This rich creamy Crème Brulee White Hot Chocolate is flavored with delicate white chocolate, a hint of brown sugar and a whole lot of vanilla bean paste. It’s topped with crunchy caramel and tastes like crème brulee in liquid form!

Mug of Crème Brulee White Hot Chocolate on a white plate next to pastries.

Things I need to do in the month of March:

1. Send back those snow pants I bought online and never wore
2. Finally take my car in to get appropriate license plates before The Man tracks me down
3. Survive two weeks of my boys home from spring break—seriously, who gets two weeks?!
3. Post all the winter comfort food recipes I can, because it’s getting spring-y up in here!

Close up of a mug of Crème Brulee White Hot Chocolate.

Don’t get me wrong, I think hot chocolate can be an appropriate drink year-round, but my craving for frothy hot beverages is considerably less when the weather is warmer. Summer is for snowcones, is all I’m saying. So let’s enjoy some Crème Brulee White Hot Chocolate while the getting is still good!

Mug of Crème Brulee White Hot Chocolate on a white plate next to pastries.

I almost always choose dark chocolate over white, so when I make white chocolate desserts, I like to add a little sumthin-sumthin to make them more interesting. In this case, rather than just plain white hot chocolate, I swerved into the “fancy dessert” lane and made a crème brulee-inspired version instead.

This means: a pinch of brown sugar (to give it that caramel taste), a lot of vanilla bean paste (because isn’t vanilla crème brulee the best of all?) and a topping of caramelized sugar shards. It can’t quite compete with the satisfying crack of breaking into the top of a freshly made crème brulee, but that authentic burnt sugar flavor sure goes a long way towards making this a slurpable recreation.

2 mugs of Crème Brulee White Hot Chocolate.

I admit, I had a little too much fun playing with the caramel sugar. My original idea was just to make discs of sugar to perch over the tops of the mugs, like the sugar crust on a crème brulee, but then hearts seemed like so much more fun. So I did a few of those. Then, heeeeey, what happens if I drizzle the caramel in random patterns all over the Siplat? And then crunch it up? And then scatter these toppings willy-nilly on top of my mugs? Weird stuff happens? Cool. I’m into that.

Close up of the top of a mug of Crème Brulee White Hot Chocolate.

All of which is to say, have fun with the sugar. Safe fun, of course. No petting it. But experiment, and realize that no matter what your sugar toppings look like, they’re still going to melt into the hot chocolate and be nothing but delicious swirls of caramel flavor about 2 minutes after you serve them. Bliss.

3 mugs of Raspberry White Hot Chocolate next to flowers and cookies.

Raspberry White Hot Chocolate

This warm, comforting drink is made with real raspberry puree and white chocolate. It’s beautiful, delicious, and tastes like melted berries & cream ice cream!
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Cup of Cinnamon Bun White Hot Chocolate on a small white plate.

Cinnamon Bun White Hot Chocolate

This Cinnamon Bun White Hot Chocolate is an unbelievable mix of white chocolate, lots of cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla, candied pecans, whipped cream, and if you are feeling a little crazy – caramel drizzle! Yes, please!
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Close up of a mug of Crème Brulee White Hot Chocolate.

Creme Brulee White Hot Chocolate

5 from 1 vote
This rich creamy Crème Brulee White Hot Chocolate is flavored with delicate white chocolate, a hint of brown sugar and a whole lot of vanilla bean paste. It's topped with crunchy caramel and tastes like crème brulee in liquid form!
Prep30 minutes
Cook5 minutes
Total35 minutes


For the Caramelized Sugar Topping:

For the Creme Brulee White Hot Chocolate:


To Make the Caramelized Sugar Topping:

  • Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a silicone liner, or foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Rub the lemon juice into the sugar until it is well-distributed and the sugar is slightly damp from the juice. This will help prevent crystallization when you caramelize the sugar.
  • Place a small pan over medium heat and let it preheat for several minutes until the pan is hot. Add the sugar, and begin to stir immediately and continuously. Continue to cook the sugar, stirring constantly, until it liquefies. Shortly after it becomes liquid it will start to color. Cook the caramel until it is a medium amber color. It will have a strong smell of caramelized sugar at this point. Be careful not to cook it too long, or it will blacken and become burned.
  • At this point, you have some choices. You can pour the hot sugar out onto the prepared tray into a thin, even layer, let it harden, and then smash it into shards to put on your hot chocolate. You can let it cool slightly, then drizzle it in circles or other random patterns, let it harden, then break the patterns into pieces. Or you can try to make shapes: let the sugar cool slightly, so that it’s a little bit thick, and use a spoon to dollop it onto the baking sheet in circles, ovals, or even heart shapes. Most of all, have fun! If at any time it gets too thick to work with, return the pan to the heat briefly and stir while it warms up.
  • Let the caramelized sugar cool completely before touching or moving it.
  • Choices: can drizzle on silpat or sprayed foil to get shapes, can let it cool a bit and drop it into circles or shapes from spoon, or can pour it out onto a pan, let it harden, then shatter it with a knife/meat mallet.

To Make the Creme Brulee White Hot Chocolate:

  • Combine the milk, cream, brown sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt in a medium saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat, and bring it to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until bubbles start appearing along the sides of the pan and it almost comes to a boil.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, add the chopped white chocolate, and whisk it until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Divide it between 4-6 cups, topped with additional whipped cream, if desired, and finish with your crunchy caramel decorations or sprinkles. Enjoy immediately.

Recipe Notes

In my opinion, the vanilla bean paste is key to the recipe, as it gives the drink the bold vanilla flavor I associate with crème brulee. If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, you can substitute vanilla extract instead. Start with a 1:1 substitution and add more to taste if necessary.

Measuring Tips

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Want to learn more about baking measurements and conversion?


Serving: 6g | Calories: 538kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 236mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 65g | Vitamin A: 690IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 189mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Snap a pic and hashtag it #SugarHero. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @elabau.
Four photo collage of hot chocolate pictures.


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Hi, I’m Elizabeth — a trained pastry chef, cookbook author, video instructor, and your new Baking BFF! I’m going to teach you everything you need to know to be a sugar hero. ❤️

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  1. Ahhh that looks perfect! I must try this idea before winter’s over, and soon… wish I could curl up with a good book and a mug of this 🙂

    1. It’s feeling mighty springy where I am–I feel like I kind of already missed the winter window! But really, is hot chocolate ever NOT welcome?

  2. Looks lovely!!! You make some of the best hot chocolate variations I’ve ever seen. But seriously – WHO GETS TWO WEEKS?! I just about died laughing at that. Your humor > my humor.

    1. Haha. Not to be the evil mom, but seriously? I’ve got things to do! This is nuts. Signed, I’ve Played Kung Fu Panda Twenty Times Today

  3. Good golly, I NEED this hot chocolate in my life! Looks spectacular Elizabeth! 🙂 I always love white hot chocolates, totally my drink of choice. I would DEFINITELY order this if it was on the menu. Pinned!

    1. Thanks Jess! It’s definitely hard to find white hot chocolates out “in the wild” so to speak–guess we have to make our own to get our fix!

  4. This looks like something for serious dessert fans just like me! And I LOVE creme brulee, I can’t wait to try this. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I haven’t tried it, I gotta say I don’t know if the taste and texture would be all that great. But I’d to hear how it goes, send pictures!