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It’s frustrating if you fail to set your creme brulee, isn’t it? But hey it’s alright! You just need to know what you’re doing wrong.

So, why is your creme brulee not setting?

Well, for starters, if you don’t put enough egg yolks in the mixture, creme brulee will remain unset. Then not cooking it for long enough can also make things messy. And finally, you’ve to let the dessert sit in your fridge for at least 2-4 hours. Otherwise, it won’t set.

Now even if your creme brulee hasn’t set, you can totally fix it. Therefore, to help you out, we’ve mentioned a step-by-step process. We’ve also gathered some tips just for you! 

Now, let’s check out the details-

What Does An Unset Creme Brulee Look Like?

First, you’ve to check whether the creme brulee is actually unset or not. Just how you need to test tough corned beef before trying to fix it.

Therefore, let’s take a look at the creme brulee you’ve in front of you. What does it actually look like? 

Is your creme brulee curdled or scrambled? Or does it look soupy, runny, and loose?


Well, if yes then your creme brulee hasn’t set properly. Now don’t sulk, my friend. There are few reasons why your creme brulee turned out the way it is now. 

Would you want to know those reasons?

Why Is Creme Brulee Not Setting?

So, you’ve chosen to know the reasons. Wise choice, my friend. Because these reasons will help you to avoid common creme brulee mistakes from now on. 

Now there are lots of factors behind this problem. However, you might not find the causes in an organized way. That’s why to ease your pain, we’ve put all the reasons in four separate categories. You can go through them to find out where exactly you went wrong. 

Was Your Egg Yolks And Cream Ratio Correct? 

Egg yolk and cream are necessary ingredients for making a creme brulee. But sometimes bakers don’t know how much of these two they need to use. And this can happen due to following different recipes. 

But, there’s a simple rule of thumb. And that’s using 3 egg yolks per cup of liquid. For example, if you pour 2 cups of heavy cream then you’ll need to add 6 egg yolks. 

By the way, if you used half and half cream then I’m sorry to say but it’s too late now. Because you see half and half cream has a more liquidy texture than heavy cream. Which can make the custard watery if you don’t add the right amount. So yeah it’s better to use heavy cream instead.

However, you might still insist on using half and half cream for your next batch. If that’s the case, you’ll have to add 4 egg yolks per cup of half and half cream

Now, was your ratio correct?

Did You Cook It For Long Enough?

If you cook your creme brulee for a short amount of time, you’ll get runny and undercooked creme brulee. Simply put, your creme brulee will be very wiggly.

To make creme brulee, you should preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. And after that, the baking time should be 35-40 minutes. 

And you’ve to cook the creme brulee until its internal temperature reaches 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit. Only then your creme brulee will set properly. 

Now, if the temperature goes down 170, the creme brulee will stay soft. In reverse, if the temperature rises above 175, it’ll look curdled and grainy.

So, did you cook your creme brulee for long enough? Or does it need a few more seconds?

Have You Cooked It Right? 

As we’ve mentioned before, there are several types of recipes out there for cooking creme brulee. And these different recipes might have different instructions. 

Therefore, it’s not your fault if your first batch of creme brulee didn’t set. However, there are some things that one needs to follow when making this dessert. 

First of all, it’s essential that you use the right size of ramekins. Using a large ramekin won’t help in setting the creme brulee properly.

On that note, we’ve suggested the best ramekins for creme brulee-

  1. Bellemain Porcelain Ramekins
  2. DOWAN 4 oz Ramekins

Then, you also need to use a hot water bath. The hot bath is not for you though. You’ve to put the mixture filled ramekins in a pan with hot water. Otherwise, the creme brulee won’t set at the bottom. 


The water level should be halfway up to your ramekins. Furthermore, while putting the pan in the oven you need to be extra careful. Because if the water gets into the ramekins, the top part of the creme brulee will remain unset.

How long Did You Allow It To Sit In The Fridge?

After the baking, it’s essential that you allow the creme brulee to sit in the fridge. But for how long exactly? 

Well, this is where some people mess up. So, it’s ideal to let it sit in your fridge for 4 hours. Within this time, the creme brulee will cool completely. And as a result, you’ll get properly set creme brulee. 

Now, did you let it set in the fridge for long enough? 

How To Fix Unset Creme Brulee?

Finally, you’ve made it to the fixing part. Well, as we’ve said before, you can totally fix your creme brulee. Just how you can get rid of the bad smell of vacuum packed pork.

To set your unset creme brulee, you’ve to follow some simple steps. You’ll need a few things to save your curdled or liquidy creme brulee. The equipment you’ve to gather are-

  • A bowl
  • Metal strainer 
  • Rubber spatula 
  • Double boiler 
  • New ramekins 
  • A large oven-proof pan
  • Hot water

Now, if you’ve got these, you can start working on the unset creme brulee. We’ve specified the steps down below-

Step-1: Scrape Off The Creme Brulee Custard

If we talk about unset creme brulee, our first guess will be that the custard hasn’t set. Hence, our only work is to set the custard. 

