless make-ahead treat!
easy butterscotch pudding dessert
Butterscotch delight may have many names, such as butterscotch lush, pudding bars, or lush cake, but no matter what you call this easy layered dessert, it always disappears fast!
This butterscotch dessert recipe was inspired by another popular treat on the site, pumpkin delight. Three of the four layers are identical, the easy press-in crust, cream cheese, and Cool Whip layers.
The thick, rich middle layer, though, uses butterscotch pudding to make a cool and creamy dessert. Just like many old fashioned desserts, like cream cheese jello salad, the focus is to not break a sweat while making an effortless treat!
- Quick-Cooking Oats – Use certified gluten-free oats for a gluten-free butterscotch dessert. Rolled oats may be used but they will have to be processed longer so the crust binds together.
- Chopped Pecans – If you prefer another type of nut, feel free to substitute.
- Instant Butterscotch Pudding Mix – You will need three 3.4 ounce boxes and be sure it reads “instant” and not “cook and serve.”
- Milk – To set the pudding, use 2% or whole milk. While skim may be used, the pudding layer will not be as firm.
- Cream Cheese – Used for the cheesecake layer and can be regular or light to save some calories.
- Cool Whip whipped topping – This makes the recipe a breeze, but if you prefer homemade whipped cream, beat together 2 cups heavy cream with 4 tablespoons sugar for this recipe.
how to make butterscotch delight
(Below shows step-by-step photos and modified instructions. For the complete recipe, along with ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card.)
- First combine the crust ingredients, oats, pecans, melted unsalted butter, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor. Process until the mixture comes together into a large ball.
- Press the crust into a 9X13 baking dish using your fingers or the bottom of a flat glass. Bake in 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes. Be sure to cool completely before continuing on with the cream cheese and butterscotch layers.
- In a medium bowl use a hand mixer beat together the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar until there are no lumps. Fold in 1 cup Cool Whip whipped topping. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled crust.
- In the same bowl, beat together the butterscotch pudding and milk until thick, about 2 minutes. Spread a thick layer of butterscotch pudding on top of the cream cheese.
- Use a rubber spatula to spread on 3 cups Cool Whip. Sprinkle on additional nuts, chopped chocolate, or heath bits, if desired. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours before slicing and serving.
Lush cake recipes use many types of crusts to layer the butterscotch pudding, cream cheese, and Cool Whip on. One popular variation is to make butterscotch lush with pecan sandies.
While tasty and easy, this will not work for a gluten-free butterscotch dessert. The crust included in the butterscotch delight recipe below includes a variation of two popular gluten-free crusts – oatmeal pie crust and pecan crust, which replicates the pecan sandies taste.
It is just as easy as making a graham cracker crust, or crushed pecan sandies crust, but with the added bonus of being a gluten-free butterscotch dessert all can enjoy!
no bake graham cracker crust
If you would rather make a completely no bake butterscotch dessert, simply replace the pecan oat crust with a graham cracker crust. You may use regular or gluten-free graham crackers.
For a 9X13 pan recipe, mix together 12 large graham crackers (crushed to fine graham cracker crumbs), ⅓ cups sugar, and 9 tablespoons melted butter. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then continue recipe with cream cheese layer.
alternative butterscotch desserts toppings
I topped this butterscotch pudding dessert with Heath Bits O’ Brickle (found in the chocolate chips aisle), but here are some other topping ideas to make it your own:
- Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping or butterscotch sauce
- Chopped pecans, nuts, or candied pecans
- Crushed Heath candy bars or toffee bits
- Chocolate shavings or curls
- Chocolate chips
- Crushed cookies, such as gingersnaps or pecan sandies (avoid for gluten-free butterscotch dessert)
- Butterscotch chips (read label for gluten-free)
make-ahead and freezer notes
This layered butterscotch pudding dessert is ideal for serving at a party or holiday gathering since it is all make-ahead!
Refrigerate: Make ahead and refrigerate up to two days before serving. To prevent from ruining the Cool Whip layer, place toothpicks in topping before covering with plastic wrap or use an airtight lid.
