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Custard Pudding (Purin) | Easy Japanese Recipes at

The recent Green Tea Steamed Cake was a real hit among Just One Cookbook readers and I received very supportive feedback from readers (thank you!).  Today I am excited to share my next “steam in a frying pan” recipe with you, and it’s Custard Pudding.

Custard Pudding |

In Japan we call this dessert “Purin”.  Bakeries, pastry shops, supermarkets and convenience stores they all carry “Purin” or custard pudding.  I grew up eating custard pudding more frequently than eating cookies.  There are many flavors of custard pudding in Japan, ranging from chocolate to pumpkin to green tea.  Custard pudding also happens to be one of my family’s favorite dessert and I make this quite often.

I previously shared no bake/no steam Crème Caramel on Just One Cookbook before, but that recipe is more tedious.  Today’s custard pudding on the other hand is SUPER easy, and when I say easy, I really mean it.  It doesn’t take much time to prepare and tastes heavenly.  This is a great homemade dessert to impress your guests for dinner parties and you won’t believe how simple it is until you make it!  Just mix the ingredients, steam, refrigerate, and enjoy!

Custard Pudding |

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Custard Pudding
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
For caramel sauce:
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. water (adding later)
  1. Cover the lid with kitchen cloth to prevent the water dripping onto custard pudding from condensation. Fill the large skillet with water about 1 inch height and start boiling water.
  2. Combine eggs and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk very well.
  3. Add milk and vanilla and whisk all together.
  4. Run the mixture through a fine sieve and divide the mixture into individual ramekins.
  5. Once water is boiling, turn the heat to low and place the ramekins into the skillet gently. Cover with the lid and steam the custard pudding for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat but do not open the lid. Steam with remaining heat for another 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, let it cool on wire rack. When it’s room temperature, move to refrigerator to chill.
  7. Before serving, make caramel sauce. Place 3 Tbsp. water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved.
  8. When sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to high and swirl the saucepan once in awhile to caramelize evenly. The mixture will start to bubble. It will take some time for the mixture to turn from a light amber color to a dark amber color.
  9. When the mixture turns to a desired brown color, add 1 ½ Tbsp. water. The mixture will bubble vigorously, so be careful. Whisk the mixture and turn off the heat.
  10. Set aside to cool completely. If the caramel is too hard after cooling, reheat it and add more water. Pour the caramel sauce over the custard pudding and serve.
* Prep/Cook time does not include chilling time.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
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  1. Kimmi

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! The custard reminds me a little of the filling in Chinese egg tarts (ironic because when I was little, I would only eat the filling and not the crust of the tarts). I’ve been thinking of making something sweet and delicious this weekend, and this might just be it!

    Also, I hope you have a lovely Mother’s Day and a great time with your family!! Maybe they’ll cook something for you this weekend? =)

    • Hi Kimmi! Thank you for your kind words! We’ll have a nice brunch plan in a restaurant. Looking forward to it. Hope you enjoy this custard pudding! :)

  2. M

    Oh funny how the universe works! A Japanese friend and I had these for tea yesterday, and we were lamenting how neither of us knew how to make them because they were gooooooood. Thanks for sharing!

  3. E

    Whaaattt?! Nami going to try this one this weekend!! BF is coming out of town and I’ve been practicing your recipes to make for him! Lol. This will top it all!

    • Hello E! Hope you enjoy this custard pudding! I’m so happy to hear you liked my recipes. Hope your BF will enjoy them as well. Thank you for writing! :)

  4. I love purin!!! I just posted purin recipe on my blog a few weeks ago but after looking at this I MUST make it again. I like the idea of pour the caramel sauce over the prin. This looks super good!

  5. Now this is a custard pudding that even I could make! :) I love the fact that they are steamed on the stovetop, especially now that it has gotten warmer and I’m not thrilled about turning on the oven. My sis and hubby are coming to visit on Monday and this would make a rather light and enjoyable dessert for us all. Thanks! Perfect timing! :)

  6. Wow! We love this custard pudding when we eat out. Nice to know I can make it at home following your recipe. This is great. Thanks for sharing and carefully showing the step by step. Have a great Mother’s Day , Nami !

  7. Lloyd Le Blanc

    Hello Nami,

    Just looking at the recipe for Custard Pudding and it reminded me of my first trip to Japan where I discovered ” Choux Cream” pastries.I liked them so much I brought some home to share.They reminded me of Profiteroles.

    Have you ever made these ?



  8. Nami-san, This ‘purin’ looks really good. I will try it tonight for dessert. I’m sure my boys will be reminded of all the great custards they had in Japan!

