Cardamom Crème Brûlée

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cardamom creme brulee recipe
Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Erin McDowell

Fun fact: It’s surprisingly easy to make crème brûlée at home—silky base, crackly caramel crust and all. And adding fragrant cardamom to the mix happily takes this dessert out of ’90s territory.

“Steeping cardamom in the cream before you begin the process adds beautiful, warm flavor to the custard,” recipe developer Erin McDowell explains. “Don’t skip the whole cardamom pods—they’re a lot spicier than the ground version.”

If you don’t have a kitchen torch, pop the ramekins in a cold oven and turn on the broiler. Cook them until the surface is golden brown and you’ll get the same results.


2¼ cups (555g) heavy cream

1½ tablespoons whole cardamom pods, gently cracked

½ vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)

Pinch ground cinnamon

1 cup (198g) granulated sugar, plus more for finishing

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

4 large (108g) egg yolks


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F with the rack in the center of the oven. Put a large kettle of water on the stove to come to a simmer. Place six 6-ounce ramekins in a baking pan.

2. Combine the cream, cardamom, vanilla bean and cinnamon in a medium pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pot and steep for 20 minutes. Strain to remove the cardamom and vanilla bean. Return the cream mixture to the pot.

3. Add the sugar and salt, and whisk over medium-low heat until the cream is warm and the sugar is dissolved. Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium-size heat-safe bowl.

4. When the sugar has fully dissolved, gradually pour the cream mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Mix until well combined. Transfer to a large container with a pour spout, like a 4-cup liquid measuring cup.

5. Gently pour the custard into the prepared ramekins, filling each just below the rim. Transfer the baking pan to the oven. When it’s on the center rack, pour the kettle of hot water into the baking pan so that the water comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custards are set at the edges but still jiggly in the center, 45 to 50 minutes.

6. Remove the custards from the water bath to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

7. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons granulated sugar on top of each cooled custard and tilt the ramekin to help coat the surface evenly. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar to an even amber color. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts
  • 448 calories

  • 37g fat

  • 39g carbs

  • 3g protein

  • 35g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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erin jeanne mcdowell

Freelance Food Editor

Erin Jeanne McDowell is a recipe developer, food stylist and author of multiple cookbooks, including The Fearless Baker, which was named one of the Best Baking Books of 2017 by...