Ultimate crème brûlée with a spoon

Ultimate crème brûlée

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(91 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


  • 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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Mark Stenner's picture
Mark Stenner
2nd Feb, 2018
This recipe does not work because the oven temp is TOO HIGH, recommend you go no higher than 120, the water only needs to boil.
4th Jan, 2018
Does the brulee need to be covered when put in the fridge to set? Like a Panna Cotta withe the cling film touching the surface? Or just left exposed?
4th Jan, 2018
I don't, you could though, as when it comes to sprinkling the sugar for blow torching/grilling you won't notice what is beneath the surface much anyway, that goes for any bubbles aswell, so i don't worry too much about skimming too much off...
Baker-Elfriede's picture
2nd Sep, 2017
Delicious foolproof recipe, I use the grill to caramelise the sugar and they always come out perfect, gorgeously creamy with a great taste of vanilla.
14th May, 2017
I made this last Sunday,first attempt at a brulee....It was perfect,really nice.In fact my daughter said it was the best brulee she has ever tasted.....And she's a chef!!
2nd Jul, 2016
This recipe does not work. The oven temperature is too high and they scrambled. I recommend cooking at 160-170 degrees. I recommend Nigella.
16th Mar, 2017
Of course it works. You obviously did something wrong. It's an easy recipe for most and the results are excellent.
Joseph Branson
9th Feb, 2019
This is an unhelpful and arrogant comment. I also followed the recipe to the letter including measuring my oven temperature and they scrambled. I was using a fan oven at less than the recipe suggests even. I was at 150 C. Every step was as described. I am not convinced by the sealed steaming method. You cannot see when they are done if they are done early.
dhoohar's picture
18th Feb, 2019
I agree with dz1000. The post that was responded to said the recipe does not work. Quite clearly it does, hence the great reviews. My teenage daughter (who doesn't cook much) got excellent results with this recipe - and I know a good creme brulee when I taste one!
4th Sep, 2015
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!


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.
23rd Nov, 2014
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
5th Dec, 2014
Hi there, thanks for your question. Only make these one day in advance, or the texture will be affected.


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