How to Torch Creme Brulee: 2 Methods (2024)

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Expert tips and tricks to creating perfectly burnt crust on your crème brûlée

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1Caramelizing Crème Brûlée With a Blowtorch

2Caramelizing Crème Brûlée With a Broiler

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Last Updated: December 27, 2023References

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Crème brûlée is a French dessert that literally means “scorched cream.” The chilled custard dessert has a sugar topping that is caramelized using a culinary torch, which is a mini blowtorch. If you do not have a blowtorch handy to torch crème brûlée, you can place the crème brûlée under a broiler. However, the sugar topping may not caramelize as evenly, and the custard is more likely to heat up. Here are instructions for adding the crunchy topping to crème brûlée using either method.

Method 1

Method 1 of 2:

Caramelizing Crème Brûlée With a Blowtorch

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  1. How to Torch Creme Brulee: 2 Methods (4)


    Buy a culinary torch from a kitchen supplies retailer for approximately $30. The torch is fueled by butane, which is usually sold separately.

  2. How to Torch Creme Brulee: 2 Methods (5)


    Remove the chilled crème brûlée from the refrigerator right before you are ready to torch it.


  3. How to Torch Creme Brulee: 2 Methods (6)


    Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over the top of the crème brûlée until it is completely covered.[1]

  4. How to Torch Creme Brulee: 2 Methods (7)


    Take the safety off the torch, press the ignition to turn it on and lock it in the “on” position.

  5. How to Torch Creme Brulee: 2 Methods (8)


    Hold the flame approximately 2 inches (5 centimeters) away from the sugar, and move it back and forth or in circles across the surface. As the sugar heats, it will turn brown and bubble.[2]

    • Concentrate the flame around the edges of the crème brûlée first, and then do the center. Although the center is typically darker than around the edges, you don’t want the sugar to burn too much.
  6. How to Torch Creme Brulee: 2 Methods (9)


    Serve the torched crème brûlée immediately. The sugar quickly begins to soften, and you want the caramelized sugar to have a nice crackle when you break into it with the edge of a spoon.

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Method 2

Method 2 of 2:

Caramelizing Crème Brûlée With a Broiler

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  1. How to Torch Creme Brulee: 2 Methods (11)


    Preheat the broiler.

  2. How to Torch Creme Brulee: 2 Methods (12)


    Place the crème brûlée in the freezer for 20 minutes to make sure it is well chilled.[3]

  3. How to Torch Creme Brulee: 2 Methods (13)


    Remove the crème brûlée from the freezer, and sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over the top until it is completely covered.[4]

  4. How to Torch Creme Brulee: 2 Methods (14)


    Set the individual crème brûlée molds in a shallow pan.

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    Fill the shallow pan with a layer of ice cubes so the molds are surrounded.

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    Broil the crème brûlée for 1 minute, and then rotate the pan and broil for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sugar is browned.[5]

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      • Although a culinary torch is commonly used to torch crème brûlée, it can also be useful to have one on hand to make other desserts, melt cheese or toast a breadcrumb topping, as well as to do crafts and home repairs.


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      • If you cannot serve the crème brûlée immediately after the sugar is caramelized, place it in the freezer for up to 15 minutes to keep it chilled.


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      • Some culinary torches have built-in fuel gauges. One butane canister will last at least an hour.


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      • Keep the flame on the blowtorch moving because lingering in one spot too long will cause the sugar to burn.


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      Things You’ll Need

      • Culinary torch
      • Butane
      • Granulated sugar
      • Shallow pan

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      Updated: December 27, 2023


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