This creamy Coffee Flan is an easy Mexican dessert that’s a total afternoon pick me up. Made with espresso, this silky smooth flan is perfectly flavored with rich notes of coffee and a sweet coffee-caramel sauce!
Looking for more flan recipes? Try my Easy Pumpkin Flan, too!
*This recipe is sponsored by Dixie Crystals!*
Creamy Homemade Coffee Flan
Flan of any kind is one of my favorite types of desserts. The smooth and creamy custard is soft, yet firm enough to hold its shape. I love using a spoon to scoop out a bite and watching the caramel topping cascade into the open space I created. This is the type of dessert you want to take your time savoring.
Since I’m also a fan of coffee, this year I decided to take a classic flan recipe and infuse it with coffee flavors. Maybe that sounds super fancy and complicated, but flan is quite easy to make. You should try this recipe! You’ll impress your family and get a perfect afternoon pick-me-up dessert too. Win-win!
What is Flan?
Flan is a Mexican baked custard dessert that is made with eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and condensed and evaporated milk. It’s kind of similar to creme caramel. It is usually baked in a water bath to achieve a smooth and creamy texture, then is inverted and chilled before being served with caramel sauce on top.
Flan tastes like a milky, sweet cheesecake topped with toasted sugar caramel sauce. Since I have infused this recipe with espresso, it also has subtle coffee notes in both the custardy base and the caramel topping.
You will only need 6 ingredients to make this flan recipe. You probably have most of these items in your kitchen already, though if you don’t have an espresso machine you may need to buy instant espresso (if you don’t want to use coffee).
- Espresso: Don’t worry, you don’t need an espresso machine. Just grab some instant espresso. Or, you can use coffee if you prefer. You will need espresso for both the caramel sauce and the flan.
- Dixie Crystals Sugar: For both the caramel sauce and the flan, you will need regular Dixie Crystals Granulated Sugar.
- Condensed milk: Make sure your condensed milk is sweetened condensed milk.
- Evaporated milk: This will thicken up and sweeten the espresso in the recipe.
Why Do I Need Evaporated Milk and Condensed Milk?
You need both evaporated and condensed milk for this recipe. You may think they are the same thing, but they are quite different.
- Sweetened condensed milk is sweet and gooey because it’s made of 40-45% sugar which is cooked down and mixed with whole milk.
- Evaporated milk is simply milk that is heated until the water is cooked off making it the consistency of cream.
Together, these two ingredients make the perfect smooth and creamy yet firm flan!
How to Make Coffee Flan
Although flan is easy to make it is important that you follow the recipe steps exactly. The process is quite delicate if you want a dessert that is both creamy and firm.
- Preheat and prep: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Then, set a 7-inch cake pan with 2-inch high sides inside of a larger baking pan or casserole dish.
- Make the caramel sauce: Add instant espresso and water into a saucepan. Dissolve the espresso over medium heat. Add the sugar and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the caramel is golden brown.
- Put coffee caramel in the pan: Carefully pour your caramel sauce into the 7-inch pan. Set it to the side and let it cool and harden.
- Start making the flan: Mix your instant espresso and warm water in a medium sized bowl until the espresso has dissolved. Then, add your eggs one at a time, whisking thoroughly. Repeat with the egg yolks.
- Add the rest of the ingredients: Once the eggs are incorporated, add your sugar. When the sugar is combined, add your sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Pour flan in the pan: Pour the flan mixture in your pan. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Then, make the water bath by pouring water into the larger roasting pan (outside of the cake pan). The water needs to reach half way up the outside of the cake pan.
- Bake: Place the roasting pan with the flan on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
- Cool: Next, remove the flan from the water bath, remove the aluminum foil, and set the flan to the side to come to room temperature.
- Chill: After the flan has reached room temperature, replace the aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. I recommend overnight.
- Flip the flan: Once your flan has chilled it’s time to remove it form the pan. Run a butter knife along the sides of the pan to release it. Then, place a large plate over the flan pan and quickly flip it over. Gently lift the pan up. If the flan has not released, gently push down the bottom of the pan and push the sides to release it onto the plate.
- Serve: Slice your flan and serve it immediately! You can spoon extra coffee caramel sauce on top. Enjoy!
