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Learn how to make delicious vanilla-infused vegan pastry cream! It’s plant-based, super creamy, and requires just 6 ingredients. Perfect for fruit tarts, donuts, shortcakes, and more!

How to Make Vegan Vanilla Pastry Cream

Pastry cream can be used in so many desserts that I thought it deserved its own recipe!

⭐️ Why You Should Try This Recipe

  • Rich and silky smooth. This vegan pastry cream packs plenty of vanilla flavor, is not overly sweet, and has a delicate buttery taste. And if you are wondering, pastry cream without eggs tastes just as good as the traditional version!
  • Just 6 ingredients and 15 minutes are required. You will only need easy-to-find ingredients and less than fifteen minutes to prepare this recipe. It’s easy to make and keeps very well in the refrigerator.
  • Versatile. Pastry cream can be used as a base to prepare many desserts! From filling vegan eclairs to using it as a layer for fruit tarts or making parfaits, it’s incredibly versatile!

📘 What is Pastry Cream

Pastry cream, also called custard, is a French preparation used in many desserts.

Traditionally, it is made using milk, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, or flour and is flavored with vanilla. It has a thick yet rich and creamy consistency and is often used as a filling in mille-feuille, éclairs, strawberry tarts, layer cakes, and more.

📙 Types of French Custards

Before diving into the recipe, let’s take a look at the different types of custards. This list is non-exhaustive as there are over 10 different types of pastry cream.

Crème Pâtissière

Crème Pâtissière is the most famous type of custard. It is a cooked custard with a thick consistency, which is usually flavored with vanilla, although it can also be flavored with chocolate, lime, or coffee. It makes the base for many other types of custards.

Crème Anglaise

Crème anglaise is a very thin and pourable vanilla cream. Think of it as the liquid version of crème pâtissière. We usually pour it over desserts like brownies, chocolate cakes, île flottante, or use it as a base to make ice cream.

Crème Diplomat

Diplomat cream, also called “crème madame,” is crème pâtissière mixed with chantilly (whipped cream) and gelatin to stabilize it. It is softer and lighter than crème pâtissière.

Crème Mousseline

Crème mousseline is basically crème pâtissière whisked with butter in two times. First, half of the butter is incorporated when the custard is still warm. Then the remaining butter is whisked into the custard once cold. This process gives the custard a light and airy texture.

How to Make Vegan Vanilla Pastry Cream

🧈 Ingredient Notes

Preparing this vegan pastry cream requires basic ingredients you most probably already have in your pantry:

  • Milk – The base consists of plant-based milk. You can use almond, cashew, or soy milk. Just make sure to use the unsweetened kind, preferably one with no gums or thickeners.
  • Starch – Then, to thicken, we use a combination of potato starch and cornstarch. After testing, it seemed that using only cornstarch gives the pastry cream a slimy texture. By adding potato starch, we get a thick yet rich and creamy texture without the sliminess.
  • Sugar – Now, let’s talk about sugar. I recommend using white sugar for this recipe. If you want your pastry cream to be naturally sweetened, you can definitely use coconut sugar or maple syrup. However, I found these tend to overpower the vanilla flavor.
  • Butter – To replace the fat from the eggs, we add vegan butter that also gives the pastry cream a golden color.
  • Vanilla bean – Finally, the vanilla. You can use seeds from one vanilla bean, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, or half of a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. Fresh vanilla bean is obviously the best, bringing more freshness and aroma.

🥣 How to Make Eggless Pastry Cream

Here is the process of making vegan creme patissiere:

  1. Combine all the ingredients together. Add the dairy-free milk, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla to a saucepan. If using a vanilla bean, slice it in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds.
  2. Whisk. Dissolve the cornstarch in the milk by whisking for a few seconds. Next, add the vegan butter.
  3. Heat over medium heat. Heat the mixture, constantly whisking, until it thickens. This step will take about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a bowl. Next, transfer the thickened custard to a bowl or deep plate and immediately cover it with plastic film to the touch to prevent the cream from forming a crust.
  5. Let cool. Before using, I recommend letting the pastry cream cool for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator. Not only will it allow it to thicken more, but it will also allow the vanilla to infuse the cream.

