Espresso Creme Brulée

Espresso Creme Brulée
Diana Rattray
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 33 mins
Total: 48 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
402 Calories
32g Fat
21g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 402
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 42%
Saturated Fat 20g 98%
Cholesterol 240mg 80%
Sodium 79mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 7g
Calcium 78mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a delicious homemade version of an espresso creme brulée made at a local restaurant. It has just a hint of cinnamon, and the espresso flavor is just strong enough.

This smooth, creamy espresso creme brulée is made with a perfect caramelized sugar topping. You can use a kitchen torch for the topping, but you may also put the creme brulée under the broiler.

Superfine sugar for the topping caramelizes more quickly and evenly than standard granulated sugar. Others swear by turbinado or raw sugar. You might want to experiment a bit.

Use four-ounce or six-ounce ramekins for the recipe.


  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (or up to 1/2 cup for a sweeter creme brulée)
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • For the Topping:
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar (preferably superfine sugar or raw sugar)

Steps to Make It

  1. In a saucepan, combine the heavy cream, 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, and espresso powder. Blend well and bring the mixture to a simmer. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and set aside for about 15 minutes or until it cools to room temperature.

  2. Heat the oven to 325 F (165 C/Gas 3).

  3. Arrange six to eight ramekins in a 9-by-13-by-2-inch metal baking pan. If you are using wide shallow ramekins, you might need two pans.

  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cinnamon. Whisk in the cream mixture until well blended.

  5. Ladle the mixture into the ramekins and fill the outer pan with hot tap water. The water should come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. You might want to put the pan in the oven before you add the hot water. Try to avoid sloshing when you move the pan.

  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the depth of the creme brulee. They should be set with only a slight jiggle. Very carefully remove the pan(s) from the oven. Remove the ramekins from the pan—use a spatula and oven mitt—to a rack to cool. Cover and refrigerate them for three to four hours or until thoroughly chilled. They can be made a day in advance. 

  7. When you are ready to serve, take the ramekins out of the refrigerator.

  8. Sprinkle 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of superfine sugar over each creme brulee, depending on the surface area of the ramekins. Gently rotate the ramekin on the countertop to distribute the sugar evenly over the top. 

  9. Use a kitchen torch to melt the sugar, using a protected hand to move the ramekin quarter-turns as you torch it. The ramekin will be hot, so take care. 

  10. Alternatively, arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet and place them under the broiler. Watch closely and rotate the pan to melt the sugar evenly.

    *If you don't have espresso powder, you may substitute about 3 teaspoons of instant coffee.

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.