Classic Crème Brûlée Recipe

When you are flipping through the menu at a nice restaurant, there's a good chance that you will see crème brûlée in the dessert section. It's one of the most popular and delicious desserts out there, and if you've tried it, you can certainly attest to that fact. According to Taste Atlas, many countries have taken credit for this delicious custard-based dessert, so the history is a little bit murky. England, Spain, and France have all said that crème brûlée originated in their country, though most people think "French" when they hear the name "crème brûlée." But no matter where this delicious dessert came from, it's sure to hit the spot after a main course or even just as a little sweet treat to satisfy any cravings.

Recipe developer Eric Ngo knows a great deal about crafting French pastries and desserts, and he especially likes "being able to caramelize the sugar right before eating" his crème brûlée. If you've always thought that this dessert was too difficult to make at home, fear not — this recipe will guide you through it with ease.

Gather the ingredients for classic crème brûlée

Believe it or not, this recipe requires just a few ingredients. You will need eggs, white sugar, heavy cream, raw cane sugar, and either vanilla bean or vanilla bean extract. Once you have all of those things, you can get started on this classic crème brûlée.

Preheat the oven and bring the cream and vanilla to a simmer

Since you will need to use an oven for this recipe, set the temperature to 200 F, allowing it to get nice and hot while doing the rest of the prep work.

Add the heavy cream and the vanilla to a pan, then place it on the burner. "I think using real vanilla bean makes the difference vs. using vanilla extract. It tastes so much better," Ngo shares. Of course, you can use vanilla extract if that's all that you have on hand. Bring the liquid to a simmer, and let it stay there for a few minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar, and combine with cream

While the heavy cream simmers, take out a bowl and add the egg yolks and sugar. Continue whisking the ingredients together until they turn a pale yellow color. This shouldn't take more than a minute or so. "Hand stirring with a whisk is enough; no need for a machine," Ngo shares. Then, slowly pour the hot cream mixture over the egg mix while continually stirring.

Fill in the molds and bake

Pour the mixture into your crème brûlée molds and double-check to make sure your oven has finished preheating. Pop the molds into the oven and set your timer for 50 minutes. You will want to bake until the egg mixture is no longer a liquid.

Let the crème brûlée cool down, then add sugar

After you remove the crème brûlée from the oven, let them cool down in the fridge for about 30 minutes. "If you don't let it cool, as you put on the sugar to caramelize, the creme is not yet firm in its texture and will result in breaking apart," Ngo explains. "By letting it cool down, it becomes less fragile and makes it easier to caramelize."

That brings us to our next step, which is adding the cane sugar over the custard. Then, using a torch, caramelize the top so that the sugar gets nice and browned, but not burnt.

Serve and enjoy

Crème brûlée is best when you serve it immediately. This dessert is absolutely fantastic on its own, but if you want to jazz it up a bit, you can add a scoop of ice cream on top or on the side. 

Be sure to keep the leftovers (in the rare case that you have any). "This recipe should be eaten within 2 days," Ngo shares. "The longer it stays in the fridge the more soggy the caramel will become."

Classic Crème Brûlée Recipe
5 from 64 ratings
If you want to make a dessert that tastes fancy, looks fancy, but is actually pretty easy to make, give this crème brûlée recipe a try.
Prep Time
Cook Time
crème brûlée in dish
Total time: 1 hour
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ vanilla bean or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 F.
  2. Bring the heavy cream and vanilla to a simmer on the stovetop.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the white sugar until pale in color (about 1 minute).
  4. Slowly pour the hot cream over the egg mixture while continuously stirring.
  5. Pour the custard into crème brûlée molds and bake for 50 minutes, until the egg mixture is no longer liquid.
  6. Cool the crème brûlée down in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  7. Pour the raw cane sugar over the custard and caramelize with a torch.
  8. Serve immediately.
Calories per Serving 394
Total Fat 36.6 g
Saturated Fat 21.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 268.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Total Sugars 13.3 g
Sodium 41.8 mg
Protein 4.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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