Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

This classic vanilla bean crème brûlée is silky smooth, rich and delicious with a chambord twist. 

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

One of the main reasons why I started blogging was to document my progress as I taught myself how to bake from scratch. And I mean from scratch as a 28-year-old woman. Before then, I had never baked before and my enjoyment of baked goods was limited to others kitchens, bakeries and restaurants. However as I am now getting comfortable with my mixer, I forget sometimes that there are still a lot of things that remain daunting to me. Despite being able to whip up a mean chocolate peanut butter cake in no time or create a pretty pink velvet cupcake, I have yet to attempt things like soufflés, crème brûlée, bread making, éclairs or puff pastries. These are all residents of my incredibly daunting list.

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

This conversation came up at my last gynecologist appointment and my doctor was telling me how easy crème brûlée was to make. She was trying to convince me it has no place on that list during my entire exam (yeah weird I know!). So I left with her mother’s recipe that she has used for years scribbled on the back of my prescription. I posted it here on Instagram. And she was RIGHT. Making crème brûlée is so easy. This vanilla bean crème brûlée is a testament to that.

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

Crème brûlée indeed is not daunting at all despite the fancy way it presents itself in restaurants. It’s just some egg yolk whipping with sugar and adding hot cream to that mixture to create a custard base. A rich custard base that is then slowly baked chilled and made fancy with melted sugar on top. That’s it. If you are a novice, like me, thinking that crème brûlée you just ordered at dinner is impossible to make, it’s not.

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
Using a quality vanilla bean is key for this recipe and I turned to my stash of Ugandan vanilla bean from Lagrima Vanilla Extract for this recipe. The intense vanilla aroma from the beans is infused into the custard and enriches the experience. The custard is silky smooth, rich and delicious with hints of raspberry liqueur. Paired with the crusty melted sugar topping. Fabulous!

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This classic vanilla bean crème brûlée is silky smooth, rich and delicious with a chambord twist.
Recipe type: Desserts
Yield: 6 individual 6-ounce ramekins
  • 1 vanilla bean (I used Lagrima Vanilla beans)
  • 2½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Chambord, or any raspberry liqueur
  • 8 egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Topping: ¼ cup turbinado sugar (or superfine sugar), raspberries
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds out with a knife. Combine the vanilla bean seeds with heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until cream starts foaming around the edges. Do not boil. Remove from heat and mix in the Chambord. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Strain mixture to remove vanilla beans.
  3. In a large bowl, whip the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow in color and slightly thicken. While stirring constantly, gradually add the hot cream mixture into the eggs mixture. Add the cream slowly to avoid cooking the eggs. Mix until combined.
  4. Pour equal amounts into 6 ramekins (6 ounces each). Transfer ramekins to baking pans (9-inch or bigger) and fill baking pans with hot water about halfway up the sides of ramekins.
  5. Bake custards until set but still jiggly in the center, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  6. When ready to serve, sprinkle about 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar over each ramekin. Using a torch, melt the sugar until golden brown. Or using an oven set to broil, broil for 30 seconds to a minute to melt the sugar. Be careful not to burn the sugar (like I did).
  7. Let cool until the sugar hardens.


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  1. Jamie | Jamie's Recipes says

    Creamy broolee (that’s the fancy way we like to pronounce it) is one of my favorites. It is the first dessert my husband and I ever shared as a couple. We knew it was serious if we were going to both be dipping our spoons into the same dessert dish :) He always lets me crack the sugar topping –true love I tell you.

  2. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel says

    Ooh ooh ooh! Pick me to eat it first!!

    So long story short, I have this really weird aunt who used to visit us a lot more than she does now (thankfully). Anywho, we went out to dinner once and she was insistent I try her creme brulee. But she’s weird, so I didn’t. However, because she is weird, she kept INSISTING like, ALL FREAKIN’ NIGHT that I eat it as if it were some live-or-die kinda thing, and clearly I was choosing death. It got to the point where I actually started crying (I was younger and clearly emotionally scarred) because she was bullying me to eat her weird creme brulee. However, through the turmoil I never caved and to this day I have STILL never tried creme brulee! I realize I could have commented without giving you my weird family backstory but whatever. Looks amazing, Zainab! I want to remedy my creme brulee virginity NOW.

