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Best Ever Homemade Custard Recipe

Updated on August 23, 2017

How to Make Homemade Custard

Learn how to make delicious and easy Homemade Custard! Enjoy this recipe for proper custard, made from scratch without custard powder.

It's all too easy to heat pre-made custard straight from the tin these days, or make it using custard powder, but there is nothing like the taste of proper homemade pouring custard. It really is very simple to make, and satisfying, too!

This page contains both a printable homemade custard recipe and a step-by-step custard recipe with photos, which allows you to make either vanilla or plain pouring custard, depending on your preference.

There are also some yummy ideas on what to serve with your delicious custard, too! So, if you want to serve up the best ever homemade custard to your loved ones, then read on!

Photo Credit: Mysid courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

All content is original work written by the author of this page. Please DO NOT copy this elsewhere either in print or online (including blogs and forums). All photos are also copyright of the author unless otherwise stated and may not be used without permission.

Homemade Custard - Why Bother?

I'll tell you why - it tastes a million times better than packet custard, and is so quick and easy that it really isn't a drag to make at all, especially if you're making a pudding anyway, as you can do the prep while the pud is in the oven!

Although many people make custard with custard powder these days, it is just as simple in my opinion to make it the traditional way. Plus, when everyone is going "yum" over their bowl of custard, you get the satisfaction of knowing you made it yourself!

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Homemade custard recipe
Homemade custard recipe

Cook Time

Prep Time: Less than 5 minutes

Total Time: 10-15 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 150 ml full-cream milk
  • 150 ml single cream
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 15 g caster sugar (super fine sugar in the US)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cornflour

Instructions

  1. Add the milk, cream and vanilla pod or extract to a saucepan and gently heat until it starts to boil
  2. Whilst the milk mix is heating up, separate your eggs and beat the yolks together with the sugar and cornflour in a bowl, until smooth
  3. Once the milk and cream has boiled, remove the pod if you used one, and pour into the egg mixture, stirring the whole time
  4. Pour it all back into the saucepan (you can rinse if you like but I usually just pour it back in!) and set over the lowest heat you can, continuously stirring. Do not let it boil - if it starts to overheat then take it off the heat (keep stirring) for a few seconds and then put it back
  5. The custard will start to thicken fairly quickly. Test to see if it is ready by coating the back of your wooden spoon. If it is coated in a thin layer of custard (and you can run a finger down it, leaving a trail) then it is ready (see photo). If it runs straight off the spoon it is not ready.
  6. TIP: Read the Tips and Tricks section below for what to do if your custard starts to curdle. There is also a step by step version of the recipe with photos too!
4.2 stars from 6 ratings of Best Ever Homemade Custard Recipe!

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Homemade Custard Tips and Tricks

Here are my tips, hints, pros and cons of making homemade custard.

  1. Variations on this recipe:

    * If you want the custard thicker, use 4 egg yolks instead of 3

    * To make plain custard (this recipe is vanilla) just leave out the vanilla pod or extract

    * For very fine pouring custard, omit the cornflour (see bullet 3 below)

    * I like to use half and half milk and cream as per the recipe as it comes out to my preferred taste this way, but you can use 300ml full fat milk (and no cream - healthier) or 300ml single cream (and no milk - indulgent!) if you prefer

  2. The problem many people have with making proper custard is the fact that as soon as it overheats, it curdles (hence the popularity of powdered custard). Even on a low heat with constant stirring, it is easy for it to get too hot and go horribly lumpy. This recipe uses cornflour to stabilise the mixture and reduce the risk of curdling. It means the custard is of a slightly less perfect consistency than true fine pouring custard, but it tastes just as fine so what the heck?
  3. If you want to make absolutely perfect fine pouring custard, omit the cornflour, and keep a VERY close eye on your custard to ensure it does not overheat. Stir continuously and take off the heat each time you think it is getting too hot, still stirring the whole time.
  4. Whether you use cornflour or not, the custard can still curdle. But don't panic if it does! I have had mine curdle many times, usually if I am trying to take a crumble out of the oven at the same time 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, and when it is smooth again, put it back on the heat and carry on. If the worst happens and it still ends up lumpy, don't despair - it still tastes great!
  5. 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 flavour altogether, you can add orange or cinnamon or other variations!
  6. There is, alas, one downside to proper homemade custard - you can't freeze it. So, if you want to freeze your custard or make custard ice lollies, you'll need to use custard powder (or a store bought tub of the fresh stuff works nicely for custard lollies too).

