(sauce recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

My Dad’s (AKA Pete) favorite dessert is a butterscotch sundae, specifically from Keens Steakhouse in NYC. So I did some research to try and recreate it. I found photos of the actual dish at Keens and they serve it as follows: a generous bottom layer of butterscotch sauce, scoops of vanilla ice cream, and a generous serving of fluffy whipped cream on top, finished with toasted sliced almonds. I’m a big fan of “sauce on the bottom” and whipped cream on ice cream (something I’ve only found in Italy!). So if you or anyone in your life loves butterscotch sundaes, give this one a try.

Ingredient highlight

Butterscotch! Not really an ingredient, but butterscotch is essentially the same as a caramel sauce but it uses brown sugar instead of white sugar for a nuttier flavor.

Servings 4 (makes about 1 cup sauce)
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes


  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • Chopped toasted almonds (optional)
  • Flaky salt (optional)

For the butterscotch sauce:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼-½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


To make the sauce:

  • In a medium pot over low heat, melt the butter.
  • Once the butter is melted, whisk in the sugar, cream and salt. Bring to a very gentle boil and cook for about 5 minutes or until it thickens and the color becomes a deep golden brown, whisking every minute or so.
  • Turn off the heat and whisk in the vanilla until combined. Taste and add more vanilla or salt if you’d like. Transfer to a heat-safe container, let it cool down for a few minutes at room temp. You can serve it once it’s warm or room temp or transfer to the fridge to chill. The sauce will thicken a lot as it cools.
  • To re-warm, gently heat the sauce in the microwave in 10 second intervals on low power until just warm.

To make the whipped cream:

  • In a medium bowl, add the heavy cream and beat on high until stiff peaks form. Add the yogurt and beat again until combined and fluffy.

To assemble:

  • Spoon a generous amount of the sauce into the bottom of a small bowl. Place a couple scoops of ice cream on top. Top with the whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted almonds and flaky salt, if using.

Items you can prep ahead (optional)

  • Make the butterscotch sauce
  • Make the whipped cream


  • To make dairy-free/vegan, you could try using a vegan butter and full-fat canned coconut milk. Use a dairy-free ice cream and dairy-free whipped cream.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer:
    • Butterscotch sauce: up to 2 weeks in the fridge or freeze for up to 2 months.
    • Whipped cream: up 5 days in the fridge

Leftovers + Repurposing:

  • Use leftover sauce on (more) ice cream. Drizzle it onto your morning oats for a sweet morning treat. Drizzle it over apples, pears, or bananas.

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