    • Zainab Mansaray says

      Oh my gosh, that’s so traumatizing!! Why on earth would you force a child to eat your creme brulee lol!! So sorry dear!! Maybe you are right, it’s time to give it a try at your own will!

  3. Ally @ The Cheery Baker says

    I love the story of how you got this recipe! I will have to ask my doctor the next time I am in for any good ideas she has haha Never somewhere I thought to ask! And this creme brulee looks AMAZING! I can’t believe this is the first time you have made it, you look like an old pro! I love reading about your journey baking from scratch.. you knock it out of the park every time Zainab! :)

  4. Helen @ Scrummy Lane says

    I would love to have a go at making a creme brulee as it’s long been one of my favourite desserts. The only thing that puts me off is buying the torch thingy just for that. But I guess then I could just eat a lot of my favourite dessert … hmm, I guess it’s a no-brainer! I bet the raspberry liqueur is fabulous in this!

  5. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats says

    YUM! This looks delicious! The last time I had creme brulee was when my mom was in town. She made it to show off all her culinary chops from going to le cordon bleu.

    The stuff is seriously one of my husband and I’s favorite desserts, its super rich but ooohhh so worth it! Plus, the berries on top make it healthy right?! :) Pinned

  6. Trisha says

    Perfect timing for this recipe. I just purchased a cooking torch online and I’m waiting patiently for it to be delivered. I guess I know what my first creme brulee recipe will be when I open the package. I have made creme brulee in the past but found it difficult to melt the sugar under the broiler. I’m so looking forward to trying this new recipe and using my new torch.

  7. Cindy Eikenberg says

    Zainab, Creme Brulee is seriously my favorite dessert and this looks just fabulous. Someone, please, hand me a spoon! It looks absolutely perfect! Thanks for sharing and pinning!

  8. Tammy says

    Oooooh my Lordy!!! :D I have never made creme brulee…I’m not daring enough yet but girl, this looks like perfection! ^_^ Come to think of it, I’ve actually only had it once in my life…but it was a very memorable moment and it tasted like heaven!

    Zainab you are truly an amazing baker! :D I’m feeling soooo inspired right now! Thank you :)


  9. Renee@Two in the Kitchen says

    Several years ago I worked at a restaurant that served a killer vanilla bean creme brulee. That restaurant is sadly now closed. Seeing this recipe brought back some great memories and I’m glad I can try to replicate that delicious dessert. Thanks for the recipe Zainab. This looks just like that amazing creme brulee I used to enjoy!! :)

  10. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) says

    Lol perspective is funny—I’ve made most things that are scary to you but I’m afraid of layer cake!! (and macarons)

    This creme brulee is beautiful-it has the perfect crackled top and creamy dreamy interior….mmmm

  11. marcie says

    You did a wonderful job with this, and you’d never know you’ve only been baking for a short period of time! You have so many amazing things coming out of your kitchen, and this is no exception!

  12. Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner says

    I always order creme brulee when I go to a fancy restaurant! Love the stuff so much! But like you, I’ve never made it…daunting, yup…torch, don’t have one. I’m glad you’ve tried things and I’ve been trying to do the same since I’ve started my blog. My husband equally loves creme brulee so I’m pretty sure if I used this as the reason for needing a torch then he’d happily buy one. :) DEFINITELY gotta try this. Thanks for inspiring me. :)

    • Zainab Mansaray says

      Tina, I’m glad this inspired you!! Goal accomplished :) I don’t have a torch either and used the broiler but it is really tricky to melt the sugar that way. You have to be extremely careful otherwise it will burn like mine almost did here. I’ll suggest getting a torch and making this to justify the purchase :)

  13. Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes says

    Your gyno is the best haha. I was about to say that take this off your list, because it isn’t hard! It looks absolutely delicious. And also, you just conquered cinnamon rolls, so trust me bread will not be an issue. I’ve made bread several times in several ways and without a bread machine. You conquered creme brûlée, you can conquer anything!

  14. Joanne says

    All things considered, creme brulee is fairly easy…it’s easier, I think, than frosting a layer cake!!

    Yours turned out beyond beautiful! I want to dive into that luscious custard beneath that crackly perfect sugar shell.

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