How to Make Vegan Custard
If you’re looking for a simple, fool-proof and quick vegan custard recipe, you’ve come to the right place. This dairy-free custard is super creamy, smooth and light.
There are endless options when it comes to enjoying custard. You can simply have it on its own with some fruit, pour it over a slice of cake, pie, crisp, bread and butter pudding, or crumble, pancakes, fill doughnuts with it, eclairs or make it into desserts like my vanilla & custard cream cake, chocolate banana custard cake, or a simple trifle.
I’m a sucker for creamy desserts, and I’ve been meaning to share this simple vegan custard with you for quite some time.
What is a vegan custard made of?
Most custard that is made from scratch would include egg yolks, full-fat milk, and cream. The beauty of not using eggs in your custard is that you can’t overcook it. This would result in scrambled eggs or the mix splitting. Tempering it can be a stressful process!
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When you don’t use animal products, a lot of these issues disappear. You can’t overmix it, and there’s no chance of it splitting either.
What you’ll find in this custard are everyday ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Plant milk, coconut cream (or full-fat coconut milk), cornstarch, raw sugar, vanilla extract and turmeric powder (for colour, you won’t taste it). That’s it!
What’s the difference between crème anglaise and crème pâtissiere?
I know I’m throwing around a couple of French words here but let me break it down for you in simple terms.
Crème anglaise (French for “English cream”) is a thin pouring sauce that’s used mainly as an addition to a dessert—like you’d use ice cream or cream. See the image above to get an idea of consistency. This can be drizzled over a slice of cake, pudding, pie, crisps, crumbles, tarts or just over fruit or compote.
Crème pâtissiere is a thick pastry cream that can be used as a filling for pastries like doughnuts, eclairs, and cannelloni, or poured into tart shells, made into slices, or used in trifles.
The main difference between these two custards is how much cornstarch is used. I know that traditionally it’s the egg yolks and milk that contribute to the thickness, but the purpose of this being a vegan recipe, I’ll focus on how this kind is made.
Cornstarch is used as a thickening agent in a vegan custard recipe to make it nice and creamy. Use less or more, depending on the outcome you’d like.
For example, in my vanilla & custard cream cake, I had to use 1 cup of cornstarch for the cake to set and not fall apart as soon as it’s removed from the cake tin and cut. Using aquafaba to lighten it also played a role in how much cornstarch I used as it needed to have even more structure to endure adding in an ingredient that would lighten the weight of the custard.
Note: Keep in mind with this cake recipe that the custard is doubled, therefore requiring more cornstarch.
Here’s a photo of the final result.
Using cornstarch in your vegan vanilla custard recipe
As I mentioned earlier, this will depend on how thick or thin you want your custard. To give you a guide, here is how I determine how much cornstarch to use.
Using the recipe below, you can adjust the cornstarch used as follows:
- 2-3 tablespoons = thinner pouring sauce (consistency of a crème anglaise)
- ¼ – ⅓ cup = thicker custard (consistency of crème pâtissiere)
As well as cornstarch, the other factor that plays a role in how thick your custard is is how long you cook it. The longer it cooks, the thicker it will be. However, you can’t expect it to be too much thicker than the above consistencies based on how much cornstarch you use.
Note: the custard will continue to thicken as it cools.
Tips for making this eggless custard
Even though this recipe is super easy to make (and did I mention cheap?!), there are still a couple of things that you’ll want to keep an eye out for when making it.
- When you’ve finished cooking your custard, and it’s looking a little lumpy, just strain it through a sieve. Problem solved!
- If you want to avoid a thin skin/film forming on top of your custard as it cools, you can either place some cling wrap (please, if you have access to it, use a biodegradable one) right on top of the custard or just give it a quick whisk with your hand-held electric whisk. I always use the latter option, and it works perfectly fine.
- If you want to reheat it and it’s a little too thick, add a splash of plant milk and stir it over low heat until warmed up.
- Want a chocolate custard? Just add 1-2 tablespoons of cacao/cocoa powder or some vegan dark chocolate (up to ¼ cup) if you have a really sweet tooth.
- The custard can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Other vegan desserts and basic recipes you’ll love:
- Healthy Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
- Vegan Vanilla Cake with Coconut Cream and Berries
- Vegan Kremšnita (Vanilla & Custard Cream Cake)
- How To Make Coconut Whipped Cream
- Easy Vegan Rhubarb Crisp (Crumble)
- Easy Vegan Passionfruit Curd
If you try this recipe, let me know! We’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below. If you want to go that extra mile, tag us on Instagram or share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest.Print
How to Make Vegan Custard
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 7 minutes
- Total Time: 9 minutes
This is a super quick and easy vegan custard recipe that can be paired with your favourite fruit or dessert. Make it thin or thick, the options of this creamy pudding are endless!
