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Best Crème Brûlée

Creme Brulee
Courtesy of Riley Wofford
Cook Time:
10 mins
Prep Time:
2 hrs 15 mins


  • cups heavy cream
  • cups whole milk, divided
  • 2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Fulfilled by

Chef notes

In French, crème brûlée translates to “burnt cream”. In the simplest terms, this dessert is a silky smooth vanilla-based custard topped with a thin layer of torched caramelized sugar.

Full-fat milk and heavy cream serve as the base of the custard, which is thickened with egg yolks and cornstarch and sweetened with sugar and a generous spoonful of vanilla extract. The key to keeping this custard smooth is twofold. The first step is tempering the egg yolks. You do this by slowly whisking the hot cream mixture into the yolks – kickstarting the cooking process ensures that the eggs will not curdle or overcook. Secondly, don’t step away when you are cooking the custard. It thickens very fast, so pay close attention and whisk constantly. 

The most satisfying part of eating crème brûlée is shattering the burnt sugar crust with a spoon. You can caramelize the layer of sugar two ways. If you have a blow torch, slowly wave the flame over the granulated sugar until fragrant and well browned. Alternately, pop the filled ramekins under the broiler for a minute or two. For a slightly deeper molasses-like flavor, use brown sugar in the custard – it will also pair well with the layer of burnt sugar. 

Technique Tip: Whisking constantly over a moderately low heat should prevent the egg in the custard from scrambling, but if you do find that your custard is a bit clumpy, pour it through a fine-mesh sieve to strain out any cooked egg bits. 

Swap Option: Make it boozy: spike the custard with spiced rum instead of the traditional vanilla with a 1:1 ratio. 




In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the heavy cream, ½ cup milk and ⅔ cup sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook until the milk is just beginning to bubble around the edges.


In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, egg yolks and remaining 1 cup milk. Slowly whisk in warm cream mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, over medium-low heat until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Divide custard among 6 ramekins or heatproof bowls. Cover with plastic, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent a film from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 2 hours.


Remove plastic from ramekins and sprinkle tops with remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Using a blow torch, slowly wave flame evenly over surfaces of custards until sugar melts and caramelizes.Alternatively, place under the broiler for a minute or two until caramelized.