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Coconut Milk Dairy-Free Creme Brulee

by Kelli & Brad

Dairy free creme brulee made with coconut milk

Back in 2009 when Brad and I first made the change to clean eating and did our first healthy detox diet, we wanted to give ourselves a treat after eating so well for so long. While on a week-long cruise in the Caribbean, we had no trouble finding healthy food at the organic cafe on the ship and awesome organic restaurants on the islands. At the end of the cruise, heading back home on a full day at sea, we decided to visit one of the other cafes on the ship and eat something that both us had loved in our past food lives.

Brad’s was a disaster and a hilarious sight to see. He was always fond of hot dogs, so he spent his “food allowance” on one of those. This wasn’t a gourmet hot dog that might have sat a little better – just one of those cheap pool side dogs they make for the kids. Only three bites in it hit his stomach. He felt so gross he disgustedly chucked the rest of the hot dog overboard and made me promise to never let him eat another hot dog again.

Luckily I chose much better. We might say my tastes were a little more refined than Brad’s. I LOVE creme brulee, and out of all the treats onboard, that was the one I chose. And it was a good choice. Saying it was really good isn’t doing it justice. It was amazing.

But, since my body feels so much better without dairy, that was the last one I ate. That is, until about a month ago when I started getting notions of trying to make some with coconut milk. It has the taste and the fat to work, so why not give it a try? After a few attempts this little beauty was born, and now I am back in good graces with creme brulee. Brad still avoids hot dogs.


Coconut Milk Dairy-free Creme Brulee
Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup unrefined cane sugar plus 1 tbsp for each ramekin
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 vanilla beans
  1. To start, begin heating about 6 cups of water in a tea kettle. You'll need this hot water when we go to bake the creme brulee.
  2. Turn the oven to 325.
  3. In a small saucepan heat the coconut milk on low.
  4. While that's warming up, use a mixer to whip together the egg yolks and sugar until the yolks are light in color.
  5. Slice the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out the vanilla bean pulp.
  6. Whisk the pulp into the coconut milk.
  7. When the coconut milk begins to simmer, remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour a small amount into the egg yolk mixture as you stir. This will help temper the eggs.
  8. Allow that to sit for just a short minute, then add the rest of the coconut milk and stir until well combined.
  9. Place 5-6 ramekins in a shallow baking dish and fill each with the coconut mixture.
  10. From the tea kettle, pour the hot water into the baking dish so that the water comes roughly to halfway up the ramekins.
  11. Very gently place the baking dish into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the custard is has set but still wiggles a bit. Let cool.
  12. When the ramekins have cooled to the point you can handle them, sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the top of each dish and use your butane torch to heat the sugar until brown and crisp.
  13. Of course we want to sneak in healthy produce wherever we can, so top it off with a dash of your favorite berries that you just picked up at the farmer's market. 🙂



About the author...

 are the dynamic duo behind the creation of Fooduciary. We started this site because we care about others and want to help as many people as we can. All we have to say is, thanks for being here. And send us a note any time. We love hearing from our readers.

Ashleigh February 14, 2014

I made my own coconut milk using my Vitamix. The difference in taste between store bought and home made is a game changer!! The custard is in the oven now. Very excited to try thi!

Heinz August 13, 2014

Good recipe! Works well!

Nick April 18, 2015

Great idea! This eliminates the constant struggle between lactose intolerance and the deliciousness of creme brulee! One question: how big is the can of coconut milk you used?

Brad May 22, 2015

Thanks Nick. Standard size can – 15 oz.

Sam June 14, 2015

Is full fat coconut milk different from coconut cream?

Brad September 2, 2015

Sure. Coconut cream is really thick. Generally comes in a small box. Full fat coconut milk, normally in a can, will be much more liquid, though of course with some chunks of cream which can be stirred back into the liquid milk. With the box of cream, there’s no stirring anything until you soften it by heating.

Cynthia November 16, 2015

Hi! Is the coconut milk you use in a can (the thick cooking one)? or the ones refrigerated in a carton (drinkable right away like the coconut milk by “silk” ) ? or coconut half and half?
I read different things about it and was wondering what difference it would make in the taste. thanks!

Brad December 16, 2015

Hi Cynthia, this recipe calls for the coconut milk in a can. We tried to make that clear in the recipe but it can definitely be confusing!

The taste may be similar, but the main difference is the thickness. The canned variety has a lot more coconut solids and will create a really creamy texture. The refrigerated “silk” kind is like 1% milk and would produce a very runny substance.

Hope that helps!

Stehfahneh January 1, 2016

Wanted to try out our new torch. I used palm sugar to get that caramel-y flavor it gives (white sugar for the crust) – so good and so easy! Also, used vanilla extract out of sheer laziness.

Sam February 2, 2016

If I wanted to add some blood orange juice and zest would you adjust anything?

Jo March 19, 2016

I’ve made this recipe once before and it was better than great. The only thing I do differently is scald my coconut milk with the whole split vanilla bean in it, and scrape it’s pulp into the coconut milk just before tempering my eggs. This recipe is spot on, it has everything that makes dairy-full version such a delicious and decadent dessert. Being allergic to dairy proteins, this is going to my go to recipe for Creme Brulee. Thank you so much for experimenting and for sharing the wonderful result.

P.S. I’m making this again right now, it’s in the oven as I type, but I’m using coconut sugar in the hope that I can make the almost unnoticeable coconut flavor the main flavor.

Cinnamon Flowers March 29, 2016

I make regular Creme Brulee all the time. I followed the recipe exactly has the right coconut milk that was thick and in a can. I baked them and even after 45 and the tops darkening, after cooling they were still runny. I was wondering two things. What size ramekins do you use. Wondering if mine could be too full for making it with coconut milk?

michelle July 10, 2016

How much vanilla extract if im not using vanilla beans?

Debi August 11, 2016

can I freeze extra custards (without the sugar topping)?

Brad November 1, 2016

Not sure, Debi. Sounds like an experiment needs to be done. I’d imagine it would crystallize and wouldn’t be very smooth after thawing.

Sarah October 28, 2016

Thanks!! I wasn’t able to have creme brûlée for almost 11 years due to lactose intolerance. I’ve made this recipe twice and devour without sharing ????????. For me, I prefer the texture after it’s cooled in the fridge overnight then adding the sugar before serving.

Brad November 1, 2016

Thanks for telling us that, Sarah! So glad you’ve enjoyed it. Kelli’s in the same boat…one of her favorite desserts, but neither of us enjoy dairy. This fills the void for sure.