Baked Custard
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Creamy and smooth baked custard, made with whole eggs and milk, makes an easy light dessert. It’s often made with a light sprinkle of ground nutmeg on top providing just a hint of spice. My secret: I love chilled baked custard for breakfast with slices of banana.

The key to baked custards is cooking at a low temperature in a water bath; the hot water slows the distribution of the oven heat so the custards cook slowly without overcooking the edges. Cover the pan with foil to avoid overcooking and browning the tops of the custards. When done the custards will be partially set but retain a jiggle when gently shaken. Don’t worry that they don’t seem done at the end of the bake time, the custards will finish setting in the refrigerator.
Recipe type: Dessert | Baked Custard
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt (less than ⅛ teaspoon)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • Ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. You will need 4 6-ounce ramekins.
Prepare one large baking dish or roasting pan, large enough to hold 4 ramekins. Tip: Place a kitchen towel or non-stick baking mat in bottom of pan to help keep the ramekins in place while baking so they don’t move around in the water. A non-stick baking mat also works well. The ramekins should have enough room to fit in the pan without touching each other.
Bring a tea kettle or pot of water on the stovetop to boil, then remove from the heat.
  1. In a medium-sized bowl combine the milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt; whisk together to mix.
  2. In another medium-sized to large-sized bowl, add the eggs and lightly whisk to break up the eggs. Tip: whisk just until the egg yolks and whites are blended. Don’t whisk or beat until foamy; you are not trying to whisk air into the eggs as this will cause bubbles on the surface of the custard.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the eggs and whisk or stir just until blended.
  4. Pour or ladle the custard mix into the 4 ramekins. Tip: the ramekins will be filled almost to the rim with the custard mix.
  5. Lightly sprinkle the tops of the custard with nutmeg.
  6. Carefully place the filled ramekins into the prepared baking dish or roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven, and carefully pour hot water into the baking dish, adding just enough water to come two-thirds up the sides of the ramekins. Important: Be very careful not to get any of the hot water inside the ramekins as this can cause the custard to not bake evenly.
  7. Bake: Cover the baking dish loosely with aluminum foil. Bake 40 minutes. Tip: The custards are done when the edges are beginning to set but there is a uniform jiggle when the ramekins are lightly jarred or tapped with a spoon.
  8. Baked Custard
  9. Remove the pan from the oven, being careful not to splash any hot water into the custards. Remove the ramekins from the hot-water and place on a wire cooling rack to cool. Tip: slide a metal spatula under the ramekins and carefully lift out of the hot water.
  10. Let custards cool to room temperature, 30 to 60 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight. The custards will finish setting in the refrigerator.
  11. Baked custards should be served within 2 or 3 days.
Adapted From: Yard, Sherry, The Secrets of Baking, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 2003; Better Homes and Gardens, Old Fashioned Home Baking, Meredith Corporation, Iowa, 1990
Recipe Notes
Equipment: 4 6-ounce ramekins, Large baking dish or roasting pan Oven Temp: 325° Storage: Cover and Refrigerate
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