As a busy working mom with two small children and a super fan of crème brûlée, my interest piqued when I heard about the hack on TikTok that uses only three ingredients—ice cream, eggs, and sugar—to make crème brûlée. What?! Crème brûlée is a fancy dessert for a fancy affair—it's finicky, delicate, and arguably not the easiest dessert to make. I thought, just three ingredients, no whisking forever, no tempering, no careful baking, no way! So I walked to my freezer, gathered three half eaten tubs of ice cream, and got to work. I was wrong. This hack is SWEET (literally) and it works! I even have a heck of a lot more freezer space now. #momwin
More reasons to love the 3-ingredient crème brûlée hack? It can be made up to 3 days ahead as long as you wait to brûlée the sugar on top right before serving. Store the baked custard, tightly covered, in the refrigerator and bring it out an hour before serving to get it to room temperature. Plus, this is a great recipe to make with kids. They can help melt, whisk, and pour the custard into the ramekins.
Why Using Ice Cream Works
Let me break down the reason why using ice cream to make crème brûlée works. The base for ice cream is the same as the custard for crème brûlée. Both are made with heavy cream, sugar, egg yolks, and salt. Ice cream is then churned and frozen, while crème brûlée is baked. For this shortcut crème brûlée, a couple more egg yolks are added to help thicken the ice cream as it bakes.
No Kitchen Torch? Use the Broiler
The most fun part of making crème brûlée is the actual brûlée-ing. Something about holding a torch and turning sugar into a crunchy, hard-to-resist treat makes me feel very powerful. Ignite your kitchen torch and hold the flame about 4 inches from the sugar on the surface. Move the flame across it until the sugar melts and then turns a golden brown.
If you don’t own a torch, you can simply watch the sugar transform under a broiler. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and broil on high, 3 to 4 minutes.
The Yummiest TikTok Hacks
Easy 3-Ingredient Crème Brûlée
For this recipe, I used pumpkin spice ice cream. As long you stick to a pint of dairy milk-based ice cream that's not low-fat, non-dairy, or with added candy, nuts, cookies, etc. this hack will work!
Melt the ice cream overnight in the fridge, or transfer the frozen ice cream into a heat-proof bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring well after each time until fully melted but not hot.
1 pint ice cream, melted (see Recipe Note)
2 large egg yolks
4 teaspoons sugar
- Kitchen torch
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Set a kettle of water to boil. You’ll need it to bake the custard.
Make the custard:
Pour the melted ice cream into a medium bowl and whisk in the egg yolks until smooth and fully combined.
Bake the custard:
Place four 3-ounce ramekins in a square baking dish. Evenly divide the custard among the ramekins—it’s okay if the custard comes all the way to the top. Pour enough boiling water into the baking dish to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Carefully transfer to the oven and bake until the outsides are just set, but the center is still a bit jiggly, about 40 minutes.
Cool the baked custard:
Carefully remove the ramekins from the water and allow them to cool to room temperature on your counter, about 1 hour. You can set them on a wire rack if you'd like. Then, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and completely set, at least 2 hours.
Brûlée and serve:
Just before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar evenly over each crème brûlée. Ignite your kitchen torch and hold the flame about 4 inches from the sugar on the surface. Move the flame across it until the sugar melts and then turns a golden brown.
If you do not have a torch, place the ramekins on a baking sheet and broil on high, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not walk away and be sure to watch it closely. Serve immediately.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 11g||14%|
|Saturated Fat 6g||28%|
|Total Carbohydrate 20g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||2%|
|Total Sugars 18g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||2%|
|*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.|