Cinnamon crème brûlée is one of MY FAVORITE date-night desserts. It’s the absolute best way to top off a nice steak dinner or special occasion meal. Now, I know what you may be thinking, this is an intimidating dessert to make with a lot of moving parts. No.
I’m here to assure you crème brûlée is actually quite simple with only a few basic ingredients. My easy cinnamon crème brûlée recipe is made with heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract (or fresh vanilla bean if you prefer), ground cinnamon. The cinnamon is a phenomenal subtle touch and delicious combo with the vanilla.
It’s honestly a straightforward and easy recipe—the hardest part is waiting for them to fully cool in the fridge.
Tips for Making Crème Brûlée
- Heat the cream until very hot. This will already start cooking the egg and ensure proper cook times in the oven.
- Add the cinnamon to the egg and sugar mix. This is important for even mixing throughout, otherwise, it will likely clump up and sink to the bottom of the custard.
- The boiling water bath is absolutely essential for success. Don’t use cold or warm water or the custard will be liquid when removed from the oven. Use a pyrex or ceramic baking dish with high sides and fill halfway with water WITH the ramekins already in the baking dish to prevent overflowing.
- Don’t rush the setting process before the broiling or torching. The custard needs to firm up in the fridge for 3-4 hours like Jell-O. The outside of the ramekin should be very cool to the touch. If you rush this step, it will be runny after broiling or torching the top.
- Be careful not to over or undercook the custard. Undercooked custard will be soupy and never set in the fridge. Overcooked custard will become spongy scrambled eggs. You want the majority of the surface to jiggle just like Jell-O when firmly tapping on the edge of the ramekin with a knife. You’ll know it when you see it. If it looks too liquid-like, it’s probably undercooked.
How to Make Crème Brûlée Without a Kitchen Torch
Good news! You don’t need a kitchen torch to make amazing crème brûlée at home. Simply use your oven’s broiler, with the custard’s tops about 4 inches from the heat source. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the sugar is caramelized and bubbling. Note, the tops will turn a deep golden brown very quickly so monitor closely to prevent scorching.
How to Torch Crème Brûlée
Torching crème brûlée is actually really easy, in fact, it’s a lot easier to control than broiling crème brûlée. Hold the flame 2 inches from the custard surface and move in a quick sweeping motion until sugar carmelizes and bubbles. Work your way over the entire custard until the desired level of brownness is reached. You don’ want the custard to be black, but don’t be afraid to give your custard a healthy browning.
A handy kitchen torch is easy to use and actually very affordable. I’ve linked to what I have. It comes in handy for various recipes and even some fancy cocktail techniques. A quick tip, most kitchen torches are sold without butane gas if you order online so be sure to purchase separately.
Can I Make Crème Brûlée Ahead of Time?
Yes, in fact, you don’t really have a choice. Crème brûlée needs to set in the fridge for 3-4 hours until completely chilled. This step must be taken before the final finishing touch of caramelized sugar. You can make crème brûlée 1-2 days in advance if needed and keep in the fridge covered. Just note, the sugar topping should always be the last step, moments before serving.
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A delicious spin on simple crème brûlée made with ground cinnamon. The perfect date-night or celebration dessert.
- 2 cups (1/2 quart) heavy cream
- 5 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar, plus more for topping
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Bring a medium size pot or kettle of water to a boil.
- In a medium saucepan, combine cream, vanilla bean, and salt. Cook over low heat until hot (just before a simmer). Let sit for a few minutes off the burner, then discard vanilla bean (If using vanilla extract, stir in now).
- In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and then add sugar and cinnamon. Whisk until sugar is fully incorporated. Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture while whisking constantly.
- Place four 6-ounce ramekins in a baking dish with 2-3 inch sides. Fill the dish with boiling water about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Pour the custard filling into the ramekins.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until centers are just set. If you gently tap the side of the ramekin with a knife, the majority of the surface should jiggle (not ripple) like firm Jell-O, but not appear watery or too liquid. Remove ramekins from the dish and let cool before refrigerating. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until fully chilled.
- When ready to serve, top each custard with a thin layer of sugar, about 1/2 a teaspoon each. If using the oven’s broiler, place ramekins on a baking sheet in the oven about 3-4 inches from heat source. Turn on high broil and broil until sugar melts and turns a deep golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. If using a kitchen torch, hold the flame 2 inches from the custard surface and move in a quick sweeping motion until the sugar carmelizes and bubbles. Work your way over the entire custard until the desired level of brownness is reached. Let top cool/harden for a few minutes before serving.
Note, the sugar will brown VERY quickly in some broilers, carefully watch to prevent burning. If you’re not a cinnamon fan, simply omit for traditional crème brûlée.
A kitchen torch is much easier and gives you more control than broiling. Linked is the one I have.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 372
- Sugar: 25.3g
- Sodium: 33mg
- Fat: 27.8g
- Saturated Fat: 15.9g
- Carbohydrates: 27.8g
- Fiber: 0.2g
- Protein: 4.6g
- Cholesterol: 144mg
Keywords: cinnamon crème brûlée, creme brulee recipe