Homemade Sundae Sauce – Mid-Century Recipe Guest Test Sunday

Posted on Feb 9 2014 - 8:00am by Erica

Welcome to Recipe Guest Test Sundae!


Er, Sunday.

Homemade Sundae Sauce – Mid-Century Recipe Guest Test Sunday
  • 1 package chocolate or butterscotch instant pudding
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • water
  1. CHOCOLATE: Stir contents of 1 package ROYAL Instant Chocolate Pudding into 1 cup light corn syrup. Stir in ¼ cup water.
  2. BUTTERSCOTCH: Stir contents of 1 package ROYAL Instant Butterscotch Pudding into 1 cup light corn syrup. Stir in two tablespoons water.
  3. Note: For richer, fudgier sauces, stir in two tablespoons melted margarine or butter to above recipes.


Some of my favorite retro recipes are the ones that only call for two or three ingredients. They aren’t necessarily tastier than the complicated ones, but at least I don’t have to spend much effort on them.


Or so I thought — until I tried to stir pudding mix and corn syrup together. They don’t integrate easily. Corn syrup make look like water, but it doesn’t dissolve the pudding.


After a minute or so of vigorous stirring, however, it somehow creates sauce once all the pudding is distributed evenly throughout. I’ll note here that the water is definitely critical to help make this into a pourable sauce. Without water, it is incredibly thick.


But since everything went so easily, we also made some butterscotch sauce, and then slathered it all over ice cream for Buzz to try.


“Pretty good, really sugary… but I think it’s gritty.”

“Really?” I tried some, too, and there was a definitely a subtle crunchiness to it. “Wow, I guess there’s sugar in the pudding that couldn’t dissolve.”

We kept all four cups of sundae sauce, since our kids aren’t picky at all about sugar and they thought this was amazing stuff. Those leftovers were very educational, though — the sauces both become totally smooth after sitting for a while!

Verdict: Super sweet, but great sauce consistency.

Tasting notes:

Liquid sugar plus additional sugar means lots of sugar, but poured over ice cream it mellows out. The near-instant prep time is mildly deceptive, since the grittiness takes a few hours to dissolve the pudding-mix-sugar and get a truly smooth sundae sauce. It’s a neat trick!

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Erica was inspired to learn to cook by a complete lack of home economics classes in high school, and a love of old books. When using antique cookbooks to teach herself some skills, she realized a lot of the recipes were pretty strange by modern standards. All that fun testing just begged to be shared with the world. Regular recipe testing can be found here on Mid-Century Menu, on Erica's Retro Recipe Attempts blog, and also I Ate The 80's.

8 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Tipsykit February 9, 2014 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    Do you need to refrigerate the leftovers, or is it fine at room temp? I would imagine with that amount of sugar it would be ok out on the counter?

    • Buzz February 10, 2014 at 9:01 am - Reply

      We’ve mostly been storing them at room temperature since they were made, without any problems. We did briefly experiment with refrigerating the sauces, but they were very sluggish and hard to serve when chilled, so they would require reheating.

  2. Lassie February 10, 2014 at 11:50 am - Reply

    My mom made that kind of dessert at least once a month when I was growing up. All she did, though, was make a batch of hot cooked chocolate pudding the regular way, and pour it hot over ice cream, pound cake, or angel food cake. We all thought it was the greatest!

    I once had a recipe for home-made chocolate syrup, like Hershey’s syrup, and it was just superb! Unfortunately, I misplaced it. There are a zillion chocolate syrup recipes out there, so maybe I’ll sift through and try one or two that look familiar.

    Thanks for this one, brings back happy memories! 😀

    • Kate H February 10, 2014 at 12:29 pm - Reply

      Maybe you used the Helen Corbitt recipe? That’s the best one I’ve had.

    • Erica February 10, 2014 at 8:15 pm - Reply

      Glad it was happily nostalgic! We enjoyed making this one, and the kids are ecstatic to have so much sundae sauce around.

    • Seamus February 11, 2014 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      I’ve been using the one in Maida Heatter’s book, it’s really delicious. I can type it up if you like.

  3. Barbara February 14, 2014 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    I would imagine if you let it sit for a while, the sugar would dissolve. Honestly, I would have heated it up. Tastes better warm, I would think.

    • Erica February 14, 2014 at 4:02 pm - Reply

      Warm or cool, it’s crazy-sweet. The main effect of warming is making it (much) easier to pour. And you’d also get that great hot fudge sundae effect of melty ice cream all over the place! mmmmmm…

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