Once your pastry cream is chilled, you can whip it for a few seconds in a stand mixer. This step is optional, but it helps give the cream the perfect texture: smooth and creamy!

🍩 Where to use Vegan Pastry Cream

  • As a layer in fruit tarts: spread or pipe a thick layer of pastry cream on the bottom of a baked tartlet shell and top with fresh fruits. It’s perfect for Boston cream pie, strawberry tart, or any berry tart!
  • In layer cakes, strawberry shortcakes, or in pastries such as Mille-feuille, crêpe cake, or even yule log.
  • In vegan crêpes, spread a generous layer of pastry cream on a crêpe, top with sliced strawberries, and roll!
  • As a filling for Boston cream donuts, croissants, brioches, and more. It’s also great to fill vegan eclairs (cream puffs) or profiteroles.

📔 Tips

  • Adjust the sweetness to taste. This recipe yields a pastry cream that is not overly sweet. If you have a sweet tooth, you may want to add an extra tablespoon of sugar.
  • Use high-quality vanilla. For the best flavor, use fresh vanilla beans or a high-quality vanilla extract. Alternatively, vanilla bean paste works great as well!
  • For a thicker cream: The consistency of this cream is thick but spreadable. If you want a cream that can be piped and keep its shape, add an extra tablespoon of potato starch.
  • Cover with plastic film to the touch. To prevent the cream from forming a crust on top, make sure the plastic wrap is touching the cream.

💬 FAQ

Is crème pâtissière the same as custard?

Crème pâtissière is a type of custard. You can learn more about the different types of custard above.

How long can I keep this pastry cream?

egan pastry cream will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

What is the best way to store pastry cream?

Store the pastry cream in a container or a bowl covered with plastic film to touch. This will prevent the top of the cream from drying.

Can I freeze this pastry cream?

You can freeze it. However, you will have to do one extra step before using it. After freezing, thaw it on the counter for a few hours. Once the pastry cream is no longer frozen, transfer it to a saucepan and heat it over medium heat for a few minutes, constantly whisking. This will allow the cream to emulsify again and regain its thick consistency.

My pastry cream is grainy. How to fix it?

Simply pass it through a fine-sieve mesh, and you will end up with a silky-smooth pastry cream!

I hope you are going to love this vegan custard recipe! It’s easy to make, and the fresh vanilla flavor gives it a fantastic aroma! Plus, this recipe is suitable for many diets as it is gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free!

🍰 More French-Inspired Sweet Recipes

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!

How to Make Vegan Pastry Cream

Note: This recipe was originally published on April 2021 and has been updated with new photos, process shots, and more tips.

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Recipe
How to Make Vegan Vanilla Pastry Cream

How to Make Vegan Pastry Cream

5 from 6 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Infused with vanilla, not too sweet and so creamy! This vegan pastry cream is perfect to use as a filling in tarts, shortcakes, millefeuille, and more!
Prep Time : 5 minutes
Cook Time : 10 minutes
Resting Time : 2 hours
Total Time : 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Calories 79 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or soy milk)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp potato starch
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • To a medium saucepan, add the almond milk, sugar, potato starch, and cornstarch. Whisk to dissolve the starches. Add the vegan butter and seeds from the vanilla bean (or vanilla extract).
  • Heat over medium heat, whisking regularly until the butter is melted. Keep heating, and whisk constantly until it thickens. It will thicken once the mixture almost reaches a boil.
  • Remove from heat as soon as the milk has thickened, transfer to a bowl or deep plate, and cover with plastic film to touch immediately (this will prevent the cream from forming a crust). Let it cool for 20 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably 6 hours.
  • Once chilled, the cream will have thickened even more. That's normal. Transfer the cream to a stand mixer and beat it on high speed for 10-15 seconds. This step will make the cream smoother and a bit lighter.
  • You can now use it to make your favorite desserts! Keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • Adjust the sweetness to taste. This recipe yields a pastry cream that is not overly sweet. If you have a sweet tooth, you may want to add an extra tablespoon of sugar.
  • Use high-quality vanilla. For the best flavor, use fresh vanilla beans or a high-quality vanilla extract. Alternatively, vanilla bean paste works great as well!
  • For a thicker cream: The consistency of this cream is thick but spreadable. If you want a cream that can be piped and keep its shape, add an extra tablespoon of potato starch.
  • Cover with plastic film to the touch. To prevent the cream from forming a crust on top, make sure the plastic wrap is touching the cream.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25 cup | Calories: 79 kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.7 g | Protein: 0.3 g | Fat: 3.8 g | Fiber: 0.3 g | Sugar: 6.3 g
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : French
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

