Egg Custard Sauce

I love how egg custard smothers a pudding in warm, creamy lusciousness.   Traditional English egg custard sauce is the perfect accompaniment for so many of my favorite desserts, I thought it was high time I share my recipe.

Custard over bread pudding

Bread pudding, plum pudding, apple crumble, Eve’s Pudding, Queen of Puddings all taste best with custard, and Irish sherry trifle just would not be the same without a custard layer.

Bird’s custard powder is a quick and easy solution for any custard lover, but nothing compares to the flavor of real, homemade custard.

Egg Custard Ingredients


  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/4 cup sugar

The ingredients are pretty simple.  Lump free, smooth custard is totally dependent upon technique.

Adding heavy whipping cream to saucepan

First pour the whipping cream into a saucepan.

Adding milk to cream in saucepan for custard

Next add the milk.  Heat the cream and milk over very gentle heat, bringing it just to simmering point, when a few tiny bubbles start to appear at the edge of the saucepan.  Do not boil the cream, so watch it carefully, and use low heat.

If you don’t want to use heavy whipping cream, you can use all whole milk instead, but the consistency of the custard will be slightly thinner.  Reduced fat milks don’t work very well, because let’s face it, you just need some of that old fat to make custard thicken.

Egg Yolks In Bowl For Egg Custard

Even though I just told you to pay close attention to the cream as it heats, I am now going to distract you by preparing the eggs.  If the cream is on low heat there should be plenty time for the next few steps, before it reaches simmering point.

I like to let my eggs come to room temperature before I make custard, so I take them out of the fridge an hour before I start cooking.  If they are too cold, there is an increased chance they might curdle when the get hit by hot cream very shortly.

First, break the eggs and separate the yolks from the egg whites.  Put the four yolks in a bowl.  The egg whites can be used for another recipe, an egg-white omelette, or a pavlova is my favorite.  I’ll share that recipe on another day.

Adding pure vanilla essence to egg yolks

Next comes the vanilla.  I like to use pure vanilla extract not vanilla essence.  The flavor of the real thing is much nicer.

Adding cornstarch to egg yolks for custard

Toss in the corn starch.  If you use all whole milk instead of cream, you may need to increase the cornstarch to 2 teaspoons to achieve the desired consistency in your custard sauce.

Adding sugar to egg yolks for custard

Toss in the sugar.

Whisking egg yolks

Whisk the egg yolk mixture together, making sure there are no corn starch clumps.

Pouring cream into whisked egg yolks

Take the saucepan of simmering cream and pour it into the egg yolks, whisking all the time.  Whisk! Whisk! Whisk!  The only way to achieve smooth, creamy custard is to whisk vigorously.  I mean put some muscle into it.

Pouring custard into saucepan

Next return the custard to the saucepan.

Whisking custard over gentle heat

Return to a gentle heat, and once again, build those arms and whisk it.  Whisk the custard continually as it slowly returns to a simmering point.  The sauce will thicken just before it reaches boiling point, and once again don’t let it boil.  The flavor becomes too intense if custard bubbles and boils.  It gets lumpy too if it overheats.

So the key to custard is – WHISKING LIKE CRAZY.

Egg custard sauce pouring into a sauce boat

Once the custard has returned to simmering point, transfer it into a serving dish or just pour it straight over a favorite dessert.

Custard can be stored covered in a refrigerator, then reheated using a double broiler over a saucepan of water.  Once again, reheat over gentle heat, to avoid burning the sauce.

Egg custard sauce dripping over bread pudding

Here is the printable version of the recipe:

Egg Custard Sauce

Serves 6 - 8
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk
Meal type Dessert
Region British
Creamy vanilla egg custard is the perfect topping for pies and warm puddings - an English and Irish favorite for sweet treats.


  • 1 cup Whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup Whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
  • 4 Large Egg yolks
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Corn Starch
  • 1/4 cup Sugar


Step 1 In a large saucepan heat the cream to just below simmering point. Do not let the cream boil.
Step 2 While the cream is heating whisk the eggs, vanilla, corn starch and sugar together in a medium bowl.
Step 3 Continue whisking the egg mixture with one hand, while gradually pouring the hot cream into the bowl. Whisk continually to prevent lumps.
Step 4 Return the custard to the saucepan used to heat the cream. Over very gentle heat continue to whisk the custard as it thickens, keeping it smooth with vigorous whisking. Allow to heat just to simmering point.
Step 5 Serve hot, poured over your favorite pudding.
Step 6 Custard can be prepared in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator. Reheat in a double broiler over simmering water, whisking as it heats.

Wishing you all happy custard making and perfect desserts.

Slan agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)


Irish American Mom


  1. I printed this recipe too. I need to start cooking. My kids will love this over the pudding.

  2. Shirley Brinly says:

    Do you have a cookbook available? I’d surely safe money on ink and paper:-)! Our St. Patrick’s Day dinner should be great this year!

    • Thank you for thinking my recipes might be cookbook worthy. It would be lovely to get them published some day. Have a lovely St. Patrick’s Day and thanks for checking out my website and recipes.


  3. Hi, just thought I’d let you know my kids and I are making your cinn raisin bread pudding and egg custard this afternoon for tonight’s st pattys day feast :) Your recipes look amazing! My husband is very Irish and will be so excited for bread pudding :) Thanks so much!

    • Dear Lindsay – I hope this bread pudding and egg custard was a hit in your house. It’s a favorite in mine. Thanks so much for checking out my recipes and for stopping by my blog.
      I hope you all had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
      Best wishes,

  4. Just had to tell you that we’re featuring this amazing recipe in our “The Monthly Musing” newsletter at Life in a House of Testosterone for St. Patrick’s Day! I cannot wait to try this one out myself!

  5. Lacy Page says:

    Just returned from Ireland. We enjoyed every thing we saw, heard, tasted, & the wonderful local people met. Wanting to try hand at preparing some authentic Irish dishes here at home. Looking forward to trying your custard. Have a great Palm Sunday.

    • Dear Lacy – I’m delighted to hear you had such a lovely trip to Ireland. I hope you enjoy this custard. It’s a favorite in our house, especially when poured over hot, steaming puddings.
      Wishing you a very happy Easter.
      Best wishes,

  6. This custard will probably be my new favorite custard! It’s so practical to use it in every way imaginable, thanks for this culinary trick!

  7. I’m so glad I found this recipe!! My 20 yr old daughter wants to make Irish sherry trifle for Thanksgiving and we could not get our hands on any birds custard. We are going to try this recipe and hope it comes out right for us. Thanks for sharing from another Irish American mom!

    • Hi Bernadette – I hope your custard turns out great – just remember not to boil the milk. Sherry trifle is my father’s favorite dessert. It’s definitely a recipe I need to add to my blog “to do” list.
      Have a lovely Thanksgiving, Irish American Mom.
      All the best,

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