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Homemade Vanilla Custard {Easy}

Easy vanilla custard recipe from scratch, homemade with simple ingredients. Thick and creamy. Enjoy on its own or in cakes, pies, tarts as filling.

I love the creamy, smooth deliciousness of custard. It pairs well with so many yummy desserts, which makes it a great staple to know how to make to add alongside your regular desserts. A few other no bake recipes that are similar in consistency include Homemade Vanilla Pudding, Chia Pudding, or Rice Pudding.

How to make easy custard recipe from scratch?

  1. Heat to a boil– Milk and half of the sugar, then reduce to a simmer
  2. Whisk together- Remaining sugar and cornstarch in a separate bowl.
  3. Whisk yolks- Into sugar mixture until smooth.
  4. Remove– Some of the milk mixture and add it to the sugar mixture.
  5. Pour this mixture– Into the saucepan, while constantly mixing.
  6. Keep stirring– Until custard thickens.
  7. Bring to temperature– To ensure that custard does not become watery.
  8. Remove– Saucepan from heat.
  9. Mix in- Butter and vanilla extract.
  10. Transfer– To a large serving bowl.
  11. Allow to cool– To room temperature, then place plastic wrap over the top.
  12. Refrigerate overnight– To chill and thicken.
  13. Enjoy with toppings– Such as fresh berries or whipped cream.

What is the difference between custard and pudding? Can I substitute one for the other?

One of the main differences is that custard has more egg yolks and is thicker. Pudding on the other hand uses a smaller quantity of eggs and isn’t quite as thick. Traditionally, only eggs were used as thickener and not cornstarch. Now, both are used for convenience and fool-proof results. However, pudding has almost always been thickened with cornstarch.

Why didn’t my egg custard set? Why is it not thickening? 

It’s no secret that custard can be a tricky thing to make. Because custard includes eggs, it needs to be cooked. However, if it is undercooked then the custard may not set at all. On the other hand, you do not want the eggs to cook so quickly that you end up with some scrambled eggs. Tempering the eggs with the warm milk mixture will help you avoid this.

Why is my custard grainy? How to fix it?

Use a candy thermometer to ensure temperature reaches 185 degrees F. This ensures that custard does not become watery while cooling in the fridge. Also, you must make sure the plastic wrap sticks to the top of the custard, otherwise condensation water builds on top and when you remove the wrap the water droplets spill into the custard.

Thick homemade custard toppings 

  • Whipped topping or Chantilly
  • Fresh berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries.
  • Nutella Syrup
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chopped nuts, such as pistachios, pecans, or walnuts
  • Crushed candies
  • Chopped candy bars
  • Sliced bananas
  • Cinnamon and sugar
  • Boba
  • Shredded coconut
  • Caramel sauce

Variations for vanilla custard

Add zests– Such as lemon, orange, or lime.

Use other extracts– Such as almond, lemon, maple, or another one of your favorites to add unique flavor.

Add spices- Such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves

Make it chocolate- By adding a few tablespoons of cocoa powder in the mixture.

Pair it- With a fruit crumble or cobbler, cakes, pies, or tarts.

Tips and techniques 

  • For ultra smooth consistency- You can strain custard through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any lumps. I don’t usually do this. You can also use a hand held immersion blender at the end. 
  • Use full fat whole milk– Because this will make the treat creamier, tastier, and have a better overall texture.
  • Use unsalted butter– Because you don’t want this sweet treat to be overwhelmed with a salty flavor.
  • Use only egg yolks and not egg whites– Because it will make your dish thicker and set up better.
  • Use nonstick saucepan– So that you have easy clean up and don’t end up with half your ingredients still stuck to the pan.
  • Consistently stir- With a wooden spoon so that it does not scorch to the bottom of the pan.
  • Don’t leave boiling– Be sure to bring it to a simmer quickly after it comes to a boil, otherwise the mixture will curdle.
  • Slow down- Take your time to make this and don’t rush the process or else you are likely to make mistakes like burning or curdling the custard.
  • Cook on stove top- Don’t try to microwave this recipe, because it won’t work out well. Because it is fickle it needs an even distribution of heat and stirring.

Storage

Fridge- Keep in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Freezer- Place in a sealed container and keep for up to 1 month. It can be thawed in the fridge, then mixed to create unity in the mixture.

More vanilla desserts 

Egg Custard With Fresh Berry Topping in Blue Bowl- Overhead Shot

Easy Homemade Vanilla Custard From Scratch in Blue Bowl
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Easy Homemade Vanilla Custard

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Easy vanilla custard recipe from scratch, homemade with simple ingredients. Thick and creamy. Enjoy on its own or in cakes, pies, tarts as filling.
Yield: 6 People

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups Whole milk
  • 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
  • 3.5 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 4 Egg yolks, From large eggs, Lightly whisked
  • 2 tbsp Butter, Unsalted, Cold
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • In a large nonstick saucepan, add milk and half the sugar.
  • Cook on medium-high heat until mixture comes to a to a boil.
  • Then, reduce heat to low heat and allow mixture to simmer.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together remaining sugar and cornstarch.
  • Add whisked egg yolks to this sugar mixture and mix until smooth.
  • Remove 1 cup of the warm milk from the saucepan and mix that into this sugar/egg/cornstarch mixture until smooth.
  • Pour this mixture into the saucepan, while constantly mixing with a wooden spoon or whisk. You can bring up the heat from low to medium, if you like.
  • Keep stirring until custard thickens and starts sticking to your whisk or spoon.
  • Use a candy thermometer to ensure temperature reaches 185 degrees F. This ensures that custard does not become watery while cooling in the fridge.
  • Remove saucepan from heat.
  • Add butter, vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  • Transfer to a large serving bowl or separate small bowls.
  • Let it cool to room temperature.
  • Cover with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface of the custard.
  • Let it cool to room temperature. Then, refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours. It will thicken more, as it chills.
  • Enjoy with a topping of fresh berries or whipped cream.

Notes

  • Read all my tips above.
  • Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 199kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 148mg, Sodium: 62mg, Potassium: 118mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 20g, Vitamin A: 399IU, Calcium: 100mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 199
Author: Abeer Rizvi
Spoonful of Thick Custard Cream- Closeup Shot
Easy Homemade Vanilla Custard From Scratch in Blue Bowl

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