If you love desserts, this homemade vanilla cream sauce is better than whipped cream. This is an old-fashioned sauce for a cake you don’t want to miss!  Not only is this sauce a winner on cakes and pies, but it is the perfect vanilla sauce for bread pudding!

A small mason jar of vanilla cream sauce.

This creamy homemade vanilla sauce is made from scratch in just minutes. I found this recipe years ago in my Grandmother’s recipe box. It is made from simple, wholesome ingredients because fresh is always better than store-bought!

This vanilla cream sauce is so good for desserts. Feel free to drizzle it on some of these Gluten Free Dessert Recipes.

Why This Sauce Is Great:

  1. This sauce is versatile, quick, and easy to make.
  2. It is the classic vanilla cream sauce recipe that my Grandmother used to make.
  3. This old-fashioned vanilla sauce is so easy to make that I can say it is foolproof.

Perfect! Made for an amazing dessert drizzled over pound cake and berries. Loved it!”

Jackie M., Pinterest
Top view of a jar of Delicious creamy homemade vanilla sauce.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Vanilla Beans – Let’s talk vanilla, as it is the most important ingredient for this recipe. Vanilla comes from a pod full of vanilla beans. Each pod has to have the vanilla beans scraped out. Using vanilla beans is the best way to get the pure vanilla flavor to shine in this dessert cream sauce.
  • Cornstarch – You can substitute tapioca starch for cornstarch.
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter. You can use coconut oil if you are dairy-free.

Recipe Step-By-Step Directions:

A pot of vanilla sauce ingredients over low heat on a stove.

Step 1: Add sugar and cornstarch to a small pot. Add a little hot water and whisk to blend the sugar sauce.

Adding butter and lemon to the pot of cream sauce ingredients.

Step 2: Add the rest of the hot water, butter, vanilla, and a lemon slice and simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. Simmer until the vanilla sauce thickens. Use a wire whisk to blend it.

Step 3: Cool and serve. I love that this vanilla cream sauce is made without heavy cream!

You will love serving my easy vanilla sauce over your favorite desserts. Try it on my Grandma’s Homemade Bread Pudding recipe!

Quick and easy vanilla cream sauce with a vanilla bean on top of the jar.

Recipe FAQ:

Is there a vegan alternative?

This sauce is naturally gluten free, and this sauce can be made vegan if you substitute coconut oil instead of butter. It is perfect for those who have food allergies.

How do you store this homemade vanilla sauce?

Store this vanilla sauce in an airtight container. It will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

This homemade vanilla sauce also makes a great edible gift!

Reader Jax's photo of finished cream sauce next to a bowl of cut fruit and cake.
Pinterest User Jackie’s photo of the sauce.

More  Gluten Free Dessert Recipes:

a jar of homemade vanilla sauce on a wooden tray

Homemade Vanilla Cream Sauce

Sandi Gaertner
Easy homemade creamy vanilla cream sauce. This old-fashioned cream sauce is delicious on bread pudding and cakes.
4.92 from 48 votes
dairy free allergen icon
an egg free allergen icon
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Gluten Free Dessert Recipes, Gluten Free Sauces and Marinades
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 66 kcal


  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch * see note
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla beans or one pod
  • tiny dash salt


  • In a small sauce pan, add sugar and cornstarch.
  • Pour in a little of the hot water and whisk quickly to blend. 
  • Turn on the stove onto low heat and add the rest of the water, butter, vanilla, and lemon.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.


  1. You can use tapioca starch or arrowroot starch instead of corn starch.
  2. This vanilla sauce will keep up to 6 days in the refrigerator. You can freeze it up to 4 months.
  3. Slather this cream sauce on pie, ice cream, and cakes.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1gCalories: 66kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 13mgSugar: 13gVitamin A: 44IU
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Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

This recipe was updated from an old August 2018 post with more recipe details.

4.92 from 48 votes (22 ratings without comment)

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