An elegant and impressive dessert, no-bake crème brûlée is easy enough to make at home.

Easy No-Bake Crème Brûlée /

Crème Brûlée is typically made by baking individual dishes of custard inside a water bath in the oven. I love crème brûlée as much as the next gal, but even I am not willing to put in all that effort. I’ll leave that to fancy restaurants and pastry chefs. Me? I’m sticking with this super easy, no-bake version.

Easy No-Bake Crème Brûlée /

If you can separate eggs and stand at the stove and stir a pot, you can make this recipe, so don’t be intimidated.

Easy No-Bake Crème Brûlée /
Easy No-Bake Crème Brûlée /

I’ve been playing around with this recipe over the last week, and I think I’ve nailed it. Rich, thick, and creamy. The texture is every bit as smooth as crème brûlée should be, and with half the effort.

If you never thought you could make crème brûlée at home, I hope this recipe will change your mind!

Easy No-Bake Crème Brûlée / Easy No-Bake Crème Brûlée /

How to brûlée

You can use either a kitchen torch or your oven broiler to caramelize, but the kitchen torch will produce the best results.

Kitchen Torch— Cover the surface of the chilled custard generously with granulated sugar. Pass a kitchen torch back and forth over the sugar until it melts and caramelizes.

Broiler— Place the oven rack on the highest setting. Put the ramekins directly under the broiler and set it in the “high setting”. Wait for the sugar to melt and caramelize, rotating the ramekins as necessary for even browning. This can take up to 5 minutes.

Easy No-Bake Crème Brûlée /

Easy No-Bake Crème Brûlée
An elegant and impressive dessert, no-bake crème brûlée is easy enough to make at home.
Yield: 2 large servings, or 4 smaller servings
  • 1 cup (237 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup (115 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Granulated sugar, for bruleeing
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk and sugar. Use a sharp knife to scrape the vanilla beans from the pod. Add both the scraped beans and pod to the saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Heat just until bubbles appear at the edges and mixture is steaming (do not bring to a boil). Remove vanilla bean.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Add the hot cream mixture in a slow steady stream while whisking constantly.
  3. Pour mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a spatula to scrap the bottom, until mixture is thickened. This will take 3-5 minutes. Once thickened, cook for an additional 1 minute, while continuing to stir.
  4. Remove from heat and pass custard through a mesh strainer to remove any lumps. Spoon into individual ramekins. Place in the fridge, uncovered, to set up for at least 2 hours.
  5. When ready to serve, sprinkle ramekins generously with granulated sugar. Working with one at a time, pass a kitchen torch over the surface until sugar melts and caramelizes. Serve immediately.
Note: You may substitute 1 tablespoon vanilla extract for the vanilla bean. After the custard has thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla before passing through a mesh strainer.

Recipe inspired by Serious Eats.

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18 Responses to Easy No-Bake Crème Brûlée

  1. Sandra says:

    This sounds wonderful and I’ll definitely be trying it out! I love crème brûlée!
    Thank you for sharing your perfected experiments!

  2. These little babies look sooo delicious! Not to mention how easy and quick they are to put together! I’ve also posted a crème brulèe recipe on my blog some time ago, it’s my go-to recipe for this dessert, but you can be sure I’ll try out yours as well!

    xo, Elisa

  3. Ooh! these look like the creamy goodness I have been craving. Such a lovely take the traditional baked version; I can not wait to give this go next time I need a quick creme brulee fix.

  4. I’ve always wanted to make my own, and this no bake version is awesome!! Lovely!

  5. Wow, I’ve never seen a no-bake version before. Doesn’t the custard stick to the bottom of the pan when cooking it on the stove? That would be my concern – overcooking the eggs!

    • Annalise says:

      Nope, it cooks up on the stove like a pastry cream or pudding. Stir constantly and cook it for only a minute after it thickens and becomes smooth. Passing it through a mesh strainer removes any lumps. And that’s it! Hope this helps.

    • mitchell davidson says:

      hi there i am a pastry chef and use a recipe very similar to this one to answer your question no it wont stick and burn if you continually stir it until it cookas out and becomes thick the key to a successful no bake Brulee is all about your sabayoning of the eggs

  6. Pinkonopunk says:

    Did it today and it was so delicious and easy to make

  7. Katie says:

    Is it normal to have oil after reboiling? it’s thickened but its not smooth and has OIL…

    • Annalise says:

      Hi Katie, I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble with the recipe! It sounds like maybe the custard was overcooked, causing the emulsion to break and the fat in the cream to separate out. Next time I’d watch it closely and only cook it for 1 minute once it starts to thicken. Hope this helps!

  8. Michael Jordan says:

    Annalise, Thank you for this post, it was exactly what I was looking for. It took me back to the from scratch pudding my Grand mother use to make me when I was little! I got a bit emotional through the proses when I was making it it felt like my Grandmother was right there with me. XXX
    Michael Jordan P.S. It was Perfect!!

  9. Yolanda says:

    This is the recipe of “Crema Catalana”, similar to Crème Brûlée but without oven

  10. Josie Decker says:

    This is inspiring me to actually get some fuel for my kitchen torch 🙂

  11. Suzy says:

    Could I triple this recipie for a crowd?

  12. Gabrielle says:

    We go to this very nice Italian restaurant and our family tradition is to share a couple creme brulee’s after dinner and the kids love them and look forward to it. I found this recipe on line and decided we would try it. My 9 year old son and I made them for Fathers Day and the whole family raved!! The best part is they were SO simple and quick! Will definitely be my go to desert from now on!! Thank you.

    • Annalise says:

      Hi Gabrielle! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe. What a fabulous idea for Father’s Day! Thanks for taking the time to come back and leave a comment. 🙂

  13. Cindy says:

    Just made this and it would appear I slightly over cooked it but still is good. I have been trying different ways to use my remaining egg yolks. I am doing a fund raiser and plan to make about 10 batches. Tonight I did two and just doubled everything. That may be why it over cooked. Either way, I love this. The truth will be in the pudding at the event and expect to receive quite a few compliments.

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