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You’ll Love This Shortcut Creme Brulee Recipe: It’s Rich, Creamy + Only Requires 3 Ingredients!

This easy-to-prep French treat uses pantry staples and doesn't require a fancy torch

When you say creme brulee out loud, it rolls off the tongue in a really smooth, seductive way. Eating the velvety custard dessert is even more pleasing, but who has time to perfect such a complex recipe? Luckily, there’s a simplified version of creme brulee that’s gone viral as it contains just 3 ingredients and tastes like the real thing. In addition to the few ingredients, you don’t need a pricey chef’s touch to create that signature “burnt” topping on the dessert. Here’s how to make a 3-ingredient tasty creme brulee that feels like you’re dining in a French restaurant — even though you’re in the comfort of your home!

What is creme brulee?

Creme brulee is a baked custard dessert that means “burnt cream” in French, though the dairy isn’t actually scorched. First, a custard mixture is baked in a pan of hot water until the center is set. Then, once baked and cooled, a layer of sugar is sprinkled onto the custard and browned with a torch to create a solid crust. The result is a sweet and creamy dessert with crunchy bits of caramelized sugar in each bite. You definitely earn brownie points by making creme brulee at home, which couldn’t be easier thanks to a surprise shortcut!

Easy shortcut to making creme brulee

Most creme brulee recipes involve making a custard with egg yolks, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla before it’s poured into ramekins. The good news: You can get an “instant” custard base simply by melting a few scoops of ice cream in the microwave. “A good ice cream starts with an expertly made custard base,” food writer Rochelle Bilow says. “To achieve this, the milk and cream are combined with sugar and cooked over the stovetop. Egg yolk is whisked in and the mixture is cooked slowly until it thickens.” Since much of the hard work has already been done in creating a silky custard base, what’s left is mixing the melted ice cream with an egg yolk. This ensures it bakes into a soft yet set creme brulee.

How to make creme brulee with 3 ingredients 

Former TikTok user @shefshaq adapted this simple recipe from one that was posted by The directions are simple, plus instead of using a torch to create the burnt sugar crust, a simple caramel sauce is poured over the baked custard and cooled until it’s hardened. So easy and mouthwatering!

3 Ingredient Creme Brulee

A 3 ingredient creme brulee with a scoop taken out


  • ½ cup vanilla ice cream
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 heaping Tbs. granulated sugar


  • Yield: 1 serving
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Place ice cream in microwave-safe bowl and cook in 10-second intervals until fully melted but not super hot. Remove from microwave and whisk in egg yolk. Pour mixture into single 8-oz. ramekin. 
  3. Put ramekin in cake pan and fill surface with hot water until sides are halfway full. Bake about 40 to 50 minutes. Center of custard should be firm and set, not super jiggly.
  4. Take pan out of oven and remove ramekin from water bath. Allow creme brulee to cool at room temperature and place in fridge at least 2 hours until ready to serve.
  5. For topping: Combine 1 Tbs. sugar with dash of water in small pan and cook over medium-low heat until mixture turns into deeply browned syrup, around 5 to 6 minutes. Watch mixture closely so it doesn’t burn.
  6. Working quickly yet carefully, pour hot caramel over top of custard and swirl ramekin so syrup covers entire surface. Let sit until caramel forms solid top shell and enjoy!

    Note: You can double or triple the measurements for more servings.

What to enjoy creme brulee with

Since creme brulee is sweet with a touch of nuttiness, it’s best served alongside a light ingredient like fresh berries. A few blueberries or sliced strawberries placed on top will add the perfect amount of tartness that balances the sugary custard. So the next time you’re craving a fancy sweet treat, whip up one of these super easy creme brulee desserts. With very little effort, you’ll whip up a French classic that never fails to impress.

Keep reading for more speedy and delicious dessert recipes!

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