Purin: A Japanese Custard Pudding

Custard pudding recipe

​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings

Purin is a flan-like cold custard dessert in Japan. The name “Purin” comes from “pudding”, but it is not the same thing as the gooey pudding in the U.S. It has a firmer texture similar to Mexican flan and also has caramel sauce on top. It is a very basic sweet -- silky, creamy, rich, and smooth -- that is served chilled and adored in Japan. Purin is a comfort dessert for Japanese people.

There is a popular instant purin mix you can buy at grocery stores in Japan. Add some milk, mix, and chill, and there you are -- easy purin. Though the best kind of purin is made at home from scratch. The ingredients are simple: milk, eggs, sugar, and some vanilla. Purin is baked in a water bath in the oven, so it is hard to overcook. It may be a little more work to make than going to the store, but the outcome is incomparable to store-bought.

In Japan, there are a few types of purin, including yaki pudding, which is custard cooked in the oven, and mushi pudding, custard cooked on a stovetop in a steamer or in a bain-marie in a pot or frying pan.


  • Butter (to grease the pudding dishes)
  • 3 tablespoons water (warm, divided)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs (lightly beaten)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for custard pudding
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  2. Butter individual pudding molds.

    Butter molds
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan then add 6 tablespoons of sugar, and simmer until the sauce is browned. Carefully add 1 tablespoon of warm water to thin the sauce.

    Sauce is browned
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  4. Pour sauce into the molds.

    Pour sauce into molds
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  5. Put milk in a medium pan, and heat to about 140 F.

    Milk in saucepan
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  6. Dissolve sugar in the milk, and add vanilla extract.

    Dissolve sugar in milk
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  7. Remove from heat.

    Remove from heat
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  8. Lightly beat eggs in a bowl.

    Beat eggs
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  9. Gradually add warm milk to the egg mixture.

    Add milk
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  10. Run the egg mixture through a strainer.

    Run through strainer
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  11. Scoop out some bubbles from the surface of the strained egg mixture.

    Remove bubbles
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  12. Pour the remaining egg mixture over the sauce in the molds.

    Put in molds
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  13. Place the pudding molds in a steamer, and steam on low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through.

    Put in pot
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  14. Turn off the heat and let them cool.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  15. Remove pudding from the molds and serve on plates.

    Remove from molds
    ​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel