Baked Custard Recipe

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An old-fashioned homemade egg custard recipe, reminiscent of Grandma’s kitchen. Our vanilla custard recipe boasts smooth and creamy flavors with just 6 ingredients.

In the cozy corners of many family kitchens, there’s always that one cherished dessert that brings back memories of days gone by. For me, that dessert is a silky egg custard. For Matt, it is an easy tapioca pudding.

Our Amish baked custard recipe, originally shared here in 2016, promises a perfect vanilla custard every time. With only 6 ingredients and straightforward steps, crafting this homemade custard recipe is as easy as it is delightful.

cups of baked custard with nutmeg on top

Why you’ll love this Baked Custard Recipe:

  • This baked custard recipe has just 6 ingredients.
  • What seems like a tricky dessert to make was surprisingly easy.
  • There’s just a few hints I will give you so that your custard has that creamy texture you remember from your childhood.
  • Smooth, simple vanilla flavor with a touch of spice on top.
  • Made in custard cups for an easy dinner party dessert.

What readers are saying:

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Larry says, “Fantastic!!! I made this and followed the recipe exactly with the exception that I only have (6) 9oz ramekins so I baked them for 1 hour and 10 minutes. The mixture made the perfect amount to fill all 6 to the rim. Boy ohh boy were they ever good! I will definitely be making this one a lot. Thanks so much for this recipe.”

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Dorsey says, “I made the custard and it was incredible even though I had to make two main substitutions due to diet needs. I used extra creamy oat milk and used coconut palm sugar I still did them scald step and temper step and it was amazingly soft and smooth I have been making custard for eons but this will be the recipe I will use from now on. AMAZING!!! Thank you for sharing.”

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Sarah says, “Perfect! Made it for my mom and she said it reminded her of her childhood. Very comforting, like warm tapioca pudding. I added almond extract to mine and it turned out great.”

What is the difference between pudding and custard?

The main difference between pudding and custard is what makes them thick. In homemade pudding (which is fairly soft), cornstarch is used to make the pudding thick.

In custard (which is generally firmer than pudding), it is eggs that makes the custard thick.

Key Ingredients for Homemade Custard

This recipe takes only 6 ingredients:

  • Eggs. Large eggs are standard.
  • Sugar. Granulated white sugar is best for this. I would not recommend subbing for brown sugar.
  • Salt. This adds flavor and cuts the sweetness slightly.
  • Vanilla. Pure vanilla extract and nothing less for the best flavor. You can even simmer a vanilla bean in the milk if you’d like.
  • Milk. I used 2% milk. There’s not really a need to use a higher fat milk, but if you have whole milk, it will work. I do not recommend using skim milk.
  • Nutmeg. Nutmeg gives such a comforting flavor to this custard. If you can, use freshly grated nutmeg. It’s amazing.
a spoonful of baked custard

How to Make Baked Custard

  • Scald the milk. This means you’ll heat the milk until it reaches 180ºF, near boiling. Many old recipes call for this process. It is not necessary to scald milk for safety reasons any longer due to the pasteurization process. However, scalded milk does give the custard a little bit of a smoother texture. You can scald milk in the microwave or in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Watch for the milk to start steaming and bubbling around the edges. Stir the milk constantly to prevent a film forming on top of the milk. If  you don’t have a thermometer to test the temperature, remove the milk from the heat right before it comes to a boil.
  • Temper the eggs. You have near-boiling scalded milk. Pour 1 cup of that milk ever so slowly into the eggs, whisking the entire time. It is so important to drizzle slowly and whisk constantly. If you don’t, you’ll end up with  pieces of cooked eggs. Which is not going to make for a creamy custard.
  • Bake the custard cups in a hot water bath. What does a hot water bath do? It prevents the custard from curdling or cracking. Egg-based desserts need to cook slowly at a low temperature to keep a creamy texture, and the hot water helps to do just that.

How do you make a hot water bath?

Put a pot of water on the stove over medium heat and bring it to simmering, not a rolling boil. Place the custard cups in a large baking pan with sides that are nearly as tall as the custard cups.

