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Thursday, October 21, 2021

How to make custard

Thick, silky, creamy and luxurious vanilla custard. I’m going to show you how to make it lump-free, without custard powder.
The ultimate accompaniment to all sponge cakes, fruit pies and crumbles!

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When I was little, Sunday afternoons would always be spent having tea at my nana and grandad’s house with all of the family. My grandad was a keen and adventurous baker and would have apple crumbles, rhubarb crumbles, scones and trifle on the table without fail.
He could always be relied upon to have a big jug of homemade custard, in a Pyrex jug, ready for us all to devour.

This is the famous custard, done the proper way, with lots for everyone, because who doesn’t love custard…

📋 What do we need?

  • Cream Always use double (heavy) cream for your custard, this will ensure the custard is luscious and won’t split
  • Milk Full fat (whole) milk again for that creamy taste
  • Vanilla Extract This will add the essential flavour to your custard, or you can use vanilla essence, vanilla paste or the seeds from a vanilla pod
  • Eggs I used large eggs, but if you don’t have large, just add an extra yolk to the recipe

🔪 How to make Custard

Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.

A close up of a big bowl of custard being whisked on a wooden table
  1. Heat the cream and milk in a pan over a gentle heat.
  2. In a jug, mix the egg yolks, cornflour, sugar and vanilla extract.
  3. Pour the hot cream/ milk over the egg mixture, slowly, whilst stirring constantly, then pour back into the pan and heat gently while stirring with the whist, until thick and creamy.

👩‍🍳PRO TIP Try pushing fresh raspberries through a sieve and adding to the custard for a trip down memory lane and that wonderful school ‘pink custard’

🍽️ What to serve it with

Thick, creamy and goes with so many desserts and cakes, and not forgetting the old favourite, bananas and custard 😋

What’s your favourite thing to serve with custard?
Mine has to be the good old sticky toffee pud!

Piece of sticky toffee pudding on a plate, topped with custard. Jug of custard in the background.
A square image of a blue jug filled with custard, sat on a blue plate with a spoon next to it. On a wooden table with a white tea towel on the side

How to make custard

Thick, silky, creamy and luxurious vanilla custard. The ultimate accompaniment to all sponge cakes, fruit pies and crumbles!

Prep Time 5 mins

Cook Time 5 mins

Total Time 10 mins

Course Dessert, Sauces

Cuisine British

Servings 4 -6

Calories 188 kcal


  • Heat the cream and milk in a pan until bubbles just start to rise at the edge of the pan (don’t boil it).

  • In a jug, mix the egg yolks, cornflour, sugar and vanilla extract.

  • When the cream is hot, pour into the egg mixture in a thin stream whilst stirring (note: stirring, not whisking fast!) with a hand whisk (don’t pour in the milk all at once or it will scramble the eggs).

  • Once mixed together, pour back into the pan and continue to stir the custard with a whisk over a medium heat until it thickens.

  • If it gets too thick, add a splash of cream.

  • Turn off the heat and serve.

✎ Notes

If you stir constantly with a whisk, you shouldn’t get any lumps.
If you do end up with any lumps, simply pour the custard through a sieve.

Can I make it ahead?  
Yes, cover with a piece of clingfilm (so it’s touching the whole of the top layer of custard), so you don’t get a skin on the top, then refrigerate for up to two days.
Reheat, in a pan, stirring constantly, until piping hot.

Can I freeze it?
Honestly? it can be a bit hit and miss, and is likely to split, so I don’t recommend freezing homemade custard.
However, you can freeze the excess egg whites to use another day.

Ingredient swaps

  • Add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder along with the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour to make chocolate custard.
  • Add ½ teaspoon of almond extract for a lovely vanilla-almond flavour (works great when served with sponge recipes).

Nutritional information is approximate, per serving – based on this recipe making 6 servings.


Calories: 188kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 3gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 174mgSodium: 30mgPotassium: 76mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 663IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 69mgIron: 1mg

Keywords Autumn food, Comfort Food, winter food

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Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

Hi I’m Nicky

I love to cook and I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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