The Best Homemade Vanilla Custard Recipe

Updated on January 5, 2018
A lovely custard is a great way to end a meal or satisfy a sweet tooth!
A lovely custard is a great way to end a meal or satisfy a sweet tooth! | Source

Why Should I Make Homemade Custard?

It's easy to throw together a pre-made custard or make one by using a powder, but there's nothing quite like a homemade pouring custard. It tastes a million times better than packet custard and is so easy to put together. Not only this, but you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you made it yourself when everyone raves over their custard!

4.3 stars from 7 ratings of Homemade Vanilla Custard

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: 4 servings


  • 150 ml full-cream milk
  • 150 ml single cream
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 15 g caster sugar (super-fine sugar)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tbsp cornflour


  1. Add the milk, cream, and vanilla in a saucepan. Gently heat the mixture until it starts to boil.
  2. Separate your eggs and beat the yolks with sugar and cornflour in a bowl. Do this until everything is smooth.
  3. Once the milk and cream start boiling, remove the pan from the heat and discard the vanilla pod. Add everything to the bowl with eggs and sugar. Make sure to stir the entire time so that the eggs don't scramble!
  4. Pour everything back into the saucepan and set it to the lowest heat you have. Stir everything continuously and watch to make sure it doesn't boil. If it starts overheating, take the pan off the heat for a few seconds (while stirring the contents) and then put it back on the stove.
  5. The custard should start thickening pretty quickly. You'll know it's ready if you coat the back of a wooden spoon with the custard. If you see a thin layer and a trail left by running a finger along the spoon, it's ready. If it runs straight off the spoon, it's not ready yet.
  6. Make sure to read the tips and tricks I'll share with you below!

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Tips and Tricks to Making Custard

Here are five ways to experiment with the custard recipe!

  • For a thicker custard, use four egg yolks instead of three.
  • For a plain custard (this recipe is vanilla), leave out the vanilla pod or extract.
  • For a fine custard, omit the cornflour.
  • For a healthier custard, use 300ml full-fat milk and no cream.
  • For an indulgent custard, use 300ml single cream and no milk.

Keep these tips in mind to help you make the tastiest custard possible:

  1. The problem people face when making a proper custard is the fact it curdles as soon as it overheats. Even on low heat with constant stirring, the custard can easily get too hot and become horribly lumpy. That's why powdered custard is so popular. However, I use cornflour in this recipe to stabilize the mixture and reduce the chances of curdling. The custard will have a slightly less-than-perfect consistency than true fine pouring custard, but it tastes just as good!
  2. If you want to make a perfect fine-pouring custard, omit the cornflour and keep a very close eye on your custard to ensure it doesn't overheat. Stir continuously and take the pan off the heat each time you think the mixture is getting too hot.
  3. Whether you use cornflour or not, the custard can still curdle. But don't panic! I've had mine curdle many times, and it usually happens when I'm trying to multi-task and stop stirring (gasp!) for a few seconds. Just take it off the heat and stir vigorously to the point of beating it with your spoon until it's smooth again. Then just put it back on the heat and carry on. If the worst happens and it still ends up lumpy, don't despair - it will still taste great!
  4. One of the great advantages of making your own custard is that you can tweak it to your personal taste. If you like it strong, you can add more vanilla. If you like it thick or runny, you can adjust accordingly. If you want to make it a different flavor altogether, you can add orange, cinnamon, or anything else!
  5. There is, alas, one downside to proper homemade custard: you can't freeze it. If you want to freeze your custard or make custard ice lollies, you'll need to use custard powder. A store-bought tub works nicely for custard lollies.

Try adding variety to your custard with a homemade fruit crumble!
Try adding variety to your custard with a homemade fruit crumble!

Inspiration for Homemade Custard

My favorite accompaniment for homemade custard is fruit crumble. You can see custard poured over my famous apple and blackberry crumble in the photo above!