Pour the hot water around the custard cups, being careful not to spill any water into the cups. You want the level of the hot water on the outside of the cup to be just at the level of the custard.

Oh…and be careful when placing this heavy baking pan into the oven. Don’t let that water spill onto your custard mixture!

How Long To Bake Custard

The length of time you bake the custard may vary slightly based on the size and shape of the ramekins you use. The custard should thicken and be set around the edges, yet slightly jiggly in the center.  A knife inserted in the center of the custard should come out clean.

Test the temperature with a thermometer. It should read at about 170-175ºF.

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Recipe Variations

  • Bake in a baking dish instead of individual ramekins. It will take longer to bake (close to an hour depending on the baking pan you use) and you’ll still want to use a water bath.
  • Use almond extract instead of vanilla.
  • Top with caramel or maple syrup.
  • Top with fresh berries.

If you have someone in your life who loves old fashioned recipes, surprise them with this old fashioned baked custard recipe. See if it brings back memories of days with grandma.

Love pies? Bake this recipe in a crust or make our custard pie or frozen custard ice cream.

closeup of a ramekin of baked custard
closeup of a ramekin of baked custard

Baked Custard Recipe

4.72 from 207 votes
An easy, Amish Baked Custard Recipe that will make you feel like you are at Grandma’s house again. Smooth & creamy, with just 6 ingredients.
Servings 10 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

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Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs on medium-low speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, salt and vanilla. Whisk gently until mixed.
  • Pour the milk into a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 1 minute increments until the temperature of the milk reaches 180ºF.* Stir between each time interval to distribute the heat. Depending on the bowl and microwave you use, this will take about 5 minutes. Be sure not to let the milk boil.
  • Remove 1 cup of the heated milk and slowly drizzle it into the egg mixture, whisking the eggs quickly the entire time.** Slowly pour the remainder of the milk over the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Beat with a hand mixer for 20-30 seconds.
  • Pour the milk mixture into 10 6-ounce ramekins, dividing the custard equally between the cups. There is no need to grease the ramekins. Sprinkle nutmeg overtop the custard.
  • Place the ramekins in a 10×15” baking pan with sides about as tall as the ramekins.
  • Heat about 10 cups of water, not quite to boiling but very hot, on the stovetop or in the microwave. Pour the hot water into the pan around the ramekins, being careful not to get any of the water into the custard itself.
  • Carefully place the pan into the middle rack of a preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The exact time may depend on the size and shape of the ramekins you use. The custard is done when you insert a knife into the center of a cup and it comes out clean.
  • Serve cold or warm as desired, with whipped cream. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Video

Notes

*This is called “scalding” the milk. Many old recipes call for this process. It is not necessary to do this for safety reasons any longer due to the pasteurization process. However, scalded milk does give the custard a little bit of a smoother texture, so I do recommend taking the time to scald the milk. You can also do this on the stovetop instead of the microwave.
**This is called “tempering” the eggs. Be sure to drizzle the hot milk slowly and constantly whisk (or use a hand mixer beating on medium speed the entire time you are drizzling) so that the hot milk doesn’t cook the eggs.
 
The calories shown are based on the recipe making 10 custard cups, with 1 serving being 1 custard cup. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.

Nutrition

Serving: 128g | Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 189mg | Potassium: 159mg | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 116
Keyword baked custard recipe, homemade custard, how to make custard

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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JEAN NELSON
4 years ago

ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!!! I just strain the whole mixture into a curved bottom 2 Qt round pyrex casserole and put on a jellyroll pan and then pour the water into the jellyroll pan. I baked at about 330 F for about a little under an hour and tested at about 175. I did smile at the lady who made 1/4 of the recipe because she did not need 10 servings. The custard keeps very well but I am just one person and have managed to eat 3/4 of it in two days and I am already feeling sad that it will… Read more »

Jessica
6 years ago

5 stars
This is a fantastic recipe and the custard is so beautifully silky. I substituted milk for cream, though 🙂 Rather than using the microwave, I scalded the milk on the stove (a thin skin developed on top). What made this even more flavorful? In one variation I infused vanilla bean into the milk as it heated, and in the other, I added cardamom. I also added fresh berries in to the vanilla bean version. The kids wanted to eat the custards non-stop!

