Recipe: Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Custard

by Michelle on September 22, 2012 · 45 comments

in Dairy Free,Healthy Desserts,Meal,Recipes,Season,Spring,Treats/Desserts

You guys asked for it, so here is my recipe for Coconut Milk Custard! Custard is one of my favourite desserts and it’s really so easy to make. The great thing about this version of custard, is that it is suitable for those who are sensitive to dairy milk/choose not to consume milk and coconut-lovers will love it! This custard is made with real eggs yolks making it rich in protein, lecithin and choline (named an essential nutrient by the Institute of Medicine, in 1998). It also has the goodness of lauric acid in the coconut milk itself.

Thick, delicious & rich coconut milk custard: Who knew something so delicious could also be so good for you?

Coconut Milk Custard


  •  400ml coconut milk (full fat) (Nb: If you can’t find full fat coconut milk, you can use low fat coconut milk & add a teaspoon or so of coconut oil or coconut butter into the milk to melt together, in step 1).
  • 3 egg yolks (you can keep the egg whites for other culinary creations)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or tsp. of vanilla bean paste
  • Sweetener of your choice, to taste (I used a few tsp. of honey)
  • Fresh fruit, to serve
How to:
  1. In a double boiler (a.k.a a metal or glass bowl over a smaller saucepan/pot of a few cm of simmering water) pour in the coconut milk. Heat on low until it melts and gets quite warm. Add the vanilla extract and the sweetener of your choice and stir to dissolve. Then turn off the heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with a whisk.
  3. Now temper the egg yolks: 1 tablespoon at a time, add the hot coconut milk (into the separate bowl containing the egg yolks) while whisking the egg yolks. Continue adding the coconut milk and whisking the mixture vigorously (otherwise the eggs will curdle).
  4. Once all the milk has been mixed into the egg yolks, pour it back into the bowl that you used to heat the milk. Place the bowl back over the saucepan.  Turn the heat on to very low.
  5. Now whisk the the custard mixture, making sure to whisk the bottom of the bowl (keeping the stove top heat on low at all times).  You will need to whisk it until the custard begins to to thicken and coats the back of a spoon or you can whisk it further until it thickens to the texture of thick cream. it can take about 25-30 mins for it to really thicken. It might not seem like it is thickening but it just takes a bit of time and constant whisking and it will become really deliciously thick! After it has gotten to the consistency that you like, strain it through a fine mesh strainer to discard any proteins that have coagulated (this also makes it really smooth).
  6. Once it has thickened serve with fresh fruit of your choice (or with any other dessert that needs custard to go with it!). Enjoy!
Recipe update 27/11/12: If you would like to speed up the process of the custard thickening up, you may like to try using organic corn flour, kuzu or agar-agar to create a thicken custard.

And if you don’t get what I mean at a particular step, please let me know and I can explain further!


Health Food Lover is Michelle Robson-Garth. Michelle is a degree-qualified Naturopath (BHSc) and Massage Therapist. She is also a passionate writer, recipe-creator and all-round foodie from Melbourne, Australia. © Copyright: 2009-2012 Michelle Robson-Garth. Please ask permission first when using any text or images on Read the disclaimer here. Have a look at the recipe index for more health food lovin’ recipes. Join the Facebook page & follow Health Food Lover on twitter.

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Jolene @ Yummy Inspirations September 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Loving coconut milk so I imagine this would be delicious! Must give it a try.


Michelle September 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Thanks Jolene. I hope you like it!


Skylor @sproutlifestyle October 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Wow I love this – I am always making ice cream with coconut milk but never have I ventured to custard! I am vegan cleansing right now… but I just asked my partner what he thinks of eating eggs tomorrow for dessert. we will see…


Michelle October 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Aww thanks Sylor. Awesome, well I hope you enjoyed it if you made it :)! I hope your cleanse is going well too.


Jen November 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm

This looks yummy. I’m making this, this week. Do you mind if I post this link on my facebook network?


Michelle November 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Oh thanks Jen. I don’t mind at all, go right ahead! Thanks!


Jen November 26, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Great. Thanks Michelle.


Danielle November 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Sounds yummy, but do you have to stand there whisking for half an hour?! Maybe I haven’t understood correctly.. :P


Michelle November 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Hi Danielle, that was how long it took for it to thicken up a lot, however you could enjoy it in less time as a more of a pourable custard. You could also use organic corn flour, kuzu or agar-agar to thicken it up in much less time.


krystal January 13, 2013 at 3:59 am

sounds yummo!
but what does temper eggs mean??


Michelle January 13, 2013 at 7:48 am

Thanks Krystal! Tempering eggs is when you mix them slowly into the hot mixture (about a tablespoon at a time) so they become the temperature of the hot coconut milk and to prevent curdling of the eggs.


Linda April 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm

I think you mean that you mix the hot mixture into the eggs, one tablespoon at a time, until the eggs slowly reach the same temperature as the hot liquid. The way you said it in your explanation makes it sound like it’s the other way around – which would curdle the eggs for sure!


Michelle April 21, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Thank you Linda! That’s exactly what I meant!


Janis April 9, 2013 at 9:41 am

This is really yum! But how do you get yours that nice pale colour? Mine came out grey!


Michelle April 9, 2013 at 9:57 am

Yay! I’m so glad you liked it Janis! Hmm..I think it depends on the colour of the coconut milk – it can vary from a greyish to a white colour, so I think it might be that. Also the brightness of the egg yolks can affect the colour of the custard too.


