Featuring a rich, creamy custard and a "burnt" sugar topping, Instant Pot Creme Brulee is an easy, yet impressive dessert recipe.
There are a lot of desserts I recommend NEVER cooking in an electric pressure cooker. However, when it comes to desserts that benefit from moist, even cooking, the Instant Pot is the way to go!
This classic French dessert, which means, burnt creme, is classically made by baking custard in a water bath, then once chilled, finishing the custard by caramelizing the sugar to create a hard, sweet crust. Creme Brulee is insanely delicious, and with this recipe for Instant Pot Creme Brulee, it is insanely easy to make.
Notes on Ingredients and Tools Needed
- Egg Yolks: Creme Brulee only calls for egg yolks, but don't throw away the egg whites. Use the eggs white to make recipes such as a Mediterranean Frittata or an Asparagus Frittata.
- Cream: It is best to use pure heavy whipping cream to achieve the best texture for creme brulee. Look for one without carrageenan or other stabilizers (it should just read cream on the ingredient label.)
- Vanilla Bean: While vanilla beans are traditional in creme brulee, you can use pure vanilla extract instead.
- Sugar: For the custard, this recipe calls for granulated sugar. For the caramelized topping, it is best to use turbinado or Demerara sugar. However, if you don't have that on hand, granulated sugar will work.
- Ramekins: You need three 6-ounce heat-safe ramekins for this recipe.
- Kitchen Torch: This is optional, a broiler will work nearly as well!
How to Make Instant Pot Creme Brulee
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt together until well incorporated.
- Cut open the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the vanilla beans into the mixing bowl.
- Place the cream in the microwave and warm for 45 seconds to 1 minute. You don't need to measure the temperature, just make sure the cream is very warm to your touch but not boiling--between 150-185 degrees.
- Whisk in a tablespoon or two of the warm cream into the egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly. This is called tempering. DO NOT ADD ALL THE CREAM AT ONCE OR YOU WILL SCRAMBLE THE EGG YOLKS.
- Once you have whisked in the small amount of warm cream, add the remaining cream, stirring constantly.
- Transfer the mixture evenly between the custard cups and cover each cup with foil.
- Place a trivet into the inner pot of your instant pot and pour in cold water. Place the custard cups on top of the trivet.
- Cook on High Pressure for 7 minutes. Use the manual or pressure cook button to adjust the cooking time to 7.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release for exactly 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, do a quick release of the remaining pressure by knocking the venting knob from the sealed to the venting position. DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO DO A QUICK RELEASE OF PRESSURE. This is really important to keep the custard super smooth and creamy.
- Once the pressure has been released, remove the lid from the electric pressure cooker. Carefully remove the custard cups from the inner pot.
- Remove the foil from the ramekins and allow the custard to cool at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
- Once chilled to room temperature cover the ramekins with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.
- Remove from refrigerator 15-30 minutes before serving, to let the custard cups come closer to room temperature. This helps to prevent the custard cups from cracking when heated, so do not skip this step.
- Right before serving, top each cup with a teaspoon or two of sugar.
- To brulee the sugar, you can opt to use a kitchen torch or simply use your oven's broiler. You are looking to harden the sugar so that a spoon must crack the surface. The contrast between the caramelized sugar and the soft, creamy custard is absolute perfection.
- Using a kitchen torch, place the flame of the torch about 2 inches above the custard, and in a circular motion, move the torch back and forth to evenly melt the sugar and form a caramelized topping.
- To broil, place the custard cups that have been sprinkled with sugar on a cookie sheet and place them under your broiler for 3-4 minutes, watching carefully not to burn.
FAQs about Instant Pot Creme Brulee
By scraping out the inside of a vanilla bean pod, you achieve absolutely incredible vanilla flavor. However, you will still have delicious creme brulee if you use 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract in place of the vanilla beans.
Yes, I highly recommend warming cream BEFORE whisking it into the custard from creme brulee. This helps the creme brulee recipe turn out better for 2 reasons. The warm cream helps to dissolve the sugar, creating a smooth custard and a warmer custard will cook more evenly.
If you open your instant pot after pressure cooking and there is still liquid in the center of your custard, don't panic. Replace the foil on the custard cups, place them back in your instant pot, and cook for an additional 2 minutes on high pressure followed by 5 minutes of natural pressure release.
Yes! If you would like to double this recipe, simply double the ingredients and carefully stack the custard cups on top of each other in the instant pot. The cooking time will remain the same.
More Instant Pot Dessert Recipes
- Instant Pot Lava Cakes
- Instant Pot Chocolate Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake
I hope you enjoy this classic, yet easy recipe for Instant Pot Creme Brulee, and I would love for you to share your experience in the comments below.
Instant Pot Creme Brulee
For Baked Custard
- 2 egg yolks (use yolks from large eggs)
- ¼ fresh vanilla bean pod (scraped) or 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
For the Caramelized Sugar
- 2 teaspoons turbinado or Demerara sugar, per custard cup or 1 teaspoon granulated sugar per custard cup
- Prepare your instant pot by placing a trivet in the inner pot and pouring 1.5 cups of cold tap water into the bottom of your pressure cooker.
- In a large mixing bowl, vigorously whisk together the egg yolks with the vanilla, ¼ cup sugar, and salt until well combined.
- In a heat-safe measuring cup, heat the heavy cream for 45 seconds to 1 minute in the microwave or until very warm but not boiling. You are looking for a temperature between 155-180 degrees F.
- Once the cream has been heated, quickly whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of the warm cream to temper the eggs and cream. Slowly whisk in the remaining cream and whisk until well combined and the sugar has dissolved.
- Divide the cream mixture between three 6-ounce heat-safe ramekins. Cover each ramekin with foil.
- Place the custard cups on the trivet (stacking on top if you double the recipe) and close the lid, being sure the venting knob is sealed.
- Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes, using the pressure cook or manual button. Once the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, do a quick release of any remaining pressure by carefully knocking the venting knob from the sealed to the venting position. Be sure to stand back to prevent yourself from being burned.
- Remove the lid from the pressure cooker and carefully remove the ramekins from the inner pot. Remove the foil and let the custard cool to room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days before serving.
- Once chilled, remove the custard cups from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature for 15-30 minutes. This will prevent the ramekins from cracking due to extreme temperature changes.
- Right before serving, top each ramekin with 2 teaspoons of turbinado sugar each (or 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar.) Using a kitchen torch, place the flame of the torch about 2 inches above the custard, and in a circular motion, melt the sugar to form a caramelized topping. Alternatively, place the custard cups under a preheated broiler and watch closely until the sugar is browned. Serve immediately.
This post was originally posted in 2018 but updated in 2021 with a new video.