Our vegan custard is a smooth, creamy and delicious recipe that you can make in 10 minutes with 5 simple ingredients.

You can use this custard in tarts, cakes, pastries and other desserts. You can also flavour it with vanilla, lemon, chocolate and much more. Here, we’ll show you how.

vegan custard
vegan custard in a glass with mint

What is vegan custard?

Custard is usually thickened by the coagulation of egg protein, generally made by combining the egg yolks with milk and sugar.

Our vegan version uses cornstarch as a thickening agent, a tiny bit of turmeric for colour, and plant milk – such as soy, almond or coconut – to replace dairy milk.

The best thing about this vegan custard recipe is that you can use it in many vegan desserts, such as our easy vanilla cake, tangy lemon tart, or a fresh and summery fruit tart.

whole slice of vegan vanilla cake
slice of vanilla cake

It can also be used as a pastry cream to fill doughnuts and croissants or baked to make custard pies.

Finally, this basic vegan custard recipe can be easily tweaked and flavoured with several ingredients.

In the variations section below we show you how to make coconut custard, lemon custard, chocolate custard, coffee custard, and even pistachio custard.

wholewheat apple cake with vegan custard
apple cake with vegan custard

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Plant milk: we use soy milk, almond milk, or oat milk to make a low-fat vegan custard. We use coconut milk to make a richer, full-fat one.
  • Cornstarch: we use it as a thickening agent. We find this hard to replace. If you are allergic, then potato starch is a good replacement.
  • Sugar: we use white sugar. Any sugar will work.
  • Vanilla: this depends on your budget really. Most often we use vanilla extract, but if we feel like splurging, then we use the real seeds of a vanilla pod.
  • Turmeric: this is optional, but we like to add a tiny pinch of turmeric when we want to give the pastry cream a yellow colour.

    Do not add too much or else your custard will turn to a fake yellow-greenish colour, and it will taste like turmeric. You can replace turmeric with saffron powder.
  • Lemon: this is optional, but we like to add lemon peel to our basic vegan custard. We also make a mean vegan lemon custard, see variations chapter below for that one.
apple fritter covered in custard
apple fritter covered in custard

How to make vegan custard

In a pot, off the heat, add all the ingredients: plant milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, turmeric and lemon peel. Stir with a whisk till all lumps are gone.

mixing all ingredients

Then on medium heat, stir continuously until the liquid thickens into a creamy custard. It can take between 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the quantities.

stirring on medium heat

When you have almost reached the consistency that you like, take off the heat and keep stirring for another minute. The custard will keep thickening while off the heat.

vegan custard

TIP: to check if your custard is ready take a wooden or silicone spatula, dip it in the custard, then run a finger through it. If the spatula stays clean, the custard is ready.

testing the thickness of the custard with a finger

Tips and troubleshooting

Cooling down

If cooled down improperly, the vegan custard will dry up on the surface, and the dry parts will create lumps. To avoid that, keep stirring while the custard cools down.

The fastest and easiest way to do that is to fill up your sink with cold water, then submerge 3/4 of the pot in the water and stir for 5 minutes, or until the custard is close to room temperature.

slice of vegan strawberry tart
slice of vegan strawberry tart with vegan custard

Getting rid of lumps

If your custard makes lumps, do not worry. There are two ways to fix it:

  1. Whisk the custard very vigorously with a whisk. Like really hard. The fast whisking movement will remove the lumps and the vegan custard will go back to super creamy.
  2. Blitz it up with an immersion blender. This will also remove the lumps, but this way the custard will be more a little more liquid after blending it.

You can use these two tricks also if you reuse the custard after storing it away in the refrigerator. It will get more thick and gelatinous, so you’ll need to blend it or whisk it to make it creamy again.

vegan brioche roll with custard
vegan brioche roll with custard

Frequently asked questions

Is custard gluten-free?

Yes, our vegan custard recipe is gluten-free as it’s made with cornstarch, a thickener derived from corn.

