Custard Pie Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 25 min. + chilling Bake: 40 min. + cooling
This custard pie is simple and delicious with a smooth, light filling and a flaky crust.

Updated: Apr. 30, 2024

Pies often seem complex. Many are loaded with pounds of fruit or cream-and-sugar layers. Some are topped with intricate crusts that present plenty of opportunities for error.

A simple, classic pie can be a relief both to make and to bite into. Whether a dessert for a weeknight family dinner or a special gathering, this lightly sweetened, smooth, delicate custard pie may be just the thing to round out a filling meal.

What is custard pie?

A true custard pie starts with a dairy base and uses eggs to bind, thicken, raise and stabilize the filling. Other custard-style pies can be thickened by starch or gelatin, especially if they contain fatty ingredients like chocolate, but they rarely have the smooth, delicate texture of an egg custard.

Farm-fresh egg yolks can give custard filling a golden hue, but unlike a quiche, custard tastes more of milk or cream than of egg. Any other flavor mixed into the custard, with vanilla and lemon among the most traditional options, also stands out.

Custard Pie Ingredients

  • Eggs: Slightly beating the eggs before adding the sugar blends them without introducing excessive air bubbles. Beating the one egg white separately and then folding it into the mixture keeps the custard light.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar adds sweetness but also helps hold the filling together. A liquid sweetener can make custard thin, so it’s best avoided in this pie.
  • Milk: Use fresh milk for the best flavor. Milk that is a tad sour could cause the custard to curdle, so your container of buttermilk is best saved for a buttermilk pie.


Step 1: Shape the bottom crust

Rolling dough with rolling pinTMB Studio

On a lightly floured surface, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a 1/8-inch-thick circle.

draping the dough in baking panTMB Studio

Drape the dough over the rolling pin and quickly transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the crust to 1/2 inch beyond the rim of the plate. Use your fingers to flute the edge. Refrigerate this bottom crust for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Step 2: Prebake the crust

Line the unpricked crust with a double-thick layer of foil. Fill it with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice. Set the pie plate on a lower oven rack, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the crust’s edge is a light golden brown. Remove the foil and weights, and bake for another three to six minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Set the crust on a wire rack so it can cool without steaming.

Reduce the oven setting to 350°.

Editor’s Tip: Be sure to let the oven temperature drop before baking the filled pie. A too-hot oven can cause the custard to separate or “weep,” become tough in the center, develop an eggy flavor and darken beyond a light gold on top.

Step 3: Mix the custard

Pouring milk in large bowlTMB Studio

Separate one egg, setting the white aside in a large bowl for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, beat the yolk and the remaining eggs just until combined. Blend in the sugar, salt and vanilla. Stir in the milk.

Step 4: Fold in the egg white

Folding egg whitesTMB Studio

Beat the reserved egg white until stiff peaks form. Gently fold it into the milk mixture, taking care so that it stays light and fluffy.

Step 5: Bake the pie

Pouring custard over crustTMB Studio

Carefully pour the custard into the crust.

Covering the custard with foilTMB Studio

Cover the pie edge with foil and bake the pie for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Editor’s Tip: The top should be a light gold, and the edges should be firm with a center that still quivers.

Step 6: Cool and serve

Sprinkling nutmeg over baked custardTMB Studio

Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack to ensure it is firm enough to hold its shape when cut. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg before serving. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Slices of Custard Pie served on platesTMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Coffee-and-Cream Pie: Use 1 cup 2% milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 cup cold, double-strength coffee for the custard. This variation will taste best when served cold.
  • Coconut Custard Pie: Mix in about 2/3 cup shredded coconut before folding in the egg white. For more coconut flavor, replace some of the butter with coconut oil when making the pie crust.
  • Cinnamon-and-Sugar Pie: Instead of granulated sugar, use brown sugar in the custard filling. Sprinkle the top of the finished pie with cinnamon. You can also mix a little cinnamon into the pie dough if you’re making it from scratch.

How long does custard pie last?

With all that egg and milk, custard pie must be kept in the refrigerator and will last up to four days, although the crust may soften the longer it chills. Before sealing the pie in an airtight container and refrigerating, ensure the pie is completely cool so that moisture doesn’t develop and make the filling runny. Custard pie can be served cold straight from the fridge or at room temperature after setting on the counter for about 30 minutes.

Can you freeze custard pie?

Egg custard usually splits and becomes grainy as it thaws after freezing, so it’s best to make this pie fresh and enjoy it within a few days. To speed up the process, you can make the pie dough ahead of time and freeze it unbaked. Take the dough out of the freezer the night before you plan to bake the pie, let it thaw in the fridge and then roll it out when you’re ready to make the pie.

Custard Pie Tips

Custard Pie on black plateTMB Studio

How do you prevent a custard pie from being too runny or undercooked?

Blind baking the crust can be the key to avoiding a runny custard pie. Baking just the crust lets it cook completely at its ideal temperature, and a prebaked crust is less likely to become soggy once filled with custard.

This pie may also appear runny and undercooked if you serve it too soon. Custard continues to stiffen once it’s pulled from the oven, so stop baking the pie when the edges are firm but the center still wiggles a bit. Let it cool completely to room temperature before slicing, or refrigerate the pie after it has cooled for the firmest, silkiest set.

What’s the best type of milk to use in custard pie?

A little milk fat helps with thickening and balancing the egg in this pie, so 2% milk a good choice. For a richer pie, bump up to whole milk or replace some of the milk with cream. Many nondairy milk options—from almond to soy—will also work but may not be as thick when fully set. Stick with a plain, unsweetened nondairy milk for the best results.

Can you make a custard pie without using a pie crust?

A custard pie without a crust is simply baked custard, which is a delicious and easy dessert in its own right. To keep the pie shape, simply butter a pie plate and bake the custard directly in it. The custard will likely end up denser on the bottom than in the center, with a thin skin on the top surface. For more even cooking, use the standard technique of baking custard in a water bath.

Watch how to Make Custard Pie

Mom's Custard Pie

Prep Time 25 min
Cook Time 40 min
Yield 8 servings.


  • Dough for single-crust pie
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle; transfer to a 9-in. pie plate. Trim crust to 1/2 in. beyond rim of plate; flute edge. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°. Line unpricked crust with a double thickness of foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice. Bake on a lower oven rack until edge is light golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Remove foil and weights; bake until bottom is golden brown, 3-6 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven setting to 350°.
    Separate 1 egg; set the white aside in a large bowl and let stand for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, beat the yolk and remaining eggs just until combined. Blend in the sugar, salt and vanilla. Stir in milk. Beat reserved egg white until stiff peaks form; fold into egg mixture.
  2. Carefully pour into crust. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 254 calories, 12g fat (5g saturated fat), 122mg cholesterol, 243mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 0 fiber), 7g protein.

Just a single bite of this traditional custard pie takes me back to the days when Mom would fix this pie for Dad, Grandfather and me. Mom also regularly prepared pies for large gatherings. This dessert was often requested. —Barbara Hyatt, Folsom, California