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Aug 10, 2020

Crème Brûlée with Vanilla and Grand Marnier

Crème brûlée is the ultimate elegant dessert, yet it is super easy to make. You can make the custards up to a day in advance, and then caramelize the top right before serving.

Crème Brûlée with Vanilla and Grand Marnier spoonful

As Ina Garten says, "crème brûlée is the ultimate 'guy' dessert. Make it and he'll follow you anywhere." Source: Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home (affiliate link). 

This recipe is pretty uncomplicated and can be assembled in about 5 minutes before baking. The hardest part for me, when using a kitchen torch, is getting the hard sugar top to caramelize evenly. I still haven't mastered it and tend to get all of the brown in the center.

I need to spend some time watching videos. I think the trick is to fill the ramekins all of the way to the top. Regardless, the topping of caramelized sugar is crunchy and delicious, it cracks when smacked with your spoon, and it tastes amazing.

Crème Brûlée

Instead of a torch, you can also broil the tops of these Crème Brûlées and probably get more even results, but it's not nearly as impressive or fun. Whipping out a kitchen torch (I used a Chef Master with an attached butane canister) is a lot of fun.

I also used this torch for browning the meringue topping on this limoncello and toasted meringue cake. I had actually bought the torch years ago because my husband's favorite dessert is crème brûlée and then didn't use it for years.

I wish I hadn't waited so long. We've already had crème brûlée for dessert three times in the last month!

Crème Brûlée with Vanilla and Grand Marnier custard

How to make crème brûlée: 

First, mix egg yolks and sugar until just combined in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

In the meantime, scald some heavy cream to just before boiling. With the mixer on low, slowly add the hot cream to the egg and sugar mixture. Go really slow so that you don't produce scrambled eggs.

Next, skim off any foam from the top of the mixture and then pour the mixture into 8 ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins into a baking pan and add boiling water into the pan so that it comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake the custards for about 40 minutes, and then let them cool. Refrigerate them until cold and then top with sugar and caramelize with a kitchen torch!

Crème Brûlée with Vanilla and Grand Marnier with the butane torch

Crème Brûlée recipe variations:

Instead of the vanilla and Grand Marnier, you can infuse lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract into the cream. Just be sure to strain out the zest before adding the hot cream to the egg mixture. 

You can also make a butterscotch version by bringing some butter and brown sugar to a boil, cook for a couple of minutes, and then pouring in the hot cream.

Instead of the Grand Marnier, substitute Frangelico for a hint of hazelnut, or Domain Canton, for a gingery flavor.

Crème Brûlée with Vanilla and Grand Marnier with a cracked top

This month, the Baking Bloggers are going to France! Thank you to Sue of Palatable Pastime for hosting!

August 2020: French Baking

Crème Brûlée with Vanilla and Grand Marnier

Crème Brûlée with Vanilla and Grand Marnier

Crème Brûlée with Vanilla and Grand Marnier
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Karen Kerr
Crème brûlée is the ultimate elegant dessert, yet it is super easy to make. You can make the custards up to a day in advance, and then caramelize the top right before serving.


  • 1 extra large egg
  • 4 extra large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus one tablespoon for each serving
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier


  1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F and bring a teapot of full of water to a boil. 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the speed set on low, briefly mix the eggs and 1/2 cup of the sugar.
  3. Bring the cream to a scald, meaning it is hot but not yet boiling. 
  4. While the mixer is on low, very slowly pour in the hot cream into the eggs. 
  5. Mix in the vanilla and Grand Marnier. 
  6. Evenly fill six 8-ounce ramekins with the egg and cream mixture. Place the ramekins in a baking pan and fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins with the boiling water. 
  7. Bake the custards for 35 to 40 minutes, until just barely jiggly. 
  8. Remove from the oven and remove the ramekins from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until firm. 
  9. Top each with a tablespoon of sugar and heat with a kitchen torch until caramelized. Let sit for a minute or two until hardened. 
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creme brulee, crème brûlée
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This recipe was adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten. It's a favorite in my cookbook shelf.

Would you like to comment?

  1. I love my Barefoot in Paris cookbook. And I love creme brulee too.

  2. Ohhh that gorgeous crackly topping!! Creme brulee is such a luscious dessert - yours looks perfect!

  3. I still haven't refilled my torch since moving here. This looks absolutely amazing! Especially love the splash of Grand Marnier.

  4. My favorite! Too bad B.O.B. Bob is not a fan! Otherwise, I would be making this all of the time!!!

  5. I love creme brulee and yours look perfect! I definitely need to buy a blow torch...

  6. That is my favorite dessert, did you know that? To me, it is simply perfect, and I adore your take on it...

  7. I watch a lot of Ina Graten's videos, love the way she cooks and this creme brulee looks divine, my hubby loves creme brulee.

  8. I do love creme brulee and my kids grew a liking for it in Paris last year too! This looks wonderful and love the idea of grand marnier in there.

  9. Wish I could dig in this creme brulee right now. They look very delicious Karen

  10. Creme brulee is my favorite dessert but I've never made it at home! Giving this a try soon.

  11. This is something I've never made at home. It's such a wonderful dessert and your top looks perfect!

  12. YUM! I love Creme Brulee, it can be tricky to make but yours looks so gorgeous. I'm going to give this recipe a try.

  13. It's been far too long since I've made or even had creme brulee. Looks fantastic!

    1. It's a lot easier to make than I thought it would be!


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