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Pastry Cream

This vanilla bean pastry cream recipe is a perfect filling for cream puffs, tarts, pastries, cakes, and other delicious desserts!


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean or tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter optional


  • In a saucepan bring milk, vanilla, and salt to a simmer over medium heat.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch. It should be thick, creamy, and pale yellow.
  • While whisking, slowly add ½ cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture to temper it. This insures that the eggs don’t overcook and curdle.
  • Add the remaining milk mixture half a cup at a time, while continuously mixing. 
  • Return to saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick and bubbling. If adding butter, add one tablespoon at a time and mix until fully incorporated before adding the next. Sometimes the butter separates a bit and makes the mixture greasy. If this happens, whisk continuously for a few minutes until it’s fully combined and cooled down a bit.  It should recombine and no longer be greasy. 
  • Once everything if fully combined and slightly cooled, pour the mixture through a  strainer into another bowl. This will make for a very smooth pastry cream and ensure there is no cooked egg in the mixture. 
  • Cover with plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly on top of the pastry cream so it doesn’t get a film on top.
  • Then chill until ready to use, at least two hours or overnight.