Mama’s Custard Sauce

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This homemade custard sauce is creamy, velvety, and tastes so good poured over your favorite dessert.

Custard sauce poured over pound cake.

In my household, it isn’t Thanksgiving or Christmas without a thick slice of Aunt Sue’s famous pound cake drizzled with this delicious custard sauce. The combination of the sweet custard and the cake is absolutely sublime and I just can’t imagine a holiday without it. 

Fortunately, I bet you have the six ingredients needed to make this custard sauce sitting in your kitchen right now: milk, salt, sugar, flour, eggs, and vanilla. Now, it’s pretty quick and easy to make, you just have to be patient. But believe me, this creamy and velvety custard is totally worth it!

While I adore serving this with my Aunt Sue’s pound cake, this homemade custard sauce can accompany a host of desserts, whether that’s chocolate cake, apple crumble, or pumpkin pie. You can also serve your vanilla custard sauce with a bowl of fresh fruit or fresh berries, poached pears, or even pancakes. Basically, enjoy it when you’d usually use whipped cream or ice cream and you have a winning dessert. Similar to crème anglaise, this is definitely a versatile sauce that I know you’ll make again and again!

Labeled ingredients for custard sauce recipe.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract


Flour, sugar, and salt in saucepot.

Place flour, sugar, and salt into a medium saucepan and whisk together to blend.

Add milk to saucepot and whisk well.

Add in milk and whisk well.

Place over medium heat, stirring constantly.

BUT if you hurry, you can do this next step before that heats up…

Egg yolks in bowl.

Okay, so while that is heating up, crack your eggs real quick and pour off the whites so you are left with the yolks (the orange part).

How to separate your eggs

I just crack my eggs and pour the yolk into one half and tilt it gently until the white falls off into a cup or bowl below. They actually sell gadgets that separate whites from eggs but this way works perfectly for me. You can also just hold out your hand, palm side up, and spread your fingers apart slightly and pour your egg on top of them. The whites will fall through your fingers and you’ll be left with the egg yolk.

However you do it, get you some egg yolks and put them in a cup or bowl.

Beat egg yolks with fork.

Beat them a bit. 

Stir custard well.

Now go back to your custard sauce and stir, stir, stir, until it gets hot.

Add small amount of custard to egg yolks and stir well.

Take out a small bit (about 1/2 a cup) and pour it into your eggs while stirring them vigorously to incorporate the hot milk mixture without letting it cook up the eggs.

Pour egg yolk mixture into custard on stove.

Now pour this egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan while stirring rapidly.

Cook until thickened.

Cook a few more minutes until the custard thickens.

Stir in vanilla.

Stir in the vanilla extract.

Custard sauce in gravy boat.

Oh, have mercy!

After straining or if you’re not straining, pour this into a gravy boat and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, pushing down a little so that it touches the surface to prevent a film from being formed.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Custard sauce poured over pound cake.

When ready to serve, pour over individual pieces of pound cake.

You can also serve this warm if you like, it doesn’t have to be cold. We have always made it ahead of time so we don’t have to do it last minute.

I hope you get to add this wonderful old-fashioned vanilla custard sauce to your holiday fixings!


Custard sauce leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

  • This recipe calls for all-purpose flour but honestly, you can use self-rising if that is what you have on hand. I’d just cut the salt in half if you do. I generally use whatever I grab first.
  • Now, mine is smooth and creamy with no lumps but this may not always be the case depending on several factors. So Mama told me to make sure you know that she sometimes pours hers through a strainer when she is done with it to get out any lumps that might have formed. Feel free to do that and no one will know any different.
  • If a film does form on your custard, just stir it down into there – it will still taste good.
  • You can easily flavor your custard with a tablespoon or two of chocolate chips, coconut, chopped nuts, or dried fruit. You could also add a teaspoon of your favorite spices, like cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • For those who like lemon, stir in the juice of 3 lemons and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest before refrigerating for a refreshing lemon-flavored custard.
  • On the other hand, chocolate fans will love the addition of 1/2 cup of chocolate hazelnut spread.
  • I don’t recommend using non-dairy milk in this recipe, as it doesn’t have the same fat content as whole milk, so it won’t have the desired consistency.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make my custard in advance?

Yes, this vanilla custard sauce will last up to 5 days in the fridge, so you can definitely make it ahead of time. Serve cold or warm it in the microwave.

Here are more delicious cakes to bake:

Pumpkin Praline Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

Aunt Sue’s Orange Juice Cake

Flamingo Cake

Super Easy King Cake Recipe (WOW GOOD!)

Easy Birthday Cake Recipe From Scratch

Yellow Cake with Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Icing

Custard sauce poured over pound cake.

Custard Sauce

This homemade vanilla custard sauce is creamy, velvety, and tastes so good poured over your favorite dessert.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: custard
Servings: 4
Calories: 286kcal


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Combine sugar, flour, and salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in the milk and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until just hot.
    1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 1/2 cups cups milk
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks until smooth. Add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture to the beaten eggs and stir vigorously.
    3 egg yolks
  • Pour the milk and egg mixture back into the saucepot and cook, stirring constantly over medium heat, until the custard begins to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract. Pour the custard through a strainer (if you like) and into a small pitcher or gravy boat. Cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Calories: 286kcal
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    1. my mother made this recipe but called it Pap, she served over cake layers, but my absolute favorite way of enjoying it was in her cracker custard. she would break up a sleeve or two of unsalted crackers and pour the pap over it and let it cool. It was a fabulous inexpensive treat we often returned home to after a long school day.

  1. Hi Christy
    I noticed in your Custard, it looks like some kind of fruits. Will you tell me how i go about adding in fruits to the Custard? Thank you.


  2. The custard sauce: Is it the same custard sauce my Mom made to go over “Christmas Pudding” – which was a suet like pudding filled with raisins and other cut preserved fruits? I don’t have the recipes she had and have not made the ENGLISH inspired Christmas pudding in decades; I did try it once, and of course, it did not turn out the same as I’d remembered, but, of course, whatever really does! I know she made it right after Thanksgiving and we had it for Christmas with the sauce. She used cheesecloth to mold it into a ball, and boiled it in a pan on the wood stove… Any help would be appreciated. Some years we’d have turkey (if Papa actually shot one), other times we had chicken (which we always had in the yard), and cornbread stuffing home made, with cranberry (real) sauce, but the pudding was what everyone wanted and enjoyed.

  3. How long will this stay fresh in the refrigerator before losing its consistency? Could you make this ahead by a day or two.? I would like to use this as a filling between two cakes but will it start running if left out on a table for a period of time? Love your recipe So!

    1. Hey! You could make it a day ahead of time, most likely would would be fine as well. It will most definitely run if put as a filling between two cakes but if you created a dam of frosting around the top of the bottom cake you could then put it in just fine.

  4. My sauce is very thick. I think I went too long on the heat before adding the eggs. Any way to make it pourable?

  5. I hope you want cheap off brand vanilla. No one should EVER use imitation. Blech, some of the ingredients are shocking.

    1. I use my own homemade vanilla extract. So easy to make.
      70 proof white liquor
      And vanilla beans.. I used 20 beans to 2qts of liquor. Put in a dark place and shake it up as often as you can. In about 3mths smell it.
      If you can’t smell the liquor any longer it’s ready to use. Pour into smaller bottles and add more liquor to cover the beans and start a new batch.

    2. Nothing in the post suggests imitation vanilla or other sub-par ingredients so as to be shocking. Why have you even brought up such things? You seem to be a troll and should retreat to your rock. I think the recipe is great as is.

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