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. I’ve been using some of your recipes for the past few weeks now. I’m the cook in the house. Although my wife is from Germany, she, has developed a keen, discriminating taste for Southern cooking. However, everything I make is still compared to her Mutti und Oma’s cooking. I also make a lot of German meals. Today, I made two loves of apple bread (I always share with neighbors), and your Grandma’s pound cake. I’m waiting for the pound cake to get done now. I’ll get my wife to bring home more eggs when she gets off work and I will make the custard sauce. I used Splenda in the pound cake, I hope it turns out ok.
    PS it sure is good to read things the way I talk, with my Alabama accent.

  2. Oh! This looks so much like what my mother in law in Germany used to make many years ago. I’ll have to try it soon. She used to serve it over stewed rhubarb – that may sound yucky but you have no idea how delicious it was…tangy rhubarb and smooth, velvety sweet custard…fantastic! She also served it with a special German fruit pudding called Rote Grutze. That was my absolute favorite but I haven’t found exactly the right ingredients here in the states to make it just like hers. Maybe that’s because she used leftover juice from making her wonderful berry jam. Where would I even find red currents?

    Christy, you are amazing! Here you have brought me back so many lovely (and delicious) memories from times before you were even born!

  3. I cannot wait to try the pound cake with the custard sauce! It looks so delicious. Good Luck on your book tour, hope you have a blast and sell a bunch!

  4. well, sugar-pea! God bless you for having the heart of a peacemaker. I have always made the old southern living classic pound cake, i may have to give yours a whirl. I’ve had a tough month what with breaking my foot on my good leg,(i have RA/lupus) being in a wheelchair for a while (i really thought about you then!!) and losing my precious big brother last week. We have no doubt that he is home and healed now so we have peace. All that to say that I am so thankful to have a place to go where joy, love, laughter, and a servant’s heart are not only talked about, but lived out. Bless you, precious lady.

  5. In response to the earlier comments, Glenda is correct that the white, twisted cords hold the yolk to the inner membrane of the egg shell lining, providing protection for the yolk. They are called “chalazae”. Some “old wives tales” say they are the start of an embryo . . . not true. If they are left in when making a custard, pudding, pastry cream, etc., Christy’s advice to strain through a fine mesh strainer works great for having a smooth product. 🙂 Did you know they make a gadget for removing the chalaza called a Tid-ee egg?

  6. We always had custard growing up, did not watch my Mom make it, but my Aunt showed me how. I have it down pat now. Made me a cup full last night. We also put it on Angel food cake. After Mom made home made angel food cake, she would make pound cake, then custard. Yummy!

  7. I just made this Custard Sauce to go on some pound cake a friend gave us the other day and it was yummy. I was so proud that I didn’t scorch it but rather stood there FOREVER while it slowly did what it was supposed to do. The results were worth the time it took. Thanks for your notes encouraging someone like me to stir it constantly, etc. I will make it again. Thanks again, Christy, for all your delicious recipes you share with us.

    By the way, I started reading a Tamara Alexander book last night per your statement about her books and I think I am going to really enjoy it.

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