  9. Hi Nami – I am not kidding…I am getting ready to make something very similar for tonight! I made egg custards, which is basically what your base it, without the caramel. It is the ultimate comfort food and something I make all the time, especially to use up some extra whole milk! I bake mine in the oven but in a water bath so it’s somewhat mimics steaming. It is so delicious!

  10. Oh Nami this custard looks so mouthwatering. I can’t believe how easy it is to prepare, you weren’t kidding.:) Thanks for sharing, I really have to try it out…maybe this weekend. Happy Mother’s Day!:) xx

  11. This custard pudding with vanilla looks absolutely wonderful! I smiled when I read that you were eating custard pudding more frequently than eating cookies when you were little! And I bet this pudding can be quite versatile with other flavor additions.

  12. I love all the velvety custard puddings that you get in Japan, I could eat them every day without getting tired. And I like the steaming idea over the stove :-).


  13. One of my fave dessert…
    your custard seems really smooth and not formed a bubble*my custard always did
    i’ve never sieved my custard before, just using my processor and then i discard the bubble in the surface…..
    perfect caramel too, i guess if you just simplytoarched it..
    it’g gonna be perfect!

    • One trick to get smooth texture is to cook the custard in very low heat. That is same for chawanmushi (savory steamed custard). It really works! When the heat is too strong, we get too many small bubbles inside the custard. :)

        • Thanks for your response! I never had the “landslide” problem maybe because I don’t make a big size and usually use smaller ramekins?

          To me, it’s important to have silky and smooth texture when I eat it. The bubbles are usually created by cooking strong heat or overcooking usually ruin the texture.

          Sorry I didn’t understand the last question. Did you mean why I cook in a steamer instead of oven? If that’s your question, I wanted to make an easier egg custard recipe using frying pan (like steamed cake) instead of using an oven and wanted to make a quicker recipe than my original method which takes more time (recipe:

          Hope I answered to your question…

          • no, didn’t mean to oven it, bu i mean this “Turn off the heat but do not open the lid. Steam with remaining heat for another 10 minutes”
            why you let the custard still on the steamer after you turn off the heat Nami???
            Btw about the landslide, i guess the size of my ramekin is the problem…
            your recipes is just fit with 1 (3/4 filled)and a quarter of my ramekin…hehehe

            • Got it! Sorry about not understanding. Basically remaining heat will be enough to cook the rest. Just 10 minute cooking won’t be enough but you want to keep the texture smooth and silky so to prevent from overcooking, stop cooking after 10 minutes and then keep it cover to cook with remaining heat. :) I know Filipino flan is usually large – and it’s perfect to serve for many people though! :)

  14. I LOVE the custard buns I get at the Asian bakeries here, I can’t believe how easy it is to make the custard filling. I definitely need to try this.

  15. Steamed egg is one the great Asian delights. I love it sweet or savoury, for a treat sometimes we make it with coconut milk or water, then pour over a palm sugar syrup. Have you tried making this with flavoured milk? I highly recommend you try it.

  16. This recipe is very similar to our leche flan only we add condensed milk. I love custard pudding… who doesn’t? haha.
    Happy Mother’s Day Nami. I hope you enjoy your day with the kids and hubs!

  17. Very creamy and delicious looking treat. I love custard and I usually make it with different flavors, but my favorite is the vanilla one. Thanks for the recipe Nami :)

  18. Nami, it’s such a clever idea! I have been doing very similar French custard creams, but without caramel (I have posted one with matcha I think) and it included a hot water bath in the oven. I have never thought of using a frying pan! It’s so much easier and quicker! I had no idea such a cream was popular in Japan (although I did hear about purin). Thank you for such a wonderful idea!

  19. Hi Nami, this looks like a lovely dessert, and you’re right – not too difficult or time consuming at all. Thank you so much for the tip about putting a cloth under the lid of the pan to stop water dripping onto the pudding. It’s one of these things which annoys you when you cook but you’d never think to do such a think until you heard about such an idea – thanks!

  20. We call this leche flan but the caramel sits at the bottom of the mold. Am mad about this. There is no other dessert that is more comforting. That looks so good!

  21. David Ng

    So I saw this, and thought “hm, I’ve seen this before, sold at the local Mitsuwa for like $1 per serving. Figured I’d give it a shot.

    1. It was VERY easy to make, as advertised!
    2. I made it for Mother’s Day, and the mom liked it a lot! (BTW, Happy Mother’s Day, Nami!)
    3. My father, who worked on boats back in the day, mentioned a similar concoction that he learned to make while as a seaman, but he lost the method… until I demonstrated it for him. 😀

    The result!

