Recipes » Dessert Recipes » Traditional Southern Egg Custard Pie

Traditional Southern Egg Custard Pie

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4.7 from 14 votes
Eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla with a little nutmeg make this traditional southern Egg Custard Pie a dessert loved by both kids and adults.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Traditional southern egg custard pie on a serving board with a kitchen towel in the background.

Egg Custard Pie is one of those traditional southern heritage recipes that I love so much. It may be made from plain, simple pantry ingredients but it’s so worth getting out the fine china to serve it. Who would think that a few eggs, some sugar, vanilla, and milk could conjure up such strong childhood memories!

We all have eggs, sugar, and milk on hand pretty much all the time, right? Well, let me show you how to take those simple pantry ingredients and turn them into something extra special! Once you taste this pie, you’ll find every excuse to serve it for everything from next Saturday’s brunch to Thanksgiving dinner.

Traditional southern egg custard pie on a serving board with a kitchen towel in the background.

According to some sources, the origins of egg custard pie date back at least to the middle ages. They say it was brought here by immigrants from Europe. It has lots of variations found all over the world. I’m just glad it got here whatever path it took.

Now, if you’re looking for a “mile high” type of pie that’s overly rich and extra sweet, then this pie is not for you. But if you want a luscious, creamy treat that is perfect after any meal, I have your recipe right here.

Old fashioned southern egg custard pie has the lovely flavor of whole milk and eggs and the perfume of a dusting of nutmeg but it is not overly sweet. If I had to choose my favorite pie, it would be difficult to pick between this one and coconut meringue, but I think the egg custard would win.

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  • You probably have all the ingredients on hand right now
  • Both children and adults love it
  • Familiar, old fashioned flavors
  • Really easy to make

Ingredients You Will Need

  • Unbaked pie crust (make your own or use a refrigerated or frozen one)
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Whole milk
  • Ground nutmeg

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Egg Custard Pie

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Prepare the Pie Crust

Start by preparing the pie crust. Now I won’t go into it all over again, but just suffice it to say that homemade pie crusts and I are not friends. We’re barely on speaking terms.

Homemade pie crust loathes me and the feeling is pretty much mutual.

So, I’ll start with a frozen crust which I have thawed according to its package directions.

Thawed pie crust that has been pricked all over the bottom with a fork.

Prick the crust all over with the tines of a fork.

Thawed pie crust brushed with beaten egg white.

Very lightly beat an egg white and brush it all over the unbaked crust. The egg white will help keep the crust from becoming soggy.

And for some reason, I always think this recipe is best baked in a regular shallow crust instead of as a deep dish pie. It just seems more old-fashioned and that fits perfectly with this type of pie.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set the crust aside while you prepare the custard.

Make the Custard

Medium mixing bowl holding the custard mixture. In the background are the prepared pie crust, a set of measuring spoons, vanilla extract, and milk.

In a medium bowl, add the beaten eggs and egg yolk, the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Mix those together a little and then whisk in the milk.

Filled pie crust and two filled custard cups on a baking sheet.

Put the prepared crust on a baking sheet and then pour the egg mixture into the crust. You will probably have a bit left over just like I did. I always add the extra egg mixture to two little custard cups. It makes a couple of delicious little treats for the cook :-) Lightly dust the top of the pie and custard cups with nutmeg.

Bake the Pie

Carefully place the baking tray into the oven and let the pie cook for 30 to 35 minutes. Check to see if your pie is ready by inserting a knife near the center. If it comes out clean, you’re all set.

Remove the pie (and custard cups if you used them) to a cooling rack. Serve at room temperature and refrigerate any leftovers.

Occasionally I serve a spoonful of very lightly sweetened whipped cream alongside my Egg Custard Pie, but I think it’s really perfect all by itself.

Traditional southern egg custard pie on a serving board with a kitchen towel in the background.

Tips

  • Most older recipes instruct you to scald the milk before adding it to the eggs. That’s not really necessary. However, the eggs should be at room temperature.

Variations

  • Half and half or cream can be used in place of the whole milk.

FAQs

Should the pie be refrigerated?

Just like any recipe containing eggs or dairy, this pie should be refrigerated as soon as it cools to room temperature. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Don’t you have to bake the crust before adding the filling?

It’s not necessary to pre-bake the crust. If you follow my instructions for brushing the pie shell with egg white before baking that will prevent it from getting soggy.

How do I know when the pie is done?

To test whether the pie is done, gently insert a thin knife near the center of the pie. If the knife comes out clean with no liquid clinging to it, then the pie is done. It will firm up slightly as it cools.

Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
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Traditional southern egg custard pie on a serving board with a kitchen towel in the background.

Egg Custard Pie

Eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla with a little nutmeg make this traditional southern Egg Custard Pie a dessert loved by both kids and adults.
4.72 from 14 votes
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Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 244kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
  • 1 egg white lightly beaten
  • 3 whole eggs plus one egg yolk beaten
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  • If using a frozen pie crust, allow it to thaw at room temperature according to its package directions.
  • Prick the crust all over with the tines of a fork.
  • Brush thoroughly with beaten egg white. This helps prevent the crust from becoming soggy.
  • Set the crust aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, add the beaten eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat together.
  • Using a wire whisk, add the milk.
  • Place the prepared pie crust on a baking sheet.
  • Pour the egg and milk mixture into the pie crust filling baking cups with any excess mixture.
  • Sprinkle the top with nutmeg.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • May be served either cold or at room temperature.