Getting the Process Right
When made correctly, flan is an incredibly decadent and satisfying dessert. But only if you make it just right. Here are some tips to get the best flan every single time.
- Whisk gently. When whisking your flan ingredients, whisk it gently to prevent too many bubbles.
- Don’t overcook the flan. Yes, it will come out jiggly, but with flan you want it to be jiggly. If you overcook it, the texture will be tough and rubbery. Let it jiggle!
- Don’t skip the water bath. Trust me, the water bath is a crucial step in the process. It helps keep the temperature regulated around the flan and prevents the eggs from curdling.
- Chill time is important too. It is important to let the flan chill before you try removing it from the pan. This includes the initial cooling time as well as chilling in the fridge.
- Be careful not to burn the caramel. As you cook the caramel, watch it carefully and stir it constantly. It can burn easily. If you burn it, throw it out and start over otherwise your entire flan will taste burnt.
- For easy de-panning, give it 30 minutes. If you have left your flan in the fridge overnight, you will want to remove it about 30-minutes before you flip it. Be sure to use a butter knife close to the edge of the pan before inverting your flan onto a plate.
How to Store
You won’t be able to store your coffee flan long. It is best when eaten within the first 3-4 days of making it. To store it, place it in an airtight container to keep the flavor and texture fresh. Or, you can wrap the entire pan tightly in plastic wrap. Then, place it in the refrigerator.
Can I Freeze It?
Flan is freezer-friendly. Freezing it will not change the texture or the taste. To freeze your coffee flan, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and then place it in a Ziploc freezer bag. It can be stored in your freezer for 4-6 months.
To eat it, let it thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours, then let it reach room temperature before unwrapping and enjoying.
Coffee Flan Recipe
Coffee Caramel Sauce
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso, or coffee
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso, or coffee
- 1 teaspoon warm water
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 1 can, 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can, 12 oz evaporated milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Set a 7-inch cake (or pie) pan with 2-inch high sides inside of a larger baking pan or casserole dish (such as a 13 x 9-inch dish).
- In a small sauce pan, add instant coffee and water and heat until dissolved over medium heat. Add granulated sugar. Bring to a gentle boil, swirling pan several times until sugar is completely dissolved. Cook for about 5 minutes until mixture is golden brown. Careful not to scorch caramel.
- Carefully pour coffee caramel sauce into 7-inch pan. Set aside and allow to cool and harden.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add instant coffee and warm water, whisking until coffee has dissolved. Add eggs one at a time whisking thoroughly between each addition. Continue with egg yolks.
- Once all eggs and yolks have been incorporated, add granulated sugar and combine. Add sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla extract whisking gently until combined. Careful to not mix too vigorously to prevent too many bubbles.
- Carefully pour flan mixture into prepared pan. Cover baking pan tightly with aluminum foil. Make a water bath by pouring water into larger roasting pan — outside of cake pan — until water reaches half way up outside of cake pan holding flan.
- Place on middle rack and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until set around edges with a slight jiggle in middle.
- Once flan is done baking, carefully remove from oven. Carefully remove flan from water bath and set aside. Remove aluminum foil or topper from pan and allow flan to come to room temperature.
- When flan is at room temp, replace aluminum foil or top and place into refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- When ready to serve, remove flan from fridge, run a butter knife along sides of pan to help release any portion of flan that may have become stuck during baking. Place a large enough plate (preferably with sides) over flan pan and quickly flip over. (Note: If flan has sat in fridge overnight, please remove about 30 minutes before ready to serve)
- Once flan has been flipped, gently attempt to lift pan up. If you notice flan has not yet released, gently push down on bottom of pan and gently push sides. This should help release flan onto dish.
- Slice and serve immediately, spooning extra Coffee Caramel Sauce on top. Enjoy!
More Latin Inspired Recipes
I have a lot more great Latin recipes that I think you will love! Here are a few popular reader favorites:
- Fried Plantains (Sweet Plantains)
- Best Ground Taco Meat with Homemade Taco Seasoning
- Beef Picadillo
- Cheesy Beef Empanadas made with Homemade Empanada Dough
- Arroz Con Gandules
- Homemade Tamales
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