Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée

1 h
A classic French dessert recipe, this simple crème brûlée is a showstopper and an irresistible treat for any dessert-lover with its soft vanilla custard filling and crispy finish of caramelised sugar on top. This simple yet elegant and indulgent dessert is irresistible and can even be made ahead of time, storing the custards in the fridge, and caramelise the top just before serving. Crème brûlée means burnt cream, which is precisely what crème brûlée is. It has a delicious vanilla flavour, a creamy and soft texture finished with a caramelised, crisp top. Impress your guests with this elaborate, though easy, dessert with its irresistible vanilla and caramel flavour.


  • Preheat the oven to 125°C regular oven.
  • Stir together egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla seeds with a spoon. Heat milk and double cream in a saucepan, then stir it into the egg mixture.
  • Sieve the mixture and distribute it in 4 ovenproof dishes (about 200 ml each). Place the dishes on a baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 50 minutes. The cream will wobble when you take it out of the oven but settles when it has cooled down.
  • Place the crème brûlées in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours – without covering them.
  • Sprinkle the crème brûlées with sugar and caramelise the top with a kitchen torch until the sugar has melted and darkened in colour. Serve immediately.

Baking crème brûlée is the final step of getting that perfectly smooth and creamy texture that is characteristic for the recipe. It should not boil or bubble in the oven. If this happens, the temperature is too high, and you should turn it down immediately. Some ovens are hotter than others, so check during baking to see if it has a smooth surface.


The lid of caramelised sugar is what makes the crème brûlée a classic. If you do not have a kitchen torch, you can use a water bath with ice-cold water instead. Use ice-cubes to get it cold enough. Place the moulds gently in the water, sprinkle a layer of sugar on top and put everything in the oven on broil setting and grill until you see the sugar caramelise and get golden. It can go very quickly, so check the colour of the sugar lid at all times so they do not burn. Serve immediately after removing them from the oven.


To get a even darker flavour of the caramelized sugar, use cane sugar. Because of the rougher refinement of the sugar, you will get a more intense and ‘darker’ flavour profile.

Questions about crème brûlée

Vanilla crème brûlée is one of the simplest desserts you will ever make. No long list of ingredients, no complex process. We have compiled a list of the most important things you need to know about crème brûlée and how to make it. Read below to learn more!

What is crème brûlée made of?
Crème brûlée literally means burnt cream. This French gem consists of a rich, creamy almost pudding-like vanilla custard topped with caramelised sugar that cracks when you tap it with a spoon. The custard is typically made with double cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla with sugar on top that is caramelised with a kitchen torch to make it crisp and caramel-like.
How to make crème brûlée?
To make this delicious dessert, you only need five ingredients: sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, double cream, and milk. You simply make a vanilla custard which you sieve and then place in small ovenproof dishes. Then bake the crème brûlée until it is wobbly and almost set, about 50 minutes, and cool for a few hours before sprinkling sugar and top and caramelising it with a kitchen torch until crisp and golden.
What does crème brûlée taste like?
A traditional crème brûlée has a rich vanilla custard with a caramel sugar topping. The creamy vanilla custard is sweet without the sweetness being too overpowering and balances the caramelised sugar. The perfect combination of vanilla and caramel flavour is aromatic and tastes heavenly for kids as well as adults.
Can you freeze crème brûlée?
There are mixed opinions about whether crème brûlée is suited for freezing as custards tend to separate when frozen and thawed. If you freeze this dessert, wrap it properly and do not torch the custards before freezing. Wrap each dish with the custard tightly in cling film or foil and transfer them into airtight containers in the freezer to avoid freezer burn. The custards can be frozen for about a month if stored and wrapped properly. However, if you are scared of risking the custard splitting, avoid freezing and simply make the custards in advance if you want to save time. Bake the custards and put in the fridge once cooled wrapped in cling film and caramelize them when you are ready to serve.
How long does crème brûlée last?
Baked and without a torched caramelised top, the custard will stay fresh for 2 to 4 days in the refrigerator. Be sure to wrap them in cling film before placing them in the fridge. If you try to refrigerate them with a caramelised layer, you risk the sugar absorbing moisture and the crispy top softening.
How to make crème brûlée without a torch?
It is not a classic vanilla crème brûlée without a beautifully caramelised sugar topping. If you do not have a kitchen torch at home, you can broil it in the oven to make the hard caramel topping. Sprinkle sugar on top of the vanilla custards and place them on a tray in the oven on broil setting. Once the sugar has melted and become golden, you can remove the crème brûlées from the oven. There you have it, crispy caramelised sugar on top of a creamy vanilla custard, no torch needed.
Is crème brûlée served hot or cold?
Though a traditional crème brûlée is served cold, it is actually a combination of warm and cold. The baked custard is chilled and topped with caramelised sugar just before serving. The caramel on top is still warm while the custard layer is chilled, creating a nice contrast to a delicious dessert.
How to know when crème brûlée is done?
The custard should wobble when you take it out of the oven and will set when it has cooled down in the refrigerator. Try nudging the dish to see if the custard jiggles. If there is liquid in the centre of the custard, it needs to stay a little longer in the oven.


