Vegan Pumpkin Creme Brulee

All the fall flavours of pumpkin pie in a classic custard dessert that's made completely egg free and dairy free. This creamy vegan pumpkin creme brulee makes a impressive vegan Thanksgiving dessert and is sure to stand out on your holiday table.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
4.5 from 16 votes
pumpkin creme brulee with cracked sugar topping.

If you’re ready to embrace fall vegan desserts then this pumpkin creme brulee dessert is waiting for you. It is essentially a vegan pumpkin pudding with a delicious caramelized crème brûlée top. Although it looks and tastes sophisticated and fancy, this is a really easy coconut creme brulee recipe made without eggs or cream. You can even prep it a few days in advance of your special occasion and then blowtorch the sugar topping last minute before serving to your guests. 

This recipe was adapted from my vegan cardamom vanilla and clementine creme brulee from my cookbook. If you’re a fan of puddings or custard, you might also like my vegan panna cotta recipe.

 close up of easy vegan creme brulee.

This homemade creme brulee is:

  • Creamy and light
  • Full of fall flavours
  • Essentially “Thanksgiving creme brulee” but great for any fall or winter holiday celebration
  • A guaranteed crowd pleaser
  • Dairy free and egg free
  • Easy to make

 

Ingredients notes

  • Coconut milk: Full fat tinned coconut milk works best for this recipe as it gives richness and creaminess that traditional French creme brulee recipes get from eggs and dairy.
  • Vanilla: For the best results I recommend using a vanilla pod, but you can also make this pumpkin creme brulee recipe using vanilla extract. Swap in two teaspoons of vanilla extract or one teaspoon vanilla bean paste in place of the vanilla pod. 
  • Pumpkin puree: canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree works here. Just make sure you go for pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Pure maple syrup: This compliments the fall flavours of pumpkin so well.
  • Plant based milk: You can use any plant milk of your choice here, I usually go for soya.
  • Cornflour: This acts as the thickening agent for the homemade creme brulee.
  • Sea salt: Salt balances and enhances the sweetness of the recipe.
  • Demerara sugar: You can also use caster (superfine) or cane sugar.
 

ingredients to make pumpkin pie creme brulee.

How to make this vegan creme brulee (with step-by-step images)

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)

Make the pumpkin custard

  1. Slice the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and pod to a saucepan with the coconut milk and simmer on a medium heat for 5 minutes – do not boil.
  2. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the vanilla pod and add the coconut milk back to the saucepan and add the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, pumpkin spice and sea salt.

  3. In a small bowl, mix together the cornflour and plantbased milk until it forms a paste. Add the paste to the saucepan with the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a simmer and whisk continuously for 5 minutes.

  4. Pour the mixture into ramekins of your choice and allow them to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes before transferring them to the fridge to chill and set for 2 hours.
 

pouring creme brulee into ramekins.

How to caramelize creme brulee

Just before serving, add 1.5 tbsp of caster sugar in an even layer on top of each dessert. Use a blowtorch to caramelise the sugar until browned. It’s important to serve the brulee immediately as the caramelized top will turn to liquid if refrigerated. Sugar is hygroscopic meaning it attracts liquid, so humid environments are a no-go for these puddings once they have been blow-torched. Serious Eats have an interesting guide to sugar if you’d like to learn more about the science behind different sugars and how they behave to their environment.

dairy free pumpkin creme brulee desserts on metal tray.

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I make this recipe without a blowtorch?

For the best creme brulee recipe that has professional results I recommend using a blow torch.

You can however caramelize the sugar under the grill. You just need to make sure it is very hot, as you don’t want to leave them under there for too long as this could melt the pudding underneath. If using the broiler method make sure the pots you are using are able to withstand the temperature of the grill.

What are the best ramekins for creme brulee?

First and foremost, try to use ramekins that are heat resistant and don’t have a slant.

I recommend using procelain ramekins with a straight edge. I tried making this creme brulee with a slanted dish and when I was blowtorching the sugar, the heat travelled down and started to melt the pudding underneath.

Storage instructions

Store this pumpkin spice creme brulee in the fridge before caramelizing the top. Make sure they are airtight by sealing them with some cling-film until ready to serve.

 

vegan pumpkin custard with brulee top.

Related recipes

More vegan fall desserts

pumpkin creme brulee with cracked sugar topping.

Vegan Pumpkin Creme Brulee

4.5 from 16 votes
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With all the fall flavours of pumpkin pie in a classic custard dessert that's made completely egg free and dairy free. This creamy vegan pumpkin creme brûlée makes a impressive vegan Thanksgiving dessert.
Prep Time 25 mins
Chilling Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 25 mins
Servings 5

INGREDIENTS

  • 14.1 oz can of full fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice mix
  • 3 tbsp cornflour sifted
  • 3 tbsp plantbased milk
  • pinch sea salt
  • 6 tbsp demerara sugar or cane sugar, or caster sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Slice the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and pod to a saucepan with the coconut milk and simmer on a medium heat for 5 minutes - do not boil.
  • Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the vanilla pod and add the coconut milk back to the saucepan and add the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, pumpkin spice and sea salt.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the cornflour and plantbased milk until it forms a paste. Add the paste to the saucepan with the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a simmer and whisk continuously for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into ramekins of your choice (I use 3.5") and allow them to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes before transferring them to the fridge to chill and set for 2 hours.
  • Just before serving, add 1.5 tbsp of caster sugar in an even layer on top of each dessert. Use a blowtorch to caramelise the sugar until browned. Serve immediately.

RECIPE NOTES

 

How to make this recipe without a blowtorch

For the best creme brulee recipe that has a professional result I recommend using a blow torch. You can however caramelize the sugar under the grill. You just need to make sure it is very hot, as you don't want to leave them under there for too long as this could melt the pudding underneath. If using the broiler method make sure the pots you are using are able to withstand the temperature of the grill.
 

Best ramekins for this recipe

I recommend using heat resistant procelain ramekins with a straight edge. 
 

Storage instructions

Store this pumpkin spice creme brulee in the fridge before caramelizing the top. Make sure they are airtight by sealing them with some cling-film until ready to serve

NUTRITION

Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 19mg | Potassium: 290mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 3849IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 3mg
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2 thoughts on "Vegan Pumpkin Creme Brulee"

    1. Hi Elisabeta,

      I haven’t actually tried coconut sugar, I wonder if it will give the same crackle effect as regular sugar though. Would love to hear how it goes if you happen to give it a try!