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Flan: Easy and Delicious

Updated on August 30, 2017

The Yummiest Desert EVER

Flan dates back to ancient Rome, when Romans first started domesticating chickens and having an excess of eggs. From Rome it spread throughout Europe, with different variations arising in different regions. Flan came to Latin America after Christopher Columbus made his "discovery" of the New World and brought the Spanish culture with him. Dishes made with eggs and milk were considered healthy and were particularly used to build up a person who had "wasted away" from an illness.

I know Flan from my years of traveling through Mexico. Every where you visit in Mexico you can get Flan, but each place makes it differently. After testing many different kinds of Flan, I developed the perfect recipe for a Flan that is creamy,dense, and delicious. There are also a couple of techniques that once learned make Flan easy to make. I'll share it all with you on this lens and show you some quick ways to change the flavor for different times of the year. How about Pumpkin Flan for Thanksgiving, or Kaluah Flan for Christmas, or Coconut Flan for Valentine's Day?

Why I like this recipe

It's better than cake or pie.

If you are allergic to gluten, this is a good alternative.

It's easy to make, yet the results are spectacular.

I'm always struck by how simple ingredients make such a yummy dish.

It's creamy AND dense.

There's something magical about how hard, carmelized sugar turns into syrup!

Some Music to Cook By

The Basic Flan Recipe

Heat oven to 350 Degrees.

Assemble custard:

4-6 Eggs

1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 Can Evaporated Milk

2 teaspoons real vanilla

Blend in blender until just mixed. Don't over blend so it has a lot of air in it.

Set aside, while preparing the caramelized sugar.

Carmelized Sugar: Not Dark Enough

Carmelized Sugar: Not Dark Enough
Carmelized Sugar: Not Dark Enough

This One Is Just Right

This One Is Just Right
This One Is Just Right

Caramelizing Techniques

The trick is to get it cooked just enough without burning it

The trick to the carmelized sugar is to get it cooked enough for a good flavor. Too light and it doesn't have enough, too dark and it tastes too burnt.

To make carmelized sugar use a cast iron pan over medium heat. (If you don't have a cast iron pan, you can use a regular one but don't heat it first.)

Heat the cast iron pan, then slowly add 1 cup of white sugar. Let the bottom layer of sugar melt without disturbing it. Mix the rest of the sugar into the melted portion until it is all dissolved. Continue to stir the sugar, slowly letting it darken.

Take it off right after it reaches a boil. Sugar will end up lighter than it appears in the pan. Immediately pour liquid sugar into a glass pie dish. Be careful, it is very hot and burns horribly! Quickly rotate the pie dish to distribute the sugar evenly on the bottom and the sides.

Pour in the custard mixture from the blender.

Place in a larger pan with hot water coming half way up the sides.

Cover with aluminum foil but do not seal the edges.

Cook at 350 degrees for an hour. To test for doneness, stick a butter knife in the center. If it comes out clean, it is done. If it is not done, continue cooking. It's hard to overcook just gets more dense.

Note: Flan can be made in small custard cups, or other molds but the thickness will change the amount of cooking time.

Get a Cast Iron Pan

These pans last forever and help add iron to your food. Don't use them with acidic foods such as tomatoes. You'll need to cure them by brushing with oil and then baking to prevent rusting in water. To clean, use minimal soap and dry immediately.

Unmolding Your Flan

Let the flan cool. Then refrigerate overnight. When you are ready to eat, let it warm slightly at room temperature for 30 minutes after unmolding it.

Loosen the edges of the flan with a knife. Place a plate with raised edges (to hold the syrup) over the flan, then flip it all QUICKLY! A slow flip will result in very sticky syrup making a mess everywhere!

Flan just gets better overtime, so leftovers are great. It doesn't last too long in our household, though.

The Princess Demonstrates

I found this video really funny. Made by a husband/wife team they reminded me of the characters in My Cousin Vinny. As always, everyone has their own version of how to cook flan but you get a good idea about carmelizing sugar in this video.

That Other Custard

Brulee is the French form of this custard. The sugar is carmelized on top after the custard has cooked.

Two Types of Custard Deserts

Flan has a melted caramlized syrup that bakes slightly into the custard and is liquid upon unmolding. Brulee, which is a similar custard with a slightly different texture is finished off with a sugar topping that is broiled until crunchy. I'll eat Brulee if it's all I can get, but nothing beats a well made Flan.

Flan or Brulee: Which one do you prefer?

Pumpkin Flan

Forget Pumpkin Pie, Make This Your Thanksgiving Tradition

Add 1 Cup of Canned Pumpkin and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Follow the rest of the recipe.

Kahlua Flan

Add 2 tablespoons of Kahlua and omit the vanilla when blending the custard ingredients.

Follow the rest of the recipe.


