Boiled custard recipe

This special occasion beverage is a Southern staple!

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Many folks use custard as a rich sauce for certain desserts, but in the South, we make it a little bit thinner and drink it! Yes, it's decadent and reserved for holidays and celebrations, but it's a drink you won't soon forget.

Boiled custard

Makes about 2 quarts


  • 1/2 gallon (8 cups) milk or half-and-half
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Pour the milk into a large pot and whisk in 1/3 cup granulated sugar.
  2. Cook over medium heat until a thin skin forms on the top — do not boil.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining sugar and the egg yolks until well-blended and pale yellow in color.
  4. When the skin has formed on the milk, remove it from the heat. Scoop out about a cup and pour it into the bowl with the yolks and sugar.
  5. Whisk to combine, and then add another cup of milk and mix it in.
  6. Now that the eggs are tempered, pour that mixture into the pot of milk and whisk until fully combined.
  7. Return the pot to the heat and cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. This will take around 10-15 minutes.
  8. Once you've achieved the proper thickness, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  9. Let the custard cool in the pot for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, and then pour it into 2 quart jars or whatever container you have on hand.
  10. Keep refrigerated! Some people drink this warm, but I like it best when it's well-chilled.

Other custard creations

Baked ricotta custard
Savory creamy onion custards
Coconut creme brulee