ColombiaOne.comCultureNatilla: Colombian Custard Authentic Recipe

Natilla: Colombian Custard Authentic Recipe


Colombian custard Natilla
Traditional Colombian custard (Natilla), the Christmas dessert par excellence. Credit: Cajasol Foundation/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Colombian custard (Natilla) is a traditional dessert that is an integral part of Christmas celebrations in Colombia. This delightful preparation combines simple ingredients to create an exquisite treat.

This dessert goes beyond its taste; it is a symbol of family unity and celebration. Its presence on Colombian tables is a must-have every Christmas.

Cultural importance of Custard (Natilla) in Colombia

Colombian custard, with its rich texture and balanced flavors, not only pleases the palate but also creates a special connection with the roots and history of Colombia, making it an essential element during festivities.

Colombian Custard Recipe


  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 can (14 ounces) condensed milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup sugar or to taste
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Ground cinnamon to taste


  • Place 1 cup of milk in a small bowl, add cornstarch and stir to dissolve; set aside.
  • Put coconut milk and shredded coconut in a blender and blend until smooth; set aside.
  • Place the remaining milk and cinnamon sticks in a medium pot and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-low heat. When the milk is slightly warm but not boiling, add the coconut mixture.
  • When the milk starts boiling, add condensed milk, sugar, and salt. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the milk and cornstarch mixture and continue stirring constantly.
  • Add vanilla extract. Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring until the Natilla thickens, about 10 to 20 minutes. Add butter, mix, and remove from heat. Remove the cinnamon sticks.
  • Serve it in a large mold or individual dessert molds.
  • Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top and let it cool to room temperature for at least 2 hours. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

(Custard) Natilla is served in individual bowls or molds, sprinkled with ground cinnamon on top. Some variations include additional decorations, such as pieces of “arequipe” (caramel) or raisins.

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