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Want to put an autumnal spin on classic creme brulee? This creamy, rich, restaurant-quality pumpkin creme brulee is infused with just the right amount of pumpkin spice and has the perfect caramelized sugar topping. Forget pumpkin pie. Try something new this year.
This dessert embodies the essence of fall. An incredibly rich, velvety custard infused with real pumpkin and warm pumpkin spice is topped with a crisp caramelized sugar crust. While the custard glides across your palate like a silky smooth, pumpkiny dream, the sugar crust melts under the heat of your tongue, creating a sweet symphony of flavors and textures. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a crustless pumpkin pie but 10 times better. Taste aside, this dessert is so elegant and surprisingly easy to make. You’ll be the talk of the party and all of your friends will be begging you for the recipe.
This recipe is basically the same as my tried and true Crème Brûlée Recipe but with pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and light brown sugar added to the mix. I encourage you to try both. This one is just a little more fitting for fall.
Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Creme Brulee Recipe
If you love creme brulee and you’re in a pumpkin kind of mood, this pumpkin creme brulee is calling your name. Here are some of the reasons I think you will fall head over heels for it.
- Seasonal nostalgia. This recipe basically takes my traditional creme brulee and adds the perfect touch of pumpkin, turning a classic, year-round dessert into a holiday-worthy delicacy. Watch as your mind wanders to colorful leaves and cozy fires as a spoonful of this pumpkin delight glides over your tongue.
- Easy elegance. This dessert boasts the appearance and flavor of a dessert you might find at a high-end, gourmet restaurant. Don’t let it fool you, though. Despite its elegance, it’s actually incredibly easy to make.
- Textural contrast. I love the juxtaposition of the smooth, velvety vanilla custard next to the subtle crunch of the melt-in-your-mouth caramelized sugar crust. It’s the perfect bite.
- A make-ahead miracle. Hosting a holiday soiree can be stressful. Don’t leave everything to the last minute. Make this dessert up to 3 days in advance. Bake the custards, chill them in the fridge, and keep them there until you are ready to entertain. As your guests prepare their palates for dessert, pull the pre-made custards out of the fridge, sprinkle them with granulated sugar, and torch away.
What Is Creme Brulee?
Creme Brulee is a classic French dessert made from a rich custard base consisting of cream, egg yolks, sugar, and a touch of vanilla. The custard is topped with sugar and then caramelized by either broiling it in the oven or using a culinary torch. This caramelization creates a crispy, sugary crust, giving the dessert its name, which means “burnt cream” in French.
Here’s what you’ll need to make pumpkin spice creme brulee. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for precise measurements.
- Heavy cream
- Vanilla bean paste – You could use 1 whole vanilla bean instead.
- Egg yolks
- Light brown sugar
- Pumpkin puree – I encourage you to use canned pumpkin puree as opposed to homemade. It’s just so much more predictable.
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Granulated sugar
How to Make Pumpkin Creme Brulee
Here’s a quick overview of how to make pumpkin creme brulee. Take a look at the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 300 °F, fill a saucepan with water, and bring it to a boil.
- Infuse. Heat the cream and vanilla bean paste over medium-low heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Remove from the heat and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Make the custard. Whisk together the egg yolks, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and sugar until the mixture is light orange. Gradually pour the cream into the egg mixture, stirring consistently until fully incorporated. Skim any foam off of the surface of the mixture.
- Bake. Divide the custard among 6 ramekins and place them in a rimmed baking pan. Place the pan on the center rack in the oven and carefully pour the boiling water into the pan until it comes halfway up the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the custards are just set around the edges.
- Cool. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let the custard cool to room temperature.
- Chill. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (up to 3 days).
- Torch. When it’s time to enjoy, generously dust each custard with granulated sugar. Use a culinary torch to melt the sugar until it reaches a deep golden brown.
Tips for Success
Give this pumpkin creme brulee recipe a little extra TLC and take note of these simple tips and tricks that will help you achieve the best pumpkin-infused dessert ever. It will only take a moment.
- Be cautious with heat. When infusing the cream with vanilla, heat it until it starts to bubble at the edges, but don’t overdo it. No burnt milk wanted here.
- Whisk thoughtfully. When combining the egg yolks, sugar, and salt, don’t use a whisk. Whisks introduce too much air, which messes with the texture of the custard. Use a fork instead and move it briskly back and forth (as opposed to in circles) along the bottom of the bowl.
- Temper those eggs. Pour the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture very slowly (almost painfully slowly) as you whisk continuously with a fork. Adding the hot cream too quickly will likely end you with scrambled eggs.