Sonia September 21, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Hi how long does this keep for and does it freeze,thinking its a great baby pudding for my grandsons :)


Michelle September 22, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Hi Sonia! I would say a few days. I’m sure you could freeze it – maybe freeze it in ice cube trays and keep it in a zip lock bag in the freezer to store that way it will defrost quicker when you want to eat it again. I would defrost it by heating them in a double boiler so it doesn’t curdle when it’s heated again :). I hope you like it and let me know if you have any more questions!


cecily October 15, 2013 at 9:23 pm

looks great


bobbie November 18, 2013 at 9:15 am

I put this in the ice cream freezer and it is great! thanks for the recipe!


Michelle November 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Thanks for giving it a go Bobbie! I’m glad you liked it :)


Vanessa April 1, 2014 at 3:28 am

I made this for my sister who has cut out dairy. I used 4 egg yolks which made it more custardy yellow and I thickened it with arrowroot as my sister has cut out cornflour. It was delicious! Thanks


Michelle April 7, 2014 at 7:57 am

Thanks for making it! I’m so glad you enjoyed it :).


Pam June 24, 2014 at 9:02 am

Recently I started making wheat-free coconut macaroons and decided if I’m going to make them as often as I want, I’d better find a good use for all the yolks left behind. This is exactly what I was hoping to find.

I wonder if it could be made in a water bath, similar to creme brulee? I’m thinking after tempering the yolks, I’d strain it into ramekins in a baking dish filled with water, and bake for an hour.

Have you tried this variation? What are your thoughts?


Michelle June 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Hi Pam. Yes you definitely could make this custard into something similar to a Creme brulee in a water bath. In fact, I have a recipe for coconut creme brulee which is here:
It’s delicious. Let me know what you think of that.
Kind regards,


Laura June 30, 2014 at 1:06 am

I’m making this right now! man alive is takes a lot of stirring, hoping it’ll thicken soon because it smells really good!


Amanda October 13, 2014 at 8:48 am

im so excited to try this. Do you know how much 400ml would convert to on cups or ounces? I’m googling like crazy and can’t tell. Thanks so much:)


Michelle October 15, 2014 at 10:24 pm

Hi Amanda,

400ml is about 1 and 3/4 Cup. This website has some good conversions you can check out:

Thanks for commenting and please let me know how it goes!



Michelle February 21, 2015 at 11:19 pm

Hi Amanda.

I’m not sure how I missed your comment!

According to Google, 400ml would be 13.5256091 US fluid ounces.
I hope that helps and thank you for commenting.



Shannen November 17, 2014 at 11:24 am

Hey im wondering how long would this keep after making? Really want to make it in advance but not sure if it will work. Thanks in advance! :-)


Michelle November 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Hi Shannen,

If you keep it in the fridge it should last a few days.

Enjoy :)


Barb December 10, 2014 at 9:27 am

I am making this now and while reading the comments I am laughing, I’ve been making custards and puddings since I could cook and that long stirring time is normal.
I’m looking forward to trying this dairy free version.


GLYNIS HAMILTON December 28, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Can anyone tell me if this custard will set firm if left in the fridge overnight? I need a fairly firm base for a tart.


Michelle February 4, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Hi Glynis. It sets up fairly firm. You might want to add some gelatin powder/sheet while cooking to thicken it up even more though. I hope it goes well!


Genevieve March 10, 2015 at 11:00 am

I made this yesterday and it worked brilliantly! I used 4 yolks so I had 4 whites to make meringues (using only salt and maple syrup powder). As I like a really thick custard I added tapioca (arrowroot) flour mixed with water after about 15 minutes of stirring which really thickened it up immediately. I used maple syrup powder to sweeten the custard as I was making it for a friend who is on a very strict diet for a little treat. She nearly swooned. I think it was more from the ability to actually eat something with the texture of custard than anything else. The flavours are beautiful and I enjoyed it with my homemade sugar free jelly.


Sarah October 3, 2015 at 4:32 am

How many servings does this make? Of what size (in ounces)?


Michelle October 3, 2015 at 10:19 am

Hi Sarah.
Thanks for your question. The total amount would make about 15 ounces, so it could be 3-5 serves depending on how much would be served per person.


Jenny March 23, 2016 at 10:13 am

This recipe is delicious. Thankyou so much!
I’m even more happy to discover that I can make this in the vitamix so no stirring. Just bung everything in together, turn on and leave about 6 minutes. It heats as well as mixes and comes out perfect!
Yum! :-) xxx


Michelle April 25, 2016 at 8:07 pm

Hi Jenny.
So glad you liked the recipe :).
Thanks for commenting!


Sandy kelloway March 26, 2017 at 12:26 am

Hi Michelle. This will be my first time using coconut milk. My usual recipe is 3 cups of cool whip, 2 packs of vanilla pudding and 2 cups of milk to make a custard that I layer with graham crackers and fruit. So I was going to omit all of that and use this recipe. Do you think it will work?


Michelle March 26, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Hi Sandy. Yes definitely. You might want to cook the custard with a bit of gelatin so it sets when you layer or you can add potato starch or corn starch to thicken it a bit so it sets. Please let me know how it goes :).


Vivian June 21, 2017 at 3:01 am

I love coconut milk so much and I love all coconut milk recipes.
I will give it a try. I would be delicious :)
Thanks for sharing.


Michelle August 13, 2017 at 10:51 am

Thanks Vivian, hope you enjoy it :)


Fife Massey October 8, 2019 at 4:04 am

Michelle this is awesome – I’m eating it as I post!!!

My world fell apart a few years ago as I had to go gluten and dairy free. It’s been a struggle to cope as I live in a place where there are no ready made alternatives and alternative ingredients can also be difficult to find.

But your custard has just rocked my world. THANK YOU
(Trust an Aussie to get it right. Good on ya)


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