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Traditional recipe for boiled custard, a classic southern holiday drink! Tastes like melted ice cream and is perfect for those who don't like eggnog!

Southern Style Boiled Custard

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5 from 12 reviews

  • Author: Erin Browne
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x


  • 1 quart (4 cups) whole milk or half & half
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar, divided
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste


  1. Whisk the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine the milk or half & half and the remaining sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium until just starting to steam, but do not allow it to boil.
  3. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the heated milk mixture and drizzle it into the egg yolks while whisking constantly. Then slowly pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan.
  4. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens a little and coats the back of the spoon. If you use a candy thermometer, you want the mixture to reach 160F but not exceed 175F. This step usually takes about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  6. NEW NOTE: If the egg mixture was tempered correctly, the custard shouldn't contain lumps, but if it does, simply use a fine mesh strainer to get them out.
  7. Chill thoroughly before serving.


Equal amounts of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste will yield the same flavor, but the paste will give you visible vanilla bean specks in the custard which is quite pretty!

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
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