Sugar n’ Spice Broiled Grapefruit

Grapefruit doesn’t have to be boring. Kick it up with a nose-tingling cinnamon, cardamom and powdered vanilla blend. Run it through a hot oven and you’ll have Sugar n’ spice broiled grapefruit — a warm, juicy bite of sunshine, with a delectable caramely-spiced crust that’s ready in under 10 minutes.

a collage of pink grapefruit with sugar, spices and powdered vanilla.

My Mom used to make this for us as kids, back in the day. It was simple — just grapefruit and sugar, set under the broiler a minute or two to heat the fruit and melt the sugar.  The sugar cut the sour edge of grapefruit just enough and the warm fruit was a welcome diversion from my usual bowl of corn flakes.

What’s in ?

  • Ripe Grapefruit — look for fruit that feels heavy for its size, indicating it’s very juicy.
  • Granulated Sugar – for giving the broiled grapefruit its signature brûlée crust.
  • Cinnamon – though you may not think cinnamon and citrus go together, it’s delicious in this recipe.
  • Cardamom – is a floral spice that works well with the cinnamon and juiciness of the citrus.
  • Powdered vanilla – it may be tough to source, so if you don’t have it, you can skip it – or use vanilla sugar instead of plain granulated.
two grapefruit halves with a bowl of spice blend.

So, no, broiled grapefruit isn’t a new thing — but it’s worth revisiting. In this version, we’ve amped up the traditional sugar topping with ground cinnamon, floral cardamom and powdered vanilla to smooth out the edges.

Sourcing Powdered Vanilla:

I apologize in advance for this because I generally don’t use obscure ingredients on this site.  I came across powdered vanilla when I took a trip to France a few years ago  — where it’s sold in every market. Unfortunately, it’s not that way here in the States, and when I searched for powdered vanilla on Amazon I found a lot of wannabes… 

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Though  Neilsen-Massey has a vanilla powder available, but it wasn’t 100% pure vanilla (I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know how it performs).

The powdered vanilla I got in France isn’t overwhelming, but its distinct aroma and mellow flavor soften the intensity of the grapefruit, cinnamon, and cardamom. You could also use vanilla sugar or omit the vanilla altogether for a stronger spice profile.

Sprinkling fruit with spice blend to make broiled grapefruit.

How To Make Sugar n’ Spice Broiled Grapefruit:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and powdered vanilla (do not substitute vanilla extract or vanilla paste — it will just make a mess…)
  2. Slice two grapefruit in half crosswise.
  3. Use a bird’s beak knife or small sharp paring knife to cut the individual segments of fruit away from the membrane and peel.
  4. Sprinkle each half of the grapefruit evenly with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and spice mixture.
  5. Place the grapefruit halves on a baking sheet lined with tin foil (do not use parchment paper as it can get too close to the heating element in the oven and catch fire).
  6. Broil the grapefruit form 4-5 minutes until the sugar is melted and slightly caramelized and the grapefruit is warmed through.
  7. An optional enhancement is to add another layer of caramel after the grapefruit have been broiled… Sprinkle on a bit more of the sugar mixture and use the flame of akitchen torch to transform the sugar blend into a brûlée. It’s not necessary, but is definitely a wow-zer if you happen to have a torch.
  8. Serve immediately.
broiled grapefruit under the heating element in the oven.

December through February is peak citrus season in Florida, so if that happens to be where your grapefruit comes from (and I sure hope it is), you’ll definitely want to make Sugar n’ spice broiled grapefruit at least a couple of times this winter.

Sugar n' Spice Broiled Grapefruit on a baking sheet.

What Does Broiled Grapefruit Taste Like?

Broiling grapefruit intensifies the juiciness of the citrus and the caramelized sugar, spices and powdered vanilla, mellow its signature tart pucker. Scott had never had this before and when I brought it from the table, he was hesitant. “Hot grapefruit?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“What are those dark specks on top?”

“Some spices and powdered vanilla.”

“Powdered vanilla? Hmmm. Interesting.” (That’s Scott speak for where do you come up with this stuff?)  Scooping up the grapefruit segments with his spoon, he peppered me with more questions. “Why does the fruit pop out so easily?”

“I cut the segments from the membrane.”

“While it’s still in the fruit? You can do that?”

He cracks me up!

Serving Sugar n' Spice broiled grapefruit on plates with spoons.

You May Also Like These Citrus Recipes: 

A broiled grapefruit after the segments have been eaten.

More grapefruit recipes to make:

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Broiled grapefruit halves on a plate.
Print Pin
5 from 5 votes

Broiled Grapefruit

Quick and easy, juicy, bright and VERY flavorful. Use your broiler or kitchen torch to brûlée the sugar-spice mixture.  Ready in about 10 minutes.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword grapefruit
Dietary Restrictions Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 large grapefruit I used ruby red
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • teaspoon powdered vanilla optional


  • Move the rack to the top position in your oven. Preheat the oven to BROIL. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. (note: do not use parchment paper — if it gets too close to the broiler element, it will catch on fire — ask me how I know that!!!)
  • Use a sharp knife to slice the grapefruit in half cross-wise.  Use a small paring knife or bird’s beak knife to loosen the grapefruit segments from the pith. Place the grapefruit on  the prepared baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and powdered vanilla (if using). Sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar mixture evenly over each grapefruit.
  • Transfer the grapefruit to the broiler and broil for 4-5 minutes or until the sugar is melted and slightly caramelized. Serve.
  • Note: you can also use a kitchen torch to achieve this, but you still want to heat the grapefruit for several minutes in a hot oven… this releases more juices and warms the fruit all the way through (if you just melt the sugar on top of the grapefruit the interior of the fruit would remain at room temperature.)


Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Sugar: 12g

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Spice up your breakfast with Sugar n' Spice Broiled Grapefruit! This easy recipe i with a caramelized sugar and spice crust is ready to eat in 10 minutes! #broiledgrapefruit #grapefruitrecipe #hotgrapefruit #grapefruit #grapefruitbrulee #caramelizedgrapefruit

More Fruit For Breakfast: 

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  1. nicole ( says:

    Wow, this recipe sounds worth revisiting indeed, what a unique idea! Thanks for sharing, Lisa! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    What a great simple breakfast or treat! Thanks for this awesome recipe idea!

  3. Beth Neels says:

    5 stars
    These look so delicious! I love simple, cooked fruit, it really brings out the natural sugars! I am totally jealous that you get fresh grapefruit! I haven’t eaten one in ages because the ones that are shipped up here are so bitter, or flavorless! There is nothing better than a fresh one!

    1. You’re so right, Beth — fresh citrus is amazing!

  4. Catherine Brown says:

    5 stars
    Oh, YUM! I haven’t eaten broiled grapefruit in forever. My mom used to prepare it for us, but not with these lovely spices. I’ve gotta try this!

  5. 5 stars
    Outstanding light snack with LOTS of flavor. The world needs more cardamom, that’s for sure. This one really delivers. GREAT recipe. Thank you!

    1. So glad you like it, Mike! Cardamom has such a rich, floral scent — it works well with grapefruit.

  6. 5 stars
    My mum also went through a grapefruit phase when I was a kid, in the 1980s in our case, and I remember her grilling grapefruit (or broiling as you guys say) with sugar sprinkles on it, as it was too sharp for us without a little sweetening. I love this idea to add the spices to that sugar brulee on top, perfect way to jazz it up and still super super quick!

    1. Sometimes you have to bring back the classics, ya know?!!!