    • Hi David! So happy to hear your family enjoyed this pudding. So easy right? :) Thanks for the facebook link – I just shared it on facebook. :)

      It’s nice to know that your father knew this method, too! Thank you so much for the kind words. xo

  22. Jayne

    This is the easier cousin of creme caramel! Inverting the ramekins always give me the jitters. This, on the other hand, is so much simpler. Reckon I can do a larger bowl of this and still not over cook it?

    • Hi Jayne! You can use a larger bowl, but instead of trying the biggest bowl first, try increasing the size for perfect cooking timing. Make sure to use low heat all the way so that the custard doesn’t have bubbles inside (that will ruin the texture when you eat). Hope that helps!

  23. Nami, I love your steamed custard pudding recipe – as you so aptly pointed out, it seems easy enough yet so very delicious – the kids would absolutely love this for dessert this week – the steaming method is really wonderful and healthy and you do such a nice job of explaining everything so clearly and making it look like such a breeze to prepare! Wonderful!

  24. Hi Nami! This quick easy to make recipe is great. My wife loves when I make this for her when she is craving for any type of custard. I usually just make the custard steamed like you did but never tried making caramel sauce so that is something I look forward to trying with it. I can already imagine it to be delicious.

  25. Okay, you are right. This looks easy! I love adding a custard like this to my cake with fresh berries. And this custard looks very creamy without having to stand there and stir it during the entire cooking time. I’m sold!

    • Hi Charlotte! Thank you so much for trying this recipe! Glad you liked it. You can only make small amount at a time, but it’s pretty easy to prepare while you’re cooking for a meal and serve this as dessert. Thank you for your feedback! :)

  26. Oh…yum! This is very similar to a Chinese steam custard that we have. But usually got ginger juice in it. :) I’m sure your hubby would know what I’m referring to. Your custard look just smooth, velvety and perfect. I’m craving for one now. 😛

  27. This reminds me of egg tarts without crust! looks so delicious! I should give this a try because my boys always eat egg tarts and leave the crust behind!

  28. Yum! I’m also thinking this is a good recipe to have around those hot summer days, when you want something sweet but don’t want to turn on the oven.

    • Hi Nami! I made this today and it was soooo good! The fact that it is so simple to make with ingredients I always have is dangerous :) . Thank you. I don’t know if you saw, but I made your purin again too, for Kodomo no hi. Everyone is always impressed how authentic it tastes.

  29. Cindy Loh

    Hi Nami,
    Can I substitute the milk with vanilla soy milk as my husband is lactose intolerant?
    Please advise. Thank you.

    Looking forward to trying this recipe. :)


    • Hi Cindy! Yes, you can replace with vanilla soy milk or even coconut milk (if you don’t mind vanilla or coconut flavor in it). Hope you and your husband enjoy this recipe! :)

  30. Genesis

    Tried this recipe, but it turned out pretty bad!! Not sure what I did wrong, but it tasted as though the custard was too overcooked? Not sure but there seemed to be bubbles in the custard. Also, even though I’m not a big fan of sweets, or really anything sweet, it tasted like it needed way more sugar than it called for. Made it for a potluck, and even though the outside looked correct, the flavor was horrid!! Not even I was able to finish a ramekin. May have to try it again with more sugar and less cooking time. Any suggestions/comments as to what may have gone wrong? I was expecting more of a flan flavor and consistency.

    • Hi genesis!

      I’m sorry to hear it didn’t go well. I just want to check if you added caramel… with caramel, it’s a perfect amount of sweetness. But it’s “Asian” sweet level so it’s not as sweet as American sweets, for example.

      This is a “quick” version, and usually the caramel is under the custard and we flip (see my recipe here: This version is a short cut version so you have to pour the caramel on top to save time. My caramel recipe is pretty standard, and it should be sweet. Therefore, egg custard is not sweet enough if you are eating it by itself. If both are sweet, it’s way too sweet for Asian dessert standard. Hope that makes sense.

      The bubble you talked about is from overcook and strong heat. The heat has to be low for 10 minutes. Now if your custard is less amount than mine (in the picture), you have to cook less. Otherwise it’ll be overcooked. If it wasn’t silky texture, it was probably overcooked. Make sure the heat is low and adjust the cook time according to your ramekin size.

      I think that’s what I can suggest from what I read. Hope it will work next time. It’s typical Japanese custard pudding (I’ve tasted many different kinds) and I have been making this for a while, so the recipe should work. However, I’m not in the kitchen with you, so my suggestion is very limited. Hope the suggestions will be helpful. :)

  31. Michele

    Hi, I’ve tried your custard pudding recipe twice as it looked quite easy. However, not sure if I missed out anything as the texture of the pudding isn’t correct. It is not smooth like pudding and doesn’t taste like pudding – it tastes more like steamed egg. And you can see “bubbles” in it and the surface is not smooth. Wondering if I had whisked the eggs and sugar too much? Or the heat when steaming is too strong? Would appreciate if you could give me some suggestions on how to get the texture right :) Thanks!