- Use a water bath. Pouring water into the baking pan may seem odd, but trust me, it’s essential. The water bath ensures even heat distribution, preventing curdling and guaranteeing a smoother final product.
- Stay vigilant. While the recipe suggests 30-35 minutes in the oven, the depth of your ramekins can affect the cooking time. So, keep an eye on the custards and bake until the edges are just set.
- Don’t skip the chill. Allowing the baked custards to chill for a few hours (or overnight) before adding the caramelized sugar topping allows them a chance to set properly and gives the flavors a chance to meld.
Got questions? Ask away. Here are some that I come across frequently when I introduce people to this fabulous pumpkin spice creme brulee.
What sets creme brulee apart from custard is the delicate layer of caramelized sugar on top. Additionally, the custard portion of creme brulee often boasts a richer and more pronounced flavor when compared to other variations.
100% yes. Top the custards with granulated sugar just as you normally would, position the ramekins on a baking sheet, and place them under the oven broiler until the sugar caramelizes.
A little bit of both. While the custard should be nice and cold from its time chilling in the fridge, the caramelized topping should retain a hint of warmth from the culinary torch.
Don’t let this fabulous dessert stand alone! Enjoy it with one of the following delicious accompaniments.
- Whipped cream. I have been loving the honey cream from this Boozy Peaches and Honey Cream Shortcakes recipe but you could totally just grab a tub of Cool Whip from the store instead. Spoon a dollop on top of your creme brulee. You won’t be disappointed.
- Ice cream. Enjoy this fall-friendly dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or (if you’re in the mood to make your own) Biscoff Ice Cream. This Pistachio Ice Cream would be a pretty tasty addition as well.
- Cookie crunch. Add a little crunch to your sweet experience with my Cinnamon Brown Sugar Cookies, these Caramel Pretzel Linzer Cookies, or even my Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles. One of my guilty pleasures is dipping a cookie into the custard.
- With a delicious beverage. Interrupt bites of pumpkin creme brulee with sips of espresso, Iced Sugar Cookie Latte, or Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew.
How to Store Pumpkin Spice Creme Brulee
- Refrigerator. After the creme brulee has fully chilled (minimum 4 hours), tightly wrap each ramekin with plastic wrap. You can keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The caramelized sugar on top will gradually soften with time so, if possible, refrigerate extra creme brulee before adding the topping.
- Freezer. Once you’ve chilled the creme brulee in the fridge for at least 4 hours, wrap each ramekin tightly with plastic wrap. It’s best to do this before adding the caramelized sugar topping. You can store the desserts in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw them in the fridge and, if applicable, sprinkle with sugar and torch until golden brown.
More Pumpkin Desserts
I can’t believe fall is here. Part of me will miss the warmth of summer but I’m feeling pretty ready to dive into pumpkin season with y’all. Here are some of my favorite pumpkin desserts to get you in the mood.
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Roll
- Air Fryer Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Chocolate Marbled Zebra Bread
- Better Than Sex Pumpkin Cake
Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
- Preheat oven to 300 °F (149 °C)
- Have a saucepan of boiling water ready.
- In a small saucepan, add the cream and vanilla bean paste, stir to mix and set the pan over medium-low heat.
- Warm the cream until bubbles form around the edges and steam begins to rise to the surface.
- Remove from heat and let steep for 15-20 minutes.
- While the cream mixture is steeping, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and sugar until the mixture is light orange. This will take about 5 minutes of heavy whisking.
- Once the mixture is light orange, gradually pour the cream into the egg mixture, whisking until blended. At this point, you will see a lot of white foam form at the top. Take a spoon and skim off the foam.
- Divide the custard among the 4 ounce ramekins and place the ramekins on a baking pan.
- Pull out the middle rack of the oven and place your baking pan on top. Then very carefully, pour boiling water to fill the pan almost halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Cover the pan loosely with foil and slowly push the rack back into the oven.
- Bake until the custards are just set around the edges, about 30-35 minutes, but could be longer depending on how many ounces your ramekins are. Mine were a little deeper so it took about 50 minutes to bake.
- Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight. They will keep up to 3 days.
- Before serving, sprinkle a heavy layer of granulated sugar on top of the custard. Using a kitchen torch, melt the sugar. Move the flame gradually in small circles over the surface of the custard, heating the sugar until it is evenly melted and golden. The sugar will harden in a few seconds and your pumpkin crème brûlée is ready to eat!
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.