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pastry cream in a clear bowl

Homemade Pastry Cream Recipe

Pastry cream is a vanilla custard that is used in all types of desserts and cake fillings. Super versatile and can be made dairy free!
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
cooling: 12 hrs
Total Time: 12 hrs 15 mins
Serves: 5 cups
Calories: 606kcal


  • 32 oz milk may sub: almond, soy, coconut etc
  • 5 oz sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 oz cornstarch
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 oz unsalted butter


Pastry Cream Recipe Instructions

  • Bring milk and first quantity of sugar to a simmer over medium high heat. Whisking constantly to avoid burning.
  • Combine the eggs, cornstarch, and second quantity of sugar in a heat proof bowl and whisk to combine
  • Add 1/4 of your hot milk mixture to the egg mixture VERY slowly while whisking constantly to temper your egg yolk mixture. Whisk until smooth.
  • Slowly add the rest of the milk, whisking constantly. Return mixture to the saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  • Once your mixture starts bubbling, reduce the heat to medium and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes to ensure the mixture is cooked and properly thickened.
  • Pour your mixture into a heatproof container and place your butter cubes on top, allowing them to melt. Do not cover.
  • Allow your pastry cream to cool until just warm to the touch. Stir in your butter and then add in your vanilla extra.
  • Cover with plastic wrap so that it's touching the surface of the pastry cream to avoid a skin forming. Can be kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.


  • Pro Tip: The key to a perfect pastry cream recipe is to temper the eggs. This means to heat them a little bit at a time so you don't shock (aka cook) them. If you just dump all the hot milk into the eggs right away you'll cook them and end up with egg lumps in your pastry cream. 
  • If your pastry cream is lumpy, don’t worry! Try pushing your pastry cream through a strainer or using an immersion blender.
  • You can make this pastry cream dairy-free by substituting the milk for any other type of milk like almond or soy. You can also leave out the butter. 
  • Pastry cream lasts up to 3 days in the refrigerator and has a shelf life of no more than 2 days. Before refrigerating, wrap with plastic wrap and press the plastic up against the pastry cream to prevent it from getting a skin.


Calories: 606kcal (30%) | Carbohydrates: 76g (25%) | Protein: 10g (20%) | Fat: 29g (45%) | Saturated Fat: 17g (85%) | Cholesterol: 265mg (88%) | Sodium: 106mg (4%) | Potassium: 271mg (8%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 61g (68%) | Vitamin A: 1130IU (23%) | Calcium: 235mg (24%) | Iron: 0.7mg (4%)