Homemade Custard

STOP! Don’t buy ready made custard. It’s really simple to make vanilla custard at home from simple everyday ingredients.

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STOP! Don't buy ready made custard. It's really simple to make vanilla custard at home from simple everyday ingredients.


Before I started cooking regularly I always thought that it was difficult to make custard. That if I attempted it I’d end up with something lumpy, with a slimy skin on top.

However, as with pretty much everything I thought was difficult to make, it turns out it’s actually really easy. There’s just one simple rule to follow – you have to give it your full attention. No attempting to cook the rest of dinner, looking after your children or cleaning up. When it comes to custard, it’s all or nothing.

If you can’t commit to giving it your full attention for 15 minutes, then you can either…

  1. Make it in advance at a time that you’ll be free from interruptions (anyone for vanilla custard making at 3am), or
  2. Buy ready made (I still do sometimes, it’s nice)

You might be wondering why I bother to make my own custard when I’m perfectly happy to eat ready made. Here’s why…

  1. Impromptu custard – My recipe uses only ingredients that I always have at home, so I can suddenly decide I need a bowl of warming bananas and custard and as if by magic it’s there.
  2. Knowing that I’ve made something that I’d always thought was difficult (even if it actually isn’t) makes me feel clever, and I like feeling clever.

A pan of delicious homemade custard made with egg yolks, milk, sugar, a little flour and plenty of vanilla extract.

Is it really proper custard if you use flour

There are some cooking purists that say that to make proper custard you shouldn’t need any flour or cornflour to aid thickening, you should let the egg yolks do all the work.

Maybe they’re right. However in this case I don’t use the flour simply for thickening, I use it to make the custard taste right.

I’ve made it both ways, using numerous different recipes. If you simply use egg yolks you get quite a light tasting custard, perfect for tarts and patisserie but, in my opinion, not heavy enough to match a warming apple crumble (or apple crumble flapjack). The addition of flour somehow makes it taste more appropriate.

Essentially, I think that custard with flour is autumn/winter custard and without is spring/summer custard.

What do you think?

STOP! Don't buy ready made custard. It's really simple to make vanilla custard at home from simple everyday ingredients.
4.43 from 7 votes
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Homemade Custard

STOP! Don’t buy ready made custard. It’s really simple to make custard at home from simple everyday ingredients. Recipe VIDEO below.

Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Active Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 161 kcal

Ingredients

  • 300 ml full fat milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 30 g plain flour
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Separate 4 eggs, putting the yolks into a large bowl.
  2. Add the caster sugar (30g) and whisk until combined.
  3. Add the plain flour (30g) and vanilla extract (½ tsp) and whisk until combined.
  4. Heat the full fat milk (300ml) on a very gentle heat until warmed but not quite boiling. Stir regularly to ensure that it does not burn.
  5. Once the milk is warm, remove from the heat and gradually add to the large bowl a bit at a time. Whisking each addition in completely before adding more.
  6. Once combined, put the mixture into the pan and return to a very gentle heat.
  7. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the custard has reached your desired thickness – this usually takes about 10 minutes but will depend on how runny you want your custard to be. You must whisk the custard constantly to avoid it going lumpy.
  8. Remove from the heat and continue to whisk for another minute.
  9. Serve.

If you’re making the custard to use later

  1. Put the custard into a bowl or jug and cover with cling film. It is important that the top of the custard is in full contact with the cling film to prevent a skin forming while the custard cools.
  2. Place into the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
  3. When you want to use the custard, reheat in a pan, stirring regularly to ensure that a skin doesn’t form. You’ll find that the custard will thicken further as it reheats. It it starts to become too thick, simply add a little more milk to get it to your desired consistency.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Got a question about this recipe? Take a look at my FAQs to see if I've already answered it.

Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a comment and rating at the bottom of the page to let others know what you thought.

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Custard
Amount Per Serving
Calories 161 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 202mg 67%
Sodium 41mg 2%
Potassium 118mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 17g 6%
Sugars 11g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 7.6%
Calcium 10.8%
Iron 4.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

You might also like to try my delicious HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE CUSTARD or my festive BRANDY & ORANGE CUSTARD.

Chocolate-Custard-4 Brandy-and-Orange-Custard-11


Homemade Custard FAQs

Over time I’ve been asked quite a few questions about this recipe. To save you needing to scroll though the comments to see what’s been asked before here are the answers to the most common questions…

Can you make custard using cornflour?

Yes. I’ve chosen to use plain flour in this recipe as I find that more people have it in the cupboard than cornflour, but cornflour will also work just fine. If you’d prefer to use cornflour then simply substitute 2 tbsp of flour for 2 tbsp of cornflour in the recipe.

Switching the flour to cornflour will also mean that this recipe is gluten-free, so perfect for anyone with an allergy or intolerance.

