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Pastry Cream

This easy pastry cream recipe can be used to fill cream puffs, eclairs, cakes, cupcakes, and so much more! Every baker needs to know how to make this versatile custard filling. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Keyword pastry cream
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 2 1/4 cups
Author Danielle


  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (32 grams) cornstarch (or cornflour)
  • 2 cups (480 ml) whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter , sliced into tablespoon-sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • In a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and egg yolks until fully combined. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the saucepan with the sugar and cornstarch mixture and whisk until fully combined.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil stirring continuously (I suggest using a rubber spatula to scrape around the bottom and sides of the pan a few times). Allow to boil for one minute, the mixture should be pretty thick at this point. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a heat-proof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, placing the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard, and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 to 3 hours.
  • Once the mixture is thoroughly chilled and you are ready to use it, whisk it until it’s smooth.



Storage Instructions: Pastry cream may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Be sure to place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface so that it doesn't form a skin.
Milk: I recommend using whole milk for this recipe, anything with a lower fat content won't provide the same rich and creamy texture.
Vanilla Extract: Be sure to use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor. You may also use an equal amount of vanilla bean paste if you prefer.