Manjar blanco is a custard made from milk, vanilla bean and sugar, simmered until thick, rich and absolutely divine! It's a traditional sweet enjoyed daily throughout South America – as a filling for pastries, the sweet centre of alfajor biscuits and tejas (filled chocolates) or simply enjoyed on its own as a dessert. One devotee of this recipe described it as "pan-scrapingly good"!






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (232 votes)


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 litre full-cream milk
  • 230 g white sugar
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 30 g liquid glucose

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Makes about 4 cups

Heat the butter, 1 cup milk, white sugar, bicarbonate of soda and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture starts turning a caramel colour. Add another cup of milk and the brown sugar. Continue stirring. When the mixture starts thickening, add another cup of milk.

As it thickens again, add the remaining milk and the glucose, reduce the heat to low and continue stirring until the custard is thick enough for you to see the bottom of the saucepan when you move the spoon through it, or until a little custard put on a plate doesn’t run. The custard cooks for approximately 40 minutes in total. Remove from the heat and keep stirring for a few minutes before pouring into a bowl.