    • Hi Michele! First of all, from your description (“bubbles” and “steamed egg”), I can tell the heat is too strong. You get bubbles when the heat is too strong or over cook the custard. My ramekin is glass so you can tell the texture of the pudding is very silky and smooth. It should be like that. Also the material of ramekin and amount of your custard matters for the cooking time. Please adjust cooking time accordingly. I do not think over-mixing matters for the texture. You can stop whisking when everything is combined well, then run the mixture through a fine sieve. Thank you for trying this recipe twice. Hope changing cooking time and heat will help next time!

      • Trang

        I have the same problem. In addition, when I open the lid 10 minutes after turning off the heat, the custard collapsed T_T. I’m still figuring how to use the induction oven. I’ve made custard many times before with success, but I steamed them in the oven.

        • Trang, yeah it seems like cooking time or heat needs to be controlled/changed according to your induction cooktop. I used to have it, and I remember it was a bit different from my current gas stove. If you’re comfortable with your oven, you can use the oven too. :)

  32. Rene

    Hi Nami!
    I always wanted to make this custard pudding and lately I found your recipe and brought the finished pudding to a potluck event. It was wonderful! Thank you for sharing this with us!
    Much love!

    • Hi Jole! Yes, you can use chawanmushi cup for this dessert. However, I am trying to figure out whether you should close the chawanmushi lid or not. I would suggest not to cover, because I don’t cover to make pudding (but I do cover the frying pan with a lid). I know it’s NOT necessary to cover the pudding cup…but don’t have good reason why we don’t need to cover it while we do cover chawanmushi cup… Only reason that I can think of is that we have to cook chicken etc in chawanmushi and it will cook faster if the lid is on… I’m sorry I’m not so helpful here… You can try with the lid on to see if there is any difference. :) Thanks for the great question!

      • Jole

        Hi Nami,
        Today i make this using chawanmushi cup and cover the lid, the result is the same. Smooth custard. I used the portion of your chawanmushi recipe. 1 egg with 1/2cup of milk and it turn out great.

        But I only steam for 6-7min as my cup is smaller.

        • Hi Jole! You’re so kind to stop by again to let me know. THANK YOU!! I’m glad to hear the mystery was solved. So both results are the same. :) Hope you enjoyed this pudding!

    • Hi Mikah! Thank you so much for your request. I live in San Francisco, and I haven’t seen salted/pickled sakura flower in Japanese supermarkets. :( If I find one, I’ll definitely try some sakura desserts! Thanks for writing! :)

  33. Bianca

    Hi Nami! I’m planning to make this for my mother’s birthday, since she loves eggy, not-too-sweet desserts. However, I wanted to ask if it would be alright to pour the caramel sauce on top of the custard and refrigerate it together, instead of doing the step just before serving? It’s my first time making caramel from scratch so I’m nervous. Thanks! :)

    • Hi Bianca! Sure! Since you mentioned that it’s your first time making caramel from scratch, I’ll give you a little advice. Don’t be scared when you add water to the mixture (Step 9). It might give you a big splash with noise. When I first made it long time ago, I had no idea what I’m doing and I was a little bit surprise. So just giving heads up, so you know what to expect.

      I have another version of custard pudding called “Purin” or Creme Caramel which takes a little longer to make but result is actually amazing (recipe below). So check it out. :) This “Custard Pudding” is easier version I made. :)

      Good luck, and I hope your mom enjoys this. Happy Birthday to your mom! :)

  34. Jen

    hello!! I have been searching for a recipe to try and replicate something I ate at a Chinese buffet recently. It was a dessert in a baked wonton wrapper and it was labeled “pineapple tart”! I can’t stop craving it! Do you think this custard is similar? If so, how can I incorporate the pineapple into it? I’ve gotta have it!!! LoL!! Thanks!

    • Hi Jen! If it’s pineapple tart, this is not similar. It’s hard to know for sure as I have never tried this pineapple tart. If it included creamy custard, used in Chinese baking, this is not it. This is more like creme caramel or Japanese pudding (Purin). :)

    • Hi Vickie! I hope it has set – otherwise I think it was undercooked (because egg mixture was runny). Depends on the kind of pot you use (some escape heat easily, etc) and thickness of glass bowls, the heat travels differently. Therefore, please use my recipe as guidance and please feel free to adapt. I do my best to give estimate cooking time, but unless we use the same gas stove and cookware, it’s hard to replicate. Steaming is harder as you can’t see while cooking…