Ultimate crème brûlée

Ultimate crème brûlée

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(64 ratings)

Ready in around 1 hour 30 minutes

More effort

Serves 4
Our professional tips will help you to create this crunchy-and-custardy delight

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: nutrition per serving (and worth it)

  • kcal620
  • fat59g
  • saturates34g
  • carbs17g
  • sugars13g
  • fibre0g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.01g
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  • 2 cartons double cream, 1 large (284ml) plus 1 small (142ml)
  • 100ml full-fat milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 5 large egg yolk
  • 50g golden caster sugar, plus extra for the topping


  1. Preheat the oven to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4. Sit four 175ml ramekins in a deep roasting tin at least 7.5cm deep (or a large deep cake tin), one that will enable a baking tray to sit well above the ramekins when laid across the top of the tin. Pour the two cartons of cream into a medium pan with the milk. Lay the vanilla pod on a board and slice lengthways through the middle with a sharp knife to split it in two. Use the tip of the knife to scrape out all the tiny seeds into the cream mixture. Drop the vanilla pod in as well, and set aside.

  2. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk for 1 minute with an electric hand whisk until paler in colour and a bit fluffy. Put the pan with the cream on a medium heat and bring almost to the boil. As soon as you see bubbles appear round the edge, take the pan off the heat.

  3. Pour the hot cream into the beaten egg yolks, stirring with a wire whisk as you do so, and scraping out the seeds from the pan. Set a fine sieve over a large wide jug or bowl and pour the hot ixture through to strain it, encouraging any stray vanilla seeds through at the end. Using a big spoon, scoop off all the pale foam that is sitting on the top of the liquid (this will be several spoonfuls) and discard. Give the mixture a stir.

  4. Pour in enough hot water (from the tap is fine) into the roasting tin to come about 1.5cm up the sides of the ramekins. Pour the hot cream into the ramekins so you fill them up right to the top – it’s easier to spoon in the last little bit. Put them in the oven and lay a baking sheet over the top of the tin so it sits well above the ramekins and completely covers them, but not the whole tin, leaving a small gap at one side to allow air to circulate. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the mixture is softly set. To check, gently sway the roasting tin and if the crème brûlées are ready, they will wobble a bit like a jelly in the middle. Don’t let them get too firm.

  5. Lift the ramekins out of the roasting tin with oven gloves and set them on a wire rack to cool for a couple of minutes only, then put in the fridge to cool completely. This can be done overnight without affecting the texture.

  6. When ready to serve, wipe round the top edge of the dishes, sprinkle 1½ tsp of caster sugar over each ramekin and spread it out with the back of a spoon to completely cover (Anne Willan’s tip for an even layer). Spray with a little water using a fine spray (the sort you buy in a craft shop) to just dampen the sugar – then use a blow torch to caramelise it. Hold the flame just above the sugar and keep moving it round and round until caramelised. Serve when the brûlée is firm, or within an hour or two.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (81)

rosedepass's picture

This recipe does not work. The oven temperature is too high and they scrambled. I recommend cooking at 160-170 degrees. I recommend Nigella.

jeyleebean's picture

Made this yesterday for 12 people and it was gobbled up instantly. Many happy bellies. I double the quantity and used the yolks of 5 large eggs and the yolks of 6 small eggs. Creme 850ml and 100ml of milk. Things I've learned while making this yesterday as it was my first attempt.

1. It's important to cook it through else it'll be runny (I tried in 5 ramekins, one flat dish and a round large pot (400ml's) The ones in the ramekin set beautifully, the flat dish was a bit soft and the large pot runny

2. When adding the hot cream to the yolk mixture, add little by little, don't whack the whole thing in. I had it in a slow stream pouring with the left hand and whisking with the right.

3. Get rid of the foamy liquid that is a result of whisking as it has lots of air bubbles in it and it won't look so pretty if you don't. I lifted most of the foam out.

