How to Reheat Creme Brulee

Creme brulee is quite an exotic food adventure. It’s delicious and ripe with showmanship, from the burnt sugar on top heated with a blow torch to the creamy delicious custard underneath.

Hailing from the country of France, creme brulee is a popular, delicious, and widely loved dessert. And though it may look intimidating, it consists of only 5 very simple ingredients that just about any kitchen would have.

If it’s such an exquisite and elegant treat, I’m sure you’ve wondered at least once before – can you reheat leftover creme brulee?

Can you reheat creme brulee?

In general, it’s advised not to reheat your creme brulee. 

It’s typically served cold, and as such reheating it would be somewhat pointless if you’re trying to recapture the experience from the first time around.

When creme brulee is first prepared, the custard is cooked and then cooled before the sugar is added to the top and torched with a blowtorch. This gives it that crunchy upper layer that makes the texture so interesting.

When it’s reheated, the dish’s composition begins to break down. The eggs start to cook, and the burnt topping and custard filling begin to separate. Very likely leaving you with a terrible mess of a dish.

Should creme brulee be eaten hot or cold?

Traditionally, creme brulee is a dish served cold.

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It’s commonly thought that you can caramelize the sugar on top of the creme brulee and serve it later. However, this is incorrect. When you pre-prepare the dessert and serve it later, you run the risk of ending up with custard soup instead of the delightful reheated creme brulee you were going for.

If this dish is served hot, you lose out on the creamy thick texture of the custard. It thins severely, turning into more of a goopy texture than creamy. The whole dish will be different, and worse off for it.

Should you reheat creme brulee?

Since this dish is served cold or chilled, there would be no reason to reheat it.

The warmth comes from the initial preparation when the dish is torched before serving to give the upper layer an interesting crunchy texture. 

When you reheat creme brulee, you’re essentially destroying the dish. The heat will overcook the eggs in the custard, and it loses its creamy texture with the added nastiness of now having the flavor of eggs with that creamy texture. Yikes!

Options

If you absolutely have to have your creme brulee warmed up, you do have some options available.

Stove

This method is far from the worst you could try.

  • Bring a saucepan of water to 158°F.
  • Put a glass bowl on top of the water, raised so it does not touch it. A canning lid does well for this.
  • Pour your creme brulee into the bowl and stir until it begins to boil.
  • Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  • Serve. 
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Oven

This is one of the best, and thankfully easiest methods to reheat your creme brulee.

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Cover your creme brulee in aluminum foil and place it in a baking dish.
  • Heat for 20 minutes, or until heated thoroughly.
  • Remove from heat and cover to cool until ready to serve.

Toaster Oven

Another simple method to reheat your creme brulee.

  • Preheat your toaster oven to 325°F.
  • Sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar on top, depending on how sweet you like it.
  • Heat for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and serve warm.

Grill

You can, it’s definitely an option, but not ideal or recommended.

  • Preheat grill on high for around 5 minutes.
  • Shove all the coals to one side of the grill.
  • Place a large aluminum pan or foil sheet on the other side.
  • Add water into the pan, around ½ to 1 inch.
  • Cover and heat for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and cover.
  • Serve cool.

Microwave

This is another option that’s really not ideal, and should only be considered if there are no other available options.

  • Put your creme brulee on a microwave-safe dish.
  • Cook for 60 seconds on medium power.
  • Check if the center is still jiggly – if it is, heat for 30 more seconds until firm.
  • Remove and let set for 5 minutes before serving.

Air Fryer

Creme brulee? In an air fryer? Why yes, you absolutely can reheat your dessert in an air fryer. It’s easier than you might think.

  • Preheat the fryer to 360°F. 
  • Place the creme brulee into the fryer basket.
  • Heat for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 1 minute.
  • Serve warm.
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Tips to avoid overcooking

Reheating your creme brulee isn’t recommended because of how easy it is to overcook it, and how devastating that is to the dish.

When it’s overcooked, the eggs in the custard begin to cook and with enough time it will begin to taste eggy and completely ruin it. Plus, the cream base and melted sugar topping will start to separate when the temperature is too high, leaving you with a sloppy mess instead of a tasty treat. 

To save yourself from ruining your creme brulee when you reheat it, stick to the rule of “the shorter the better” on cooking time. Absolutely no longer than 10 minutes, no matter the method.

Final thoughts

While it may be tempting to reheat this delicious creamy dessert, it’s best to finish it off while it’s still fresh.

There’s not a lot of room for error here, especially if you go microwave or broiler for your reheating needs.

Though, in desperate times, you do have options.