Notes

Tips:
  • Most older recipes instruct you to scald the milk before adding it to the eggs. That’s not really necessary. However, the eggs should be at room temperature.
Variations:
  • Half and half or cream can be used in place of the whole milk.
FAQs:
  • Should the pie be refrigerated? Just like any recipe containing eggs or dairy, this pie should be refrigerated as soon as it cools to room temperature. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Don’t you have to bake the crust before adding the filling? It’s not necessary to pre-bake the crust. Iif you follow my instructions for brushing the pie shell with egg white before baking that will prevent it from getting soggy.
  • How do I know when the pie is done? To test whether the pie is done, gently insert a thin knife near the center of the pie. If the knife comes out clean with no liquid clinging to it, then the pie is done. It will firm up slightly as it cools.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 222mg | Potassium: 151mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 213IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on October 17, 2011.

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89 Comments

  1. thank you for this simple but great recipe. I gave up making my own pie crust, but when I do I use lard.
    The Pillsbury pre-formed are good now. I make my Grandmothers milk pie and shoo fly also.
    Thanks again

  2. One of my two favorite pies! The other is sour cherry. I haven’t made this in years, and I’ve lost my grandmother’s recipe, but this seems similar. I’m a good pie crust maker, so I will try this with my all butter crust. Thanks for this heritage recipe!

  3. Lana I grew up in South Georgia too (Baker and Miller County) and this was my father’s favorite pie. Don’t know that recipe is same because Mama never wrote it down. Oh how I wish I had some of those old recipes. I don’t do much cooking anymore especially baking but when I did, like you, pie crust was never easy to make until I found one using boiling water in a Southern Cooking cookbook by Mrs. S.R. Dull. Copyright was in Atlanta, Georgia, 1928 and 1941. It was a gift sometime around 1960. Don’t know if it is still around. I use frozen now too.

    1. I have Mrs. Dull’s cookbook and it’s great even though it’s a bit hard to follow. I’ll have to look for that pie crust recipe in it :-)

  4. I made this with duck eggs, most of them were smallish for duck eggs. I used my blender & it was full (5 cups) before I could get all the milk in! had 3 custard cups left over after filling a 9″ deep dish frozen pie crust. Hopefully this will work out with less milk

  5. That’s the pie on which we grew up. We made it lots and lots of times. The beauty was that even crazy kids could make the thing, and it would turn out beautifully and taste great. Still is the beauty of the pie.

    I have the same inappropriate disdain for pie crust. Not only do I not make the stuff, I really don’t care for the taste. So, get one of those “roll it out” crusts out of the refrigerated section, and put it in a really good looking pie plate. It looks homemade, and folks who like the crust think that you went to great trouble.

    Miss P

  6. Made this pie and it turned out delicious. I have tried using lactose free and 2% milk but the pies have not turned out very well compared to using whole milk. I also use the deep dish pie crust, put the pie into a shallow pan and add water to the pan while it is cooking. Love this recipe. Thanks for the great recipe.

  7. Maybe some of you have used 2% milk or lactaid milk, but I have never had the recipes to turn out right using them. I also put the pies in a pan of water while cooking. It seems to make the custard much more creamier.

  8. This is by far the best egg custard pie I have made. It was scrumptious. I will use this recipe from this day forward. Thanks for posting this on your website. Oh and I love your website. Keep up the good works.

  9. I made this today. I did NOT scald the milk and my pie still did not turn out smooth! It was like scrambled eggs. I also had my oven set at 400 but I had to cook it for about 1 hr before the knife came out clean. Do you have any recommendations? Thank you. I did use 2% milk if that had anything to do with it.

    1. Nikki – unless I was right there in the kitchen with you when you were making the pie, it’s really hard to say what went wrong. Two things to check are that you beat the eggs thoroughly so that the yolks and white were very well mixed and that you used whole milk. I’m not sure 2% would have quite enough for a proper custard. Also, check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer. It could be off.

  10. I made this pie using a recipe identical to yours (though I found it on another site). I followed the recipe to the letter, but the filling didn’t set up. Do you have any idea what might have gone wrong?

    1. I can’t imagine, Lisa. I’ve made this pie hundreds of time in my life and never had that problem. The only possibility I can think of would be if you just didn’t cook it long enough or if your oven temperature was way too low.

  11. It’s me again, Tammy, I have now made this pie several times for friends and family. They absolutely Love it. I just wanted you to know I have shared your recipe with lots of loved ones. Thanks again for this wonderful recipe. Have a blessed day !!

    1. So happy your family likes the recipe, Tammy! You’ve reminded me that I haven’t made one of these pies in quite a while. We just might have it for dessert tonight :-)

  12. I came across this recipe searching for an egg custard pie to make for my husband. THIS IS THE BEST EGG CUSTARD PIE I HAVE EVER MADE. My husband is begging me to make another this weekend. . . Due to the fact, the one I made yesterday has been devoured. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING THIS RECIPE !!! :-)

  13. Ok out of all the recipes i found for egg custard pie i am
    Using yours for my very first attempt. My husbsnd is taking
    One of them to the radio station where they will probably
    Critique it on the air. He is a guest on the morning show anf
    The host who is his friend commented on a recipe my husband
    Posted for egg custard pie…fingers crossed it turns out
    Good!! I followed the recipe and directions!! We shall see!

  14. Found this recipe on pinterest and I’m so excited to make it! I’ve tried egg custard pies before without scalding the milk, but I used skim milk…it turned out exactly like sweet scrambled eggs….blech! Is it the fat content of the milk that makes this custard smooth? I don’t want a repeat of last time. Lol. Thanks :)

  15. This tastes awful. I made this and it was too eggy tasting. I followed the recipe and thought from all the ‘oh this is awesome’ comments, that it was going to be amazing…. no.

    1. I’m so sorry you didn’t like the recipe, Kelly. I make it quite often and we always enjoy it. It is, after all, an “egg” custard so it will taste of eggs. Maybe you were expecting something else.