Corn is naturally gluten-free, however, some lower quality brands might make their cornflour in a machine that has previously worked wheat flour. So, if you want to be sure check the label.

What do you eat custard with?

You can eat custard poured over fresh fruit, in cakes, tarts with lemon or strawberries, pies, croissants, doughnuts, danish rolls, and more. You can also eat it with a spoon.

vegan castagnole

Can you freeze vegan custard?

Yes, but we do not recommend freezing it. It takes longer to thaw than to make from scratch and the taste won’t be the same. You could however turn it into homemade vegan ice cream.

To do this, place it in the freezer, then whisk it every 30 minutes until it turns into smooth ice cream. It should take you about 3 hours.

You can also just freeze the custard, and after 3 hours blend it in a power blender or food processor. It’s delicious!

Who invented custard?

Believe it or not, it seems that custards have been around since Ancient Rome. I can definitely picture Marcus Aurelius dipping grapes in some freshly made roman custard during his stoic meditations.

Torta della nonna Pieces Cut Vertical
grandma’s custard pie

Flavour Variations

Chocolate custard: made with the same simple ingredients (no lemon, no turmeric). Just add your favourite brand of vegan dark chocolate at the end, off the heat. Stir for a minute and enjoy!

chocolate custard

Pistachio custard: roast pistachio nuts first, then blend them with the plant milk, till you have smooth pistachio milk.

Now add sugar, cornstarch, pistachio milk, and vanilla to a pot, and proceed as for the classic custard.

pistachio custard

Coffee custard: add real espresso coffee or instant coffee to the plant milk, dissolve, add the other ingredients and proceed as for the classic custard. No lemon or turmeric in this one.

coffee custard

Texture variations

Baked custard: to make a great vegan baked custard we recommend cooking the custard in a saucepan first for about 2 minutes, then using it to fill a pie shell, and then baking it in the oven for about 30 minutes.

This is how we made our lemon tart, vegan fruit tart, or custard pie.

vegan lemon tart with soft crust
vegan lemon tart with soft crust

Crème anglaise: also known as vanilla custard sauce, is a lightly thickened pouring custard flavoured with vanilla extract and no lemon flavour.

Bring to a boil for a minute then while stirring continuously, keep stirring on low heat until lightly thickened. Cut the amount of cornstarch in our base recipe in half.

Pastry cream: perfect to fill up doughnuts, croissants, custard rolls, or vanilla cakes. Classic pastry cream is generally flavoured with vanilla and no lemon. To make it just cook the custard for longer.

Boil it for about 3 minutes while stirring, then take it on low heat and keep stirring until you reach your desired consistency.

vegan cornetti - Italian croissants
vegan cornetti – Italian croissants

Storage

You can store this vegan custard in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Cooldown the custard while stirring before putting it in the refrigerator.

You can reheat the custard on low heat by adding a dash of plant milk while stirring.

It is possible that during the cooling process the custard will dry out on the surface and make a thin skin that will result in annoying lumps.

If you are annoyed by the lumps then you can blend the custard with a hand blender. We tried and it works.

We do not recommend freezing the custard unless you want to make ice cream out of it.

YouTube

Double click/tap to watch video-recipe on YouTube.

How to make VEGAN CUSTARD - The Ultimate Video GUIDE!
vegan custard

Vegan custard

By: Nico Pallotta
4.92 from 93 votes
Our vegan custard recipe is a smoothcreamy and delicious recipe that you can make in 5 minutes with 5 simple ingredients. You can use this custard in tartscakes and desserts.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Course: Dessert, Dressing & Sauces
Cuisine: Italian

Equipment

  • Whisk

Ingredients

For a low-fat lighter custard

  • 2 cups plant-milk soy, almond, oats, rice
  • ½ cups cornstarch
  • cups sugar
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ lemon peel

