Vegan Chai-Spiced Crème Brûlée

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Nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves next to bowls of vegan chai-spiced creme brulee

Decadent crème brûlée without eggs or dairy or special equipment? Impossible, right!? Wrong! Friends, we’ve got you covered. This vegan crème brûlée is a dreamboat dessert inspired by a recipe in the gorgeous cookbook Mumbai Modern.

Imagine: a creamy, chai-spiced cashew custard with a crackly, caramelized top. Simple methods and just 10 ingredients required for this elegant dessert. Let’s brûlée!

Spices, salt, vanilla, coconut milk, cashews, maple syrup, and cane sugar

What is Crème Brûlée?

The first known recipe for crème brûlée, which translates to “burnt cream,” appears in a French cookbook from 1691. It may be inspired by the well-known Spanish dessert crema catalana, which originated in the 1500s, though they differ slightly in ingredients and preparation.

Masala chai is a creamy, spiced tea that’s most popular in India but is enjoyed around the world. Our chai-spiced crème brûlée takes inspiration from the warming, sweet, and spicy flavors of masala chai and gives it a decadent, dessert-y twist! 

How to Make Vegan Crème Brûlée

Unlike traditional crème brûlée, which uses cream and eggs for its rich, custardy goodness, the decadence of this vegan version comes from a base of cashews and coconut cream.

First, we soak the cashews to soften them and ensure a milder cashew flavor.

Blender with cashews, chai spices, coconut milk, and maple syrup

Next, we blend the cashews with coconut cream as well as maple syrup, vanilla, and chai-inspired spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves)!

Using a spoon to transfer a creamy vegan chai-spiced custard into ramekins

Then, after blending, it’s time to transfer the mixture to ramekins and chill. After chilling, you can enjoy the “crème” on its own. But we highly recommend you “brûlée” it for an extra special result (don’t worry, it’s way easier than it sounds)!

Ramekins with cane sugar sprinkled over a chai-spiced custard

Just a touch of sugar and a quick trip to the broiler and it’s done (yep, that’s how you crème brûlée without a brûlée torch!). Grab your spoons and get to crackin’, friends!

Cracked top on a ramekin of vegan creme brulee

We hope you LOVE this vegan crème brûlée! It’s:

Creamy
Rich
Warming
Decadent
Perfectly sweet
With a crackly, caramelized crust!

It’s the perfect impressive yet simple dessert to make for anniversaries, dinner parties, or when you’re feeling fancy and craving crème brûlée. Basically, any time is crème brûlée time!

More Recipes for Chai Lovers

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Spoonful of creamy chai-spiced creme brulee with a crackly top layer

Vegan Chai-Spiced Crème Brûlée

Creamy vegan chai-spiced crème brûlée! A decadent, warming, custard-like dessert with a crackly, caramelized top. Simple methods and just 10 ingredients!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Overhead shot of a ramekin of chai-spiced creme brulee
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 1 hour 3 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 (~1/3-cup servings)
Course Dessert
Cuisine French-Inspired, Gluten-Free, Indian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly Yes (without topping) – the texture will be more like ice cream
Does it keep? 4-5 Days

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup canned full-fat coconut milk*
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 pinch sea salt (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp organic cane sugar (fine works best but regular will work)

Instructions

  • Add the cashews to a heatproof bowl and cover with hot water by at least 1-2 inches. Set aside to soak for 20-30 minutes.
  • Once the cashews are done soaking, drain them and discard the soaking water.
  • To a high-speed blender, add the soaked and drained cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and optional sea salt. Blend until creamy and smooth. If needed, add more coconut milk 1 tsp at a time to encourage blending (we didn’t need any), but avoid adding too much — you want the mixture to be thick.
  • Divide the pudding between four 3-4 oz heatproof ramekins. We used shallow, wide ramekins that hold 4-5 ounces and added ~4 Tbsp per ramekin. It’s rich! Set in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour. At this point, the custard can be enjoyed without the brûlée topping and/or can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
  • TO BRÛLÉE: Just before serving, set out a baking sheet and preheat oven to a high broil. Place an oven rack on the very top shelf just below the broiler element, leaving just enough space to fit your baking sheet and ramekins.
  • Place each ramekin on the baking sheet and top each one with 1/2 Tbsp cane sugar. Place the ramekins on the very top shelf of your oven just under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the sugar is melted, bubbling, and turning brown. Watch carefully — it can burn in seconds. Alternatively, if you have a butane torch, you can use it to caramelize the sugar on top. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy. The top will stay crisp for up to 1 hour.

Video

Notes

*We haven’t tested with other dairy-free milks, but they might work. Let us know in the comments if you try it!
*Adapted from our Vegan Tiramisu Pudding Cups and inspired by the gorgeous Chai Masala Crème Brûlée in Amisha Dodhia Gurbani’s Mumbai Modern.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 314 Carbohydrates: 34.7 g Protein: 6.2 g Fat: 17.8 g Saturated Fat: 5.8 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.6 g Monounsaturated Fat: 7.7 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 13 mg Potassium: 310 mg Fiber: 1.4 g Sugar: 24.2 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 45 mg Iron: 2.4 mg

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  1. Lisa says

    I made this twice. The first time, I found it too sweet and the flavor of the maple syrup overpowered the spices. So I tried it again & used only a scant 1/4 cup syrup. I also had a bottle of orange blossom water I noticed when I got the vanilla out, so I put 1tsp of that in as well. I do not have ramekins so I made in in a small loaf pan, which worked fine. Definitely liked the second version best!

  2. Jess says

    Can’t wait to make this! Do you shake up the the can of coconut milk or do you just take 1/3 cup of the separated solid? Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      It would be richer with coconut cream, and possibly thicker. We enjoyed it with the full fat milk! Let us know what you try!

      • Sid says

        I tried full fat coconut milk like the recipe recommends and it was pretty rich and thick specially after staying overnight in the fridge. Love this recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hm, possibly! Maybe 1/3-1/2 cup cashew butter blended in a regular blender? Add more as needed to reach the consistency in the photos. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

  3. Kimberly Lenihan says

    I LOVE your recipes! Thank you from the bottom of my ❤️.
    Curious, since I’m not vegan, what can I use in place of the blended, soaked cashews?
    Thanks for all the deliciousness!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you so much for your kind words and support, Kimberly! This recipe does rely heavily on the cashews, because of that there isn’t a direct substitution.

  4. The Vegan Goddess says

    You had me at Crème Brûlée. I always loved it.

    And here’s the usual question that is always asked … can we swap out sugar for coconut sugar? Will that work as well?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      It’s one of our favorites too! We don’t think coconut sugar will caramelize as well, but let us know if you try it!