- 2 cups / 500ml plant milk (I normally use organic soy)
- 2 tablespoons – ⅓ cup cornstarch*
- ½ cup / 100g raw granulated sugar (organic if in the US to make sure it’s vegan)
- ½ cup / 120g coconut cream (or full-fat coconut milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla seeds scraped from half a vanilla pod)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric (for colour, you won’t taste it)
- Add 250ml / 8.45 ounces of the milk to a medium-sized saucepan and place on medium-high heat until the milk warms up.
- In the meantime, add the rest of the milk and the custard ingredients to a bowl and whisk until well combined.
- Once the milk has come to a gentle simmer, pour in the custard mix and whisk for around 4-5 minutes until it starts to thicken or starts to stick to the bottom of the saucepan. You will feel it.
- Whichever one occurs first, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring for an additional 2 minutes. (If the custard is still too thin, keep cooking it. If you’ve reached your desired consistency, you can take it off the heat.)
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool completely. Once cooled, if it’s a little lumpy when you stir it, give it a quick whiz with the electric whisk.
- Or you can serve it hot. Serving suggestions are mentioned further up in the post.
- Store in the fridge once cooled for up to 3 days.
Cornstarch: Please read notes above about how much cornstarch to add.
- Diet: Vegan
Unbelievable ! So good. Cut down the sugar as too sweet for me with the amount stated. It looked and tasted like perfect custard. I’m thrilled. Easy to make to. Thank you !
I’m so glad you loved it, Linda! Thank you for the review x
My grandson is allergic to eggs, but not to milk. Can I use all regular milk in this recipe. I will be making homemade cream puffs for Christmas this year. Even though the cream puffs have eggs, he can eat them because they will be baked. Thank you so much.
Hi Rachelly, yes you can use regular milk for this recipe.
I’ve made this a few times. So yummy. Even my daughter who has sensory issues loves it! A winner all round. About to make another lot for Xmas Day. 😋 Thanks Masa.
Oh I’m so glad you all love it, Helen! Happy holidays 🙂
Thanks so much for this recipe, it’s delicious! I served it as a a dessert with some ‘speculoos’ biscuits (cookies with cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, ginger and clove – https://www.196flavors.com/belgium-speculoos/). I learned that from my mum. The combination of vanilla and spices is divine.
When using arrowroot, multiply the amount of cornstarch by at least *1,5 depending on the consistency you would like.
Thank you for the inspiration!
So sorry I missed your comment, Els! So glad you enjoyed this recipe 🙂 Oh, I LOVE these! We also have a recipe for Speculaas cookies 😉
Oh and there I was thinking I had to explain what speculaas is 😀 Thanks for the recipe! 🙂
Looking forward to trying this soon! I’ve been craving a pudding pie! I LOVE coconut — does the coconut cream give it a coconut flavor a little? That would be like coconut cream pie if it did.
Hi Diane, a coconut cream pie sounds delightful! I personally don’t taste it at all, however, my palate has adjusted over the years. Some folks notice the coconut flavour much more than others. If you want a noticeable coconut flavour, I would add more coconut cream and shredded/desiccated coconut. This will also help the custard set better (from the coconut cream) in the fridge if that’s what you’d like. I hope that helps and please report back with how it turns out 🙂
Ok, I finally made the pudding pie! I used coconut milk to make it plus the coconut cream (and granulated coconut sugar). It had a nice coconut taste. If I had added the shredded coconut, it would have been perfect. (I have digestive issues with fiber so I left it out — but I would definitely include it whenever I make this for other people). YUM!
Sounds delicious! Glad it turned out well 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
I made this today and it was delicious and smooth. My friends also liked and complimented it. However, I believe I followed the directions to a tee and my custard turned out quite yellow from the turmeric and did taste a bit of turmeric, too. I like turmeric so I didn’t mind, but figured I’d give folks a heads up.
Hi Masha! So happy to hear that you enjoyed it. Interesting about the turmeric as I’ve never tasted it. It’s there just for the colour so if you don’t mind it not looking like normal custard, you can leave it out or reduce it.
Can I freeze it ? 🙂
You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It would be faster for you to make a new batch than it would be to defrost it. It probably wouldn’t taste the same as a fresh batch would. If you have too much, it might be better to just make half the batch next time. Hope that helps 🙂
Hi can i skip the coconut? Sensitive to it.
I haven’t tried without but it should be fine. The coconut cream just gives it more body. Let me know how you go 🙂
It’s great without 😉
Hi thank you for this wonderful post. Do you think it the creme anglaise would work as an ice cream base? I’m wanting to make a vegan butter pecan ice cream.
Yes, it should work. I haven’t tried it myself but just make sure you use less cornstarch. I would start with the 2 tbsp and go from there. Let me know how it turns out 🙂
Hello! This looks so yummy. If Im baking for someone with a corn allergy, would arrowroot starch work in place of the corn starch?
Hi Kath, I haven’t tried it myself but it should work 🙂 Let me know how you go!
ok thanks, will do! 🙂
Really easy and delicious!