This vegan pastry cream is based on my easy vegan custard recipe. It comes together with just a few simple ingredients, and it's made without coconut, eggs, or dairy.
It's thicker than regular custard and holds its shape when cooled and sliced, making it the perfect filling for my vegan tarte aux fraises and other desserts.
What to expect from this recipe
✔️ Rich and thick consistency that's perfect for piping or filling desserts.
✔️ Less than 10 minutes of hands-on preparation.
✔️ Uses just 6 simple ingredients.
✔️ Full of vanilla bean flavor.
✔️ Completely eggless, dairy-free, and nut-free.
🗒 What is pastry cream?
Crème pâtissière (pastry cream) was one of the staple recipes which I learned back in culinary school. Crème pâtissière (or crème pât as its often called) is a rich, thick custard that's based on egg yolks and thickened with flour.
It is often used as a filling in desserts such as fruit tarts, Mille-feuille, and choux buns. It also forms the base of diplomat cream, where it is mixed with cream for a lighter consistency.
🥛 Ingredients needed
Notes about the ingredients
I recommend using soy milk for the best results. I did also test this recipe with almond milk and it was also delicious. Cashew milk would also work well, but steer away from super watery milk like rice milk or oat milk.
This recipe calls for vegan block butter (butter sticks) not the spreadable kind from a tub. I have not tried it with margarine so I can't say how it will work, although it may not hold up as well due to its higher water content.
Cornstarch is what thickens this dairy-free pastry cream. As the recipe is also eggless, it needs to depend fully on the thickening properties of cornstarch.
The vanilla flavor is what really shines through in creme patissiere therefore I recommend using a real vanilla pod. You just can't beat it! Alternatively, go for vanilla bean paste over vanilla extract if at all possible.
🥣 How To Make this recipe
(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)
Essentially, we're making a thickened vegan custard here, so the method is very similar to my vegan custard recipe.
To start, add the cornstarch and sugar to a saucepan along with the soy milk. Whisk the mixture really well to ensure that there are no visible lumps. You always want to add cornstarch to cold liquids where possible.
Scrape out the vanilla pod and add the seeds and pod to the saucepan over medium heat. Alternate between using a whisk and a rubber spatula to stir the mixture as it cooks. This helps the mixture to heat more evenly and prevents it from burning to the pan.
After 4-5 minutes, the mixture will become really thick. Remove it from the heat and stir in the sea salt and vegan butter until incorporated fully.
Lastly, pour the pastry cream into a bowl and cover it with some plastic wrap. This prevents air from getting at it which can cause the custard to form a skin. Chill the mixture for at least an hour before using.
🍰 Ways To Use Pastry Cream
This vegan crème pâtissière recipe makes the perfect eggless and dairy-free alternative to the classic version and is perfect for piping. It's so delicious it's almost impossible not to eat it straight from the spoon!
- Piped into eclairs, choux buns, or profiteroles (cream puffs).
- In puff pastry desserts such as mille-feuille.
- For filling cakes such as Boston cream pie.
- Piped into the centers of custard or Boston cream pie donuts.
- As a base filling for fruit tart, strawberry tart, rhubarb custard tart, raspberry tart, and fruit flan.
👩🍳 Recipe success tips
How to fix lumpy pastry cream
Firstly, this shouldn't happen and you can prevent it by making sure that the cornstarch is whisked into the milk thoroughly before heating.
However, fear not! If the pastry cream has visible lumps before you've added the vegan butter, simply press the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and that should get rid of them. If the custard is lumpy after it's chilled, don't worry, this is completely normal. Simply whisk the creme pat vigorously until it comes back to a creamy consistency.
💬 Frequently asked questions
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5-7 days. If used in desserts, factor this into their shelf life as well.
Pastry cream is a type of custard. According to Our Everyday Life, it is a starch-thickened custard. It is thicker than regular custard and holds its shape once chilled. Whereas other custards can have a looser pourable consistency.
I don't recommend freezing this recipe as it contains cornstarch, which can turn spongy when defrosted (via Cooks Info). Like with anything, there are exceptions to this rule (like vegan ice cream for example).
For no more than 2-3 hours. Pastry cream needs to remain chilled in order to hold its structure and freshness.
➕ More vegan basics
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star ★★★★★ rating in the recipe card below and consider leaving a comment as well, thanks!
Stay in touch with me through social media @ Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and Facebook. And subscribe via email to get all our new recipes!
