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Homemade Vanilla Custard Desserts

I truly love vanilla custard for its delicate texture and light vanilla flavor. Best of all, it’s easy to master!

Make this sweet, thick, and velvety rich custard with egg yolks, milk and cream, butter, sugar, and some vanilla. Serve it on its own or add it to all kinds of recipes as an ingredient, a sauce, or a topper!

top view of plated Vanilla Custard with spoons and berries

What is Vanilla Custard?

Vanilla custard is a pudding-Like dish that can be enjoyed on its own, layered in cakes, or dolloped onto fruit desserts or pastries. While pudding is thickened with starch, a true custard uses cornstarch and extra egg yolks, giving it that sweet, rich flavor.

  • This recipe uses simple ingredients that are probably already in the pantry and fridge!
  • Easy to master, vanilla custard up-levels everything from waffles to gingerbread to fruit desserts like this cranberry trifle recipe.
  • Turn vanilla custard into ice cream by freezing it for about 3 hours, whisking it every 30 minutes to keep it aerated.

ingredients to make Vanilla Custard with labels

Ingredients

DAIRY: The best custard is made from fresh eggs, milk, cream, butter, and sugar. Use large eggs, whole milk, and full-fat cream and butter for best results.

FLAVORINGS: Real vanilla beans can be used by scraping out the tiny beans from inside the pod and adding them in Step 4. Rum, maple, coconut, lemon, or banana extracts will add more flavor to pies, tarts, and other desserts.

process of adding ingredients together to make Vanilla Custard

How to Make Vanilla Custard

A thick and creamy custard is easy to make:

  1. Whisk cornstarch & sugar in a pan before heating (per recipe below).
  2. Add egg yolks, milk, & cream.
  3. Bring to medium heat, whisking for about 15 minutes.
  4. Allow to boil for one minute while whisking.
  5. Remove from heat & stir in butter & vanilla.
  6. Cover the surface of the custard with a piece of plastic wrap & place in the refrigerator to cool at least 2 hours.

Vanilla Custard before and after setting

Tips

  • Mix the ingredients before heating.
  • Heat over a low gentle heat, this keeps the custard smooth without “scrambling” the eggs.
  • Whisk while it cooks or the milk can burn and the mixture won’t be smooth.
  • Once cooked, ensure the plastic wrap rests on the surface of the custard as it cools. This keeps a skin form forming.
  • Custard will thicken slightly as it cools.

Storing Custard

Keep vanilla custard in the refrigerator for up to 5 days with a piece of plastic wrap directly spread across the top to avoid a crust from forming. Vanilla custard can be frozen in a zippered bag for up to 2 weeks, however, once it’s thawed it won’t have the same consistency and would be better used mixed into a shake or smoothie. Or add some orange juice and make a grownup spiked creamsicle.

Vanilla Custard in a bowl with a spoon

What Does Vanilla Custard Go With?

  • Homemade Gingerbread – soft & moist
  • Moist Banana Bread – breakfast, snack, or dessert!
  • French Toast Sticks –  perfect for dipping
  • Easy Tiramisu Recipe – a no-bake dessert
  • Coconut Banana Cream Pie – loaded with coconut

What do you serve with Vanilla Custard? Leave us a comment below! 

bowls of Vanilla Custard.

5 from 7 votes

Review Recipe

Vanilla Custard

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Rich and creamy vanilla custard is such a delight! Serve with some fresh fruit for a simple yet satisfying treat.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 ¾ cups milk
  • ¾ cup light cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Whisk granulated sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan (before putting it on the stove). Add egg yolks, milk, and cream. Whisk to combine.
  • Heat the mixture over medium-low heat while whisking, this will take about 15 minutes.
  • Once boiling, let bubble 1 minute while whisking.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in butter and vanilla.
  • Pour into a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap allowing the wrap to rest on the surface of the custard.
  • Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Recipe Notes

  • Mix the ingredients before heating.
  • Heat over a low gentle heat, this keeps the custard smooth without “scrambling” the eggs.
  • Whisk while it cooks or the milk can burn and the mixture won’t be smooth.
  • Once cooked, ensure the plastic wrap rests on the surface of the custard as it cools. This keeps a skin form forming.
  • Custard will thicken slightly as it cools.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 366, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 243mg, Sodium: 125mg, Potassium: 303mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 980IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 245mg, Iron: 1mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
bowl of Vanilla Custard with berries on top and writing
Vanilla Custard with berries and a title
Vanilla Custard in bowls with spoons and a title
bowls full of Vanilla Custard with writing

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