It’s a classic French dessert that features a creamy custard base topped with a hard layer of delicate, melted sugar. But is Crème Brûlée gluten free?
Crème brûlée only consists of 5 ingredients — egg yolks, white sugar, brown sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla. But combining and manipulating those ingredients correctly takes some skill in order to produce the perfect creamy texture and crunch.
The good news is that none of those 5 items has gluten, so traditional crème brûlée is gluten free, as long as no other gluten-containing ingredients are added to it.
However, some crème brûlées found in restaurants and grocery stores can be made with food items that do have gluten. Read on to find out what to look out for the next time you buy or order this decadent dessert.
What is crème brûlée?
A classic crème brûlée has two primary contrasts: a luxuriously creamy, rich custard base, and a thin, crackly melted sugar top — commonly created by using a kitchen torch.
You eat this indulgent dessert by using your spoon to gently crack open the melted sugar on top to get to the smooth custard below. That signature contrast in textures is one feature that makes this dish so unique.
Some are also embellished with a quenelle or dollop of cream on top, or a serving of fruit.
And some can even be made to look like other everyday objects, like this crème brûlée crafted to resemble an ashtray.
Does crème brûlée contain gluten?
In its traditional form, crème brûlée is gluten free. So if you have Celiac disease, a gluten sensitivity, or another gluten intolerance, you should be able to enjoy this delicious dessert.
So if you order a crème brûlée at a restaurant, it’s a good idea to ask your server whether it contains any gluten. And check the ingredients list if you buy premade crème brûlée at the grocery store.
How do you make crème brûlée?
One way to ensure crème brûlée is gluten free is to make it yourself! The traditional crème brûlée recipe consists of the following simple, gluten-free ingredients and requires 3 basic steps.
Crème brûlée ingredients
- 6 egg yolks
- 5 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy cream
Steps to make crème brûlée
Step 1 – Make the custard. Heat the heavy cream. Meantime, in a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla, and 4 tbsp white sugar. Once the cream is hot (but not boiling) pour in the egg mixture. Then transfer to a double boiler over simmering water and continue mixing until it’s thick.
Step 2 – Bake the custard. Next, pour the custard mix into individual ramekins and place ramekins in a large roasting pan filled with an inch or two of hot water. The hot water bath will help prevent the custard from cracking while in the oven. Bake at 300° F for 30 minutes, until it’s set. Remove from the oven to cool down at room temperature, then place in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
Step 3 – Make the caramelized sugar. Gently spread the remaining white and brown sugar over the top of the custard and use a kitchen blow torch to melt it until it caramelizes and hardens. if you don’t have a torch, you can place the creme brulees under the oven broiler for about 2 minutes until the sugar browns. The final step is just to chill and serve.
Gluten free crème brûlée brands
The following brands make traditional creme brulee that’s both compatible with a gluten-free diet and easy to find at your local grocery store or online.
Dr. Oetker crème brûlée
This crème brûlée mix requires you to make the dessert from premade, included powder, and by adding fresh cream. Then you sprinkle the caramelizing sugar over the top after the custard is baked.
Marie Moirin crème brûlée
These individually-wrapped desserts feature a separate crumbly caramel topping which you add to the top of each custard and broil before serving. So you still get that caramelized sugar crust without having to fire up your kitchen torch.
White Toque Creme Brulee
Also featuring a separate caramelizing sugar topping, you can either broil it over the custard or melt with it a kitchen torch. Ready to enjoy in just a few minutes.
Since crème brûlée is made with dairy, which is derived from animals, it is not vegan. However, you can make vegan and dairy-free crème brûlée by substituting heavy cream for a combination of coconut milk, coconut cream, almond milk, or soy milk.
You can make this classic dessert ahead of time and store the individual ramekins in the fridge. Simply cover them with plastic wrap. They should keep for up to four days. Don’t make the caramelized sugar topping until just before you’re ready to serve so you get that freshly-made classic crunch.
More gluten-related answers
Find out if more of your favorite foods are gluten-free or not. Check out these posts.