Vegan Pastry Cream
- 400 ml (1 ⅔ cups) unsweetened soy milk, or other non-dairy milk *see recipe notes
- 70 g (⅓ cups) granulated sugar, *see recipe notes
- 50 g (6 ¼ tablespoons) cornstarch
- 1 vanilla pod, *see recipe notes
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 50 g (1.76 oz) vegan butter
- Add the soy milk, sugar, and cornstarch to a saucepan and whisk well to remove any lumps. Cut the vanilla pod down the center and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the saucepan and place on medium heat.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook on low-medium heat for about 5 minutes whilst whisking until it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Alternate between using a whisk and rubber spatula to make sure the custard does not stick to the pan. The mixture will become thick once the cornstarch is cooked (see images in the post for reference), remove it from the heat, and don't be tempted to overcook it. Carefully remove the vanilla pod and stir in the vegan butter and salt until melted through.
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm to prevent a skin from forming and allow the custard to cool for 10 minutes before transferring it to the fridge to cool fully for an hour before using.
Storage and Serving
- Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5-7 days. Use as a filling for fruit tart, strawberry tart, or choux buns.
- Swap soy milk for almond milk and cashew milk. I don't recommend using rice or oat milk due to its low-fat content.
- Some white sugar in the US is not vegan, if in doubt use organic sugar.
- You can use one tablespoon of vanilla bean paste in place of the vanilla pod.
- To save a lumpy consistency, pass the mixture through a sieve while still hot/warm.
- The pastry cream will thicken once chilled, whisk vigorously to bring it back to a creamy consistency.
© addictedtodates.com. All content and images are protected by copyright. If you want to share this recipe, please do so using the share buttons provided. Do not screenshot or republish the recipe or content in full. instead, include a link to this post for the recipe.
The first time I made this it was a total bust. I contacted Christina and she was super helpful. We chatted a bit, I made a couple minor changes and it came out perfect the second try! It is SO yummy and was perfect in my Boston Cream Cupcakes!! I used Cashew Milk and avocado oil butter. Highly recommend!
So happy that it turned out perfectly for you the second time and I'm delighted that you got in touch and we were able to pinpoint the temperature issue! Those cupcakes sound absolutely heavenly 🙂
This comes out very thick, even after the 2nd whisking.
The recipe says you can sub vanilla paste, and vanilla extract is a common sub for vanilla paste, however, do not recommend subbing vanilla extract. Taste was off and we couldn’t eat the result.
I'm sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe. The cream is designed to be pretty thick as it needs to be able to hold up for pastry fillings etc, just like regular pastry cream. but it shouldn't be so thick that you cannot whisk it. Did you use gram measurements or cup measurements?
With regards to the vanilla, may I ask which brand you used? With a good quality vanilla extract, the flavor should be very pleasant, but a lot of storebought ones have all sorts of additives and sometimes even fake flavorings!
Made your pastry cream today, Christina, for an elderly friend who chooses to be gluten free, dairy free and sugar free. I swapped the sugar for erythritol. Came out really well, perfect lusciousness to make strawberry tarts with! So many amazing recipes online, such variety you can make anything you like in align with the diet you choose to follow. Many thanks.
That's fantastic that it worked well with erythritol. Thank you so much for sharing your feedback and positive review. I'm delighted you loved the recipe x
Just used this recipe to make mini fruit tarts and it's an amazing crème pâtissière! It held up super well after refrigeration. I used oat milk, Earth Balance butter sticks (salted, so I didn't add any more salt) and vanilla bean paste. Thank you for this quick and perfect recipe!
Amazing, thank you so much for sharing your feedback and positive review. I'm delighted that you love the recipe 🙂
The ease of making this cream pat blew me away! I used cashew milk and added amaretto drops to the milk with the vanilla. It tasted amazing warm in the pot! I can’t wait to put it in between the layers of a tiramisu cake for my birthday tomorrow. I’ll report back. 😁
Oh my goodness Kim, I'm sorry I didn't reply to your comment sooner. This sounds absolutely divine, I hope it turned out as delicious as it sounds!
Hi! Thank you for your recipe. My question is, if this vegan cream patisserie were used in a baked thing, like a danish for example, would it work or would it melt everywhere? Thanks!
My pleasure! That's a very interesting question. I wouldn't recommend baking it simply because I haven't yet tried this personally so I can't say exactly how it would react.
Do let me know if you give it a try!
Hi! I have baked it many times in different pastries; it comes out perfectly. Amazing recipe! Thank you Christina
Fantastic Claudia, thank you so much for sharing your feedback!
Can I use full fat coconut milk instead of soy milk x
Canned coconut will throw off the consistency due to the high fat content. You could however try coconut drinking milk. My recommendation would be almond milk or cashew milk to replace the soy milk though.
Hello, I am so excited to see that you have a recipe for vegan pastry cream. However, do you know if it is possible to swap out the corn starch for something else such as tapioca starch or arrowroot starch. I have a corn allergy and am unable to use that, unfortunately. I know that alternate starches don't always work interchangeably.
I thank you for any suggestions that you could give me.
I'd recommend using arrowroot starch in place of the cornstarch, just make sure that the mixture doesn't come to a boil and remove it from the heat as soon as it thickens. I hope you enjoy the recipe x