Sunday Surprise {Butterscotch & Brown Sugar Pull-Apart Bread}

Sunday Surprise by My Utensil Crock

“Sunday Surprise is pretty much the best thing ever…” – AGA

“Ohh my goodness, I LOVE that you’re blogging about this!!” – JGL

I have many things for which to thank my college roommate, JGL.  Let’s just breeze right by all of the non-blog-appropriate items … scrolling … scrolling … scrolling … and land on this. Land IN this? Don’t mind if I do.

Sunday Surprise by My Utensil Crock

Sunday. Surprise. Thank you, JGL, for bringing Sunday Surprise into my life.

What is Sunday Surprise? It is many things:

  1. Genius in its simplicity. 4 ingredients. Really, 4. Frozen dinner rolls, butterscotch pudding mix, butter, and brown sugar.
  2. Almost too easy to assemble and bake. You put the ingredients in a pan, and cover it. And then in the morning bake it. No fuss, at all.
  3. The best way to wake up in the morning.  When these ingredients mix in the oven and the bread starts to bake, it’s basically a siren song.

Think of it as a butterscotch and brown sugar pull-apart bread.

Sunday Surprise by My Utensil Crock

JGL cannot remember a time in her life before Sunday Surprise, whereas I distinctly recall it entering mine. It’s that kinda thing.

I was introduced to this magic-in-a-pan during my senior year in college. I can still see JGL taking the dinner rolls from the freezer in the kitchen of our second-floor apartment on Hamlin Street, selecting the box of butterscotch pudding mix from the cabinet above the counter on the far wall, and assembling. Grocery lists were still new to us then, I’m sure she smiled as she made sure she had everything she needed for her masterpiece.

That’s my first Sunday Surprise memory.

J and her sister A grew up with memories of Sunday Surprise wafting through the cabin that their Papa built at “the Lake,” cousins joining in their jammies for a sweet start to summer mornings. Sunday Surprise was also a Christmas morning staple – after all gift-wrapping was destroyed, like one more gift.

Sunday Surprise by My Utensil Crock

If you tell me you are “not a butterscotch fan,” I will counter that you’re just not a Butterscotch Buttons fan, or a Butterscotch Magic Shell ice cream topping fan. Me either – such fake tastes. It also would mean you haven’t tried these Butterscotch Granola Blondies, which will make a believer out of you.

Butterscotch is pretty much just brown sugar and butter, which in this recipe complements the … brown sugar and butter … quite nicely 😉 For this recipe, you want the regular butterscotch pudding mix, not “instant.”

The frozen dinner rolls should be about 1.5″ in diameter. The bag they come in should have directions for how to make them rise (you aren’t following those directions per se for this recipe, I just mention it as a clue that you have found the right ingredient).

Sunday Surprise by My Utensil Crock

They will rise as they sit on your counter overnight (orrrr, in like 5 hours, if you can’t wait for morning). Look carefully and feel the size of the roll through the bag; this type of roll may not be sold in every store’s frozen section. It’s more common in larger chain (dare I say, suburban) stores rather than fancy speciality organic hipster stores. You don’t want the rolls that have already risen.

So, on goes the butterscotch pudding mix, and the brown sugar.

Sunday Surprise by My Utensil Crock

And, the butter.

Sunday Surprise by My Utensil Crock

Cover it, and wait overnight (or, again, like 5 hours if you can’t wait).

CUT TO the morning. This is what it looks like before it goes in the oven

Sunday Surprise by My Utensil Crock

I call the one by the handle on the right!!

And after 15 to 20 minutes of butterscotch-butter-bread-baking goodness in your kitchen:

This is what it looks like before it goes in the oven. 

BUT WAIT, why doesn’t it look sugary and buttery and butterscotchy? Well my friends, you haven’t flipped it yet. The final step:

Sunday Surprise by My Utensil Crock

J and A recall a simple dinner plate receiving the Sunday Surprise flip. I needed a larger braiser, or a platter, to make sure I didn’t have a catastrophe of butterscotch proportions. I do not have the skills of their amazing mother, MG!

Sunday Surprise is best served hot, right out of the oven. It looks like the type of recipe that would only be good right out of the oven, but it will actually last a day or two in tupperware.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Sunday Surprise {Butterscotch & Brown Sugar Pull-Apart Bread}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
For special occasions, or no occasion at all.
Recipe type: Dessert, Brunch
Serves: 12 dinner rolls covered in awesome
  • 12 frozen dinner rolls (1.5" diameter)
  • 1 3.5 oz. box* butterscotch pudding powder (not instant)
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 5-6 T unsalted butter, melted
  1. Lightly butter a 9" pie plate (with high sides, if possible) or cake pan. Make sure you butter the top rim, because the bread will rise and bake over it.
  2. Place the dinner rolls in the pan.
  3. Sprinkle the butterscotch pudding powder* over the rolls.
  4. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top.
  5. Pour the melted butter over the top, distributing as evenly as possible.
  6. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and leave on the kitchen counter overnight.
When you are ready to bake:
  1. Heat the oven to 350 and remove the towel.
  2. Place the pie plate on a larger sheet pan, in case it cooks over a bit.
  3. Bake at 350 until lightly browned. Check at 15 minutes, and it may take up to 20 or 25 minutes total.
  4. After it has baked through and cooled just a bit, invert onto a larger plate, and Dig! In!
* The original recipe called for a 3 oz box of butterscotch pudding, but the packaging has changed over the years, and it's now 3.5 ounces. I just don't use the entire box in my Sunday Surprise.

My frozen dinner rolls came in a bag of 36 ... perfect for 3 Sunday Surprises! Purchase 3 boxes of butterscotch pudding to match, so you are always ready.

“I can’t wait to see what you do with the photos…it’s not the most beautiful culinary creation. :) ” – JGL

Tell me about it, J 😉

Only minorly adapted from the recipe I received: Sunday Surprise Recipe ~ My Utensil Crock

Thanks for supporting me blogging this recipe, G ladies!


  1. Mary Garry says

    Becky, this is just lovely! You are a talented chef and writer!
    Thanks for jogging so many memories!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe: