Rich Vanilla Custard Sauce

Rich vanilla custard sauce

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 28 servings
Yield: 1 3/4 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
31 Calories
1g Fat
4g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 28
Amount per serving
Calories 31
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 9mg 3%
Sodium 14mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 18mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 23mg 0%
*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.)

A vanilla custard sauce is the kind of recipe that comes in handy in many different dessert situations. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. This recipe for a rich vanilla sauce is a custard-like version with a hint of cinnamon. It is really easy to make. It's thickened with flour and an egg and is not quite as decadent as crème anglaise, which is typically richer and made with more egg yolks.

You can definitely use this vanilla custard sauce for bread pudding, but it's also really delicious when drizzled over fresh fruit (especially berries), pound cake, ice cream, and other desserts. Try it, too, with crepes with bananas and chopped toasted walnuts.

Feel free to omit the cinnamon or nutmeg if you like, and add a tablespoon or two of rum instead. Or use the rum along with either of the warming spices.


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, or light brown sugar, packed

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg, or cinnamon

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 1/2 cups milk, or half-and-half

  • 1 dash salt

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, flour, nutmeg or cinnamon, the egg, melted butter, milk, and salt. Whisk until well blended and then place the pan over medium heat.

  3. Cook, whisking constantly​ until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of the spoon. To test, dip a spoon in the thickened mixture and turn it over. Run a finger down the back of a spoon. If the mixture does not run into the path your finger made, the sauce is done. 

  4. Place a mesh sieve over a bowl and strain the sauce through it. Stir the vanilla extract into the sauce and refrigerate, covered, until serving time.

  5. Serve and enjoy.

How to Store Rich Vanilla Custard Sauce

This sauce can be made ahead of time by a day or so. Just bring to room temperature before using. You can also store this sauce, once it's made, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Recipe Variations

  • Use light cream, whipping cream, or heavy cream for a richer and creamier sauce instead of milk.
  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of good-quality bourbon or spiced rum to the sauce along with the vanilla.
  • For a more pronounced flavor, use one vanilla bean, scraped, in the custard instead of the extract.