Easy 3-ingredient Creme Brulee

Creme brulee is a dessert most people order in a fancy restaurant but rarely make at home.  The simplicity of the ingredients for this creamy dessert with the crackled sugar top is actually ridiculously basic. Now take it one step easier, I am talking lazy town easy and you will be amazed at how you can make this any weekday and make it feel like a special occasion.  

The secret ingredient that makes this so easy is … ice cream.   My brother told me about this method years ago and I just didn’t believe it. I am not sure why other than it seemed too good to be true. Well, sometimes things are just that good and true. This is one of those times.  Then in early 2020 TikTok trended with the 3-ingredient creme brulee and now the secret is out to easy ice cream creme brulee.

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easy 3-ingredient creme brulee pin1
Easy 3-Ingredient Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee is the Ideal Make at Home Dessert

I am a huge fan of creme brulee, especially since it is not just gluten-free but grain-free.  The high-fat content also is very satisfying and you do not need a large amount for this dessert to cure any dessert cravings. It is also so versatile and can come in so many flavors. I once had a chai tea version and it was amazing – plans to perfect this at home are underway.

The other reason why creme brulees are a great dessert is they are made ahead of time. The custard of a creme brulee needs to rest for hours before caramelizing the sugar layer so they are ideal for making at home when you plan to entertain and have many items to make. This one can be done the day before and taste just as amazing.

 

Can Ice Cream Become Creme Brulee?

Oh yeah, that is 100% correct.  Imagine taking your favorite store-bought or homemade ice cream flavor, melting it, adding an egg yolk, and transforming it into creamy rich creme brulee.  Dessert dreams reached!

It is like having Hermione’s wand to cast a spell over plain vanilla ice cream and making magic – creme brulee. “

Making creme brulee from ice cream is not just an easy recipe but it is also the most delicious and fancy dessert you will ever make.

 

ice cream becomes creme brulee
ice cream becomes creme brulee

 

Best Ice Creams to Make Creme Brulee

  • Vanilla – a classic!
  • Chocolate – my kids favorite
  • Dulce de Leche – my all-time favorite
  • Strawberry – lovely and pink for Valentine’s day
  • Green Tea – perfect dessert after Japanese or Chinese food
  • Ube – gorgeous and purple!
  • Banana – fruit-tastic!

Try this using my recipe for HOMEMADE PLUM ICE CREAM for a lovely plum creme brulee!

All of these smooth ice cream flavors would make for delicious, creamy, and beautiful desserts. I do not recommend ice cream with chunky bits like cookies and cream or mint chip. The large ingredients in the ice cream do not transition well when making a creamy creme brulee.  I continue to try new flavors and ice creams and will post more recipes as they come. I have a keto version on my mind right now that I am working on in the kitchen, stay tuned.

 

How to Make Creme Brulee Using Ice Cream

It is delicious magic when your favorite ice cream flavor transforms into creme brulee. For the screenshots below, I made two kinds of creme brulee. I did both vanilla and chocolate using two kinds of ice cream.  This called for 1 cup of ice cream of each flavor. Then for each cup of ice cream, 2 egg yolks were used.  This resulted in 2 ramekins of each ice cream flavor for a total of 4 creme brulees.

To begin, scoop ice cream into a microwave-safe bowl. Scoop a bit more than 2 cups as it does become less as it melts.  Melt in microwave until smooth, at 30-second intervals. Mine took 3 rounds.

 

Ice cream ready for melting

 

easy 3-ingredients creme brulee
melt ice cream in microwave-safe bowls

 

Separate 4 eggs, reserving the white to be used later. Whisk the egg yolks into the cooled melted ice cream.  For two kinds of ice cream, it was 2 yolks for each 1 cup of ice cream.  Once fully combined, pour the mixture into 4 ramekins in equal amounts.

easy 3-ingredients creme brulee
whisk in egg yolks to melted cool ice cream

 

Place the ramekins in an oven-safe dish large enough to fit all ramekins plus room to pour water around each. The dish will need to be deep enough to ensure water can be halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Heat enough water to fill your baking dish halfway in tea kettle or microwave safe pourable container. Once water is hot, place an oven-safe dish with ramekins in the oven on a middle rack – then pour water into the dish along the sides of the ramekins until they are submerged halfway. Bake custards at 325° in the oven for 40 minutes. Keep the oven closed.

easy 3-ingredients creme brulee in oven
ramekins in an oven-safe dish and pour in hot water to halfway level

 

easy 3-ingredients creme brulee
let 3-ingredient creme brulees cool at room temperature

 

When ready to eat, remove from refrigerating at least 30 minutes before serving time so they can come to room temperature.  Sprinkle each with 1 TB sugar. Ensure sugar is in an even layer.

easy 3-ingredients creme brulee sprinkling sugar
Sprinkle 1 TB sugar evenly over top of each creme brulee

 

Using a kitchen torch, wave the flame evenly over the sugar layer about 2 inches from the sugar. Keep the flame moving and not too close to ensure an even caramelization and for the sugar not to burn.

Creme Brulee Without a Torch is Easy

If you don’t have a kitchen torch, use the broiler in your oven to caramelize the sugar for the creme brulee. Place them on a baking sheet on an oven rack directly under the broiler. Broil on high until golden and melted. You may need to slide the baking sheet around on the rack to ensure all parts of the sugar get equal heat under the broiler. Do not leave unattended and watch carefully. The edges of the ramekins will be hot from the torch and very hot if using the broiler method

easy 3-ingredients creme brulee being torched
Using torch, brown sugar evenly – move constantly to not burn the sugar

 

The caramelized sugar will become a crust and when tapped be hard and solid.

easy 3-ingredients creme brulee
Creme Brulee ready to crack and eat!