Freezing: Make the recipe then place in the freezer for topping to harden. Once it’s frozen, remove and wrap securely with plastic wrap then cover with foil. Freeze up to 2 months. Thaw 24-48 hours in refrigerator.
frequently asked questions
Yes. If you prefer the taste of homemade whipped cream, it may be substituted for the Cool Whip whipped topping.
Every cup of whipped topping used in this butterscotch pudding dessert requires ½ cup whipping cream. Since this recipe requires 4 cups total Cool Whip, whip together 2 cups heavy cream with 4 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form.
Yes! To make other delight recipes, simply replace the butterscotch pudding with any instant pudding. Chocolate, vanilla, lemon, or pistachio pudding are other popular flavors!
Since this recipe contains whipped topping, cream cheese, and butterscotch pudding, it needs to be refrigerated. If you are refrigerating for longer than a few hours, cover top with plastic wrap.
Yes, but you will need to purchase oat flour or use a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix or BlendTec.
Blender method: Make the recipe as written, using a blender instead. You may need to scrape down the ingredients more since they won’t have as much surface area to circulate.
By-hand method: Mix together ½ quick oats and ½ oat flour with the remaining crust ingredients. Press-in pan and bake as directed.
more easy no bake dessert recipes
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Pecan Oat Crust
- 2 cups quick-cooking oats, use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free recipe
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Layer
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 12 ounces Cool Whip whipped topping, divided
- 4 cups milk
- 3 (3.4 ounce) boxes instant butterscotch pudding (not cook and serve)
- (optional topping) Heath bits, nuts, or butterscotch sauce
Pecan Oat Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- In a food processor or high-powered blender (see recipe notes for by-hand method) place the oats, pecans, melted butter, cinnamon, and salt. Process, scraping down the bowl once or twice, until well mixed and the mixture comes together into a large bowl.
- Press firmly into an even layer in a 9X13 baking pan (preferably glass baking dish). Bake for 20-22 minutes. The crust will still be soft to the touch. Set aside to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Layer
- Beat together the softened cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Fold in 1 cup cool whip whipped topping. Spread over cooled crust using an offset spatula.
- Using a hand mixer on low speed, beat together the milk with butterscotch pudding for 2 minutes, or until thick. Use an offset spatula to smooth over cream cheese layer.
- Spread 3-4 cups Cool Whip over the butterscotch layer. Sprinkle with Heath bits, nuts, or drizzle with butterscotch sauce, if desired. Chill for at least 3 hours before serving. Store the leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.
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Making with a blender or by-handBlender method: Make the recipe as written, using a blender instead. You may need to scrape down the ingredients more since they won’t have as much surface area to circulate. By-hand method: Mix together ½ quick oats and ½ oat flour with the remaining crust ingredients. Press-in pan and bake as directed.
Substituting Homemade Whipped CreamEvery cup of whipped topping used in the recipe requires ½ cup heavy cream. Since this recipe requires 4 cups Cool Whip, whip together 2 cups heavy cream with 4 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form.
Using a No-Bake Graham Cracker CrustIf you prefer the taste of graham cracker crust, or want a completely no bake dessert use the following recipe.
- Mix together 12 large graham crackers (crushed to fine crumbs), ⅓ cups sugar, and 9 tablespoons melted butter.
- Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray and press crust in.
- Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then continue recipe with cream cheese layer.
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Really would like to make this BUT I am allergic to nuts… I do seem to tolerate peanuts, at least for now but no other nuts – Almonds being the worst, bringing on a crazy severe EpiPen worthy reaction.
Do you have any suggestions on what would be a good/complimentary substitute for your recipe? ie, Pretzels? Crisp rice cereal? Graham Crackers?
Any thoughts, amounts and/or measurements would be greatly appreciated.
Okay, just so you know, I did read through the article and might try with a graham cracker crust but I just think a baked crust sounds tastier. If you can, please let me know what you think.
I’d be happy to help! For a baked crust I would try one to these two recipes, oatmeal pie crust or chex pie crust. I find that baked crusts hold up better with slicing than no bake crusts, but you could always do a baked graham cracker crust as well.