Purin: A Japanese Custard Pudding

Purin cups
Kimberlyac/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
  • 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. This is a different kind of purin, though. We use gelatin, and, because of the gelatin, it has a texture more like jello than egg custard, making this baked custard much better.

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. Butter individual pudding molds.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan then add 6 tablespoons of sugar, and simmer until the sauce is browned.

  3. Carefully add 1 tablespoon of warm water to thin the sauce.

  4. Pour sauce into the molds.

  5. Put milk in a medium pan, and heat to about 140 F.

  6. Dissolve sugar in the milk, and add vanilla extract.

  7. Remove from heat.

  8. Lightly beat eggs in a bowl.

  9. Gradually add warm milk to the egg mixture.

  10. Run the egg mixture through a strainer.

  11. Scoop out some bubbles from the surface of the strained egg mixture.

  12. Pour the remaining egg mixture over the sauce in the molds.

  13. Place the pudding molds in a steamer, and steam on low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through.

  14. Turn off the heat and let them cool.

  15. Remove pudding from the molds and serve on plates.

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