Egg yolks
Sugar (approx. 1 dl)
85 g
Vanilla pod
Double cream
¼ l
Whole milk (approx. 100 ml)
100 ml
1 tbsp

Classic French vanilla crème brûlée

Some things are just better in French. This classic French dessert is simple and effortless, with a rich and creamy vanilla custard base topped with a layer of caramelised sugar for added texture. Break the caramelised layer with a spoon and watch as it shatters like a piece of glass and savour the delicious creamy and crispy treat. This easy crème brûlée recipe makes for a classic and impressive dessert.

Delicious caramel and vanilla flavour

Experience the sensation of creamy richness with a satisfying crunch. This silky-smooth vanilla custard base has a rich flavour and texture topped with a crackly caramelised sugar topping. The combination of a delicious caramel and vanilla flavour is the perfect way to round off a chic dinner party. The hard crunch of the melted sugar and the delicate creaminess of the custard will melt on your tongue.

Are you looking for other sweet recipes to round off the evening? Try our delicious recipe for apple strudel bursting with juicy apples or a simple and creamy French parfait ice cream. For a more exotic and tropical dessert, take your tastebuds on an exciting vacation with a pineapple soufflé.

Experience the different textures of crème brûlée

Crème brûlée is an elegant and minimalistic dessert that never ceases to impress. What makes this multidimensional dessert so special is the contrasting textures and temperatures. You get a pleasant crunchy, warm caramel flavour on top of a cold, creamy, sweet custard with a silky and soft inside. This combination of cold, creamy, hot, and crunchy entices the taste buds and makes every bite perfect.

How to torch a crème brûlée

What is the crème without the brûlée? The crispy caramelised top is essential for this dessert and should be done just before serving. To get this crunchy layer, remove the crème custards from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before you start torching. Use a paper towel to dab away any moisture on top of the custards. Sprinkle sugar in a thin layer on top. Fire up a torch to melt the sugar until it caramelises and hardens and has a beautiful glass-like golden-brown colour, creating the signature brûlée top. Let them sit for a couple of minutes before serving.

Shake things up with different flavours

The classic vanilla crème brûlée does not contain any fruit but does have floral qualities from the vanilla that cut through the cream flavour. You can easily shake up the classic vanilla-flavoured recipe by adding different fruits or spices. For a luscious lemon crème brûlée, add lemon extract to the double cream and fold it into the egg and sugar mixture. The burst of lemon gives the regular crème brûlée a fresh twist.

This crème brûlée recipe also works well with lavender. Heat double cream with dried culinary lavender just below the boiling point, and let the lavender infuse for 30 minutes before you pass the cream through a sieve. Allow the cream to cool before stirring it into the egg-sugar mixture. The creamy lavender-infused custard tastes delicious and has a pleasant floral aroma.