4. Enjoy, this is truly tasty!

PHinch94's picture

Everybody loves it, including people who never usually order creme brulee. Reminds me a little of doing a cheesecake, in the sense that the outcome seems far better than the effort in making it.

lorna_doone's picture

I made this tonight for my family (including hard to impress mother!!) and it looked just like creme brûlée that would be served in a restaurant- I was so proud of myself! Everyone loved it. I didn't sieve it as just fished out the vanilla pod and I probably should have scooped off more of the foam as there were bubbles on the top but this was disguised by the torched sugar so all good. The recipe is written very well and easy to follow. Will definitely make it again.

bezza110's picture

Really good recipe but it's not advisable to loo at calorie content. Went down well will be making it again

emznapier's picture

Possibly the greatest dessert ever!!!! 620 calories of pure heaven! And super easy to make :) dangerously easy in fact!

mscpp11's picture

If mixing the sugar and egg yolks together by hand should a thin wire whisk or balloon whisk* (*now cheaply available in some retail outlets) be used instead ? Also if refrigerating the brulee mixture before baking, should the vanilla pods be kept in the mixture or discarded ?

yvettelazza's picture

It was super easy to follow the recipe, and the taste is just superb. I feel like a real "master chief" with my brulee garnished with halved strawberries and some mint leaves. Thank you very much for sharing the recipe :)

stormgirl's picture

I have made this so many times now and it's always perfect, a great make ahead pud. I do sometimes omit the milk and put 100ml amarula which tastes so wonderful. I use icing sugar on the top sprayed with water and it crisps up beautifully.

stormgirl's picture

I have Meade this so many times now and it's always perfect, a great make ahead pud. I do sometimes omit the milk and put 100ml amarula which tastes so wonderful. I use icing sugar on the top sprayed with water and it crisps up beautifully.

Setapak100's picture

I made this for the first time for guests for dinner and they said it was the best creme brûlée they had ever had!!! It is absolutely delicious and the recipe is easy to follow. Will be another favourite recipe from Angela Neilson - her sticky toffee pudding is another classic!

susieone's picture

A superb recipe for the base custard and so easy. The first time I tried it, I used the grill to do the caramel topping. It was OK, but I think the ramekins were a little too far from the (electric) grill. (I used to do these in the 70s and the caramel was perfect, but I had a gas grill at the time.) The second time, I used my new blow torch. This was much better, although my target is that lovely even golden brown layer that splinters when hit with a spoon! May I never be satisfied with my efforts.... Have you ever heard of such an excuse to keep making these?!!!

rafatoc's picture

I'm a Brazilian chef and I've tried lots of recipes, including Ladureé's.
This is the best recipe ever.
Very easy to make, really tastes good and an exceptional texture.
My fiance just got crazy!!! She said she's gonna love me forever!!! :)

serenco's picture

Can you use extra-thick double cream? I have a large pot I need to use up..

armadiloes's picture

Wow this is one creme brulee! Full of flavour and calories so only reserved for treats or special occasions - this will certainly be on the dinner party menu!

ewalambe's picture

Great recipe! Delicious creme brulees. Just a word of warning - don't put your hot ramekins on the cold glass shelf of a fridge! I cracked mine and had to have it replaced.

dawn13's picture

Great recipe! Worked perfectly the first time!

blesskmh's picture

Can someone tell me how to make for 8? Double ingredients? How long in oven. Thankyou in advance!

wimbles's picture

Can this recipe be made ahead of time, and if so how long would it keep please? Could I make the custard and just finish off with the toffee before serving? Can't wait to try this, just waiting for my cazuelas! Thanks


Questions (3)

danmaca's picture

Worked perfectly first time, tasted wonderful! However, all the seeds were sitting at the bottom of the ramekins. Is there a way of avoiding this?

pams's picture

I made these last Christmas and they went down very well. Can someone tell me how far in advance I can make them and how long I can store them for in the fridge as I'd like to be better organised this year.

goodfoodteam's picture
Hi there, thanks for your question. Only make these one day in advance, or the texture will be affected.

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