Can you make custard using self-raising flour?

Technically yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The consistency and appearance of the custard will be just like using plain flour of cornflour, but the raising agents in the self-raising flour have quite a strong flavour which just doesn’t taste good in custard.

Can you make custard using a dairy-free milk alternative.

Yes. I’ve not tried all of the types of milk but I know oat and almond milk work well. I suspect the others would work equally as well.

Can you make custard using granulated sugar instead of caster sugar?

Yes. The sugar dissolves into the custard as it’s heating so they work equally as well.

I added too much flour and now it tastes too floury. How can I fix it?

The easiest way to disguise the flavour of the flour if you added too much is to add more vanilla extract. If you find the extra flour has made it too thick, simply whisk in a little extra milk.

I kept my custard on the heat for too long and now it’s too thick. How can I fix it?

The easiest way to thin it out is to put it back onto a gentle heat and whisk in some more milk until it’s your desired consistency. If you add too much milk, simply keep it on the heat until it has thickened again.

If you find it’s gone a little lumpy then pass it through a sieve to remove any lumps and it’ll be just fine.

What are you pouring the custard onto in the first picture?

That’ll be my homemade apple crumble flapjacks. They’re a great match 😋

A pan of delicious homemade vanilla custard.

Free From/Suitable For…

The ingredients I used to make this recipe are all free from the following allergens. However, please check any labels carefully for allergens you need to avoid as brands can vary and product recipes can change over time.

  • Suitable for Vegetarians
  • Tree Nut-Free
  • Peanut-Free
  • Sesame-Free
  • Soya-Free
  • Sulphur Dioxide & Sulphite-Free
  • Lupin-Free

This recipe can be made gluten-free by switching the plain flour for cornflour.

This recipe can be made dairy-free by switching this milk for a dairy-free alternative.

Pin this recipe for later

STOP! Don't buy ready made custard. It's really simple to make vanilla custard at home from simple everyday ingredients.


This post was originally published on 14th January 2015 and updated with new images and FAQs on 13th June 2018.

50 Comments:

  1. Healthy Kitchen 101

    Adding flour is such a nice idea! I did try it and luckily my friends had so much compliments. The taste turned out more fragrant! And thus, I shared your recipe with them! xD
    – Natalie Ellis

  2. A really great recipe – easy to make and tastes delicious on my sponge cake!

  3. I was very scared of making custard because of the eggs curdling, bug I tried the recipe and must confess that from now on wards I will definitely be making my own custard. I feel like a culinary pro

  4. Thank-you we have been away for the weekend, but forgotten the bananas, so wanted to do something quick with them, as they’d started to go mushy. Its great you don’t need cornflour as had none & didn’t fancy going down street just for that. Made it with oaty milk as son has milk protein allergy, it was lovely, I usually add banana then store in fridge, both boys came downstairs, tried it & (only because I insisted), dished it into bowls, otherwise wouldn’t have left the pan, & so didn’t get to the fridge for later at all. LOL. They finished in minutes, with a big thumbs up, & “yummy in my tummy” returned upstairs. Will definitely be trying some of the other recipes, the apple crumble flapjacks look great, youngest is apple crumble/pie mad, & they’d be great for their packed lunches as well. So thanks again xx

    • Thanks for your lovely comment Keeley, I’m so glad your whole family enjoyed it. I’ve not tried making it with non-dairy milk before so it’s great to hear that it works well. Enjoy the flapjacks!

  5. I made custard for the first time and it tastes divine. I feel so grown up!! Great recipe

  6. Way too floury.

  7. What you made is called pastry cream in the United States. That’s where flour or cornstarch (called corn flour in Europe) comes in. I like using cornstarch.

  8. very simple to make but sadly tastes just like eating flour.

  9. This tastes sooooo good! We had it for Sunday lunch with strudel and we didn’t have a drop left over. Lovely and creamy.

  10. Bananas and custard equals dessert heaven! Usually use custard from a tin, but this was so easy to make and tastes fantastic that I’ll be making my own more often.

    • I complete agree, bananas and custard are the best! I still buy ready-made if I knew I’m going to be in a hurry but I love knowing I’ve always got the ingredients in the house for a dessert emergency.

  11. I’ve always used shop bought custard! Never again! This custard was delicious with my Apple crumble

    Thank you

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Apple crumble and custard is such a great combination – I’m reading this and wanting to go and make some now!

  12. I was very sceptical about a recipe without cream or cornflour but it is EXCELLENT, so creamy!

  13. Winner! Thank you for a lovely recipe 🙂

  14. I’m just an awkward teenager looking for an easy snack, and I tried your recipe (halved the measurements though because I don’t need that much :P) and I loved it! Thank you for this. First time making custard from scratch and not from a box and it was so delicious and easy 🙂

  15. This is my first time making custard from scratch. It was easy enough but tastes a bit like flour and was super thick. Next tume I will only use 15g flour.

