Vanilla Bean Custard

Chef Deborah Madison agrees that vanilla bean custard is easy to make and it’s a perfect dish to use Kalona SuperNatural™ cream-top milk. Use high quality, farm-fresh eggs, for custard with an amazing golden hue. Allow 1 egg per cup of milk. Adjust the recipe for more or less custard.

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Vanilla Bean Custard

  • Author: Chef Deborah Madison


  • 3 cups Kalona SuperNatural™ milk (of your choice)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean or 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 whole eggs (of your choice)
  • 1 egg yolk (optional)
  • Nutmeg or cinnamon


Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat with the vanilla bean and sugar, slowly bringing it just to a boil. Turn off the heat, remove the vanilla pod from the milk and slit in half lengthwise when cool enough to touch.  Scoop out the tiny seeds with the tip of a paring knife and return both seeds and pod to the milk to steep.

Preheat the oven to 325’F.  Place 6 custard cups in a baking pan that is large enough to hold all of the cups with ample space between the cups.

Stir the milk to make sure the sugar is dissolved.

Beat the eggs and egg yolk in a 1 quart measuring cup, then gradually whisk in the hot milk.  If using vanilla extract, add that to the mixture now.  Pour the custard through a strainer into each of the custard dishes, then sprinkle a little nutmeg over each.  Now fill the baking pan with hot water so that it comes up at least an inch on the sides of the custard cups.

Bake until the custard is set and an inserted knife comes out clean.  There should be just a bit of a wobble.  Cooking time will vary slightly depending on the size of your custard cups.  Approximately 35 minutes for small custards and 45 to 50 minutes for a single large custard.  Serve at room temperature or chilled–plain or accompanied with fruit, especially berries.


  • An extra yolk makes the custard even more tender and yellow, but it’s optional.
  • Using a vanilla bean (even just a piece of one) is preferred. However, vanilla extract can easily be substituted.
  • Custard cups are not required.  Any variety of ceramic dishes can be used.

Keywords: Vanilla Bean Custard, Vanilla Bean Custard Recipe