How To Make Crème Brûlée With Just 3 Ingredients

Crème brûlée is one of those desserts that just feels fancy. It's both crispy and custardy, it comes in its own little ramekin, plus, there's a blowtorch involved. But you don't need to go out to a fancy restaurant to enjoy this showstopper dessert — in fact, you can make crème brûlée at home, with ingredients you probably already have on hand.

All you need for this basic crème brûlée recipe is vanilla ice cream (or the flavor of your choice), egg yolks, and sugar. Simply whisk your egg yolks into some melted ice cream, pour the mix into the ramekins, and bake on low in a water bath until the custard has set. Then refrigerate for a couple of hours before topping the treats with sugar and hitting them with your blowtorch. Alternatively, you could broil them to get that top nice and crispy, or even caramelize the sugar with water in a pan, then pour on top. All in all, there is so little effort involved to turn your staple ingredients into an entirely new dessert.

Ice cream crème brûlée vs traditional recipes

Traditional crème brûlée is made with cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, and egg yolks... all of which is already likely in the simple vanilla ice cream at your local grocery store. Ice cream, however, also contains milk, and the amount of eggs used in a pint (if any at all) can vary from brand to brand. This means that a couple added egg yolks in this DIY recipe can help thicken the mixture up through the added fat and protein bonds for a richer, more custardy dessert (since crème brûlée tends to have quite a high ratio of eggs to cream).

It might be worth checking your favorite ice cream brand to find out whether or not it includes eggs. If it doesn't, you might even want to add an extra yolk for good measure. But the rest of the process for making this recipe is pretty close to how you would make a classic crème brûlée, just a tad simplified. In a traditional recipe, you would heat the cream to infuse it with vanilla, then pour the hot cream into the sugar and egg mixture, so using ice cream skips a step. Feel free to experiment with different flavorings, like Earl Grey, salted caramel, or even matcha, and top with fresh berries for a finishing touch.