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 it 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 vegan panna cotta and vegan creme caramel.

close up of easy vegan creme brulee.Pin

This homemade creme brulee is:

  • Creamy and light
  • Full of fall flavors
  • Essentially a Thanksgiving version of vegan creme brulee, but great for any fall or winter holiday celebration
  • A guaranteed crowd-pleaser
  • Dairy-free and egg-free
  • Easy to make

Ingredients needed

ingredients to make pumpkin pie creme brulee.Pin

Notes about the ingredients

  • 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 complements the fall flavors of pumpkin so well.
  • Plant-based milk: You can use any plant milk of your choice here, I usually go for soya.
  • Cornstarch: 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.

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

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions are 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 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.

  • In a small bowl, mix together the cornflour and plant-based 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 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.Pin

    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 caramelize 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 has an interesting guide to sugar if you'd like to learn more about the science behind different sugars and how they behave in their environment.

    dairy free pumpkin creme brulee desserts on metal tray.Pin

    Frequently asked questions

    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 porcelain ramekins with a straight edge. I tried making this creme brulee with a slanted dish and when I was blowtorching the sugar, the heat traveled 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.Pin

    More vegan fall desserts

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    Vegan Pumpkin Creme Brulee

    4.6 from 27 votes
    PREP TIME: 25 mins
    Chilling Time: 2 hrs
    TOTAL TIME: 2 hrs 25 mins
    Servings: 5
    PRINT RECIPE PIN RECIPE

    Description

    With all the fall flavors 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.

    Ingredients

    • 14.1 oz (400 ml) can of full fat coconut milk
    • ½ cup (122 g) pumpkin puree
    • cup (78 ml) pure maple syrup
    • 1 vanilla pod
    • 1 teaspoon (2 g) pumpkin spice mix
    • 3 tablespoons (24 g) cornstarch (cornflour), sifted
    • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) non-dairy milk
    • pinch sea salt
    • 6 tablespoons (72 g) 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 cornstarch and non-dairy 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.

    Storage

    • 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

    Notes

    • For the best 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. 

    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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