Caramelized grapefruit halves, topped with demerara sugar for a simple yet decadent brûléed experience. Serve these for breakfast, brunch, and special occasions!
Do you love grapefruit and are looking for some unique brunch grapefruit ideas? Look no further!
With only three simple ingredients and deliciously ripe red grapefruits, you can create an easy yet stunning breakfast side dish to serve for yourself on a slow Sunday or even for special occasions (how beautiful would these be for Mother’s day).
While there really isn’t much to this recipe, be sure to read through the article below to help guide you through the tools you need, how to safely brûlé your grapefruit, and some fun ways to serve and enjoy this dish.
Let’s dive in!
- Chef’s Knife and Cutting Board
- Paring Knife
- Small Bowls
- Baking Sheet
- Kitchen Torch (or use a broiler)
Use my guided culinary notes to help answer any commonly asked questions and provide you with everything you need to know to easily prepare this recipe.
Ready to cook? Jump to the recipe at the bottom of the page and get cooking!
What does brûlée mean?
Brûlée means “burnt” in French. In the culinary world, you’ve probably heard brûlée used in the popular custard based dessert, crème brûlée.
The brûlée part is the “burnt” sugar coating that is heated and torched over the top of the custard. In this case, it’s the sugar coating that’s burned over the top of the grapefruit instead.
What is the best type of sugar to brûlée with?
You can use a variety of sugars to brûlée with. I prefer and recommend demerara sugar (sugar in the raw) for this recipe because it really caramelizes and gives it an extra crunch.
Here are some additional sugars you can use as well:
- Brown Sugar
- White Sugar (caster sugar)
- Allulose (if you want a zero carb or keto friendly option for this)
Avoid using other sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. They do not have the same caramelizing abilities and won’t give you that crunch on the top that you want.
Brûléed Grapefruit Ingredients:
- Grapefruit: Use a large, ripe grapefruit for this recipe.
- Demerara Sugar: Larger sugar crystals that give you a thicker, better crunch.
- Lime Zest: Adds color and some aromatics to the top of the grapefruit.
- Aleppo Pepper or Cayenne Pepper (optional): The little bit of heat balances out the spice. You can also use my homemade Tajin recipe too!
Prep your grapefruits:
Rinse your grapefruits off before slicing to remove any debris.
Cut the grapefruit in half with your chef’s knife. If they do not sit flat, you can trim a small part of the peel off the bottom of each grapefruit to stabilize it.
You can brûlée your grapefruits in two ways. You can use a kitchen torch or the broiler.
- Preheat your broiler and place your grapefruits on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- The cut side should be facing up and the rind side down on paper.
- Pat the cut side dry to remove excess grapefruit juice. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the demerara sugar over the top of each citrus fruit and broil on high for 5-8 minutes.
- I recommend rotating your pan halfway through and keeping the oven door cracked and eyes on the grapefruit until the sugar is melted, bubbly, and turning a dark amber color.
- Remove your broiled grapefruit from the oven and allow it cool fully before adding the zest and Aleppo pepper.
Kitchen Torch Directions:
- Place your cut grapefruit onto the baking sheet and sprinkle each one with 2 tablespoons of the demerara sugar.
- Using a kitchen torch, hold the torch and toast the top about and inch or so above and move the torch slowly around the entire grapefruit.
- Add another tablespoon of the sugar again over the sugar that you already caramelized. This thickens the top slightly and helps get that signature crunch!
- Garnish with the lime zest and Aleppo pepper.
Place each brûléed grapefruit into a small bowl and serve along with your other favorite breakfast items like honey Greek yogurt and granola, some creamed eggs on toast, or with one of these keto blueberry muffins!
- 2 large Grapefruits halved
- 1/2 cup Demerara Sugar
- 1 small Lime, zested
- 1/2 tsp Aleppo Pepper or cayenne
- Rinse your grapefruits and dry them.
- Slice each grapefruit in half. Use a pairing knife to carve around each inside segment so the pieces can be easily scooped out with a spoon when serving.
- Pat the tops of each grapefruit dry to absorbs some of the extra grapefruit juice.
- Place the grapefruits onto a baking sheet. If they want to lean or roll slightly, you can trim a small part of the rind off the bottom to stabalize it.
- Preheat your broiler fully.
- Place 2-3 tbsp of demerar sugar over the cut halves of the grapefruits only right before placing into the broiler.
- Broil about 3-4 minutes and rotate your pan. Continue broiling for an additional 3-4 minutes or until they are bubbly and turning an amber color over the top.
- Remove them from the broiler and let them cool to room temperature or place them in the fridge to cool faster.
- Place 2 tbsp. over the top of a grapefruit and torch safely about and inch or so away from the sugar.
- Slowly move the torch around the entire top of the grapefruit. You should see the sugar sizzle, bubble, and begin to darken.
- After 30-60 sec you can stop and add another small layer of sugar over the top (I add about 1 more tbsp.) and then repeat the torching until the sugar is melted and the top is browned.
- Zest each grapefruit with the lime peel over the top and sprinkle a small amount of Aleppo pepper over the tops as well.
- Serve with a spoon in a bowl with your favorite breakfast and brunch sides or by themselves!