Bake the Perfect Crème Brûlée Cookies

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creme brulee cookie recipe

I’ve made crème brûlée cookies in my “pre-blogger” days, and they were a spectacular failure.

first attempt at creme brulee cookies

Ever since I started officially teaching myself to bake, I’ve vowed to retry those cookies that had so much potential. Four years later, I think I’ve finally nailed it!

The Secret to Simplified Crème Brûlée Flavor

There’s a secret to these cookies, and it’s quite simple: there’s no need for making custard, yet they taste just like the real deal! All you need is some vanilla pudding and a brûlée torch to achieve that perfect crème brûlée magic in cookie form.

Here’s What You Need:

  • Sugar: Adds sweetness and helps with browning and texture.
  • Flour: Provides structure and body to the cookies.
  • Eggs: Act as a binding agent, adding moisture and richness.
  • Vegetable Oil: Keeps the cookies moist and tender.
  • Vanilla: Enhances flavor, giving a subtle aroma and taste.
  • Baking Powder: Leavening agent that helps the cookies rise.
  • Salt: Balances sweetness and enhances overall flavor.
  • Vanilla Pudding: Creates a creamy, custard-like filling.
  • Sugar (for topping): Used for caramelizing to create a crisp, sugary crust.
creme brulee pudding cookies

Let’s Cook!

Start by picking your favorite sugar cookie recipe, or use the one I’ve included below. Once the cookies are done baking, while they’re still hot, create a divot in the center of each cookie using a glass or the bottom of a jar dipped in sugar. This step is crucial for getting that iconic crème brûlée indentation. Let the cookies cool completely – patience is key here.

Next, it’s time to fill the centers with vanilla pudding. I found that about two cups of pudding worked well. Spread the pudding evenly, aiming for a flat top to mimic the smooth surface of traditional crème brûlée.

cookies with creme brulee topping

The fun part comes next: sprinkle sugar over the pudding and use a brûlée torch to caramelize it. Aim for a nice, crispy, caramelized topping, a signature feature of classic crème brûlée.

Here’s a tip for checking if you’ve caramelized the sugar correctly: once the sugar has dried completely, tap the top with the back of a spoon. If it shatters, you’ve achieved the perfect crust. If not, it could be due to inadequate caramelization or the pudding softening the topping. In that case, just add a little more sugar and torch it again.

creme brulee cookie topping

Remember, these cookies are best enjoyed immediately, just like traditional crème brûlée. The sugary topping will start to blend into the pudding and cookie after a few hours. If you can’t caramelize them right away, store the pudding-topped cookies in the fridge until ready to serve, and plan to torch the cookies just before serving.

Crème Brûlée Cookies: Tips for Perfection

  • Chilling the Dough: This step is crucial for easy handling and to prevent the cookies from spreading too much while baking. Make sure to chill the dough for at least one hour, or until it’s firm enough to handle.
  • Creating the Perfect Divot: When pressing a divot into each cookie, ensure you’re leaving enough edge around the cookie. This helps contain the pudding and maintain the cookie’s structure.
  • Spreading the Pudding: Aim for a smooth, even layer of pudding in each divot. This creates a consistent texture and ensures each bite has a balanced flavor of cookie and custard.
  • Caramelizing the Sugar: When using the brûlée torch, keep it moving and at a distance to avoid burning the sugar. Aim for a golden-brown finish, not blackened.
  • Serving Immediately: For the best texture contrast between the crisp sugar topping and the soft cookie, serve the cookies soon after caramelizing the sugar. This way, the sugar topping remains crisp, mimicking the classic crème brûlée experience.
  • Troubleshooting the Topping: If the sugar topping isn’t cracking as it should, it’s likely that the sugar layer is too thin or hasn’t been caramelized enough. Add a bit more sugar and torch again, ensuring a golden, crisp layer.
creme brulee cookie

Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just starting out, this recipe is a fantastic way to impress friends and family with a cookie that’s as delightful to look at as it is to eat. The blend of a classic sugar cookie with the iconic flavors of crème brûlée creates a dessert that’s sure to be a hit at any gathering. Remember, the key is in the details – from the smooth pudding filling to the perfectly caramelized sugar topping.

What your favorite “they look complicated …but aren’t” cookies? Let me know in the comments section after the recipe!

creme brulee cookies recipe

Crème Brûlée Cookies

The Starving Chef
Enjoy a creative twist on classic flavors with these crème brûlée cookies, combining a soft sugar cookie base and a rich, caramelized topping.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Course Cookies
Cuisine Cookies
Servings 24 cookies



  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup of sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Add the flour and baking powder, mixing until a crumbly dough forms. Shape the dough into a ball and chill for one hour.
  • Lightly knead the chilled cookie dough until smooth. Roll the dough into individual balls, approximately one inch in diameter. Place the dough balls on a baking sheet, spaced about two inches apart. Use the bottom of a glass or jar to flatten the balls to about ¼ inch thick.
  • Bake the cookies for 6-8 minutes. After removing them from the oven, dip the bottom of the same glass used for flattening in some sugar. Press a divot into the center of each cookie, leaving an edge around the cookie approximately 1/8 inch wide. Repeat with the remaining cookies, then allow them to cool completely.
  • When the cookies have cooled, spoon about one to two tablespoons of vanilla pudding into the centers of each cookie. Spread the pudding evenly and smoothly. Chill the cookies until you are ready to serve.
  • Just prior to serving, sprinkle about two tablespoons of sugar over the tops of each cookie. Use a brûlée torch to create a caramelized topping, holding the torch at a distance to avoid burning the sugar or scorching the cookie. Serve the cookies as soon as the sugar has hardened. Enjoy!


Keyword brulee torch, cookies, custard, dessert, sugar
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