Vanilla Crème Brûlée

Vanilla crème brûlée is a rich custard base topped with a layer of hardened caramelized sugar. Easy to prepare and ready in under 15 minutes.

Belula November 10, 2019 May 23, 2020
Overhead closeup shot of vanilla crème brûlée minus one bite

Before coming to France, I had never tired vanilla crème brûlée before. I am more of a chocolate dessert kind of girl. I must admit crème brûlée has stolen my heart. Ever since I made this easy crème brûlée recipe it has been on repeat at home. It is one of my husband's favourite things to have an I get to make him happy with so little effort. An impressive and delicious dessert.

What is vanilla crème brûlée?

Vanilla crème brûlée is a classic French dessert, formed by a rich custard and top with caramelized sugar. It's baked in the oven at low temperature to be able to get that creamy texture. The best part is when get to crack it with the spoon and hear that delicious caramelized layer break.

Ingredients to make vanilla crème brûlée

To make this easy vanilla crème brûlée recipe you will need only a few things. The 4 ingredients for crème brûlée success are:

  1. Sugar
  2. Egg yolks
  3. Liquid cream
  4. Vanilla bean or vanilla extract

How to make vanilla bean crème brûlée?

You only need 10 actual minutes of work to end up having this delicious vanilla crème brûlée.

First mix egg yolks, sugar, and a little cream. Then bring the rest of the cream + vanilla bean to a boil and pour onto the egg yolk/sugar mixture.

Finally fill up your ramekins for crème brûlée and bake at low temperature until set.

Keep in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

That's it. Done. The only thing left is to caramelize the crème brûlée before serving.

Slicing open the vanilla bean
Fill the moulds with the crème brûlée using a ladle

How to bake vanilla crème brûlée?

The easy way to bake vanilla crème brûlée is to set you oven at 100 degrees Celsius (210 F) and bake until set. Approximately 30 minutes if you use classic crème brûlée ramekins (they are quite thin).

The oven temperature is THE KEY to obtaining a smooth and silky vanilla crème brûlée. If the temperature is too high, you will boil the crème brûlée and it will no longer be smooth or silky or taste particularly good.

You can bake the crème brûlée in a different kind of mould, like souffle ramekins! Just pay attention to the baking time. The deeper the mould, the longer it will take it to set.

How do you know when crème brûlée is set? Make a test: open the oven and gently move one of the ramekins using a kitchen towel. If it is still wiggly and kind of "dances" then it needs some extra baking minutes. If on the contrary it does not move, your crème brûlée is set and ready to cool down.

How to torch crème brûlée?

The vanilla crème brûlée must be chilled before you caramelize. To torch it:

  1. Remove from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap.
  2. Cover with a thin layer of brown sugar.
  3. Blow the torch over the crème brûlée ramekin until sugar has caramelized.
  4. Repeat this procedure a second time.
  5. Enjoy!
Closeup shot of one vanilla crème brûlée

How to torch crème brûlée without a blow torch?

You can have crème brûlée without a torch! To do so:

  1. Sprinkle the vanilla crème brûlée with a thin layer of brown sugar.
  2. Grab a metal spoon.
  3. Using gloves heat up the back of the spoon over your stove at high heat.
  4. Rub the back of the hot spoon onto the sugar until caramelized.
  5. Enjoy!

How to serve vanilla crème brûlée?

  1. Vanilla crème brûlée must be served cold with a layer of caramelized sugar on top. Once you baked the crème brûlée and it has cooled down, cover in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.
  2. It must be very cold to achieve a beautiful caramelization!
Overhead shot of crème brûlée sprinkled with sugar ready for torching
The ingredients used in all recipes on this site are measured using the metric system. I use a scale to be precise with my measurements and ensure good results. If you would also like to use a scale, here are some: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, France.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition: 446 cal
Cuisine: French


  • Sugar 140 g
  • Cream 500 ml
  • Egg Yolks 120 g
  • Vanilla Beans 2
  • Brown Sugar


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius. Place the moulds on a baking tray.
  • 2. In a bowl mix the egg yolks, the sugar and ¼ of the liquid cream. Set aside.
  • 3. Mix the vanilla and the remaining liquid cream in a pot.
  • 4. Bring to a boil and pour over the egg yolk/sugar mixture. Mix until combined.
  • 5. Using a ladle or a jar fill the moulds with the crème brûlée batter.
  • 6. Bake until set. Approximately 30 minutes.
  • 7. Let it warm at room temperature and then proceed to cover the moulds with plastic wrap (or put them in a container that has a lid) and refrigerate.
  • 8. Just before serving remove them from the fridge sprinkle the brown sugar and caramelize using a blowtorch.
  • 9. Repeat this operation a second time to you create a nice caramelized, crusty top layer.
If you made this recipe I would really appreciate it if you leave a rating or comment below! Also, if you share on social media please use #cookwithbelula, I would love to see what you create!
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Louise November 15, 2019

My favorite dessert. I will try it soon.

Belén Gowland
Belula November 15, 2019

HI Louise! let me know how it turns out! It's my husbands favorite too :)

Marc July 26, 2020


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