Homemade Custard Recipe

Make thick and creamy vanilla custard at home with my traditional stove-top recipe that’s delicious poured over crumbles, pies and tarts.

A wooden spoon with custard dripping off it into a jar of vanilla custard.

Add this classic homemade custard to your repertoire of essential recipes… it’s the perfect addition to all your favourite dessert recipes (including crumble cake, chocolate self-saucing pudding and of course, blueberry crumble!).

A small jar of homemade custard on a white and blue tea towel.

Homemade Custard (Creme Anglaise)

Vanilla custard (also known as Creme Anglaise) is a popular recipe made from milk, eggs, vanilla bean, sugar and thickened with cornflour.

Custard can be served on it’s own or with any of your favourite sweet recipes for the ultimate dessert (my personal favourite is with apple crumble).

A spoon being dipped into a glass jar of custard, sitting on a blue and white tea towel

What You Need

With the exception of the vanilla bean, custard is made from pantry and refrigerator staples!

  • Vanilla bean – also known as vanilla pods. Vanilla beans can be bought from the baking section of any supermarket. They are quite expensive (approximately $5-6 dollars for a two pack), but are needed to give the custard a beautiful rich vanilla flavour. If you’re unable to source vanilla beans, you can use 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Vanilla essence is not suitable for this recipe as it doesn’t give the same rich vanilla flavour as vanilla beans, vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract.
  • Milk – use full cream milk for this recipe. Do not use skim or light milk as it will not thicken as well as full cream milk.
  • Egg yolks – use large eggs (approximately 55g each). Discard the egg whites, or use for something else, as they are not needed for this recipe.
  • Caster sugar – also known as superfine sugar. This type of sugar is perfect for custard as it dissolves when heated.
  • Cornflour – also known as cornstarch. This works with the egg yolks to thicken the mixture.
Individual bowls of ingredients for homemade vanilla custard and a vanilla bean.

Stove-Top Steps

Making homemade custard on the stove-top takes a little bit of time and patience (and lots of whisking), but the end result is worth it.

Step 1 – Prepare The Vanilla Bean

Using a small sharp knife, cut a slit down the middle of the vanilla bean and then scrape out the seeds.

Step 2 – Infuse The Milk

Heat the milk, the vanilla bean and the seeds until just boiling. Pour through a sieve and set aside.

A collage of four steps to infuse milk with vanilla bean on the stovetop.

Step 3 – Mix The Yolks, Sugar & Cornflour

In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together until pale and smooth.

Step 4 – Slowly Add The Milk

Very slowly, add the warm milk (1/2 cup at a time), whisking well between each addition.

A collage of four steps to mix egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together

Step 5 – Cook The Mixture

Cook the mixture over a low heat on the stove-top whisking constantly for 15-20 minutes or until thickened.

A whisk stirring a creamy liquid custard in a saucepan on a hotplate
A whisk sitting in a saucepan of custard on a marble bench

Serving Suggestions

Homemade custard is the ultimate addition to your favourite cake or dessert.

Here’s a few of my favourite recipes that taste AMAZING with custard poured over the top:

A glass jar of creamy custard on a white and blue tea towel.

Recipe Tips & FAQ

Vanilla bean alternatives – Vanilla beans can be bought from the baking section of any supermarket. They are quite expensive (approximately $5-6 dollars for a two pack), but are needed to give the custard a beautiful rich vanilla flavour. If you’re unable to source vanilla beans, you can use 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Vanilla essence is not suitable for custard as it doesn’t give the custard the same rich vanilla flavour as vanilla beans, vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract.

If your eggs start to scramble – If you notice that your eggs are starting to scramble while cooking, then lower the heat, remove the saucepan from the stove-top, pour the custard into a bowl, allow to cool and then strain through a sieve to remove any lumpy parts.

Smooth and thick custard – the secret to perfectly smooth and thick custard is patience and lots of whisking. Cook the custard over a very low heat while continually whisking. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat as your custard will start to scramble and go lumpy. Be prepared to stand at the stove-top for 15-20 minutes whisking the mixture continuously.

Is custard suitable for babies – custard is a great recipe for babies who have started on solids. It’s not suitable for babies under 6 months due to the inclusion of egg in the recipe.

Storing – Custard can be stored for 3 days in the fridge. Note: it will continue to thicken.

Freezing – Custard is not suitable for freezing.

Creamy custard dripping off a wooden spoon into a glass jar of vanilla custard.

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A spoon with custard dripping off it into a jar of vanilla custard.

Custard Recipe

Make thick and creamy vanilla custard at home with my traditional stove-top recipe that's delicious poured over crumbles, pies and tarts.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French, western
Keyword: custard
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 serves
Calories: 130kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 600 ml full cream milk not skim or light milk
  • 4 egg yolks approximately 55g each
  • 2 tbs (30g) caster sugar superfine sugar
  • 1 tbs (10g) cornflour

Instructions

  • Using a small sharp knife, cut a slit down the middle of the vanilla bean and then scrape out seeds.
  • Add both the bean and the seeds to a saucepan over a medium-low heat, pour in the full cream milk and bring only just to the boil.
  • Take the saucepan off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour through a sieve and discard any of the remaining vanilla bean. Set the milk aside.
  • In a large bowl, add the egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour and whisk until smooth and pale.
  • Very slowly add the reserved warm milk, half a cup at a time, whisking well each time.
  • Once all of the milk has been added and whisked, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook very gently on low heat for 15-20 minutes while whisking constantly. The custard is ready once it coats the back of a spoon and has thickened considerably.

Notes

RECIPE NOTES & TIPS
Ingredients Info: 
  • Vanilla beans – also known as vanilla pods. Vanilla beans can be bought from the baking section of any supermarket. They are quite expensive (approximately $5-6 dollars for a two pack), but are needed to give the custard a beautiful rich vanilla flavour. If you’re unable to source vanilla beans, you can use 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Vanilla essence is not suitable for this recipe as it doesn’t give the same rich vanilla flavour as vanilla beans, vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract.
  • Milk – use full cream milk for this recipe. Do not use skim or light milk as it will not thicken as well as full cream milk.
  • Egg yolks – use large eggs (approximately 55g each). Discard the egg whites as they are not needed for this recipe.
  • Caster sugar – also known as superfine sugar. This type of sugar is perfect for custard as it dissolves when heated.
  • Cornflour – also known as cornstarch. This works with the egg yolks to thicken the mixture.
More Recipe Tips:
If using vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract – follow the step for heating the milk with the paste/extract exactly as you would with a vanilla bean pod. However, omit the step of straining the milk (as you wont have a pod to strain). 
Whisking – the secret to perfectly smooth and thick custard is patience and lots of whisking. Cook the custard over a very low heat while continually whisking. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat as your custard will start to scramble and go lumpy. Be prepared to stand at the stove-top for 15-20 minutes whisking the mixture continuously.
Removing any lumps – If you notice that your eggs are starting to scramble while cooking, remove the saucepan from the stove-top, pour the custard into a bowl, allow to cool and then strain through a sieve to remove any lumpy parts.
Storing – Custard can be stored for 3 days in the fridge. Note: it will continue to thicken.
Freezing – Custard is not suitable for freezing.

Nutrition

Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 49mg | Potassium: 145mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 335IU | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 1mg
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2 Comments
  1. Kelly says:

    No Thermomix conversion for this one? I don’t think I can physically stand at the stove for that long.

    1. Lucy says:

      Hi Kelly, sorry this one is just an old school stove-top recipe!

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