Orange Crème Brûlée

This orange crème brûlée is a creamy and luscious dessert that is topped with caramelized sugar. This is the perfect dessert for a special occasion or date night. It is a wonderfully light dessert that will make a lovely ending to any meal.

I have always loved crème brûlée. Part of the reason is that it is easier to make than you would think. With just a few simple techniques this is a great go to dessert for when you want to make something special that doesn’t take a lot of hands-on time or when you want to impress someone. The crispy caramel topping is the perfect complement to the smooth creamy custard. It is a wonderfully light dessert that will make a lovely ending to any meal.

In this recipe

There are only 5 ingredients in this recipe which makes it easy to get ahold of everything and make the custard.

Cream: you want to make sure that it is heavy cream so that it will set nicely.

Egg yolks: this is what will create the rich texture along with the cream.

Sugar: is going to create the wonderful crispy topping that crème brûlée is known for.

Ingredients for crème brûlée on a wooden cutting board
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Don’t burn the milk.

One of the first key steps is to heat up the milk. You will want to get it to 180F. This is hot enough to help start the tempering of the egg yolks, so they don’t curdle later. This temperature will help keep the milk from scalding and taking on additional flavors. If it scalds or burns you will taste that within the dessert. If you have an instant read thermometer then this will be a great use for it. Once it gets to around 175 degrees keep an eye on it and stir constantly. Remove it from the heat immediately.  

Orange zest and sugar in a mixing bowl
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Yolk mixture in a mixing bowl
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A saucepan with heated cream
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Using a bain marie

A bain marie is essentially a hot water bath. Since water cannot get warmer than 212F or 100C it helps with cooking desserts like custards and cheesecakes. It gently heats the sides of the baking dish and regulates the temperature of the side so that everything cooks more evenly and will also help prevent the curdling of crème brûlée.

Uncooked crème brûlée in a roasting pan
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Six cooked crrème brûlées in a roasting pan
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Cooking the crème brûlée

Once you are ready to cook the crème brûlée you will want to have the hot water, the ramekins, custard and roasting pan all ready to go. The easiest method to cook this is to add the ramekins to the roasting pan. Then with the oven open, place the roasting pan on an extended middle rack. Next pour the hot water into the pan. Finally, you can pour the custard into the ramekins.

This will help prevent splashing as well as not having to worry about spilling when putting it in the oven. Cook until the center is set but still wobbles when you tap the side of the ramekin. It is ok if there are darker spots on the crème brûlée as you will be torching sugar on top of the dessert.   

Close up of crème brûlée
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Don’t have a blow torch?

If you don’t have a kitchen torch, then you can use your broiler to get that nice caramel topping. First take out the crème brûlées before preheating the oven. It only needs to be just before you start to preheat it and then turn it to broil. By taking them out before you start your oven you will give the ramekins time to get closer to room temperature. Let them stand out for at least 10 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over each ramekin and then broil for no more than 5 minutes. You will want to keep an eye on this as you don’t want the sugar to burn.

Crème brûlée with a broken caramel topping
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Looking for other date night desserts?

Crème brûlée on a wooden cutting board
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Orange Crème Brûlée

A light and creamy dessert topped with a crunchy lightly caramelized sugar.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Cooling Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 6 servings
Calories 734 kcal


  • 6 8 ounce ramekins
  • Kitchen blowtorch
  • Roasting pan
  • Saucepan
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Chinois, or another strainer or another strainer
  • Thermometer


  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest zest from one large orange
  • 2 quarts hot water


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F, 165°C or gas mark 3.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the ¾ cup of sugar and orange zest. Rub together with your hand until the sugar has absorbed the oils and become slightly wet. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat add the cream and vanilla and heat to 180°F or about 83°C. Then remove from the heat.
  • While the cream is heating up whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and orange zest. Once the cream is ready pour a small amount of the cream into the yolks and whisk. Slowly add the remaining cream while constantly whisking.
  • Pour the custard through the chinois into a pourable dish or bowl.
  • Set the 6 ramekins inside a roasting dish. Add the hot water into the roasting pan that will come up to at least halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Then pour the custard into each ramekin in equal amounts.
  • Bake on the center rack for 40-45 minutes or until the crème brulee is just set and the middle will still wobble when tapped.
  • Remove from the water and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.
  • When you are ready to serve sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar on top of each crème brulee and using the blowtorch make sweeping passes over the sugar until it has melted and caramelized. Allow the sugar to harden before serving.


Only create the caramel topping when you are ready to serve the crème brûlée


Serving: 1servingCalories: 734kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 7gFat: 62gSaturated Fat: 38gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 374mgSodium: 52mgPotassium: 178mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 38gVitamin A: 2600IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 132mgIron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer*
Keyword Cream, Crème Brûlée, Eggs
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Orange Crème Brûlée pinterest pin
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