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Easy Vegan Crème Brûlée Recipe
This easy vegan crème brûlée recipe is ready to chill in no time and has the best flavors!
It has a vanilla custard base made with coconut milk, and a delicious caramelized sugar topping.
Rich and creamy with the best combination of caramel and vanilla flavors, and the most delicious sugar topping.
The tasty custard along with the hardened and caramelized sugar is so simple, yet so incredibly flavorful and irresistible!
Dairy-Free and Eggless Crème Brûlée
Crème brûlée is typically made with milk, cream, eggs, and sugar–so you may think it’s off limits to vegan eaters.
However, there is truly nothing that can’t be replicated with just a few simple tricks and substitutions!
For this crème brûlée recipe, the secret is using full-fat coconut milk (from a can), along with some cornstarch to help thicken it just a bit, and some sugar and vanilla to add sweet flavor.
Also, in order to help thicken it a bit more naturally, and to add some richness, I wanted to add in some fat. Most nut butters have flavors that are too strong for a crème brûlée custard, so I decided that tahini would be the best option, and it certainly was! It’s the same sort of trick I used for my Vegan Banana Pudding but with peanut butter!
What Is Crème Brûlée?
Crème brûlée is a super rich and simple dessert, typically made with dairy, eggs, and sugar. The origin is uncertain, as France, Spain, and England all claim various versions of the initial recipe. It has a homemade custard base with a hardened sugar topping that you crack with a spoon and enjoy with the custard. It has a delicious combination of textures from the creamy custard and hardened sugar. You can serve it plain or with berries on top!
Can You Make Crème Brûlée Without a Torch?
While using a kitchen butane torch is highly recommended and will give the best results, you can also place the custard in an oven-safe bowl, sprinkle the sugar on top, and place in the oven under the broiler. This option isn’t as good as using a torch, but it will still brown the sugar! Just be sure to watch it very carefully as burning can happen quickly.
- Coconut Milk – Be sure to use full-fat coconut milk from a can, this is a super delicious and creamy option for dairy-free crème brûlée. However, you can use regular non-dairy milk (almond, oat, or your favorite) if that’s all you have.
- Sugar – Just enough to sweeten the custard and also get that beautiful golden caramelized topping!
- Cornstarch – A little cornstarch helps to thicken the coconut milk and make it more custard-like.
- Tahini – This is my secret ingredient for vegan custard–it adds a bit of fat to help get that rich and delicious texture!
- Salt – Just a pinch to help bring out the vanilla flavor.
- Turmeric – This is optional, but I like to use a pinch of turmeric to lightly color the custard yellow like normal custard is, it’s the little things!
- Vanilla – Try to use the best vanilla you can find for this recipe, a higher quality vanilla will really amplify the end result, but any will do.
How to Make Vegan Crème Brûlée
Making the Coconut Milk Vanilla Custard
Whisk together all ingredients (except the vanilla).
Over medium heat, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 2-4 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour into two small bowls and cover the top layer (plastic wrap or similar) to avoid a film developing, and place in the fridge for two hours to set.
Caramelizing Crème Brûlée Sugar
Once set, sprinkle on 1-2 tbsp of sugar over each bowl. Using a kitchen butane torch, caramelize sugar on top until golden brown (be careful as torch will be very hot). You can also pour the mixture into two oven-safe bowls and place in the oven under the broiler–this won’t work quite as well, but it will still brown. Just be careful it doesn’t burn as it can happen quickly!
Let cool for a minute and then repeat with a second layer of sugar (highly recommended for a thicker top). Let sit for five minutes and then enjoy!
This dessert is best served about five minutes after torching the sugar to a golden brown. You can make the custard ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for about three to four days. I recommend adding the sugar topping a few minutes before serving for best results.
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- 1 15oz. Can Coconut Milk (full-fat)
- 1/3 Cup Sugar + more to top
- 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp Tahini
- Pinch Salt
- Pinch Turmeric (optional for color)
- 1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla
- Whisk together all ingredients (except the vanilla).
- Over medium heat, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 2-4 minutes or until thickened, whisking often. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Pour into two small bowls and cover the top layer (plastic wrap or similar) to avoid a film developing, and place in the fridge for two hours to set.
- Once set, sprinkle on 1-2 tbsp of sugar over each bowl. Using a kitchen butane torch, caramelize sugar on top until golden brown (be careful as torch will be very hot).*
- Let cool for a minute and then repeat with a second layer of sugar (highly recommended for a thicker top).
- Let sit for five minutes and then enjoy!
*If you can't find a kitchen butane torch, you can also pour the mixture into oven-safe bowls and broil until golden brown. This won't work quite as well but it will still brown--just be sure to watch carefully as it can burn quickly.