One of my all time favorite desserts is without a doubt this creamy creme brulee. It’s not difficult to make although it does require some attention to detail.

Creme brulee
Another delicious christmas dish

Creamy creme brûlée

The very first time I made a creme brulee I thought it would be a walk in the park. I could not have been more wrong. I overcooked the eggs making it more like a version of scrambled eggs than the creamy perfection I had in mind. So while making a creme brulee is really not difficult it does make sense to stick to the recipe at hand and follow the steps for a perfect classic french dessert.

What do you need?

In order to make the creme brulee, you really don’t need a lot of ingredients. You need the following simple ingredients:

  • heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
  • egg yolks
  • granulated sugar
  • superfine sugar for the top
  • vanilla pod

You need quite a few egg yolks. 8 in total. May be the perfect opportunity to make a delicious pavlova as well with the remaining egg whites. The first thing you do is you heat the heavy cream with the vanilla pod split open. You can also use a vanilla bean paste if you prefer.

You simmer the cream on low heat for about 20 minutes and then set aside so the flavors can infuse. If you’re using whole vanilla beans you remove that later.

creme brulee

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until it combines. I like to use the next step with a double boiler to prevent the heating of the mixture going too fast. In order to do that I take a small saucepan and I place a medium bowl on top of the pan. The saucepan is filled with a little bit of water and you bring that to the boil. The steam of the water will heat the underside of the bowl and will gently heat your custard base.

Now that you’ve placed the bowl with the egg yolks and sugar on top of the saucepan you add the cream. Remove the vanilla bean at this point. While stirring you gently warm the cream/egg mixture until it starts to thicken. You can do it on direct heat if you prefer but do make absolutely sure not to overheat or you will be cooking the eggs.

Once the mixture thickens you can move them to the ramekins. At this point you have also preheated the oven to the right temperature. (350˚F)

Into the oven

You can brush the sides of the ramekins with some butter to prevent anything sticking to the sides after baking, although I have found it works fine without the butter. Now you use a fine mesh strainer to add the custard into the ramekins. By using the strainer you prevent any lumps coming into the ramekins. You place the ramekins inside a ovendish and you add a hot water bath to make sure the creme brulee is heated evenly.  Place the oven dish with the ramekins on an oven rack.

Now bake the custard for about 15 to 20 minutes in the oven. The baking time might be slightly longer depending on your oven.

Take out of the oven and add a sugar topping to the baked custard. 

creme brulee

Caramelized sugar crust

Of course one of the most important parts of the creme brulee, apart from the creamy custard, is the crispy sugar crust. There are two ways to make that happen. First is by using a kitchen torch, which is my preferred method as it is the easiest and can be best controlled. or so I like to think. You sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top of the custard and you use the blow torch to melt the sugar and created a crunchy top. The sugar melts and will eventually caramelize. The tricky thing with using this method is that it will be burned before you can blink. So make sure you keep moving the torch until it browns and then move on to the next ramekin. I find using the blow torch the fun part of this creme brulee recipe. But that could just be me.. 🙂

The second method of caramelizing the crust is to use an oven broiler. For that you also sprinkle the sugar on top of the custard and you place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Place it under the oven’s broiler for about 5 minutes or until the top starts to bubble and brown. Keep a close eye on things as it can go really fast all of a sudden. Which method you use is a personal preference.

Can you prepare the creme brulee in advance?

You can definitely prepare the creme brulee in advance if you want to. It’s easiest to make the creamy vanilla custard up till the point where the custard is baked. Once you’re there cover the top of the custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming. Once you’re ready to serve, bring the ramekins out of the fridge and let them get to room temperature before you add the sugar and create the crunchy top.

You can find the full recipe in the recipe card.

creme brulee

Creme brûlée

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The classic french dessert that is so good you'll keep making it
Decorative clock showing preparation time
Prep time 15 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes

6 people


  • 6 ramekins


  • 1 l double cream 4 cups
  • 1 vanilla pod split and seeds taken out
  • 8 eggyolks
  • 110 g sugar fine sugar
  • 60 g sugar for making the sugar coating

  • Preheat the oven to 150˚C (302˚F). Put cream and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and leave to simmer on low fire for about 3 minutes. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  • Whisk egg yolks and sugar together. Slowly pour the cream mixture on top and keep whisking. Use a double boiler to heat the cream mixture until it starts to thicken. It should be thick enough to coat a spoon.
  • Remove the vanilla bean and strain the mixture above 6 ramekins of 175 ml each. Put them in a baking tray and pour hot water half way up to the ramekins. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are set. Remove the ramekins from the baking tray and leave them to cool in the fridge for at least an hour.
  • Put the ramekins on a baking tray, sprinkle with the extra sugar and leave for 2 minutes. Put icecubes around the ramekins and put them under a preheated gril and bake for 2-3 minutes until the sugar is melted and golden brown. You can also use a special kitchen torch of course.

Nutrition Information per portion

Calories: 758kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 67g | Saturated Fat: 41g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 449mg | Sodium: 57mg | Potassium: 186mg | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 2811IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 1mg


The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.

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Simone van den Berg

Food blogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Likes to create healthy and easy recipes for daily use, but also loves the occasional sweet dish. Lives in the Netherlands with her two cats; Humphrey and Buffy. Profession: Food photographer, food blogger, recipe developer and nutritionist