Step by Step Homemade Custard with Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
1. Heat the milk and/or cream in a pan with the vanilla essence or pod2. Vanilla essence is a cupboard essential and makes a great alternative to having to keep fresh (and expensive) vanilla pods in the larder!3. Separate the yolks and mix with the cornflour4. Beat the yolk and cornflour together5. When the milk/cream comes to the boil, add it to the egg mixture, stirring all the while6. Pour it all back into the pan and warm over a very low heat, stirring continuously7. Check the consistency of the custard with the back of your wooden spoon8. When you get a thick coating on the back of your spoon like this, it's ready! To be extra sure, run your finger down the middle of the custard coating and if it leaves a clear trail, it's definitely ready!
1. Heat the milk and/or cream in a pan with the vanilla essence or pod
1. Heat the milk and/or cream in a pan with the vanilla essence or pod
2. Vanilla essence is a cupboard essential and makes a great alternative to having to keep fresh (and expensive) vanilla pods in the larder!
2. Vanilla essence is a cupboard essential and makes a great alternative to having to keep fresh (and expensive) vanilla pods in the larder!
3. Separate the yolks and mix with the cornflour
3. Separate the yolks and mix with the cornflour
4. Beat the yolk and cornflour together
4. Beat the yolk and cornflour together
5. When the milk/cream comes to the boil, add it to the egg mixture, stirring all the while
5. When the milk/cream comes to the boil, add it to the egg mixture, stirring all the while
6. Pour it all back into the pan and warm over a very low heat, stirring continuously
6. Pour it all back into the pan and warm over a very low heat, stirring continuously
7. Check the consistency of the custard with the back of your wooden spoon
7. Check the consistency of the custard with the back of your wooden spoon
8. When you get a thick coating on the back of your spoon like this, it's ready! To be extra sure, run your finger down the middle of the custard coating and if it leaves a clear trail, it's definitely ready!
8. When you get a thick coating on the back of your spoon like this, it's ready! To be extra sure, run your finger down the middle of the custard coating and if it leaves a clear trail, it's definitely ready!

Don't be a Custard Pie... - Learn How to Make Custard and Other Great Food from Scratch!

This is one of my favourite home cooking recipe books and includes some delicious homemade custard recipes. Rachel includes her recipe for plain custard along with three variations - vanilla custard, orange custard and cinnamon custard. Yum!

Home Cooking
Home Cooking

If you want to start home cooking seriously then this is a great book to use. Not only does it have a range of everyday and extra yummy meals, but it also covers all the basics and extras like homemade custard, sauces, herb butters, mayonnaise and more. Rachel has a great writing style and her recipes are delicious (or at least, all the ones I've tried so far are!)

It also has lots of handy hints throughout, such as ideas for stocking up your larder, freezer cooking, food on the go and getting kids involved. Great for mums as it has baby purees as well as family meals.

 

Serve your Homemade Custard... - ...with Something Suitably Yummy!

Homemade custard
Homemade custard

My personal favourite accompaniment for homemade custard is a homemade fruit crumble. Here is some poured over my famous apple and blackberry crumble!

It's also great over lots of other things too, like apple pie, a fruit tart or sticky toffee pudding. Or, if you're a custard addict like my other half, who needs anything but the custard??

Proper Custard VS Powdered Custard

So, have I convinced you? Will you be trying your hand at proper homemade custard, or will you keep on making it with custard powder?

Proper Homemade Custard or Custard Powder?

Essentials for your Homemade Custard - Lovely Things for Lovely Food!

From vanilla extract (a great alternative to vanilla pods) to essential utensils, find everything you need for homemade custard and other yummy things right here. And if you can't live without your powder, there's some Birds Custard Powder here too!

Hope you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks for reading and please leave your thoughts here!

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 2 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.

    • Lynn Klobuchar profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 3 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      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

      yum!

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image
      Author

      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 3 years ago

      This looks really delicious!

    • profile image

      ifriend 3 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
      Author

      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 4 years ago

      Delicious, thanks for the custard recipes.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 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 5 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.