Josie
4 years ago

5 stars
This is delicious. Made some for a very ill friend and it was one of the few things she could eat. Used also to help get pills down!

Craig T Metzger
4 years ago

Great recipe, the flavor is great and it is fairly simple. I almost didn’t try it though.When I was looking up custard recipes I used keywords like ‘old fashioned’, ‘Grandma’ and ‘Amish’. This was one of the first results provided. But when I saw the use of a microwave and 2% milk, I was very skeptical. My grand mother did not own a microwave and only used whole milk. Likewise, most of the Amish I knew only used whole milk and would never use a microwave. Not to mentioned anything old fashioned using a microwave isn’t very old fashioned. Still,… Read more »

Zhenlin
6 years ago

5 stars
Awesome recipe. The egg : milk ratio was perfect and created a super silky custard. Since we didn’t need 10 servings I divided all ingredients by 4 to use only 1 egg, and that worked superbly. No further adjustments necessary. For those who want a “creme brulee” effect, reduce the sugar in the original recipe by 4 Tbs, and use this sugar on top of the custard to create a caramel lid by grilling or flambeing it. A definite keeper! Thanks for sharing this recipe and for rescuing our new year eve celebrations 🙂

DT Heiner
5 years ago

5 stars
I made some custard last week using cornstarch. It just was not like Grandmas. This I will have to try. I remember my Grandmother using the water bath in the oven. I am 70 an will make this today Double thanks. Now I don’t have to go through my mothers two boxes of recipes to find grandmas.

Jennifer
11 months ago

Julie, this recipe tastes exactly like my mom’s when we were growing up. Not too eggy, not too sweet! I haven’t found her recipe but I do remember a couple of tricks she used to do. She just used a whisk (no bubbles) and the hot milk was blended in and dissolved the sugar. She strained the mixture into a large casserole dish and had the hot water bath already in the oven while it was preheating. Then she would put the dish in and out of the hot water bath without having to lift it. I LOVED that you… Read more »

Priscilla
1 year ago

5 stars
I place the empty, big container in the oven first. Then, I place the custard dish into that. Finally, I pour the hot water into the outer big container. This way you don’t have to worry about burning yourself with the hot water.

Martie Brown-Lott
1 year ago

5 stars
Yummy!
I’m low carb/keto so I used monk fruit sugar instead. It turned out perfectly. You can’t even tell it’s not sweetened with sugar. My 2 year old was screaming with delight and said, “More custard, please!” It will definitely be a staple in our house. Thank you!

Last edited 1 year ago by Martie Brown-Lott
Melanie
3 years ago

5 stars
These ingredients with 2-4 c of half and half, just mixed, no scalding, cook in 25 min perfectly on cake setting, in a springform pan or bowl, on rack, with 1c water covering the bottom of an instant pot.
So fast, perfect and easy, I try savory (no sugar) crustless quiche, and dessert variations constantly. Just beware of uncooked fruit or vegetables that might add water unless they are cooked first.

Gay Stephen
4 years ago

Il have made this several times, easy, good, especially for the aged.

Geraldine w. c.
5 years ago

5 stars
This is the best my family loves it and I get many compliments. I follow the recipe except I decrease the sugar to 1/4 cup. I strain the mixture as I’m pouring it into my baking dish. It’s so smooth and taste like a very expensive desert.

Laura D
11 months ago

5 stars
I made this in a 1.5 quart round casserole with an 8×8 filled for the water bath, sitting on a cookie sheet for ease in getting it into and out of the oven. It took 65 minutes to bake.

Jennie
1 year ago

I don’t take the bubbles off because that’s my favorite “crunchy” part with the nutmeg on top!

Lana Walker
4 years ago

5 stars
This is Wonderful, I made it with just warming the milk in the microwave. Made a double batch and increased the nutmeg, because we love the flavor of it. I made it in a casserole dish placed in a larger pan, added hot water to the pan, then removed the casserole. The pan with water went into the oven, then placed the casserole in the water. Cooked until center read 173, it is perfect!