Follow these simple steps on How to make Crème Brûlée. It is surprisingly easy to achieve this fancy treat at home!!
Crème brûlée is smooth and creamy with a tasty crunch on top. For more perfectly lovely desserts, try Dessert Kabobs, Chocolate Eclairs, and Meringue Cookies.
What is Creme Brûlée?
What is Creme Brulee? Crème Brûlée is french for burnt cream. The smooth custard base is topped with a caramelized sugar crust. It’s simply delicious.
It may seem like you can only enjoy this in a fancy restaurant, but it is actually quite attainable at home! Dangerous, I know – we LOVE Crème Brûlée.
The custard itself is very rich and not very sweet, but it’s really delicious combined with the sugar on top. I love to eat it paired with some fresh fruit.
My husband is especially fond of this tasty treat. He loves that it is light and refreshing after a good dinner. It is not a heavy dessert by any means. You are sure to love that crunchy sugar top as much as I do!
How to Make Creme Brûlée
PREP. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
CUSTARD. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla, until smooth.
Add the heavy cream to a medium saucepan and cook over low heat until almost at a boil. Remove from heat.
Pour a small amount of the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture and quickly mix until combined. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the cream, and mix until combined.
Divide the custard mixture between 5 6-ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins in a large baking pan, and fill the dish with hot water to about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
BAKE. Bake the custard for 30-35 minutes, until the custard only jiggles slightly when shaken. Remove from the oven and let cool in the water bath for 15 minutes, then move to the refrigerator to chill completely.
BRULEE. After the custard has cooled, preheat the broiler on high. Sprinkle the sugar granules evenly over the top of each custard.
Broil for 3-4 minutes, watching closely, until browned and bubbling. Serve immediately.
Creme Brulee Ingredient tips
Temper the yolk. It is really important to temper the egg yolks in step 3. Slowly raise the temperature of the egg yolk or they may scramble if heated too quickly. If the eggs are not cooked correctly, the entire dish will take on an eggy flavor.
Sugar topping. Cover the entire top of the creme with sugar. This will create the best, even, crispy, caramelized top. It’s the brulee in crème brûlée.
I can’t stress enough that you need to watch the broiling like a hawk as it can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds. If you have a kitchen torch use that in lieu of using the oven’s broiler.
Topping for Creme Brulee. The caramelized sugar can definitely stand alone, but it can be fun to garnish it with a pop of color from fresh berries.
Water bath. The secret ingredient in this Best Creme Brulee Recipe is more of a secret method. It is so important to temper the eggs correctly, use a bain-marie (water bath), and create a crystalized crust.
- This is another vital step that you do not want to skip. If the Brulee is cooked in a regular oven, it will take a more rubbery texture with a cracked surface.
- The moisture from the water bath keeps the Brulee creamy and moist. The added water should be hot so that it can immediately start letting steam off into the oven as well as promote an even cook to the custard.
- DO NOT let any of the water from the bain-marie or water bath get into the Brulees.
Why is it runny. There are always an infinite amount of mistakes that any given cook can make, but two main reasons that a creme brulee doesn’t set properly are not chilling completely and not cooking long enough.
Skim the foam. You may notice foam forming on top of the egg and cream mixture. Use a spoon to gently skim the foam off otherwise the air bubbles can rise up and create a bubbly texture on top. There is no need to strain.
Checking for doneness. The easiest way to test that the custard filling is done is to use an instant-read thermometer which should reach 170°F.
Or eyeball the dessert. The center should wobble just a little and have a glossy surface with no wet spots.
STORE egg whites. Don’t toss the egg whites. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Mix them with other eggs and make omelets or scrambled eggs.
Make ahead of time. Prepare the custard filling, but do not bake. Instead, cover each ramekin with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic is resting directly on the custard top. Store this Creme Brulee Recipe in the fridge for up to 2 days.
To bake them ahead of time, do not add the sugar topping. Allow the Vanilla Creme Brulee to cool, cover with plastic, and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Add the sugar and broil just before serving.
More show-stopping desserts:
Crème Brûlée Recipe
for the custard:
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
for the topping:
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla, until smooth.
- Add the heavy cream to a medium pot and cook over low heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat. Pour a small amount of the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture and quickly mix until combined. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the cream, and mix until combined.
- Divide the custard mixture between 5 (6-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins in a large baking dish, and fill the dish with hot water to about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the custard only jiggles slightly when shaken. Remove from the oven and let cool in the water bath for 15 minutes, then move to the refrigerator to cool completely.
- After the custard has cooled, preheat the broiler on high. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top of each custard. Broil for 3-4 minutes, watching closely, until browned and bubbling. Serve immediately.
Creme brulee is the creamiest dessert!! Love the fruit on top! If I can’t have chocolate, this is the next best thing!
This is always our extravagant dessert when we eat out at nice restaurants. It’s so nice to have this perfect recipe with all of its lovely ingredients.
Such a fun and delicious dessert to make at home!
Wow. I LOVE creme brulee! Getting it at a restaurant is like a sign I’m at a “fancy” restaurant! Awesome that I can make it at home and make it just as good or better!
I love the taste of creme brûlée. A custard with a hard shell. Not overly sweet.
Fancy dessert made easy so that even I can make it!