The Best and The Easiest Classic Crème Brûlée


This post may contain affiliate links.

Classic Crème Brûlée Recipe — This is an easy crème brûlée that everyone can make, doesn’t require a candy thermometer or stand mixer, and isn’t doctored up with specialty flavorings.

The Best & The Easiest Classic Crème Brûlée - Finally an easy recipe for smooth, rich, creamy, restaurant-quality crème brûlée!

Easy Crème Brûlée Recipe

After five years of blogging and a couple cookbooks, many days I feel like I’ve made every dessert there is. But I recently asked my family, “If you could have any dessert under the sun, what would it be?”

The reply was crème brûlée. I was not expecting that, at all. I was expecting idunno’s and notsure’s.

I said, since when do you like crème brûlée, knowing his outright distaste for cheesecake, and he’s very picky about pies and custardy things. I’ve written off most of those type of recipes since I don’t need a cheesecake or a pie just for me.

He said that ever since he started going out for fancy business lunches and dinners again he’s become a big crème brûlée fan.

So I knew I had to make it, but when I started to research crème brûlée recipes, talk about fussy, picky, tedious and very un-fun recipes. Why is it that the best things can often be the most fussy? Worth it, but you’ve earned it once you finally dig in.

Crème Brûlée in small blue ramekin with spoon

This very do-able and classic crème brûlée is so good, so decadent, creamy, and rich, and it’s a must-make.

Key word here, classic. It was requested I don’t do anything ‘fancy’ or goofy to it, i.e. don’t be a food blogger and try to improve upon perfection by adding flavorings, liquors, zests, etc. Just classic crème brûlée, please.

I mixed and matched so many recipes I saw and came up with something that’s a straightforward recipe everyone can make, it doesn’t require a candy thermometer, stand mixer, and it’s not overly fussy. Baking should be fun.

This crème brûlée recipe serves 4 to 6. I  made 6 portions and did so on purpose for portion control and to stretch the recipe, but we ended up eating all 6 portions the first day anyway. Whoops.

As you puncture the firm top layer of crystallized sugar with your spoon, it gives way to the creamiest, smoothest, richest, sweet custardy layer. It’s velvety soft and smooth, and worth every minute of cardio.

My family said this blows away all the fancy restaurant crème brûlée and has asked when I’m making it again.

blue ramekins filled with Crème Brûlée

What’s in Crème Brûlée? 

To make the best crème brûlée recipe, you’ll need:

  • Heavy cream
  • Egg yolks 
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Superfine sugar

two ramekins filled with Crème Brûlée

How to Make Crème Brûlée

This homemade crème brûlée couldn’t be easier to make! First, place 6 small ramekins inside a 9×13-inch baking dish (you’ll fill this later with water to make a water bath). 

Next, heat the cream until it just starts to bubble — don’t let it come to a boil! Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and pale in color. 

Slowly pour the warm cream over the eggs, whisking constantly the entire time. Stir in the vanilla and salt, then divide the mixture between the ramekins. 

Fill the 9×13-inch baking dish with hot water until it almost reaches the top of the ramekins. Then, bake the crème brûlée until they’re set with a slight jiggle to them. Once they come out of the oven, they’ll need to cool on your counter for an hour before being transferred to the fridge. 

spoon in blue ramekin of Crème Brûlée

Can I Prep This in Advance? 

Yes! Crème brûlée is a great party dessert because you can make it up to three days in advance, keep it chilled in the fridge, and sprinkle with sugar right before serving and torch them in front of your guests. Super impressive and memorable for them, but easy for you.

Do I Have to Use a Kitchen Torch?

You could try to caramelize the top sugar layer under the broiler, but it’s unreliable and you can easily burn all your precious work in seconds. I recommend a torch.

The Best & The Easiest Classic Crème Brûlée - Finally an easy recipe for smooth, rich, creamy, restaurant-quality crème brûlée!

Tips for Making the Best Crème Brûlée 

There are a couple things that will make your life easier when making this recipe. Ramekins and a small kitchen torch. I used these Le Creuset 8-Ounce Round Covered Ramekins or here’s a gift set in a slightly different color. Keep your eyes open for small oven-safe ramekins at places like Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Marshall’s, or TJ Maxx for a couple bucks each. They’re handy to have around and as much as I’d love to collect Le Creuset in every size and color, it’s not exactly practical.

You can also use a larger but shallow baking dish, adjusting baking time as necessary, and although you won’t have individual portions, it’ll work.

Read the recipe over a couple times before beginning, have everything organized (mise en place) before beginning, and you’ll be rewarded with the best crème brûlée that’s ever passed your lips. And the easiest.

Classic Crème Brûlée Recipe — This is an easy crème brûlée that everyone can make, doesn't require a candy thermometer or stand mixer, and isn’t doctored up with specialty flavorings.