But you’ve to scrape off the top skin that has formed at first. Then you can scrape off the unset custard from the ramekins. You can use a rubber spatula for the scraping off process. 

Step-2: Pour The Custard And Work Through It

Now, you’ll have to pour the whole custard into a metal strainer. However, before that don’t forget to put a bowl underneath the strainer. Next, you’ve to use the same rubber spatula to work through the custard. 

This will separate the grainy parts from the custard and will smooth it out. Thus, keep on working through the custard until you get a smooth base.

Step-3: Slowly Heat And Stir Your Custard 

After you get a smooth custard base, you’ll need to slowly heat the custard. For this, you’ll have to pour the base into a double boiler. Then you’ve to keep on stirring the custard. For that, use a regular spatula.

You need to stir until the custard base is hot but not cooked. You’ve to turn off the heat, right before it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Step-4: Put The Custard In New Ramekins

Now, just grab the new ramekins. After getting them, just pour the custard base into them. Once the ramekins are filled, you need to move to the hot water bath. 

For that, you’ll have to put the ramekins in a large pan. Then add hot water until the water level reaches 60-70% of the ramekin’s height. The hot water bath will help to set the custard along with making it even. 

Step-5: Rebake The Custard 

If you’re done with the hot water bath, you can move on to the baking part. This time you’ve to provide a temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 

And you’ve to bake till the custard is properly set. To check the texture, you can keep the time 20-30 minutes at first. Then you can check whether it’s set or not. If not, bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Another easy way is to observe the internal temperature. As we’ve mentioned before, the temperature should be 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, use a thermometer every 5 minutes to be sure.

For your comfort, we’ve mentioned some good thermometers-

  1. Habor 022 Meat Thermometer
  2. ThermoPro TP08S Wireless Digital Meat Thermometer

Anyway, if you don’t want to work on this batch anymore, you can just start working on a new one. This time just keep in mind where you went wrong. You can also check out some tips we’ve mentioned to make a proper creme brulee. 
Furthermore, you’ve to stop baking when the custard sets at the edges. But it has to be a little wiggly in the center. If your custard looks like this now then you’re all done! But,
don’t forget to let it set in the fridge for 2-4 hours.

Creme Brulee Recipe– The Dos & Don’ts


To save your time and effort, you might want to make a second batch instead. Which is quite understandable. To be honest, fixing an unset creme brulee is pretty difficult. 

That’s why a simple trick is to know what you should do and not do from now on. And this trick can even help you to avoid too thin ranch dressing.

Nonetheless, let’s take a look at the tips you should follow while making creme brulee-

  • The very first thing you should do is use enough egg yolks for your custard base. For heavy cream, you should follow the 3:1 ratio. Which means 3 yolks for every cup of heavy cream.
  • You need to use a hot water bath for the custard to set. However, you’ve to be careful about the level of water. You can pour water after placing the pan with ramekins inside the oven as well.
  •  You’ve to add more egg yolks if you insist on using coffee in the custard mixture. Otherwise, the thickening won’t be proper. As a result, the custard won’t set. 
  • The basic recipe for the custard contains egg yolks, heavy cream, vanilla extract, salt, and sugar. Thus, it’s better to not use anything other than these if you’re a beginner. 

So, these are all the tips we could provide. We hope your next batch will come out perfect. 


How to save curdled creme brulee?

Sometimes the custard of the creme brulee gets curdled. This happens if you provide too much heat. To save your creme brulee, you’ll need to put the custard into a blender. Then blend it into a smooth mixture. Lastly, pour the mixture into ramekins and let them set in the fridge. That’s all you’ve to do. 

How to save curdled creme brulee?

Sometimes the custard of the creme brulee gets curdled. This happens if you provide too much heat. To save your creme brulee, you’ll need to put the custard into a blender. Then blend it into a smooth mixture. Lastly, pour the mixture into ramekins and let them set in the fridge. That’s all you’ve to do. 

Why is creme brulee custard not setting

Well, firstly, your custard won’t set, if you use fewer egg yolks. Then not cooking it in the right way can also be another reason. Also, you’ve to cook it for long enough and then put it in the fridge. Otherwise, the custard will stay unset.

Why is my creme brulee not setting in fridge

A possible reason behind your creme brulee not setting in the fridge is the custard being too wet. If your creme brulee comes out runny and loose, there’s no way it’ll set in the fridge. 


We assume by now you’ve got your answer to- why is creme brulee not setting. Also, did you know you can even use a blender to blend out the unset custard? It’s a quick process so you can give it a try. 

So, where did you go wrong? 

Do let us know by leaving a comment. Lastly, good luck, bakers!

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