You can add other desserts to jazz up custard such as:

  • Apple pie
  • Fruit tart
  • Sticky toffee pudding

Or, if you're a custard addict like my other half, who needs anything with the custard??Also, if you want to start home cooking seriously, Rachel Allen's cookbook is a great resource. She has a great writing style and her recipes are delicious (at least, every dish I've tried so far have been successes!). She includes a basic custard recipe along with three variations: vanilla, orange, and cinnamon. Yum!

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© 2011 Missmerfaery444

Off to enjoy a nice bowl of homemade custard? - Please leave your Comments and Feedback before you go!

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    • ShariBerry profile image

      Sharon Berry 3 years ago from Michigan

      This sounds delicious. I can't wait to give it a go.

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

    • peterb6001 profile image

      Peter Badham 3 years ago from England

      About 15 years ago I made my first homemade custard, I could never go back to powered or tinned. Your's looks lovely by the way, if I can I like to use a real vanilla pod, and scrape the insides out, but they are expensive.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 3 years ago from United States

      This recipe looks and sounds delicious! My father especially loves custard.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 3 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Custard is so lovely. And you can do it on the stovetop so it doesn't heat up the kitchen too much.

    • profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 3 years ago

      Yum! Planning on using this for a creme brule.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I'd love to taste this! I have a sweet tooth.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Missmerfaery444: You have so many more choices than we do. We have half and half, which is supposed to be half milk and half cream, but sometimes has other stuff in it, unless we hunt down unadulterated. The same is true of our other choice, usually labeled as either "heavy whipping cream" or merely "whipping cream."

    • profile image

      katiesnow 3 years ago


    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 3 years ago

      @ecogranny: Yes full cream milk is whole milk, and I think single cream equates to "light cream" in the US? In the UK we have single cream (thinner and runny), double cream (thicker), extra thick double cream (stupidly thick!) and whipping cream. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Yes, I will try your recipe for sure. In fact, I'm looking forward to it with relish. Pinning it so I don't lose it. I do have a question. Do you know what would be the equivalent terms for "full cream milk" and "single cream" here in the U.S.? I'm guessing whole milk might be comparable to your full cream milk, but not at all sure what single cream might be.

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 4 years ago

      This looks really delicious!

    • profile image

      ifriend 4 years ago

      very nice! feel like eat the same! thanks for the nice lens!

    • profile image

      chat2vishakha 4 years ago

      It looks delicious.Thanks for this nice recipe.

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 4 years ago from London

      I'd never thought of using a little cornflour. That makes great sense, and will definitely make it easier to thicken.

    • profile image

      othellos 4 years ago

      Nice lens. Your recipe showed me the path to give up the powder stuff (it was easy...I admit). Thanks for sharing:=)

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 4 years ago

      @debnet: Definitely worth trying Deb - easier than people think and the homemade taste is soooo worthwhile! :)

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 4 years ago from England

      I think you've convinced me!! watching Masterchef or whatever leads you to believe it's a difficult thing to do but your recipe looks like something even I could tackle!!

    • profile image

      DebW07 5 years ago

      Delicious, thanks for the custard recipes.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      I like making my own desserts as much as possible because I can then keep them as healthy as possible. It really isn't too much more work than buying the package mixes.

    • chas65 profile image

      chas65 5 years ago

      All the English desserts that had custard were sooo good. Some of my American counterparts would prefer ice cream, but not me.

    • mrsclaus411 profile image

      mrsclaus411 5 years ago

      Custard is such a yummy treat. Thank you for sharing those tips and tricks.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      Your homemade fruit crumble variation looks divine! Thanks for the recipes and ideas.

    • Genjud profile image

      Genjud 6 years ago

      Oh, I love homemade custard. It is such a treat. I cook mine in the microwave for more instant gratification. Yummy!!!!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 6 years ago from New Zealand

      Yum, wishing I was off to enjoy a nice bowl of custard.

    • spritequeen lm profile image

      spritequeen lm 6 years ago

      Can't wait to try this! Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      Excellent visual and written instructions. :)

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 6 years ago from Concord VA

      I love custard! Your directions and photos for making homemade custard are very well done!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Looks yummy. I have always loved custard.