Easy Creme Brulee Recipe

LAST UPDATED: Dec 05, 2019 | PUBLISHED: Mar 05, 2017 | By: Julie Blanner

This easy creme brulee recipe is a classic dessert that is ready in 30 minutes. It is great for entertaining, as it can be made ahead of time and it’s made with just 5 pantry staple ingredients. Rich and creamy, it’s the perfect way to finish a meal.

Creme brulee in two white ramekins with spoons

Crème brûlée is one of our favorite desserts both for it’s ease to make and enjoy. It’s not too sweet and so smooth, making a great dessert for brunch, lunch or dinner. And the fire factor? Don’t worry if you don’t have a torch. I have a simple solution for that as well!

Crème brûlée is also known as urnt cream, trinity cream, or crema catalana. Whatever you call it, it’s amazing! The rich custard base is topped with caramelized sugar, offering the most luxurious texture!

It’s typically served in a ramekin, which makes it feel special. I typically use a shallow ramekin for the perfect custard to caramelized sugar ration, but you can serve it in small, deeper ramekins as well!

To Make This Easy Creme Brulee, You Will Need:

You just need five ingredients to make this restaurant quality dessert!

  • Heavy Cream – Heavy cream is thick and has a rich flavor but is not too sweet. Do not substitute this with half and half as the dessert will not set.
  • Sugar – The sugar is used in the custard, but also sprinkled on top of the dessert and broiled just before serving to create a wonderful crunchy topping.
  • Vanilla Extract – A little vanilla extract gives a wonderful and subtle flavor, if you can, use pure rather than imitation. You can get my Homemade Vanilla Extract recipe here.
  • Egg Yolks – Use fresh egg yolks in this recipe. Keep the leftover egg whites and you can make Meringue Cookies or Pink Champagne Cupcakes with them.

Creme brulee served in two white ramekins

How to Make Easy Creme Brulee – With Step by Step Photos

These classic French dessert is so much easier to make than you think, and it’s a great option for a make ahead dessert. 

  1. First of all, bring cream, vanilla and half of the sugar to a boilCream in a saucepan
  2. Combine the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar.
  3. Mix the cream mixture into egg mixture gradually while beating it.
  4. Create a water bath. Fill a cookie sheet or baking dish with water and line with ramekins. The custard mixture in ramekins in a sheet pan before baking
  5. Pour custard into ramekins and bake.
  6. Remove and refrigerate to set until ready to serve.
  7. Before serving, sprinkle with sugar, broil and voila!

Recipe variations

You can mix up this easy creme brûlée by adding orange peel, Grand Marnier, finely chopped lavender, or lemon extract, but plain ‘ole vanilla is just perfect for me.

The baked custard in ramekins in a sheet pan

Is Creme Brulee Hard To Make From Scratch?

I think the 80’s made us believe that we needed help in the kitchen and stole our confidence in making and baking from scratch. bBut, creme brulee is just as easy to make from scratch, if not easier than a mix.

There’s no reason to be intimidated by anything other than your ability to refrain from eating it until it has set. I sometimes struggle with that because the custard is so good! 

What Is On The Top Of Creme Brulee?

The topping on these desserts in caramelized sugar and it’s so easy to do! You may have seen professional chefs use blow torches to create this crunchy topping, but you can easily do it at home without one.

Simply sprinkle the sugar on top of the creme brulees just before serving and pop them under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the sugar starts to bubble and turn a dark brown.

How Far Ahead Of Time Can You Make This Dessert?

Creme brulee is one of my go to dinner party desserts, as you can make it up to four days ahead of time! Once the desserts have set, cover them with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. Add the sugar topping and broil when you want to serve.

The creme brulee needs to set in the fridge once you have made them, so allow at least 30 minutes for this.

Creme brulee with a caramelized sugar topping

Top Tips To Make Easy Creme Brulee

  • When adding the cream mixture to the egg mixture, add it gradually whilst stirring so that it combines well. The cream shouldn’t be boiling or the eggs can scramble.
  • It’s important to bake the desserts in a water bath, as this keeps them moist and prevents them from cracking. Simply place the ramekins in a deep sheet pan or cake tin and fill halfway with water.
  • When broiling the sugar on top of the desserts, watch closely so that the sugar doesn’t burn or it will taste bitter.
  • Refrigerate the baked desserts for at least 30 minutes until set, and up to four days.

It’s yet another one of my favorite make ahead desserts that feels thoughtful when served,  but is nearly effortless to make. Do you love creme brûlée?

For More Easy Dessert Recipes

If you try this easy creme brulee recipe, please come back to share using my 5 star rating in the comments below! Not only do I appreciate it, but I know readers do, too! 

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Secrets for the best creme brûlée | easy make ahead dessert recipe

Easy Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee is not too sweet and so smooth, making a great dessert for brunch, lunch or dinner. 
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings (hover to scale): 8 people
Calories: 387kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla
  • 5 egg yolks large
  • 3 tablespoons sugar for dusting

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat bring cream, half of the sugar and vanilla to a boil while stirring.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine yolks and remaining sugar. *Gradually* add cream to yolks while beating.
  • Pour the mixture into ramekins. Place ramekins in a sheet or cake pan and create a water bath by filling the pan halfway to the top with water.
  • Bake short ramekins for 20 minutes and taller ramekins up to 30 minutes and refrigerate.
  • To serve, dust sugar over the top and torch or put in the broiler, watching carefully until the sugar caramelizes.

Notes

  • When adding the cream mixture to the egg mixture, add it gradually whilst stirring so that it combines well. The cream shouldn't be boiling or the eggs can scramble.
  • It's important to bake the desserts in a water bath, as this keeps them moist and prevents them from cracking. Simply place the ramekins in a deep sheet pan or cake tin and fill halfway with water.
  • When broiling the sugar on top of the desserts, watch closely so that the sugar doesn't burn or it will taste bitter.
  • Refrigerate the baked desserts for at least 30 minutes until set, and up to four days.
  • You can mix up this easy creme brûlée by adding orange peel, Grand Marnier, finely chopped lavender, or lemon extract, but plain ‘ole vanilla is just perfect for me.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 223mg | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 68mg | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 1255IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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