For a full-fat richer custard

  • cups plant-milk soy, almond, oats, rice
  • cups plant-cream soy cream, rice cream, coconut cream or coconut milk
  • ½ cups cornstarch
  • cups sugar
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • To a pot off the heat, add all the ingredients: plant milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and lemon peel. Stir with a whisk till all lumps are gone.
    mixing all ingredients
  • On medium heat, stir continuously until the liquid thickens into a creamy custard. It can take between 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the quantities.
    stirring on medium heat
  • When you have almost reached the consistency that you like, take off the heat and keep stirring for another minute. The custard will keep thickening while off the heat.
    vegan custard
  • TIP: to check if your custard is ready take a wooden or silicone spatula, dip it in the custard, then run a finger through it (careful it's hot). If the spatula stays clean, the custard is ready.
    testing the thickness of the custard with a finger

Video

How to make VEGAN CUSTARD - The Ultimate Video GUIDE!

Nutrition

Calories: 115kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Potassium: 126mg, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 328IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 8mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 1µg, Calcium: 118mg, Folate: 27µg, Iron: 1mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 1mg, Zinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.

Did you try this recipe at home? Let us know in the comments below, we love to hear from you!

Buon appetito!

Nico

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”CcYuUnr4″ upload-date=”2021-06-17T00:00:00.000Z” name=”Vegan custard” description=”Our vegan custard recipe is a smooth, creamy and delicious recipe that you can make in 5 minutes with 5 simple ingredients. You can use this custard in tarts, cakes and desserts. You can also flavour it with vanilla, lemon, chocolate and much more. Here, we’ll show you how.” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

4.92 from 93 votes (74 ratings without comment)

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85 Comments

  1. Hi, I had a question about the creme anglaise and the pastry creme, I wanted to know if after the creme anglaise and pastry creme are done are they stable and good to eat at room temperature and if so for how long?

    1. Hi Emily,

      So sorry for the delayed reply. Yes they are stable to eat at room temperature.

      Just keep in mind that as they cool down, they will thicken slightly.

      A couple of tips with regards to storage:

      – Store it in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Cooldown the custard while stirring before putting it in the refrigerator.

      – You can reheat the custard on low heat by adding a dash of plant milk while stirring.

      – It is possible that during the cooling process the custard will dry out on the surface and make a thin skin that will result in annoying lumps. If you are annoyed by the lumps then you can blend the custard with a hand blender. We tried and it works 🙂

      Hope this helps, have a wonderful weekend! Kindest,
      Louise

    1. Hi Donna,

      thanks for your message. I am afraid I don’t know what Afro Cream Brûlée is.
      Best,
      Nico

        1. Hi Donna,

          I haven’t tried this recipe for crème brûlée, so not 100% sure it would work.
          However, you top each serving with 1 to 2 tsp of sugar and torch/burn it until caramelized. I think it could work.

          Best,
          Nico

  2. 5 stars
    Made this to accompany an Irish apple cake for St. Patrick’s Day. Yum! Everyone at the table enjoyed it! I maybe let it thicken a bit too much, and then it got even more firm in the fridge. But I just whisked in some soy milk and sugar, and it loosened up nicely. The lemon zest flavor is delicious.

  3. I only wanted to make half recipe, and that would have called for a quarter of a cup of cornstarch to one cup of soy milk. Way too much cornstarch and I knew that but I didn’t follow my gut. I ended up with something so thick that it was not pourable at all. I was able to rescue it by adding almost another whole cup of soy milk. So be cautious. Start off with maybe 2 tablespoons if making the whole recipe and if needed, disolve another tablespoon at a time in cold soy milk. But delicious and loved learning a lesson.

  4. After making custard can you store it in the freezer or refrigerator.? Mine got real thick in the refrigerator. How long can I keep it ?

    1. Hi Angel,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You can store this vegan custard in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Cooldown the custard while stirring before putting it in the refrigerator.

      It will thicken, so you can reheat it on low heat by adding a dash of plant milk while stirring.

      It is possible that during the cooling process the custard will dry out on the surface and make a thin skin that will result in annoying lumps.

      If you are annoyed by the lumps (like me) then you can blend the custard with an immersion blender 🙂

      We don’t recommend freezing this recipe.

      I hope this helps 🙂
      Nico