Mama’s Custard Sauce

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
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


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  1. Strange I kind of take offence to your comment about folks that use real vanilla. Why the need to defend your choice of vanilla claiming it’s a “gift” I’ve also noticed you use real butter now 😉

    1. I alternate depending on budget. Bought three boxes of margarine just last night :).I’m sorry you took offense, I just wanted to clarify that folks who read southernplate shouldn’t feel the need to go spend more thinking I do and i did my best to word it carefully so as to glorify those that do use it as well as those that don’t.
      The reason I make it a point to point out fake vanilla and margarine are really the same as why I use generic flour and other ingredients (well for one, I’m cheap) but also, I know how much some folks are struggling just to be able to buy groceries and there are other places on the web where you can go and get recipes and leave feeling like you are singlehandedly contributing to the decline of civilization if you don’t use all organic ingredients, real butter, and spices farmed by a specialized sect of nuns living in the alps. When those folks go to the grocery store, with a tight budget whittling off numbers in their head and a child who really wants their favorite cereal even though every other penny is accounted for and there still isn’t room to buy meat, I want them to see those generics and think “You know what? Christy buys this, too.”
      I’ll gladly take the hit of emails about my margarine use if it means some mama can afford to buy two pounds of chicken and not feel bad that she has to butter her rolls with the fake stuff 🙂

      1. You go, girl!
        You use what works for you and what you can afford. If generic or store brands get the same results as the more expensive name brands, it is foolish to spend the extra money. Too many places for money to go these days to waste it on name brands. Sometimes the name brand IS better, so you save money on the times it doesn’t matter to be able to get the name brand when it does.

  2. I am going to have to try this sometime soon. I have been having a lot of foot pain recently so went o foot doctor today. Found out I have a broken bone in each of my feet. I get to wear a boot for a least 3 weeks to start with and see how it goes. I am so glad you have healed up so well. God is great is he not.

  3. That gorgeous piece of pound cake with the yummy-looking custard sauce is sitting on one of my favorite vintage plates–Hall’s Autumn Leaf, right? My mother used the same china throughout my childhood, so I have fond memories about that! I bet lots of other people recognized the pattern, too!

  4. <3 your blog, egg clears, 🙂 , That hasta be the biggest pound cake I have ever seen O.O . I do love the pound cake recipe in your first book!!!! love ya

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