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Creme anglaise drizzling off of a spoon into a gravy boat of the sauce.

Crème Anglâise Recipe

Crème anglâise is a classic custard sauce infused with real vanilla and is simple and quick to make. For the ultimate vanilla sauce, steep a real vanilla bean in hot milk and cream before adding the egg yolks. Otherwise, stir in plenty of pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste at the end. 

  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x


  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • to ½ cup of granulated sugar (or ¼ cup of raw honey for the GAPS diet)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste or 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract)

Flavorings Ideas

  • Bourbon or other liquor (for serving over bread pudding)
  • Citrus zest
  • Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and other warming spices


  1. Separate your egg yolks from the whites, and place them in a small heat-proof bowl. Add the granulated sugar to the bowl with the yolks and whisk to combine. Place it near the stove on a damp towel. The towel will keep the bowl from sliding when you whisk in warm cream later. Have a wooden spoon handy.
  2. Measure the milk and/or cream into a pot. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and pry it open a little, then submerge it in the milk. Add a tiny pinch of salt.
  3. Bring the milk mixture just to a boil over medium-high heat. Then quickly turn off the heat and let the vanilla bean steep in the hot liquid for several minutes, up to an hour (optional). Remove the pod, scraping all of the vanilla seeds into the pot.
  4. Slowly whisk the warm mixture into the egg yolks and sugar by drizzling it in from several inches above the bowl. 
  5. Return the mixture to the pot and cook it over very low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon as it cooks (ditch the whisk for this part).
  6. When the sauce coats the back of the spoon, remove it immediately. "Coats the spoon" means you can draw a line through the sauce on the back of the spoon that holds. If you prefer to gauge by temperature,  cook crème anglâise to around 175° F. Any higher and you risk curdling the egg yolks. 
  7. Strain the sauce through a mesh sieve into a heat-proof container or bowl. If you're adding vanilla extract or additional flavorings, stir them in now. To chill crème anglâise quickly, set the bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice water, and stir frequently to cool it. Or store it covered in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. 
  8. To reheat the vanilla sauce, warm it very gently in a pot over the lowest heat possible.


On steeping. French culinary tradition calls for steeping a vanilla bean in the warm cream for a while (or at least briefly boiling it in the cream). But crème anglâise is still sinfully delicious with a nice dose of pure vanilla extract. If you aren't using a vanilla bean, you can combine all of the ingredients in the pot, and cook them over low heat until the sauce coats the spoon.  

On the Yolks. You have a little leeway when it comes to the number of egg yolks you use in relation to the milk and cream. One less or one more won't make too much of a difference. You'll just end up with a slightly thinner or thicker custard sauce. For a traditional consistency, stick with the recipe as written. But if you're short an egg yolk, don't fret and use what you have. 

On Heavy Cream. Crème anglâise can be made with only milk and without heavy cream. Replace what's lost from the heavy cream, namely fat, by adding another egg yolk to the recipe. Or simply replace the cream with another cup of whole milk, it'll still be delicious. 

For Eggnog. Use all heavy cream for crowd-pleasing eggnog at your annual holiday soirée. Add freshly grated nutmeg to taste, but start with ½ teaspoon for this recipe. For thinner easy-drinking eggnog, you can take away two of the egg yolks, or add another half of a cup of heavy cream.

  • Author: Christina
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Tempering
  • Cuisine: French
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • Serving Size: 4 ounces
  • Calories: 322
  • Sugar: 29.8 g
  • Sodium: 46.8 mg
  • Fat: 19.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 30.4 g
  • Protein: 6.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 316.7 mg

Keywords: crème anglâise, vanilla sauce recipe, how to make crème anglâise