Strawberry Crème Brûlée
This strawberry crème brûlée is a bright and flavorful twist on the classic dessert you love, and it’s shockingly easy to make. You can make a restaurant-quality crème brûlée at home that will wow your guests at any dinner party or special occasion!
Disclaimer: This recipe, including the photos and video, were developed as part of a paid partnership with Eggland’s Best. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.
Why I Love This Recipe
If you think you’re not fancy enough to make crème brûlée, think again, my dear.
When you break it down, the ingredients list for crème brûlée is pretty short and simple. With a bit of care and my pro tips, you can turn those simple ingredients into something fabulous.
You can even make the custards in advance before brûléeing to make serving a breeze.
This dessert recipe is a surefire way to wow your guests at your next dinner party. Imagine yourself saying, “Oh these? I just whipped them up. No big deal.”
As an added plus, this classic crème brûlée recipe has a sweet twist—a hint of strawberry flavor without any complicated extra steps or weird texture.
Although many would define crème brûlée as a French recipe, the origins of this dessert are actually hard to trace! See this article from Saveur on the origins of crème brûlée if you’re curious.
For concise preparation steps and ingredient amounts, be sure to scroll down to the recipe card!
Making Strawberry Cream
After preheating your oven, gently heat heavy cream in a saucepan. You want it steaming but not boiling. Remove the cream from the heat as soon as you see steam and let it cool until it’s lukewarm. This prevents the milk from prematurely cooking your eggs later.
The best way I’ve found to infuse strawberry flavor into your crème brûlée is to mix strawberry milk powder into the milk as it heats!
I know it might sound weird, but trust me, it works. I’ve tried other ways–fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, infusing the milk with freeze-dried strawberries–but none were as flavorful and smooth.
If you’d like to add more flavor with vanilla extract or a scraped vanilla bean pod, this is the time to do it.
Making the Egg Mixture
You’ll only need egg yolks for this recipe. My favorite way to separate yolks from whites is to crack the whole egg into a small bowl, fish out the yolk (with clean hands), then gently pass it back and forth between your hands until the rest of the white falls away. Place the yolks in a separate large bowl.
After you have your egg yolks, add granulated sugar to the bowl and use a wooden spoon or spatula to gently incorporate the two. Some recipes will call for you to use a hand mixer or stand mixer for this step, but I think that’s unnecessary.
Making the Custard Base
After your egg mixture is made and your strawberry cream is cooled to room temperature, it’s time to make custard!
To get rid of any clumps, set up a fine-mesh sieve over a large measuring cup and pour the cream through. You can also use a bowl, but the measuring cup makes the process easier.
Slowly pour the cream into the egg/sugar mixture while mixing with a spatula. It should be a slow but steady stream. When all of the cream is added, gently mix until you don’t feel any sugar granules at the bottom of the bowl.
You may want to rinse your measuring cup and sieve. You’ll need them again.
Set up your mesh sieve over the measuring cup again, then pour the custard base through to catch any remaining clumps.
Place eight 4 oz ramekins in a baking dish with deep sides. You can use metal or glass, but I prefer metal because it’s lighter.
Pour the custard base evenly into each ramekin. Once your ramekins are filled, move the pan to the oven before pouring in about an inch of boiling water. (Believe me, this is much easier than carefully carrying a pan full of hot water to the oven and spilling some on yourself!)
Bake until the custards wobble slightly when shaken. If they look like they’re still runny, keep baking and checking periodically.
Once your custards are cooked, remove the baking dish from the oven and carefully move each ramekin to a cooling rack using tongs. Leave them alone for 1 hour while they cool to room temperature.
After an hour has passed, move the custards to the fridge. I usually pour out the water from the baking dish and place the ramekins inside for this part.
Brûlée and Toppings
When you’re ready to enjoy your strawberry crème brûlée, remove the custards from the fridge and top each one with a thin layer of granulated sugar.
Use a kitchen torch (it’s not scary, I promise) to gently melt and brown the sugar on top of each custard. You can buy kitchen torches online, at some specialty cooking stores, and (this is my little secret) at smoke shops.
When all of the crème brûlées are ready, slice strawberries and arrange them on top of each serving. You can also use a bit of freeze-dried strawberry powder to make it extra pretty!
Frequently Asked Questions
Towards the end of baking, grab the edge of your baking dish (with an oven mix on, of course) and give it a gentle shake. The custards should wobble a bit without looking runny, like a firm Jell-O.
If your custard gets overcooked, it will be grainy. This is due to the eggs cooking before the other ingredients. To prevent this, be sure the cream is lukewarm, not hot when adding it to the egg mixture. Also, do the “wobble test” described above to prevent over-baking. You may also want to use an oven thermometer to check your oven temp and ensure it’s not running hot or cold.
Yes. Cool the custards completely, then set your oven to broil and move a rack as close as possible to the top. Top each custard with a thin, even layer of granulated sugar, then place in the oven to broil. Watch closely to ensure your custards don’t burn. Keep in mind that this method takes a bit longer, so it can affect the texture of your crème brûlée and make it overcooked and grainy.
Absolutely! The custards can be baked ahead of time and kept chilled in the fridge for a day or so. When ready to serve, top with sugar and brûlée!
- Make-ahead version – Bake the custards and keep them chilled in the fridge until ready to serve. Top with sugar and brûlée right before serving.
- Opt for a different flavor – I haven’t tested this, but you could most likely use another flavoring powder to flavor your cream. Chocolate milk powder, instant coffee, malted milk powder, and these flavoring powders would work! You can also try different toppings like raspberries, blackberries, or chocolate shavings.
- Use fresh strawberries instead of powder – I have tried putting diced strawberries or jam in crème brûlées and the color, texture, and flavor aren’t as appetizing. If you don’t want to use the milk powder, you’ll still have a lovely classic crème brûlée you can top with fresh strawberries or other fruit.
Strawberry Creme Brulee
- tea kettle
- large measuring cup
- fine mesh sieve
- 8 shallow 4oz ramekins
- large baking dish
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup strawberry milk powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 5 large egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 8 medium strawberries sliced
- 2 tbsp freeze-dried strawberry powder optional
- Preheat oven to 300°F and start boiling a kettle of water.
- In a small saucepan, heat 2 cups of heavy cream and 1/4 cup strawberry milk powder over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally and remove from heat when the cream is steaming (but not boiling). Stir in 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, separate 5 egg yolks in a medium bowl, then add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and mix gently with a spatula until incorporated.
- Set up a fine mesh sieve over a large measuring cup. Pour in the warm strawberry cream. Use the measuring cup to slowly stream the cream into the bowl containing the egg/sugar mixture while mixing gently with a spatula until all of the cream has been added and the sugar is dissolved. Now you have a custard base!
- Pour the custard base into a measuring cup, then divide among eight 4oz ramekins. Place the filled ramekins in a large baking dish, then place the baking dish in the oven. Pour hot water from the kettle into the baking dish until the water reaches about halfway up the side of the ramekins.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the custards are set. (Test by gently shaking the pan and you should notice the custards wobble. If they look runny, keep baking.) Carefully remove the pan from the oven, then move ramekins to a cooling rack with tongs.
- Cool to room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours
- When ready to serve, remove the ramekins from the fridge and sprinkle each one with a bit of sugar. Using a kitchen torch, gently melt the sugar on top of each crème brûlée until crispy and browned. Top with sliced strawberries and freeze-dried strawberry powder.
- Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used.