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This Vegan Crème Brûlée is simple to make but as impressive and decadent as it gets! A rich and creamy coconut milk custard topped with crunchy sugar then torched until warm and caramelized. Perfect for holidays and indulging from the comfort of your own home. Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free and no baking is required.

spoon in vegan creme brulee in white dish with raspberries on blue board
horizontal photo of vegan creme brulee in white dish on blue board

What is Creme Brûlée?

Crème brûlée is a classic French dessert made with a rich custard base and topped with a thin layer of caramelized sugar. The dish is fittingly named, as “crème brûlée” is French for “burnt cream,” referencing its characteristic crispy, sweet crust. 

Now, the traditional dessert is vegetarian but is not vegan-friendly. It’s ladened with heavy cream and egg yolks, making it very rich in dairy products. After a few rounds of testing, we’ve developed a vegan version that not only tastes as decadent and indulgent as the original but is completely dairy and egg-free. Instead, we’re using just 6 simple ingredients that are easy to find in almost any grocery store, plus a kitchen torch! 

ingredients: non-dairy milk, coconut milk, non-dairy butter, vanilla, cornstarch, sugar and salt

Ingredients You’ll Need 

  • Sugar: White granulated sugar is used to sweeten the filling and create a caramelized sugar layer on top of the custard. To ensure your sugar is vegan-friendly, opt for organic. We like the brand Wholesome Organic
  • Cornstarch: This thickening agent helps to set the custard and make it a thick, creamy consistency. Arrowroot powder might work, but we have not tested it and cannot confirm.
  • Non-dairy milk: The custard layer is made rich and creamy with a combination of plain, unsweetened plant milk and full-fat coconut milk. For dairy-free milk, try almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk! 
  • Vegan butter: Vegan butter sticks are best, but butter spreads will work in this recipe since the butter is melted. 
  • Vanilla: Adds depth of flavor and the perfect, pure vanilla flavor. If you have it, vanilla bean paste or real vanilla bean would also be delicious.
  • Salt: Adding a small pinch of salt to the filling helps to enhance the overall flavor and heightens the sweetness! 

Equipment Needed

How to Make Vegan Creme Brûlée

  1. Begin the custard filling. In a medium-sized saucepan (over no heat), combine the cornstarch and sugar. Add half of the non-dairy milk and whisk until the cornstarch and sugar are completely dissolved and no clumps remain. Then, add the remaining non-dairy milk plus the coconut milk.
  2. Thicken over medium heat. Set the saucepan over medium heat, and cook the mixture for 4-6 minutes, mixing constantly. When ready, the consistency should be slightly thinner than condensed milk.
  3. Stir in the vegan butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Remove the crème brûlée custard from the heat and add the vegan butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir through until the butter is melted and the custard is completely smooth. 
  4. Transfer to a serving dish. Pour the mixture evenly between individual ramekins, or any shallow, heat-proof serving dishes of choice. Press a piece of plastic directly over the surface of the filling to prevent the crème brûlée from developing a skin.
  5. Torch the top of the crème brûlée. Once ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap from the top of the custard and sprinkle each with granulated sugar, about one tablespoon each. Then, using a culinary torch, caramelize the sugar until hardened and golden. 
  6. Serve. Let the sugar topping set for 1 minute, then serve immediately. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

Crème brûlée is best served immediately, while the crunchy topping is still warm and crispy and the custard filling is chilled. It’s the perfect decadent dessert for special occasions like holidays, birthdays, dinner parties, or at-home date nights!

The traditional version is often served as is to highlight the flavor of the crunchy caramelized sugar and creamy custard. However, it’s also often lightly garnished with fresh mint, fresh berries, or a dollop of whipped cream. We have a coconut whipped cream that would be perfect! 

scoop of vegan creme brulee in white dish on blue board

Recipe FAQs

Is the vegan version of this classic dessert gluten-free?

Good news. This easy vegan crème brûlée recipe is not only vegan but naturally gluten-free too! 

