Homemade Vanilla Custard Recipe

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 04/10/2023 Updated: 28/11/2023
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 5 minutes
Total 2 hours 10 minutes
Velvety smooth, rich and delicate vanilla custard is made with vanilla, egg yolks, sugar, milk and butter for the most versatile pastry cream that can be used as a filling, sauce or topper!
Homemade Vanilla Custard Recipe

This velvety smooth, rich, and delicate homemade vanilla custard recipe is made with vanilla, egg yolks, sugar, milk, and butter for the most versatile pastry cream that can be used as a filling, sauce, or topper!

Lifting a spoon of custard from a bowl of vanilla custard.

Nothing is better than a silky smooth, rich, and vanilla-flavored homemade custard. This homemade vanilla custard recipe yields a velvety smooth and rich custard that is made with simple pantry staple ingredients—egg yolks, sugar, milk, butter, cornstarch, and vanilla extract.

Vanilla custard is a simple yet indulgent recipe to make to elevate your favorite pastries. You can use this vanilla custard as a filling in taiyaki, cream puffs, donuts, or cakes!

Japanese taiyaki filled with homemade vanilla custard on a plate.
Japanese taiyaki filled with homemade vanilla custard.

What is custard?

Custard, or egg custard or vanilla custard is a creamy dessert, sauce, or filling that is created by heating a mixture of egg yolks, milk, and butter. It is then thickened with cornstarch for a more hearty mouthfeel. Vanilla custard is known for its iconic smooth and silky texture and rich, sweet flavor. It can be used as a stand-alone dessert served with fruit, a filling, or a topper.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Rich, velvety, and creamy: this homemade vanilla custard has everything you could ever want in a custard. It is silky smooth and has a rich vanilla, creamy, buttery flavor.
  • Versatile: this recipe for vanilla custard is extremely versatile. It can be used to fill almost any pastry, as a topper for desserts, or can be served alone with fruit!
  • Quick and easy! The best part about this recipe is that you can make it in under 15 minutes!

Kitchen Equipment

You will need the following kitchen equipment to create this egg custard recipe.

  • Mixing bowl: a mixing bowl is necessary to whisk all the ingredients together thoroughly before you heat it.
  • Whisk: a whisk will combine all the ingredients.
  • Small saucepan: you will use a small saucepan to cook the vanilla custard.
  • Immersion blender or fine mesh sieve: you will need either an immersion blender or a fine mesh sieve to remove any residual lumps.

Ingredients

All of these pantry staple ingredients for this homemade custard recipe can be found at your local grocery store.

  • Egg Yolks: egg yolks provide a velvety texture and rich flavor.
  • Granulated Sugar: granulated sugar is the base sweetener.
  • Salt: a touch of salt balances out the sweetness and refines the overall flavor palette.
  • Whole Milk: you will need whole milk to give the custard its signature creamy texture.
  • Unsalted Butter: unsalted butter allows you to control the salt level and adds a rich luxurious flavor.
  • Cornstarch: cornstarch is the thickening agent to creates that rich velvety smooth texture of the egg custard.
  • Vanilla Extract: vanilla extract adds the delicious vanilla flavoring to the custard.
All the ingredients to make homemade vanilla custard organized and labeled.

Substitutions and Additions

You can customize this egg custard recipe with the following substitutions or additions I’ve listed for you below.

Substitutions

  • Vanilla Bean: you can use vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste for a more robust vanilla flavor.
  • Salted butter: instead of using unsalted butter and salt, you can use salted butter instead.
  • Heavy Cream or half and half: for a thicker, and richer egg custard recipe, you can use heavy cream or half and half instead of milk

Additions

  • Flavors: this homemade vanilla custard recipe can be easily flavored with other extracts like pandan, ube, matcha powder, cocoa powder, etc.

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Custard

Here are the steps on how to make this homemade vanilla custard recipe. It can be easily completed in a matter of minutes!

  1. Whisk ingredients together. In a mixing bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar, salt, cornstarch, and milk. Whisk until everything is thoroughly combined
The wet ingredients for custard whisked together in a bowl.
  1. Simmer the milk and mix with the egg mixture. In a medium saucepan, pour in the mixture and cook on medium-low heat whisking constantly until it thickens up and simmers.
  1. Add in butter and vanilla. Once the cream has thickened, turn down the heat to low and add the butter and vanilla extract. Stir until butter is melted. If you have residual lumps, strain through a fine-mesh sieve or use an immersion blender to make the custard silky smooth.
  1. Cover and chill. Cover with plastic wrap by pressing the plastic onto the surface of the custard to prevent skin from forming and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours or until cold.
Lifting a spoon of custard from a bowl of vanilla custard.

