Perfect Substitutes for Custard Powder You May Have Never Thought

If you’re like me, you will love the taste of custard desserts. It can be the perfect finish to a full course dinner with its varying available tastes.

These delicious custard desserts will typically be made with custard powder. This is a starch that is colored and available with various fruit flavors as well as vanilla and chocolate.

So, how does the custard’s texture change from powder? This is when a hot liquid is added to give it that unique custard feel. Custard is not for everyone though.

It has a specific, starch-like aftertaste that isn’t to everyone’s liking. Here in the US, it can be quite hard to find custard powder. That is one of the reasons why the use of custard substitutes have become more popular in the last few years.

A growing number of people are also allergic to its ingredients making it impossible to consume. Due to some of these ingredients, some choose not to eat custard powder out of personal preference and beliefs.

That said, custard is still a very popular dessert accompanying different fruits and acting as ice cream toppings.

If you can’t eat custard powder and have run out, we will discuss several alternatives to act as the perfect substitute for your dessert or snack.

What is custard powder?

Custard powder is made up of a combination of milk, sugar, and egg yolk. As well as a topping on many desserts, it also acts as a tasty base for many savory recipes.

Commercial custard powder found in grocery stores is made with cornflour, riboflavin, normal salt, and different flavors.

Many believe that the powder is made from the dried remnants of these ingredients. This is not true, however, as it is made from varying substances that have been powdered afterward, then flavored, with the addition of artificial colors.

The Substitutes for Custard Powder

Pudding Mix

A great alternative for custard powder is instant vanilla pudding mix. This can be done by adding the same amount of pudding mix as the original powder amount.

This is perfect for puddings, baked goods, different fillings, and varying sauces. You can also substitute chocolate pudding or plain pudding mix in equal measures to vanilla custard powder for a superb result.

Pastry Cream

You can use pastry cream instead of custard powder with great effect. Pastry cream is made from eggs, milk, sugar, and cornstarch.

It is recommended you use a homemade pastry cream in place of vanilla custard powder if you are making fillings or puddings.

You may be wondering how to get that vanilla taste with pastry cream. This is easy! You can use vanilla extract or real vanilla beans and incorporate them into the pastry cream.

Then cook on a stove and leave it cool. The vanilla flavor will come bursting out! 

Cornstarch

Custard powder actually contains a lot of cornstarch. Therefore, it is no surprise that cornstarch can be used as an effective substitute.

You can make starchy thickener in your very own home. Simply measure the same amount of cornstarch as custard powder and then add a sufficient amount of vanilla extract for the best taste.

Cornstarch is best used for making cakes, sauces, puddings, and various desserts.

Tapioca Pudding

This has a similar consistency to cornstarch. Its silky texture helps it become a natural thickener and an ideal alternative for custard powder.

If you need an alternative for making cakes, fillings, and baked goods, tapioca pudding will have your back!

Again, use equal measures of tapioca pudding to custard powder and an adequate amount of vanilla extract to boost the taste.

Many people confuse tapioca pudding with tapioca pearls. Tapioca pearls are actually used to make tapioca pudding and need to be soaked before use so don’t go substituting the pearls for the powder!

Water Chestnut

This is a popular choice amongst bakers around the world. This is done by using water chestnut, water chestnut flour, water, and castor sugar.

By making a batter and adding it to some boiling water, the custard can come to life.

Once the water has boiled and cooled, you will be left with a softish batter which is perfect for desserts like cakes or ice creams.

Baking Soda

This is a lesser-known method but you can use baking soda as an adequate substitute. This is made from sugar crystals.

With equal parts to custard powder, baking soda will do a good job.

Cornstarch combined with Cornflour

A fascinating alternative is the combination of cornstarch and cornflour.

Along with vanilla essence, or other types of flavors like annatto or curcumin, sugar, and milk these can be ground up and used for most standard dessert recipes.

Milk and Eggs

Another alternative could be to make custard from scratch. This will take more time but the ingredients are pretty simple and you most likely have them in your kitchen already.

All you need are 3 cups of cold milk, 4 large eggs, ½ a cup of sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

You start by preheating the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and then add the 3 cups of cold milk to the saucepan, heating to just below boiling. Then, remove the pan and allow it to cool for about five minutes.

Now, you need to beat the remaining ingredients together until they are fully combined. Then, whisk this with the warm milk into the eggs.

Pour hot water into six 6-ounce custard cups until the water is around half an inch from the cup’s top.

Divide the mix evenly and bake for 25 minutes. After cooling for 10 minutes, you should be ready to serve!

In Summary

There are so many substitutes for custard powder!

Nevertheless, the most recommended alternative is cornstarch because it turns out very similar to how custard powder does and is the main ingredient of the powder itself. 

It is worth noting that whatever powder substitute you use, it will be hard to recreate the unique taste and texture of the original custard recipe.

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