Flan

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
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Baked until golden, this silky flan is a sweet Spanish custard packed with creamy dairy and an easy caramel sauce. Always a crowd favorite, flan is the perfect 5-ingredient easy dessert.

Why You’ll Love This Flan Recipe

If you’re a sweet custard fan, this recipe will quickly become your new favorite dessert because it’s authentic, family-friendly, and great for gatherings.

  • Authentic. This is a traditional Spanish flan dessert made with simple ingredients, just like the ones served in Barcelona.
  • Easy. All you need is about 10 minutes of work to get your flan ready and into the oven. The rest of the time is spent with the flan in the oven or in the fridge. Plus, you only need 5 simple ingredients!
  • Family-friendly. Who doesn’t like a creamy custard drizzled with caramel? Even the little ones will love it.
  • Make Ahead & Travels Well: Flan is a great dessert for an event because it is best made a day or two ahead! It also travels easily in a cooler.
  • Great for gatherings. Made in a large flanera or individual ramekins, this dessert is the perfect ending for a yummy Spanish-themed meal. Top your flan with fresh fruit to dress it up!
Angled shot of whole Spanish custard dessert.

What Is Flan?

Flan, also known as Crème Caramel, is a Spanish custard dessert made with eggs and different kinds of dairy like sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. Its silky smooth texture is the result of cooking it in a water bath until completely set.

Served with a homemade caramel sauce, it’s typically paired with coffee or milk. This is the most traditional version of it, but there are different variations like my Coffee Flan, Queso Flan, and Pumpkin Flan.

Ingredients for flan.

Recipe Ingredients

You’ll be surprised you only need eggs, sugar, and two creamy dairy products. Check the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.

  • Granulated Sugar: Don’t use light or dark brown sugar.
  • Eggs
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: The key to the perfect amount of sweetness in your flan.
  • Evaporated milk: Please do not swap this out for another kind of milk. Evaporated milk gives this flan the perfect silky texture.
  • Vanilla Extract
Sliced flan on a plate.

How to Make Flan

No worries if you don’t have a flanera, check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for instructions on how to make this flan in a round baking dish.

  • Make the caramel. Cook the sugar in a pot over medium-low heat until completely melted and golden.
  • Coat the pan. Pour the caramel into a flanera and tilt it until it completely covers the bottom and sides of the pan. Set it aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Blend the mixture. Blend the eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla until completely smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  • Make the water bath. Seal the lid on the flanera. Place it inside a larger baking dish. Pour water into the outer pan until it’s halfway up the sides of the flanera pan. Place them in the oven.
  • Bake it. Bake the flan until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let it chill. Remove the flan from the oven and water bath. Set it on the counter until completely cooled. Refrigerate it for at least an hour before un-molding.
  • Un-mold it. Run a knife along the edge of the flan. Place an upside down plate over the flanera pan. Carefully flip them over, letting the flan fall onto the plate. Serve and enjoy.
Whole flan.

Tips for Success

Even if you’ve never made a flan dessert before, these tips will help you nail it the first time around.

  • Make individual flans. Bake individual flans in 4 oz ramekins. Bake them for approximately 40 minutes or until cooked through. Cover each ramekin with foil and then place the ramekins in a large casserole dish. Add water to the pan until it rises half way up the ramekins.
  • Make extra caramel. Double the amount of sugar when making the caramel so you can reserve half of it and use it to drizzle it over the flan once cooked.
  • Don’t grease the pan. Unless you drastically overcook and burn it, flan doesn’t stick to its pan. Don’t grease the flanera thinking it will help, the fat will actually interfere with the setting of the custard.
  • Check the water. Check back half way through baking to make sure the large pan still has enough water as the flan bakes.
Lifting up a slice of custard.

Why Did My Flan Crack?

This section will help you troubleshoot and avoid the main reasons why Spanish flan cracks:

  • The temperature is off. Sometimes ovens aren’t calibrated and can read a different temperature than what they’re actually producing. This issue usually results in a lower or higher temperature than you set it to. If possible, use an oven thermometer to confirm that the oven’s internal temperature is correct and avoid overcooking.
  • You forgot the water. Flans need water so that the custard can cook nice and slowly. If you forgot the water or it has completely evaporated, the custard will begin to crack.
  • You used the wrong pan. While you can swap the flanera for a 8-inch round baking pan, that doesn’t mean you can use any kind of pan. Glass baking pans take longer to heat in the oven and can mess with the baking times, eventually overcooking it. Always go for metal pans to avoid any issues.
Spoonful of flan with caramel.

Serving Suggestions

Flan is the perfect dessert when served with your favorite tea, coffee, or a glass of milk. If you’re a coffee person like me, I recommend it with my Dalgona Coffee, Café de Olla, or Vanilla Cinnamon Iced Coffee.

How to Store Leftovers

Once fully cooled, refrigerate the flan in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also keep it in the flanera, but away from any strong-smelling foods like onions. Serve it chilled, or reheat it in the microwave for up to a minute or until warm, if you prefer it warm.

More Latin Desserts to Try

Drizzling caramel over a slice of flan.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 8 servings

Flan

This silky smooth flan is a Spanish custard packed with creamy dairy and a homemade caramel for a perfectly sweet dessert. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Chill Time2 hours
Total Time3 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions 

  • In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, cook sugar, stirring often, while the sugar melts. Cook sugar until it turns golden caramel color, this will take about 8 to 10 minutes and shouldn’t be hurried or it can burn. Once the sugar is the correct color, work quickly and pour it into a flanera (or a 8-inch round baking pan).Tilt the pan until the caramel covers the bottom, allowing the caramel to go as high as possible around the sides. Set aside to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Pour the eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla into a blender or food processor. Blend for 10 seconds, then pour the mixture into the cooled pan. 
  • Water Bath: If using a flanera pan, seal the lid. If using a regular baking dish, tightly cover the pan with foil. Place flan pan inside a larger baking dish. Place the pan into the oven, then carefully pour water into the outer pan until water reaches half way up the sides of the pan with the flan.
  • Bake the flan for 1 hour, then check the flan for doneness, by inserting a knife near the center. If it comes out clean, the flan is done. If it is not done, cover and continue baking for another 10 minutes. 
  • Remove the flan from the water bath and cool completely on the counter, and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to overnight) before un-molding.
  • To un-mold, run a knife around the edge of the flan, then place a plate upside down over the pan. Hold the pan and plate tightly and flip them over. Gently lift the pan off of the flan. Scrape any remaining caramel sauce over the top of the flan and serve. 

Notes

Storage: Once fully cooled, refrigerate the flan in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also keep it in the flanera, but away from any strong-smelling foods like onions. Serve it chilled, or reheat it in the microwave for up to a minute or until warm, if you prefer it warm.
Make individual flans. Bake individual flans in 4 oz ramekins. Bake them for approximately 40 minutes or until cooked through. Cover each ramekin with foil and then place the ramekins in a large casserole dish. Add water to the pan until it rises half way up the ramekins.
Don’t grease the pan. Unless you drastically overcook and burn it, flan doesn’t stick to its pan. Don’t grease the flanera thinking it will help, the fat will actually interfere with the setting of the custard.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 151kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 142mg, Sodium: 64mg, Sugar: 22g

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5 stars
Definitely a hit! Delicious and super easy recipe!

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.