Butterscotch vs Caramel: Difference and Comparison

Confectionaries are edible products with high concentrations of sugar and carbohydrates. Chefs and bakers love confectionaries because adding them to their recipes gives them a unique taste and makes them stand out from others.

Confectioneries can broadly be categorized into “bakers’ confectioneries” and “sugar confectioneries”. Bakers’ confectioneries include cakes, pastries, and other sweet baked goods.

Sugar confectioneries, on the other hand, include chocolates, candies, toffees, and other similar goods made primarily from sugar. Butterscotch and caramel are two of the most recognizable sugar confections.

Despite tasting sweet, they can still be distinguishable in a few ways.

Key Takeaways

  1. Butterscotch is made with brown sugar and butter, while the caramel is made with white sugar and cream.
  2. Butterscotch has a more buttery and creamy flavor than caramel.
  3. Butterscotch is used as a flavoring in desserts, while the caramel is used as a topping or filling.

Butterscotch vs Caramel 

Caramel is an orange-brown confectionery product made by heating granulated sugar until it’s brown but not burned. It is used as a flavoring in desserts. Butterscotch is a type of confectionery made by boiling brown sugar, butter, and sometimes corn syrup in water. It is specifically made with brown sugar.

Butterscotch vs Caramel

Butterscotch is one of the most popular confectioneries in the world. It is primarily made from butter and dark brown sugar.

Certain recipes include other ingredients such as salt, vanilla essence, corn syrup, or cream. This sweet treat has a salty flavor thanks to the butter and added a pinch of salt. 

The caramelization of white sugar is another famous sweet that is made from confectionery.

There is a very simple recipe for it, so it is quite popular with many people. Custards, puddings, desserts, and ice creams taste delicious with the sweetness of caramel.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonButterscotch Caramel
Main ingredientsMade up of dark brown sugar and lots of butter.Made up of white sugar and little to no butter.
TasteButterscotch is saltier.Caramel is very sweet.
TextureButterscotch candies are mostly hard.Caramel candies are mostly soft and chewy.
Salt requirementsA pinch of salt is kind of necessary while making butterscotch.Salt may or may not be added while making caramel.
Additional ingredientAdding vanilla extract can make butterscotch taste exceptional.Vanilla extract has no such effects on the taste of caramel.

What is Butterscotch?

Butterscotch is one of the world’s most popular confectioneries. Butter and dark brown sugar are used as their main ingredients.

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There are also other ingredients such as salt, vanilla essence, corn syrup, and cream which are added to certain recipes. Butterscotch tastes salty because of the butter and a pinch of salt. 

Typically, butterscotch is thought to originate in Doncaster, Yorkshire. The Parkinsons are credited with developing the confection.

There is a belief that Parkinson’s used to make butterscotch sweets and sell them in small cans. After Queen Victoria tried butterscotch and praised it, these sweets became popular.

Despite the lack of concrete evidence, it is possible to draw some conclusions about butterscotch’s origin.

Since butterscotch must be cut into pieces before hardening, it’s possible the meaning of the name is “to cut into pieces” because of the word scotch.

Butterscotch is also thought to be derived from Scotch, which establishes a link to Scotland. Many different dishes and food items can be made using butterscotch, not just candies.

Butterscotch, for example, is used widely in dessert sauces, ice creams, puddings, cookies, and biscuits. There are also “butterscotch chips” on the market, whose appearance and uses are similar to “chocolate chips”.


What is Caramel?

Another famous confectionery made by caramelizing white sugar is caramel. The process of caramelizing consists of heating sugar until the sugar molecules break down, forming a new compound with a unique color and taste.

The sugar used in caramel is heated up to 170°C or 340°F. At this temperature, the sugar turns orange-brown.

There are a lot of people who enjoy it because it is so simple to make.

Puddings, desserts, ice creams, and custards taste delicious when flavored with caramel. There is a lot of discussion about how the word caramel came to be.

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Many believe it is derived from the French word caramel, while others assert that it is from the Spanish word caramel. Although the most likely explanation is that it was borrowed from the late Latin word calamellus, which means ‘sugarcane’.

There are many ways to prepare caramel. Caramel sauce is one of them.

Regular caramel is combined with cream to make caramel sauce. Recipes for caramel sauce can vary depending on the needs and ingredients such as vanilla, fruit purees, liquor, etc.

In addition to caramel sauce, caramel candy is also a popular choice. Sugar, vanilla, milk, and glucose are boiled together to make caramel candy.

It has a soft, chewy texture. 


Main Differences Between Butterscotch and Caramel

  1. Brown sugar and butter go into butterscotch, whereas white sugar and little or no butter go into caramel.
  2. Butterscotch has a saltier taste, while caramel is very sweet.
  3. Butterscotch candy is hard, whereas caramel candy is soft and chewy.
  4. Making butterscotch requires a pinch of salt, while making caramel may or may not require salt.
  5. While vanilla extract enhances the taste of butterscotch, it does not affect the taste of caramel.
Difference Between Butterscotch and Caramel
  1. https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&issn=&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA478141889&sid=googleScholar&linkaccess=fulltext
  2. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf204807z

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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