Saffron Custard Recipe

Serve this beautiful, pale-yellow saffron custard recipe with a dusting of cinnamon, or enjoy it plain.

Summer 2018

  • custard
    A tiny amount of saffron in this custard turns it from creamy white to lemon-yellow.
    Photo by Getty Images/tolisma
  • custard

Yield: 2 cups

This recipe for saffron custard is an easy way to introduce yourself to cooking with saffron. You can eat the custard plain; pile on strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries; or layer it in a trifle or pound cake. The saffron threads will turn the custard from creamy white to a lemony-yellow color. 


  • 2 cups milk (use milk with some fat content, such as whole or 2 percent)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron, crushed


  1. Whisk the milk, cornstarch, and sugar well in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until the milk is scalded, about 10 minutes. Whisk occasionally. Do not boil.
  2. In the meantime, crack the eggs into a medium bowl and whisk them gently.
  3. Remove the milk mixture from the heat, but don’t turn the stove off. Remove 2 tablespoons of the hot mixture and add it to the eggs. Whisk together.
  4. Place the hot milk mixture back on the hot stove burner and slowly add the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
  5. Cook the custard for another 8 to 10 minutes, whisking frequently. Watch the mixture carefully so it doesn’t boil or burn.
  6. Remove the custard from the heat, and whisk in the crushed saffron. Allow the custard to cool to room temperature, and then cover and refrigerate before serving.

Tip: When cooking with saffron in dishes, such as this saffron custard, where you want consistent color throughout, soak the threads in a small amount of warm water, broth, or milk (as appropriate for the recipe) about half an hour before you need them. Blend the soaking liquid into the dish, and enjoy the beautiful golden shades you can create!

Learn more about saffron history and how to grow this coveted spice in Garden Gold: Grow Your Own Saffron.

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