Learn more ➜

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36 Comments

    1. Hi Julia,
      I would guess it does but I haven’t tested it personally. You can halve the recipe easily if you think you will have too much.

  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe!
    I love everything about this website. From the content, to the pictures, to the name. Great work, Tomas!! Congrats! Wishing success today and always! 🙂

  2. Hello Thomas.
    I try that recipe but infortunatly thé cream was very liquid even after one night in the fridge. I coudn t spead it on my tart.
    Anyway it tastes good.

    1. Hello, sorry to hear that!
      With the potato starch and cornstarch, it shouldn’t be liquid at all. Did it thicken when you heat it? Also, which milk did you use?

        1. I’m thinking maybe you didn’t heat it long enough. Once it starts to boil the mixture will thicken.

  3. 5 stars
    I love that you shared this, Thomas; it’s such a big part of pastry. I flavored it with a tablespoon of fresh-squeezed passion fruit juice, which was delicious. I think I overcompensated slightly with extra starch, but I’ll adjust next time. 😉 Thank you!!

    1. Thanks Scott! 🙂
      Whipping the cream in a stand mixer can give it a creamier texture, so you could try that if it’s too thick.

    1. I think some brands might work and some won’t. It really depends on the thickeners in the milk, for example, I had mixed results depending on the brand of almond milk.

  4. 5 stars
    My recent berry cake needed a little something extra without being overly sweet & this was perfect. We make a lot of desserts around here so I know we’ll be making this one again and again. Excellent recipe and so easy!

    1. Hi Maesie,
      Unfortunately the texture will be more liquid and slimy if using tapioca instead of potato starch.

  5. Hi there!
    I’m wondering if I can sub out canned, full fat coconut milk for the almond milk, and then potentially eliminating the vegan butter since the coconut milk has so much fat already. Thoughts?
    Thank you!
    Allison
    P.S. I love your blog and recipes!

    1. Hi Allison!
      I think that should work, if you don’t mind the coconut flavor!
      Thanks for your kind words 🙂

  6. Hi Thomas!
    Delighted to see a recipe like this. A staple for many and healthy. I love you didn’t use coconut milk. Thanks for this great blog. Happy New Year!!!
    Will rate after I try it. Best to you.

  7. Hello – great recipe! I’m thinking of trying this with only potato starch for a Passover dessert. Please let me know if you think it will work. Love your site and all your recipes!

    Thank you!

    1. Hello Susan,
      I guess it will work, but you might have to add an extra tablespoon of potato starch if you omit the cornstarch.

  8. 5 stars
    Thank you Thomas, this is such a useful recipe, so versatile. I use the yellow cornstarch, which gives a custardy colour. Sometimes I include half a tin of coconut milk , or add equal amount of silken tofu to cold product and whip it up for trifle and tiramisu. Also good with pinch or two of speculoos spice in.

    1. Glad you like this recipe Stephanie 😉
      And thanks for sharing, I’m sure it makes a delicious cream for tiramisu!

  9. Oh, it’s so nice to see a recipe like this without coconut milk or cream! I love coconut cream, but I found it really raises my cholesterol

  10. Can you suggest a substitute for the corn. Corn is a know allergen and in the top 4. I for one am very allergic to it. Other suggestions would be appreciated. Thannks.

  11. 5 stars
    une recette parfaite !! super facile, vraiment délicieuse, je lai utilisée pour remplir mes choux sans lactose et c’etait parfait ! merci pour tout vraiment <3

    perfect recipe !! super easy, soo delish, i used it to fill my dairy free cream puffs it was perfect ! thanks for everything, really <3