Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe

Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe

The Spruce 

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Chilling Time: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
467 Calories
21g Fat
50g Carbs
17g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 467
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 10g 51%
Cholesterol 405mg 135%
Sodium 237mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 35g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 263mg 20%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 363mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pastry cream, also known as crème patissière, is used in all kinds of desserts, as a filling for pastries like cream puffs (profiteroles), éclairs, fruit tarts, as a pie filling, or in between layers of a cake.

This pastry cream recipe includes butter, which not all recipes do, but it makes the pastry cream a little bit richer. Fun fact: pastry cream is really just pudding made with double the amount of cornstarch!


  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe
     The Spruce
  2. Heat the milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat just until it starts to steam.

    Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe
     The Spruce
  3. Separately, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl. You're going to want to whisk really hard until the consistency is thick and creamy.

    Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Once the milk has just begun to steam, slowly pour about half of the milk into the egg mixture in a thin stream, while mixing vigorously. Leave the rest of the milk in the pan.

    Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Next, add the thickened egg mixture back into the pan with the rest of the milk. Again, whisk vigorously, for 2 to 3 minutes, while continuing to heat the mixture gently over medium heat, until the pastry cream is quite thick. But don't let it burn.

    Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe
    The Spruce 
  6. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.

    Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe
     The Spruce
  7. To cool, transfer the pastry cream to a bowl, and then set that bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice water. Cool like this for 30 minutes.

    Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Then refrigerate the pastry cream until it's fully chilled. About 4 hours in the fridge is best, but it will keep in the fridge for two to three days.

    Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe
     The Spruce

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.


  • Just like pudding, pastry cream will develop a skin on top. To prevent this, you can cover it with plastic with the plastic wrap pressed all the way down onto the surface of the pastry cream, so that no air gets in.