Natillas: the sweetest traditional recipe

The natillas (custard) recipe is one of the most widely known through Spanish confectioneries. We are talking about a cream made from milk, sugar, egg yolks, and lemon or vanilla flavoring.

Although we are not certain of its true origin, it is believed to be created in convents. Its simple recipe, natural properties (coming from the eggs and milk), and its low cost make it a good recipe for the convents, a place where the making of sweets has always been fostered amid an austere culture.


  • 750 ml of milk
  • 2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg
  • 125 g of sugar
  • 15 g of cornstarch
  • Lemon peel
  • 1/2 stick of cinnamon and vanilla (optional)
  • Biscuits to decorate. Normally, we use “galletas María”


  1. Place the yolks and whole egg in a bowl and beat them. Add the sugar and cornstarch and mix well right away. Set aside.
  2. Place the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, lemon, vanilla and let it heat for about 15-20 minutes; without bringing to the boil as it is not necessary. Once the milk is well flavoured, remove the essences.
  3. Take half a glass of hot milk from the pan and add it to the egg mixture, beating quickly to avoid lumps.
  4. Pour this new egg-milk mixture into the saucepan where the rest of the milk is still over medium heat. Continue to cook it all at the same temperature using a whisk.
  5. Stir constantly to prevent the cream from sticking for 10 minutes. When it starts to get thicker it will be ready!
  6. Just serve as you wish. The most traditional way is to pour the natillas into small terracotta containers. If you like, you can sprinkle some cinnamon on top and crown the natillas with a biscuit while the cream is still hot.
  7. You can let it cool completely before eating or eat it warm. A very simple and delicious recipe!

Our Advice

To store the custard in the refrigerator, cover it with plastic wrap. This keeps it from spreading its smell to the rest of the food in your fridge.

About the author