9 Custard Powder Substitutes to Use in Desserts and Some Savory Dishes

Besides the ones that we buy from stores, there are several custard powder recipes with similar ingredients that you can make at home. The main ingredients in custard powder are milk, sugar, egg yolk, cornstarch and vanilla. 

It is usually used in cake, pudding and other dessert recipes and seems to be an easy alternative to dessert toppings and base for even savory dishes such as scone, mac and cheese etc.

The store-bought custard powder is made of cornflour, salt, riboflavin and different flavors. If you can’t find it in your local stores or you have allergies from those ingredients or just don’t want to use the ready version, you are in the right place. 

Let’s discover the best custard powder substitutes: pastry cream, pudding mix, cornstarch, corn flour and cornstarch, tapioca powder, water chestnut flour, milk and eggs, baking soda, homemade custard powder. 

1. Pastry Cream

Almost the same ingredients are included in the preparation of pastry cream as in custard powder. It contains milk, eggs, sugar and cornstarch. 

You can also add vanilla powder or vanilla extract to get a similar pleasant flavor of custard powder. As for the color, you can use yellow food coloring to get what you need. 

This cream is basically used as a filling for eclairs, boston cream pie cakes and cream puffs but you can use it in puddings and other desserts instead of custard powder too. 

2. Dry Pudding Mix

Pudding mix is made of sugar, artificial colorings, flavoring agents and thickeners. It is in a powdered form and is meant for puddings and pie fillings. 

You can use it instead of custard powder in many recipes. You can get this substitute from grocery stores under the name “Vanilla pudding mix” which means it contains vanilla and is better to use with desserts. 

3. Cornstarch

One of the main roles of cornstarch in cooking is to add thickness to the dish. The same refers to custard powder where cornstarch is used to make it thicker. 

When it comes to desserts and dessert fillings we see that you can use only cornstarch instead of custard powder too. 

Cornstarch is the easiest and quickest substitute from this list if you don’t want to spend time on preparing a new substitute or don’t want to leave the house for another alternative. It’s also a good option for vegetarians. 

4. Corn Flour with Cornstarch

If the previous version provides you with the desired texture and flavor, this one also comes with the desired color. While cornstarch can act as a thickening agent, corn flour will also add the yellow color that we have in custard powder.

 Just a pinch of vanilla powder or vanilla extract to this mixture and your next custard powder replacer is ready. 

Blend equal amounts of flour and starch and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder or vanilla extract or any other flavor you want to have in your dessert or dish. 

5. Tapioca Powder

Known as a starch made of cassava root, tapioca powder has a neutral flavor like many other types of flours used in baking. However, in this case we are supposed to use it instead of custard powder. 

Just like in the case of cornstarch, tapioca powder can be used as a thickening agent. But you can add vanilla extract and it will serve as a custard powder replacement in desserts. 

Since it’s white in color, you can add yellow food coloring to make it look like custard powder. 

6. Water Chestnut Flour

Water chestnut flour is made of dried and powdered water chestnuts. It has a nutty and sweet flavor that perfectly works in desserts. 

You can choose this powder over custard powder if you are looking for a healthy and vegan-friendly alternative. You can use it to make pancakes, cakes, puddings and cookies. It goes with savory dishes too. 

7. Milk and Eggs

Well, these are the ingredients we usually have in our fridge and if you are not looking for vegan alternatives, then it will work. 

Homemade custard is basically made of milk and eggs and it allows us to use this mixture instead of custard powder. You can use it particularly in baked goods and cooked dishes. If you like, you can add some cornstarch to thicken it. 

8. Baking Soda

Surprisingly baking soda is another option to try. It has a similar texture to custard powder and if you mix vanilla and yellow food coloring with it, the result will be almost the same. 

This easy and quick mixture can be used in baked goods and desserts. If you decide to use it in sweet dishes, you can also add sugar to the blend. 

9. Homemade Custard Powder

As mentioned above the basic ingredients of custard powder are milk, vanilla, salt, sugar and egg yolks or yellow food coloring. If you want to get the powdered version then follow the instructions. We offer an egg-free recipe for those who are allergic to eggs. 

Additionally, if you want to get a vegan-friendly custard powder, then use almond or soy milks instead of cow’s milk. 

1 cup of milk powder

¼ cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla powder

¼ yellow food color powder

Half cup of cornstarch

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with a spoon or wire whisk. Sieve it and use the way you use the store-bought custard powder. You can store it in a jar for later use.  This is the easiest homemade custard powder recipe. 

FAQs on Custard Powder

How can I use custard powder?

First, you need to put it into a bowl as much as mentioned in your recipe. Then add boiling water, stir and make sauce-like consistency. Now, you can use it in baking, sauces or cooked dishes. 

Is custard powder gluten free?

Homemade custard powders are naturally gluten-free as they contain milk, eggs and sugar. As for store-bought options, you need to check the ingredient list. 

What can I use to substitute custard powder in savory dishes? 

You can use cornstarch, corn flour, arrowroot powder, milk and eggs mixture. The substitutes that come with neutral flavors go well with savory dishes and their seasonings. 

Sum Up

As you see, there are many easy-to-find custard powder substitutes and you can choose whichever you want according to your taste. Substitutes that contain vanilla are suitable for desserts, baked goods and sweets. 

Those that have neutral flavors go well not only with desserts but also with savory dishes and other condiments. 

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