Vietnamese Coffee Puddings

I lived in Vietnam for 6 months and fell in love with their iced coffee known as ca phe sua da. These Vietnamese coffee puddings are the dessert version – strong espresso, sweetened condensed milk, and light airy whipped cream!

The Recipe

by volume                                             by weight


2 cups milk                                        480 grams milk

4 tablespoons instant                  12 grams instant espresso

8 teaspoons cornstarch             72 grams cornstarch

1/2 cup sweetened                       153 grams sweetened
condensed milk                               condensed milk

pinch of salt                                      pinch of salt


whipped cream:

1/2 cup heavy cream                    113 grams heavy cream

1 tablespoon sweetened           19 grams sweetened
condensed milk                               condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla                        4 grams vanilla



Whisk the milk, sweetened condensed milk, instant espresso, cornstarch, and salt together until completely combined.

Bring to a boil while whisking constantly and boil and whisk for one minute. The mixture will thicken so be sure to whisk vigorously to avoid it scorching on the bottom of the pan.

Remove from the heat and continue to whisk to release some of the heat. (Big billows of steam will come out of the pan at first! Whisk for a couple of minutes just to get rid of some of this.)

Pour into glasses or ramekins and refrigerate just until cool to the touch, about 20 minutes.

Softly whip cream with the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla and spoon carefully on top of the puddings. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When you are ready to serve the puddings, sprinkle the cream with a little instant espresso if desired for a garnish.



The amount of sugar in these puddings can be adjusted to taste. I tend to like mine a bit on the sweeter side since I’m not a coffee drinker. If you would prefer it less sweet cut the sweetened condensed milk back to suit your taste.

These Vietnamese coffee puddings are also adaptable in many ways. Substitute brown sugar for the sweetened condensed milk and add a bit of cinnamon for a south if the border version. Add a bit of whiskey or cognac once the pudding is removed from the stove for an Irish coffee flair or add a bit of Grand Marnier to the pudding and dust the cream with cocoa powder or shaved chocolate.


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