Pin This Recipe

Enjoy Without Ads! 🆕
Go Ad Free

4.61 from 41 votes

The Best and The Easiest Classic Crème Brûlée

By Averie Sunshine
This is an easy crème brûlée that everyone can make, doesn't require a candy thermometer or stand mixer, and isn’t doctored up with specialty flavorings.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 6 servings
Save this recipe to your email
Enter your email and we’ll send it to you!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


  • 1 pint whipping or heavy cream, 2 cups
  • 4 egg yolks from large eggs
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • about 3 to 4 cups water, for water bath
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons superfine sugar per each ramekin, for caramelizing (granulated may be substituted but superfine melts more smoothly and evenly)


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place 6 ramekins in a 9×13 pan or large baking pan that will be used for a water bath. Spray ramekins with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
  • Add the cream to a 2-cup glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high power until cream begins to bubble just a bit, but don’t let it come to a full boil; it took 3 1/2 minutes in my micro (or heat cream over medium heat on the stove, about 10 minutes). Remove cream from micro; set aside to cool.
  • Crack the eggs into a small bowl and with clean hands, pick out the yolks and put them in a large bowl. I find picking out the yolks very carefully with my fingers is the easiest way to separate whites/yolks, but separate them as you prefer. Use the whites for another recipe or discard.
  • To the large bowl with the yolks, add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and whisk vigorously for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is lighter and paler in color, and has fluffed in volume. Your shoulder should be burning; use an electric mixer if you wish, or burn some calories, save dishes, and whisk by hand; set aside.
  • With a spoon, remove any skin that’s formed on the cream. It will be quite warm, but not scalding; it should read 165F max on a thermometer.
  • Very slowly pour about 1/4 cup of cream into the eggs, whisking the whole time. This is tempering the eggs (getting them used to the warm cream) so you don’t scramble them.
  • Continue pouring the cream into the eggs very slowly, whisking the whole time.
  • Add the vanilla, optional salt, and whisk to combine. Some recipes call for straining the mixture through a fine sieve now, but I find there’s no difference so I skip straining.
  • Evenly pour mixture into prepared ramekins; set aside.
  • Add 2 cups water to 2-cup glass measuring cup and microwave on high power until boiling, about 4 minutes.
  • Slowly and carefully pour the hot water into the 9×13 pan. The water creates a water bath so the crème brûlée bakes more evenly. Make sure the water isn’t being poured onto or splashing into the ramekins. Top off with more very hot tap water until the water level in the pan is about as high as the level of crème brûlée inside the cups.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until set with some jiggle. Baking time will vary widely based on pan size, if you’re baking 4 to 6, level of water in water batch, type of ceramic the ramekins are made of, climate and oven variances, and personal preference. Use your judgment and bake until done, noting that crème brûlée will set up more as it cools. If you open the oven and gently move the baking pan and the crème brûlée makes a wave-like motion, more than just slight jiggling, they’re not done. They should not be browned, won’t rise, and if testing with a thermometer it should read 150F to 155F for food safety; however I bake until about 170F because at 155F, there’s still too much jiggle for my liking.
  • Remove pan from the oven and very carefully with a hot mitt, remove ramekins from water bath and place them on a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • Cover them with lids or plastic wrap, and transfer to fridge to chill for at least 3 hours, or up to 3 days in advance.
  • Prior to serving, evenly sprinkle each ramekin with 1 to 2 teaspoons superfine sugar. I prefer 2 teaspoons each to achieve an appropriately thick caramelized top layer.
  • Using a torch held about 6 inches away from the surface, heat the sugar, making sure to keep the torch moving evenly to prevent burning. When sugar is sufficiently caramelized to your liking, serve immediately.


  • Crème brûlée that has not been sugared/torched will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1, Calories: 363kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 244mg, Sodium: 82mg, Sugar: 12g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Special Occasion Desserts: 

Crack Pie — There’s a reason this pie has the name it has and it definitely lives up to the hype!

Crack Pie 

Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake — This upside down cake is super moist thanks to the combination of sour cream, buttermilk, and vegetable oil. It’s so easy to make, and the caramelized banana flavor is impossible to resist! 

Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake

Banana Cream Pudding Pie with Cream Cheese Crust — You’re going to love this quintessential comfort food dessert. It tastes like you slaved over it but it’s one of the easiest pies ever.

Banana Cream Pudding Pie with Cream Cheese Crust

The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache — This truly is the best chocolate cake EVER. It’s topped with a silky smooth chocolate ganache frosting, and it takes just 10 minutes of hands-on prep!

The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Sugar Cream Pie — This sugar cream pie reminds me a bit of crème brûlée. The filling is custard-like, and when topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon it’s irresistable! 

Sugar Cream Pie

The Best Triple Chocolate Layer Cake — This is the chocolate layer cake to beat out all others. It’s rich, decadent, and everything you want in a triple chocolate cake! 

The Best Triple Chocolate Layer Cake

4.61 from 41 votes (36 ratings without comment)

Leave a Comment

Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe so many times now. It never fails to impress my guests and family. Love it!!
    Sometimes I do an extra layer of caramelized sugar on top … totally decadent and not necessary but lol sometimes more is more!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am so glad you’ve made this many times and that it always impresses your guests and family! The extra layer of sugar sounds amazing too :)

  2. Hi I just made this tonight. I filled up to the top and they were halfway down in size by the time I took out of oven. Was there too much air in my mixture?

    1. That is hard to say what happened but yes that sounds like a possible explanation. I would say you could whip/whisk the mixture a bit less next time and see what kind of results you get.

  3. 5 stars
    Have made this recipe many times although I heat the cream on the stove. This creme brule is so easy, so delicious. As good as any I have tried.

    1. For classic creme brulee, yes you need to torch it. But if you’re not concerned about it being classic, then I guess not. It really is so much better though if you do.

  4. Hi I was wondering if anyone has tried cutting the recipe in half. I am the only creme brulee fan in my home and 6 in three days is A little to much even for me!

    1. I think halving it will be fine. Honestly, it will also keep longer than 3 days in the fridge. It may not be worthy to serve to guests like that but if it’s just you, no biggie. I have kept it for a week in the fridge.