Old-fashioned custard pie is rich, silky, and creamy, with a buttery, flaky crust, and made with very simple ingredients. This classic pie recipe has been around for hundreds of years, and it’s still a favorite.
Grandmas everywhere have been baking custard pies for holidays, Sunday dinners, and celebrations forever. Now it’s your turn to learn how to make this pie and keep the creamy and delicious tradition going!
What is a Custard Pie?
There are many types of pies that can be considered custard pies based on their preparation. A custard pie is a pie made with uncooked custard added to a pie crust, and then the two are baked together.
This is the opposite of a cream pie, in which custard is cooked on the stove and then added to a baked pie shell and served cold, usually with whipped topping.
Pumpkin Pie is a type of custard pie. It’s made the same way as this pie recipe, but with the addition of pumpkin puree. The same can be said for Lemon Meringue Pie, Pecan Pie, coconut custard pie, and other fruit custard pies that are popular in the Southern US.
This old-fashioned custard pie recipe is the original. Its filling is simply made with a mixture of eggs, milk, and cream, and the result is irresistible.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- A Simple Recipe – This pie is pretty no-fuss in terms of flavor and preparation. It’s simply flavored with vanilla extract and a bit of ground nutmeg so that the flavor of the fresh egg custard can really shine through. You’ll need a few basic pie-making skills, but I’ll teach them to you!
- Can Be Made Ahead – Keep your pie in the fridge for a few days, or wrap it up and freeze it for 3 months. It will be just as delicious after you let it thaw.
- Versatile Recipe – Because this pie is only lightly flavored with spices and vanilla, it is a dessert that can pair well with just about any meal.
Key Ingredients in Custard Pie
Here’s what you need to make this classic silky custard pie:
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Pie Crust: You want unbaked pie crust dough for this recipe. Grab my flaky all-butter pie crust recipe, or use your own tried and true favorite pie crust recipe instead. Store-bought, refrigerated pie crust can be used as well.
- Eggs, Milk, and Sugar: These are the three basic ingredients needed to make the custard. Allow your eggs and milk to come to room temperature before starting.
- Flavorings: Vanilla extract, ground nutmeg, and salt are traditional. I’m taking the flavor a bit further though, with the addition of almond extract.
How To Make a Classic Custard Pie
- Blind Bake The Crust: Roll the pie dough into a 13-inch circle and place it into a 9-inch pie plate, crimping the edges to make the crust. Brush the crust with whisked egg white, and poke holes in the bottom to act as vents. Line the pan with parchment paper, and bake with pie weights for 10 minutes in a preheated 400°F/200°C oven. Then remove the weights and the paper, and bake again for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Mix The Custard Filling: While the crust is baking, combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined.
- Bake: Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is set.
- Cool: Allow the pie to cool on a wire rack until it comes to room temperature, then cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
Place your pie on a sheet pan before baking it. This simple trick makes the pie much easier to move, and will prevent any spills in your oven.
- Blind Bake the Crust – This is a very important step. We’re baking the crust almost fully before adding the wet custard mixture. If you skip blind baking, your crust will turn out too soggy.
- Use extra parchment paper so that you can easily remove the paper and the pie weights later, using the extra paper as handles.
- Don’t turn the oven off! You can leave the oven at the same temperature for both the crust and the pie. Since the filling only takes a minute to make, there should be no downtime that would require you to start and stop the oven
- Adjust the Flavor – You can leave out the almond extract if you’d like this pie to be more simply flavored. You can also leave out the vanilla extract and make this an almond custard pie. Keep in mind that you can’t substitute vanilla extract and almond extract directly (almond extract is stronger). To use all vanilla extract, use 2 teaspoons. For just almond extract, I’d use 1 teaspoon.
- If the crust starts to look too browned you can cover just the edges with strips of aluminum foil so that they don’t burn while the pie finishes cooking.
- Test the pie for doneness using an instant-read thermometer. The pie is done when it reads 180°F/82°C in the center. Right from the oven, the center of the pie will be jiggly, but not wet, and the edges should appear firm and set.
Store leftover custard pie covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
You can also freeze this pie! Be sure that it’s fully cooled, and wrap it well with plastic wrap. Place in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw the pie overnight in the fridge.
Custard pie and cheese pie are almost the same. The main difference is that a chess pie is thickened with corn starch, giving it a much different texture.
Dried beans or rice are a great alternative to ceramic pie weights. Just be sure that once you’ve used the beans or rice as pie weights you don’t use them for cooking. Add them to a jar, label the jar “pie weights” and you’ll be all set for many, many pies in the future!
Custard pie is generally eaten cold since it needs to be chilled in the fridge to be fully set up.
Check on your pie after the recommended baking time. If it’s ready, it should be set around the edges and jiggly (but not liquidy) in the center. If you insert a knife into the filling it should come out mostly clean. You can also test the center of the pie with an instant-read thermometer. The pie is done when it reads 180°F/82°C.
This classic recipe for custard pie is always delicious! Save this recipe for the next time you need a comforting, simple dessert. Be sure to Pin the recipe and share it too!
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Roll out the pie crust dough into a 13-inch circle and place it in a 9-inch pie dish. Brush the bottom of the crust with whisked egg white, and dock the crust by pricking holes in the bottom with a fork.
- Line the crust with parchment paper, and add pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment, and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
- To make the filling, combine eggs, whole milk, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, nutmeg and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined, then pour into the pre-baked crust.
- Bake the pie for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is set.
- Cool on a wire rack until the pie is at room temperature, then cover and chill in the fridge for at least four hours, or overnight.
- It’s important to weigh down the pie crust when blind baking it. You can use dried beans in place of pie weights, just be sure not to cook them after using them in this way.
- Directly from the oven, the pie filling will be somewhat soft and the center will be jiggly. This is normal! Chilling the pie completely will ensure that it sets up fully.
- You can use just vanilla extract or just almond extract if you’d rather not use both. To use all vanilla extract, use 2 teaspoons. For just almond extract, use 1 teaspoon.
- If you’d like to be certain that the custard pie is done, you can use an instant-read thermometer to check that it is 180°F/88°C in the center.
- Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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