Ultimate crème brûlée with a spoon

Ultimate crème brûlée

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(90 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins - 40 mins Plus chilling

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…

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


  1. Heat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ 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.

  2. Pour the large and small cartons of double cream into a medium pan with 100ml full-fat milk. 

  3. Lay 1 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.

  4. Put 5 large egg yolks and 50g golden caster sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk for 1 min with an electric hand whisk until paler in colour and a bit fluffy.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Set a fine sieve over a large wide jug or bowl and pour the hot mixture through to strain it, encouraging any stray vanilla seeds through at the end.

  8. 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.

  9. Pour in enough hot water (from the tap) 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Bake for 30-35 mins 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.

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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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Scott K's picture
Scott K
9th Jun, 2020
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT whisk the eggs and sugar until "paler in color and a bit fluffy." This is 1,000% guaranteed to ruin your creme brulee, as you can see by all the complaints in the comments. When you beat the eggs like this, you are essentially whipping them (adding a ton of air.) In the oven, this air rises to the surface, creating a thin, bubbly layer that cooks extremely quickly, resulting in a bubbly, eggy, overcooked layer of skin on the surface. Aside from looking and tasting horrific, this layer is truly impossible to caramelize sugar on. Whoever wrote this recipe should be ashamed of themselves, and has clearly never made successful creme brulee this way. DO. NOT. WHIP. THE EGGS. Instead, very gently fold and stir the sugar into the egg yolks, just until mixed enough that the sugar is no longer white. That's all it needs. Beating your eggs into whipped cream will cause disaster.
Rajan Patel
25th Apr, 2020
The ingredients are the same as vanilla ice cream, and similar ratios! (https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/ultimate-vanilla-ice-cream)
16th Feb, 2020
17th Sep, 2019
Just trying to work out why there are such polarised results with some getting scrambled egg. Maybe it’s interpretation of first instruction; turn the oven on and get the ramekins ready but don’t put them in the oven yet.
Adrien Cabaret's picture
Adrien Cabaret
22nd Feb, 2019
Hey For the 13th step of the creme brulee. Don't put the caster sugar but RAW SUGAR it is better. I am French i know this recipe.
15th Feb, 2019
These were fine. But not really yummy.
Joseph Branson
9th Feb, 2019
Followed recipe to the letter. First batch scrambled. Second attempt turned oven down by 15 degrees. Scrambled. I can never tell if they are done early because there's another baking tray in the way. Other recipes use the water bath but do not use a second covering sheet. If you followed this recipe and it went exactly as described then I have no idea what you did. If you do the instructions as directed they will overcook.
Jay Parker's picture
Jay Parker
1st Jan, 2019
Crowd favourite when I knock this up.
Priyanka Prajapati's picture
Priyanka Prajapati
4th Aug, 2018
This was my first time making creme brulee, I used lactose free cream (not dairy free though) as I am lactose intolerant, and the result was still gorgeous. My chef partner was very impressed. Will definitely make again.
31st Mar, 2018
Excellent recipe, easy to follow, came out perfectly. Much better than a lot of restaurant takes on brûlée.


Jess Arkle's picture
Jess Arkle
26th Jan, 2020
How many does this recipe serve ? I will be cooking for 4
goodfoodteam's picture
27th Jan, 2020
Hello, thanks for your question. This recipe serves 4.
12th Jan, 2018
I have made this twice with no issues but this time it won't set for me. Any suggestions as to what could be the cause?
goodfoodteam's picture
12th Jan, 2018
Sorry to hear you had a problem this time around. We can suggest a few potential issues, either the ingredients weren't measured correctly, the eggs were too small or the problem might be with oven temperature or length of cooking time. We hope this gets to the bottom of it and you have success again next time.
Sarah Le Fustec's picture
Sarah Le Fustec
15th Dec, 2017
If I wanted to make a Baileys crème brulee, how do I adapt this recipe? Thanks so much!
goodfoodteam's picture
19th Dec, 2017
Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we are unable to give specific advice for changing the recipe as we triple test all our recipes to guarantee good results. You might like to try the following as an alternative: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/890640/baileys-banana-trifles
patfox's picture
26th Nov, 2017
If Im making it for 8 people do I double up the ingredients
goodfoodteam's picture
27th Nov, 2017
Thanks for your question. Yes, simply double the recipe to serve 8.
27th Sep, 2015
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?
Joseph Branson
9th Feb, 2019
I assume only by thickening the custard before going into the oven but that could be perilous. The oven cooking time would then be reduced but it is unclear how long by.


Henri Kerem's picture
Henri Kerem
12th Dec, 2019
I am a young chef and i have been making creme brulee for a long time. The oven temp should not be over 110C and how you get scrambled eggs is when you pour the hot cream in the eggs at once, the hot cream will cook the eggs you need to pour in a little and whisk it fast to get a perfect mixture. Egg yolks harden at about 72C and the hot cream is more than that as its almost boiling;)
Sam Jones's picture
Sam Jones
30th Jan, 2019
Perfect recipe! I like to add some cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and orange zest with step 3 to get a Christmas creme brûlée
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