 

easy 3-ingredients creme brulee
Nothing better than that sugar crack sound and crunch!

 

 

Easy 3-Ingredient Creme Brulee

 

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Easy 3-Ingredient Creme Brulee PIN

 

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easy 3-ingredient creme brulee

EASY 3-INGREDIENT CREME BRULEE

Angela
3-Ingredients create a creamy custard and caramelized sugar topping for the perfect creme brulee.
4.89 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Chilling Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Ramekins
  • Kitchen torch - optional

Ingredients
  

  • 2 C ice cream melted
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 TB sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 325°
  • Scoop ice cream into a microwave-safe bowl. Scoop a bit more than 2 cups as it does become less as it melts. Melt in microwave until smooth, at 30-second intervals. Mine took 3 rounds
  • Separate 4 eggs, reserving the white to be used later. Whisk the egg yolks into the cooled melted ice cream. Once fully combined, pour the mixture into 4 ramekins in equal amounts.
  • Place the ramekins in an oven-safe dish large enough to fit all ramekins plus room to pour water around each. The dish will need to be deep enough to ensure water can be halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Heat enough water to fill your baking dish halfway in tea kettle or microwave safe pourable container. Once water is hot, place an oven-safe dish with ramekins in the oven on a middle rack – then pour water into the dish along the sides of the ramekins until they are submerged halfway.
  • Bake custards at 325° in the oven for 40 minutes. Keep the oven closed. Remove from the oven, remove ramekins safely from the large baking dish.
  • Let cool one hour at room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at minimum one more hour and up to 3 days.
  • When ready to eat, remove from refrigerating at least 30 minutes before serving time so they can come to room temperature. Sprinkle each with 1 TB sugar. Ensure sugar is in an even layer.
  • Using a kitchen torch, wave the flame evenly over the sugar layer about 2 inches from the sugar. Keep the flame moving and not too close to ensure an even caramelization and for the sugar not to burn.
  • If you don’t have a kitchen torch, use the broiler in your oven to caramelize the sugar. Place them on a baking sheet on an oven rack directly under the broiler. Broil on high until golden and melted. You may need to slide the baking sheet around on the rack to ensure all parts of the sugar get equal heat under the broiler. Do not leave unattended and watch carefully.
  • The edges of the ramekins will be hot from the torch and very hot if using the broiler method. Enjoy immediately.
Keyword easy, grain-free, sugar

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27 thoughts on “Easy 3-ingredient Creme Brulee”

  • I’ve never had creme brulee, but always wanted to try it. It seems like a lot of work, but you laid it out into simple steps! Thanks for sharing!

  • I’m definitely one of those people who order creme brulee in restaurants but have never made it at home!! I never realized it can be made with ice-cream! This is brilliant! I have to try it.

  • I had no idea that you could make creme brulee so simply – what a revelation! Sadly we are not eating dairy or eggs much right now … but I will save this recipe for an occasion where people can, for sure! Anything where you use a torch looks like such fun.

  • You had me at three ingredients! Without you mentioning that, I would have never known. It really looks just as good as any other creme brulee I’ve ever seen! Plus, working with blow torches in the kitchen is always a fun time! Delicious recipe, I’m definitely gonna try it out!

    • Yes, all those things are what makes this a fun, easy, and fancy dessert – a triple threat! Have fun and enjoy it!

  • What a great idea to use ice cream to make creme brûlée! I love love love creme brûlée, and I am soooooo going to try this. I do need to get a kitchen torch, though. The procrastination needs to end! We have no A/C in the house and this summer has been abnormally hot for this area. Too hot for broiling indoors!

    • So glad you found this recipe to try and I guarantee it is the most delicious and easy way to make perfect creme brulee.

    • So glad to hear that. It is a favorite dessert here, especially when you want something you can make ahead and enjoy later.

  • 5 stars
    This is amazing. I tried creme brûlée for the first time in December and loved it. I never believed I would be able to make it myself, but this recipe seems so simple. I’m going to try and do it!
    Thanks for sharing

  • 4 stars
    I was hoping to find more comments about the flavor of this vs so many saying it sounded easy and would try it. Ease of preparation is important, but more important is hearing from those that ate it and loved how it tastes.

    I got all the ramekins and blow torch sent to my sisters so we could make it when I visited. I ordered a mix too, but it was basically like vanilla pudding, even though I mixed in an egg and cooked it in the custard on the stove top. It was OK, tasted like nice rich fancy pudding. Since I had used half of my heavy cream I could not make a batch from scratch. The grocery store was not close enough to grab more heavy cream.

    I was so excited to find this recipe that I did not have to have the heavy cream. All of the ice cream at the small store had kit kat or something else in them. So I ended up buying chocolate ice cream. Was a sinch to thaw the ice cream and whip it up. I am excited to try some chocolate creme brulee since it is always vanilla. They are in the oven in their “hot tub” aka water bath, baking as at the moment. I will have to come back and comment on the taste tomorrow after they have cooled and had the sugar crystalized/browned on the top.

    Thans for posting this recipe, I really wanted to make it tonight, and if I had not found your recipe I would have had to wait one more day

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