The Art of Making Homemade Natillas: A Delicious Spanish Dessert


When it comes to traditional Spanish desserts, natillas caseras is a true gem. This creamy and indulgent dessert has been enjoyed by generations of Spaniards, and its popularity continues to grow around the world. In this article, we will explore the history, ingredients, and step-by-step process of making natillas caseras. Get ready to embark on a culinary journey that will leave your taste buds craving for more!

The Origins of Natillas Caseras

Natillas caseras, which translates to “homemade custard,” is a classic Spanish dessert that dates back centuries. Its exact origins are unclear, but it is believed to have been influenced by the Arab occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. The Moors introduced ingredients such as sugar, cinnamon, and almonds, which are commonly found in natillas caseras recipes.

Over time, natillas caseras became a staple in Spanish households, especially during special occasions and holidays. It is often served as a comforting dessert during the colder months, providing warmth and sweetness to those who indulge in it.

The Key Ingredients

Before diving into the recipe, let’s take a closer look at the key ingredients that make natillas caseras so delicious:

  • Milk: The base of natillas caseras is milk, which gives it its creamy texture. Whole milk is typically used, but you can also use low-fat milk if you prefer.
  • Egg yolks: Egg yolks are essential for thickening the custard and giving it a rich, velvety consistency.
  • Sugar: Sugar adds sweetness to the dessert. You can adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste preferences.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch acts as a thickening agent, ensuring that the natillas caseras have the perfect consistency.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a key flavoring in natillas caseras, adding warmth and depth to the dessert.
  • Lemon peel: Lemon peel is often used to infuse the custard with a subtle citrus aroma.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract enhances the overall flavor profile of the natillas caseras, giving it a delightful fragrance.

The Step-by-Step Process

Now that we have familiarized ourselves with the ingredients, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making natillas caseras:

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Gather all the necessary ingredients and measure them out accurately. This will ensure that your natillas caseras turn out perfectly.

Step 2: Heat the Milk

In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until it reaches a gentle simmer. Be careful not to let it boil.

Step 3: Infuse the Milk

Add the cinnamon stick and lemon peel to the milk, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. This will infuse the milk with their flavors.

Step 4: Prepare the Egg Mixture

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until well combined.

Step 5: Temper the Eggs

Slowly pour a small amount of the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking continuously. This process, known as tempering, prevents the eggs from curdling when added to the hot milk.

Step 6: Combine the Mixtures

Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Whisk everything together until well combined.

Step 7: Cook the Custard

Place the saucepan back on the stove over low heat. Stir the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon. This process can take around 10-15 minutes.

Step 8: Add the Final Touches

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel, and discard them.

Step 9: Chill and Serve

Pour the natillas caseras into individual serving dishes or a large bowl. Let them cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. This will allow the custard to set and develop its flavors.


Q1: Can I use a different type of milk?

A1: While whole milk is traditionally used in natillas caseras, you can experiment with different types of milk, such as low-fat or almond milk, to suit your dietary preferences.

Q2: Can I substitute cornstarch with another thickening agent?

A2: Cornstarch is the most commonly used thickening agent for natillas caseras. However, you can use alternatives like arrowroot powder or tapioca starch if desired.

Q3: How long can I store natillas caseras?

A3: Natillas caseras can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, it is best to consume them within the first 24-48 hours for optimal taste and texture.

Q4: Can I add other flavors to natillas caseras?

A4: Absolutely! Natillas caseras can be customized with various flavors. Some popular additions include cocoa powder, orange zest, or even a splash of liqueur like rum or brandy.

Q5: Can I serve natillas caseras warm?

A5: While natillas caseras are typically served chilled, you can enjoy them warm if you prefer. Just skip the refrigeration step and serve them immediately after cooking.


Natillas caseras is a delightful Spanish dessert that has stood the test of time. With its creamy texture, warm flavors, and rich history, it is no wonder that this dessert continues to be a favorite among Spaniards and dessert enthusiasts worldwide. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can recreate this traditional dessert in the comfort of your own kitchen. So, gather your ingredients, put on your apron, and get ready to indulge in the heavenly goodness of homemade natillas caseras!


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