Can I use vegan heavy cream in place of coconut milk?

We have not tested it, but substituting the full-fat coconut milk with a vegan cream should work. Try this Homemade Heavy Cream Substitute, or opt for a store-bought version such as Country Crock Plant Cream.

Is this vegan crème brûlée freezer-friendly?

We would not recommend freezing crème brûlée. This will alter the smooth texture of the creamy vanilla custard and make it separate and become grainy. 

Can I replace the sugar with coconut sugar or brown sugar?

In theory, this will work, but it will alter the flavor and drastically alter the color of the final dessert. For the best results and traditional-looking color, white sugar is the best choice. 

Can I make this elegant dessert without a culinary torch?

A torch is certainly best and worth the investment (even if it’s just to make this simple recipe once on Valentine’s Day!), but you may be able to caramelize the sugar under the oven broiler. Place the individual ramekins together on a baking tray and place them under the broiler for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crunchy. Watch carefully to prevent burning! 

Storage Instructions

Crème brûlée is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers can be refrigerated and enjoyed within 1-2 days.

horizontal photo of spoon in vegan creme brulee in white dish with raspberries on blue board

More Vegan Desserts You May Enjoy:

Make sure you tag us on Instagram @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris and hashtag #sweetsimplevegan if you make this recipe. We love to see your photos! 

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vegan creme brulee in white dish on blue board

Vegan Creme Brûlée Recipe


  • Author: Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 8 hours 22 minutes
  • Yield: About 4 servings
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This Vegan Creme Brulee is simple to make, but as impressive and decadent as it gets! A rich and creamy coconut milk custard topped with crunchy sugar, then torched until warm and caramelized. Perfect for holidays and indulging from the comfort of your own home.


Ingredients

Custard

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (26.66g) cornstarch
  • ⅔ cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt

For Assembly

  • About ¼ cup granulated sugar

Equipment Needed


Instructions

  1. Begin the custard filling. In a medium-sized saucepan (over no heat), combine the cornstarch and sugar. Add half of the non-dairy milk and whisk until the cornstarch and sugar are completely dissolved and no clumps remain. Then, whisk in the remaining non-dairy milk plus the coconut milk.
  2. Thicken over medium heat. Set the saucepan over medium heat, and cook the mixture for 4-6 minutes, mixing constantly. When ready, the consistency should be slightly thinner than condensed milk.
  3. Stir in the remaining custard ingredients. Remove the crème brûlée custard from the heat and continue to stir for another minute. Then add the vegan butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir through until the butter is melted and the custard is completely smooth.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish. Pour the mixture evenly between individual ramekins, or any shallow, heat-proof serving dishes of choice. Press a piece of plastic directly over the surface of the filling to prevent the crème brûlée from developing a skin.
  5. Allow the custard to thicken. Place the ramekins in the fridge overnight to set.
  6. Torch. Once ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap from the top of the custard and sprinkle each with granulated sugar, about one tablespoon each. The surface should be covered in sugar but it should be a thin layer. Using a culinary torch, caramelize the sugar until hardened and golden.
  7. Serve. Allow the sugar topping set for 1 minute, then serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Storage: Crème brûlée is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers can be refrigerated and enjoyed within 1-2 days.
  • Freezing: We would not recommend freezing crème brûlée. This will alter the smooth texture of the creamy vanilla custard and make it separate and become grainy. 
  • Brown or coconut sugar: In theory, opting for a different sugar should work but it will alter the flavor and drastically alter the color of the final dessert. For the best results and traditional-looking color, white sugar is the best choice. 
  • Kitchen Torch Alternative: Though a torch is certainly best and worth the investment, you may be able to caramelize the sugar under the oven broiler. Place the individual ramekins together on a baking tray and place them under the broiler for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crunchy. Watch carefully to prevent burning! 
  • Prep Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: snack, coconut, sugar, dessert, holiday

Meet The Bloggers

hey there! we’re jasmine & chris.

Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie

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