I've often used Kahlua as a substitute for vanilla in cookie or bar recipes. It's particularly good with chocolate chip cookies.

Coconut Flan

Substitute 1 can coconut milk for evaporated milk.

Optional: Grate fresh coconut and sprinkle generously over the caramalized sugar after pouring it in the pie pan.

Follow the rest of the recipe. For Valentine's Day bake in a heart-shaped pan.

An Even Easier and Faster Mexican Desert

Mexican hot chocolate had a unique flavor and is made with cinnamon. To make it for 4 people, heat up 4 cups of milk. Cut up one round of Mexican Ibarra hot chocolate into smaller pieces and place in a blender. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and blend on low speed until it's frothy.

Add whip cream (if you really want to be decadent) and serve with your favorite shortbread cookies.

Or what favorite Mexican food would you like to know how to make?

Is Your Mouth Watering Yet?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Your flan recipe sounds very delightful. Thank you for publishing it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Yes, my mouth is watering. I have never made a flan before.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      wow ,great job

      gonna sit down and dig in here for more information

    • Adriana Daniela profile image


      7 years ago from New Market

      Absolutely! My mom used to make it, but I never bothered. Now I need to make some.

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 

      7 years ago

      i want coconut flan.......yummy! thanks for the recipe.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The music video was outstanding! Eating and dancing salsa, can we say...


    • Othercatt profile image


      7 years ago

      I love flan, but I've never made it before. I can't get over that Princess video! I'd love to be a fly on that wall! lol. Blessed.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the great and easy looking recipe :)

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 

      8 years ago

      Flan is great! So is your music selection! Great lens!! Lensroll and a blessing!

    • SoyCandleLover profile image


      8 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Thanks so much for the very easy flan recipe. And all those variations too. Kahlua? YUM!!! Lensrolled to another favorite desert, easy Turtle cupcakes. :D Fav and tweeted, too. Thanks!

    • justholidays profile image


      8 years ago

      I LOVE flan! That is one of my favorite desserts! Thank you for having built this lens: I gained two pounds just reading and looking at the mouthwatering pictures!

      Blessed by a Squidangel.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      YUM! Thanks for this lens! I absolutely *love* flan! I make it every year - any more than that and...well, it would be disastrous! LOL Lensrolled to my Aguas Frescas lens and favorited!

    • M Schaut profile image

      Margaret Schaut 

      9 years ago from Detroit

      this page was guaranteed to get my angel-attention sooner or later! I LOVE a good flan so thanks for the recipe and all your tips! blessed and the works!

    • giacombs-ramirez profile imageAUTHOR

      gia combs-ramirez 

      9 years ago from Montana

      [in reply to JENNIFERALLEN] The flan mold needs to be baked in "agua maria" or a water bath. Aluminum foil is placed over the top but you don't seal it. Sealing it makes the water drip back down into the flan and makes it runny. I've never come across a box flan that I like. I'm a snob that way.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I made flan and only on the edges was it runny... cooking that would fix it right? iv in the past made "Instant" flan and you dont cook it in the oven and the edges came out runny also... is it supposed to be that way?

    • giacombs-ramirez profile imageAUTHOR

      gia combs-ramirez 

      10 years ago from Montana

      [in reply to kab] Hmmm, I wonder where it went wrong? Was it the carmelized sugar? If the flan comes out runny (not cooked enough) just stick it back in the oven and keep cooking.

    • kerbev profile image


      10 years ago from Upstate, NY

      I've tried to make one flan...and I messed it up somehow.

    • GypsyLyric LM profile image

      GypsyLyric LM 

      10 years ago

      There is a small Cuban family style restaurant that I visit whenever I get to go "home" to Key West. It was there that I first had flan and I've been hooked ever since. It is one of my all time favorite desserts - and with the information in this lens, I might finally be brave enough to try making it for myself.

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 

      10 years ago

      Very nice, I too love Flan. At home we make flan regularly, my husband loves it! 5*and favorite. Check out my Homemade Puerto Rican Flan lens.

    • giacombs-ramirez profile imageAUTHOR

      gia combs-ramirez 

      10 years ago from Montana

      [in reply to Intuitive] No, that type of canned crema is really canned cream. You want the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      10 years ago

      Beautiful and oh so yummy choice for a lens! Keep on keeping on.

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 

      10 years ago

      I've been told about some kind of canned "crema" in the Mexican section at the local store. It's not quite evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk. I wonder if it would work? Anyway...GREAT lens. 5*

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      yum! looks good too =]

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 

      10 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Flan is my absolutely favorite dessert. Very nice lens. I will have to try to make it myself now.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I had no idea that flan is from Mexico! This lens made me very hungry. I'd have to make some soon. Enjoyed both the text and the photos. *****


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