Tips for the Best Vanilla Custard

  • Whisk the ingredients before heating. This will ensure everything is thoroughly mixed and the eggs won’t get scrambled too early.
  • Keep a close eye on the custard: once you begin cooking the custard do not leave its side. Stir continuously to prevent overheating and curdling.
  • Don’t overheat the mixture: when the custard has thickened and begins to simmer and bubble immediately remove from the heat to prevent from over cooking.
  • If you have any lumps, use an immersion blender or pour it through a mesh sieve for a smooth and velvety egg custard.
  • Wrap the custard with plastic wrap. Place the plastic wrap on the surface of the custard to prevent a film from forming before placing it in the refrigerator to chill.
  • Chill for at least 2 hours or until cold. The vanilla custard filling needs at least 2 hours to chill and set before you can serve it.

Storage Instructions

This homemade vanilla custard is best served immediately once chilled. However, you can cover the egg custard with plastic wrap on top of the custard to prevent a film from forming and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Do not freeze the homemade custard. It will lose its velvety texture once it defrosts.

Frequently Asked Q’s & A’s

What can you use vanilla custard for?

This recipe for vanilla custard is extremely versatile. You can use it as a filling for just about any dessert such as a taiyaki, French cream puff, eclair, cakes, cupcakes, donuts, etc. Alternatively, you can use it as a base to create a fruit tart or serve it by itself with fruit-like pudding.

Can you make vanilla custard in advance?

Yes! You can make the custard one day in advance. Cover with plastic wrap on top of the custard to prevent a film from forming and chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.

Does egg custard have raw eggs?

This homemade vanilla custard does contain raw eggs but since it is gently heated it is perfectly safe to be eaten.

What is the difference between custard and pudding?

Both custard and pudding are creamy, desserts but the differences are in the textures and cooking method. Custard is creamier and richer whereas pudding is slightly thinner. Custard relies on milk and eggs for its creamy texture and pudding simply uses a thickening agent like cornstarch.

More Dessert Recipes to Try

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Homemade Vanilla Custard Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Velvety smooth, rich and delicate vanilla custard is made with vanilla, egg yolks, sugar, milk and butter for the most versatile pastry cream that can be used as a filling, sauce or topper!
Servings: 4 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ tablespoon (35 g) cornstarch
  • 2 cups (500 g) whole milk
  • ½ cup (120 g) unsalted butter 1 stick
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (25 g) vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Whisk ingredients together. In a mixing bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar, salt, cornstarch and milk. Whisk until everything is thoroughly combined
  • Simmer the milk and mix with egg mixture. In a medium saucepan, pour in the mixture and cook on medium-low heat whisking constantly until it thickens up and simmers.
  • Add in butter and vanilla. Once the cream has thickened, turn down the heat to low and add the butter and vanilla extract. Stir until butter is melted. If you have residual lumps, strain through a fine-mesh sieve or use an immersion blender to make the custard silky smooth.
  • Cover and chill. Cover with plastic wrap by pressing the plastic onto the surface of the custard to prevent skin from forming and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours or until cold.

Notes

  • Whisk the ingredients before heating. This will ensure everything is thoroughly mixed and the eggs won’t get scrambled too early.
  • Keep a close eye on the custard: once you begin cooking the custard do not leave its side. Stir continuously to prevent overheating and curdling.
  • Don’t overheat the mixture: when the custard has thickened and begins to simmer and bubble immediately remove from the heat to prevent from over cooking.
  • If you have any lumps, use an immersion blender or you can pour it through a mesh sieve.
  • Wrap the custard with plastic wrap. Place the plastic wrap on the surface of the custard to prevent a film from forming before placing it in the refrigerator to chill.
  • Chill for at least 2 hours or until cold. The vanilla custard filling needs at least 2 hours to chill and set before you can serve it.
  • Storage instructions: This vanilla custard is best served immediately once chilled. However, you can cover the egg custard with plastic wrap on top of the custard to prevent a film from forming and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Nutrition:

Calories: 443kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 379mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 0.01g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 1077IU | Calcium: 179mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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