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Crème Brulée on a table ready to eat with two spoons

How to make Crème Brûlée like a French Chef

  • Author: lechefswife
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3h30 hours
  • Total Time: 3h50
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: french
  • Cuisine: French


There is Crème Brûlée, and then there is Le Chef's Crème Brûlée. A rich, decadent and silky smooth cream, flecked with fragrant vanilla bean and a crisp, crackly top that shatters into sugar shards when you break into it. This crème brûlée is absolute perfection - and, with a few insider tips, is easier than you think to make a home. Are you ready to learn how to make Crème Brûlée like a French Chef? 



*I prefer measuring in grams as they are the most precise measurement for baking. I highly suggest baking with a pastry scale for no-fail recipes.

400 grams of heavy cream (about 2 cups)

100 grams of whole milk (about 1/2 cup)

8 egg yolks (gently separate the yolk from the egg white - the egg whites can be used for an Omelette the next morning!)

110 grams of sugar (about 1/2 cup)

1 whole vanilla bean


Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Farenheit

Mix the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl with a whisk until the color begins to whiten

Carefully slice the vanilla bean in half length wise. Using the tip of your knife scrape out the insides of the bean (the little black seeds) and mix them in with the egg yolk and sugar.

Add the milk and the cream to the mixture - whisk together.

Use a ladle and carefully pour the mixture into the ramekins that are already set in the pan to avoid spilling.

Very delicately, transfer the pan to the middle rack of your oven.

Now, add about an inch of boiling water into the pan. (I add the water after the pan is in the oven to avoid the water sloshing into the crème brulée. Boiling water is key to getting the creme to set properly. 

Let cook for 3.5 hours (yes, 3.5 hours) making sure that there is always water in the pan. If you add more water, make sure it is boiling before you add it. The low heat and steam from the water create the best, creamy consistency in a crème brûlée.

You will know that the Crème is cooked when it no longer jiggles when you (lightly) move the ramekin.

How to Brûlée your Crème Brûlée like a Chef

The trick is to burn the sugar twice! 2 coats of "burnt" sugar make for that crack that is oh so satisfying.

First, generously sprinkle sugar over the top of each ramekin. Lift the ramekin of Crème up and , using both hands, swirl it around so that the sugar evenly coats the top. Pour the extra sugar back into a bowl.

Give a light pass over each sugar coated ramekin with a blowtorch. You are looking to melt the sugar - not complete caramelize it, or brûlée it. It should still have its clear color.

Repeat the same step. Generously sprinkle sugar over the top - swirl around and discard the extra sugar.

Now to use the blowtorch more carefully - you are looking to achieve a deep caramel color on top of your Crème Brûlée. Allow the sugar to bubble and blister - just be careful it does not blacken! You don't want to burn the sugar black and ruin the taste of your slow cooked desserts.

Allow to cool for a few minutes and for the sugar crust to harden.


Tell me, do you prefer to use light, gentle taps to break the top of your Crème Brûlée or do you go in with one strong tap with the spoon for maximum effect?

Feel free to comment and rate the recipe below!

Crème Brûlée can be made up to a couple days in advance, but I suggest saving the last step, the caramelizing of the sugar, until right before you serve.


Crème Brûlée can be made up to a couple days in advance, but I suggest saving the last step, the caramelizing of the sugar, until right before you serve.

Keywords: crème brulée, creme brulee, french food, french desserts