  16. I’m living abroad and cannot access the joyful indulgence of tinned Ambrosia custard and have gone without for many a year.

    This morning’s longing had me Googling for a simple recipe and here I am.

    With only three eggs, vanilla sugar and low-fat milk in the kitchen (oh, and no castor sugar) I set to work.

    The hand blender took care of the granulated sugar and the reduction of quantities did the rest. I accidentally added the full amount of flour but that just made things creamer still.

    Your (accidentally amended) recipe is just perfect and as sim0le as you say.

  17. Thanks a lot for your custard. What is the name of the pie? It was under your custard on your picture. It looks tasty. Could you give the resipe of it. Thank you

  18. I feel slightly guilty that I’ve never made my own custard before. Why when this is so easy and delicious!!
    Thank you.

    • I’ve found a lot of recipes like that where I’ve assumed they’ll be difficult to make and the discovered that they’re really quite simple once I’ve given them a go.

  19. My 9 year old graanddaughter and myself have just made this custard adding banana and it was lush , thanks first time making my own custard !

  20. Hi,
    I am highly intolerant to cornflour so have not had custard for 8 years! I have been searching for a recipe that is not posh end, but closer to standard custard. I am making an apricot almond cake later and came across this recipe whilst searching for custard again! I just made it, replacing whole milk for semi skimmed, and using my bamix stick blender on low to keep it free from lumps whilst cooking. It is delicious tasting, lump free, creamy tasting bliss! I am so grateful to you, as I have constantly dreamed of eating custard once again. Now I can whenever I wish! Thank you!

  21. Can I make with self raising flour?

    • I’ve not tried it so I have no idea. It’ll probably be OK, although the texture of the custard might not be quite the same. You could substitute the flour for cornflour if you have any of that.

    • I have just made it now with self raising flour. With my 2 year old. It goes very thick very quickly and tastes alot like flour. I got round this by adding more vanilla essence (to taste) very nice recipe will make it again and experiment with different things added. It’s very creamy.

  22. This is such a great recipe. I had some Christmas Pudding left over and didn’t really want store brought custard and didn’t have any cornflour, but came across your recipe.

    It tastes great and is so easy. Thanks

  23. Can I make in advance then reheat?

    • Yes, it’ll keep in the fridge. The only think you need to do it cover it in clingfilm, but ensure that the clingfilm is in contact with the surface of the custard to stop it getting a skin on top. You’ll find that it thickens more as you heat it, if it’s getting a bit thick then simply add a little more milk to get it back to the right consistency.

  24. Makes beautifully with lactose free milk.

  25. I just made this recipe, about three minutes ago, it came out so good! Unfortunately, I didn’t have caster sugar, I just used regular sugar and it worked well. It’s cooling as we speak! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, I made custard in the past and it never worked until I tried this one. 🙂

  26. It’s my second time eating custard and first time making it myself. I followed your recipe and it came out perfect! Thanks a lot

  27. My custard did not come out like the pictures above, however that’s my fault I didn’t measure the amount of flour and me being me added self raising flour instead. The custard tasted like flour and I had no vanilla extract to change it. It was very lumpy but I pulled through thanks to my Asian heritage and realised I had a cupboard filled with spices I put in bay leaves and cardamom and it was transformed, still lumpy but tasted great.

    • It is important to not add to much flour as it will go lumpy like you said. If it happens again you could also try straining it through a sieve, that should help get rid of some of the lumpier bits.

  28. I am wondering what would happen if you beat the egg yolks for a long period of time like 10 minutes can I use them in custard?
    Heres what I am trying to do ;;; make Tiramisu ,,,,BUT instead of using raw eggs & sugar I want to use the eggs & sugar BUT I want to cook them . So I need to know exactly what would happen to my custard IF I beat the eggs for 10 minutes??

  29. Emma @ Flower Wild

    This looks so nice! I’ve always been so intimidated by the idea of making custard myself. Previous attempts to cook anything like this with eggs have just ended up with a lumpy, disgusting mess but I think you’ve encouraged me to give it a try myself! 🙂

    • Thanks Emma. Just remember to have a low heat and keep it moving and it’ll turn out just fine. If you decide to give it a go then let me know how it goes.

  30. My Dad’s custard is perfection, he likes to add a little vanilla extract too (from the pod if he can) and my mum always adds cinnamon to hers! Yes to whole milk too! Yours looks and sounds delicious.

    • I’ve not tried custard with cinnamon before, I’d imagine that it’s lovely with apple pie. I’ll have to give it a go sometime.

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