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Custard Tea Buns

Custard Tea Buns. This twist on a Newfoundland favourite is made even richer tasting with the addition of custard powder and undiluted evaporated milk to the dough. A perfect teatime treat!

Custard Tea Buns close up photo of buns stacked on a white pedestal

Custard Tea Buns.

One of the many questions I have been asked over the last 13 years on Rock Recipes is, “Do you have a recipe for Custard Tea Buns?”

Now, we made plenty of different types of tea buns, a close cousin of scones, in our family. This blog has featured quite a few  of our family favourites over the years, like our Traditional Raisin Tea Buns and Coconut Tea Buns.

There have also been new flavours of my own invention in the scone category too, like our ever popular White Chocolate Raspberry Scones to dainty Lemon Cranberry Scones. In truth I’ve never met a tea bun that I didn’t like.

Custard Tea Buns with butter and more buns stacked in the background

Custard Tea Buns delicious with a little butter.

They are the perfect accompaniment to a weekday tea break or a weekend brunch. I must have made many thousands of them over the years.

Custard Tea Buns missed the list.

I have of course heard of them and even occasionally seen them in local bakeries when travelling inside the province. I wonder if they are local to specific areas of Newfoundland?

Custard Tea Buns close up photo of one bun with raisins

However, for some reason, this version was not known in my baking filled upbringing. After yet another recent request, I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about.

Photo of a can of Bird's Custard Powder

Naturally I knew the flavour of Bird’s Custard Powder added to the dry ingredients was something I would probably love. My childhood, like hundreds of thousands of Newfoundlanders, was filled with  a “Jelly & Custard” Sunday dinner dessert, particularly at my Nan’s.

(Bird’s Custard Powder is available on Amazon of you cannot find it locally)

Erdines Jelly and Custard photo

Erdines Jelly and Custard.

I was actually reminded of  that simple dessert recently when my cousin Erdine posted a photo of it on her Facebook Feed. It really took me back to the simple but delicious taste of childhood. I may just make it myself soon…or maybe come up with a completely homemade version.

Close up of a custard tea buns with butter

Getting the flavour right.

I knew I wanted to use my own traditional tea bun recipe as a base because I already often used undiluted evaporated milk in the dough. I thought the richness of the milk would combine well with the custard powder to improve the flavour.


But how much Custard powder should I use? I did find a couple of simple recipes online and in a couple of Facebook groups but most had as little as 2 tbsp of custard powder added to the dry ingredients. 

What was the point of that I wondered? Surely that wouldn’t give much flavour at all.

I decided to bump up the custard powder amount substantially to replace a little of the flour. Not only did this result in a deeper custard flavour, it also added a distinct yellow hue, which I think looks quite appealing.

The proof was in the tasting. They were so delicious. SSpose declared them some of the best she’s ever had!

Custard Tea Buns without raisins with coffee in the background

I like mine with coffee too.

With tea buns, I don’t ever debate the addition of raisins. If you like them, add them, if not, leave them out. I tried it both ways and both batches were delicious.

I’m thinking of doing an apricot version soon. I think that would be a great flavour combination too because I really love dried apricots. Maybe a little lemon zest would be complementary too. Stay tuned!

Ingredients for Custard Tea Buns on a wooden cutting board

Ingredients for Custard Tea Buns

Roll out the dough to about 1 1:4 inch thickness

Roll out the dough to about 1 1:4 inch thickness.

Cut our tea buns with a 2 inch biscuit cutter

Cut your tea buns with a 2 inch biscuit cutter.


Place in a 9x9 inch pan and top with egg wash

Place in a 9×9 inch pan and top with egg wash.


Custard Tea Buns fresh from the oven

Custard Tea Buns fresh from the oven.

Custard Tea Buns cooling on a wire rack

Waiting for them to cool is the hardest part but they are amazing warm too.

Custard Tea Buns close up photo of one bun with raisins

Love great tea buns & scones?

For even more delicious ideas for brunch, we have put them together into one amazing collection of our 25 Best Scone Recipes.

25 Best Scone Recipes image with title text for Pinterest


Like this Custard Tea Buns recipe?

You’ll find many more great recipe like this one in our Muffins & Scones Category and in our Brunch Category.

Custard Tea Buns on a white pedestal with title text added for Pinterest
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Custard Tea Buns on a wire rack with title text added for Pinterest

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Custard Tea Buns close up photo of buns stacked on a white pedestal
Yield: 16 tea buns

Custard Tea Buns

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Custard Tea Buns. This twist on a Newfoundland favourite is made even richer tasting with the addition of custard powder and undiluted evaporated milk to the dough. A perfect teatime treat!


  • 1/3 cup Bird's Custard Powder (1 small pkg vanilla instant pudding mix can be substituted if you cannot find it where you live.)
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional, no need to use if you are substituting instant vanilla pudding mix)
  • 2/3 cup undiluted evaporated milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)


  1. Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. I start these in my food processor because it is so fast but they can be made just as easily in a large bowl by cutting the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or just rubbing it into the dry ingredients using your hands like Nan did.
  3. In a food processor, combine the flour, custard powder, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  4. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  5. Transfer to a large bowl and toss in the raisins.
  6. Make a well in the center of the dry mix.
  7. Mix together the lemon juice, vanilla and milk.
  8. Pour into the well and mix only enough to form a dough ball.
  9. Roll to 1 1/4 inch thickness and cut out buns with a 2 inch biscuit cutter and place in the prepared 9x9 baking pan.
  10. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.



Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 tea bun

Amount Per Serving Calories 180Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 18mgSodium 186mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 1gSugar 13gProtein 3g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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Friday 31st of March 2023

I have loved your recipes forever but you know what I thought these were when I first looked at them?? No, you say? Well let me tell you "sweet potato". Which I LOVE, but these are insanely delicious, moist & just the right amount of sweet, I did switch the sugars around because I prefer brown sugar for the best taste. Thanks so much for sharing this, I never would've thought to use the custard powder. I don't usually use Bird's or any so it's lasted a good while.

Joanne Robinson

Sunday 7th of March 2021

Hi. I'm from New Zealand and I'm not sure what half a cup of butter would be in grams. I'm looking forward to making these,they look delicious.

Barry C. Parsons

Sunday 7th of March 2021

This is an easy Google search. 1/2 cup of butter is 1/4 pound or 113 grams.

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