Easy Classic Caramel Flan (2022)

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This Classic Flan is a creamy, silky-smooth, caramel-covered custard deep dive. It's absolutely scrumptious, makes an impressive presentation, and is probably a lot easier to make than you think. Perfect for holiday gatherings, late Sunday brunches, afternoon picnics, and spooning out of the fridge at midnight.

I'm not even going to try to beat around the bush - I make a damn fine flan. This step-by-step, easy flan recipe will show you how to make one, too.

What is Flan?

Flan is a sweet egg-custard dessert known for its silky, creamy texture and caramel sauce topping. Flan is usually associated with Spain and Latin America, so you might be surprised to learn that many versions of flan can be found all around the world - including Chinese, French, German, and Japanese-style flans!

The smooth signature flan texture is achieved by cooking the custard in a water bath, or a bain-marie. The water bath creates steam, which gently and evenly cooks the custard mixture, keeping it moist so the eggs don't overcook or curdled.

Wherever it originates, flan is typically made out of eggs, sweetened condensed milk, cream, and milk. In most cases, a thin caramel sauce is baked into the bottom of the custard, which is then flipped to the top for serving.

This easy flan recipe is most like traditional Mexican flan, simply baked in a pie dish instead of a flanera.

This post may contain affiliate links, but don't worry - they won't bite.

Easy Classic Caramel Flan (1)

How to Make Classic Caramel Flan

Put an empty 9½-inch glass pie dish into a cold oven and preheat the oven to 350°F [175°C].

Make the Caramel

DO NOT RUSH the caramel-making process. It is not a difficult process, but it does require some patience. This step should take about 25-30 minutes.

In a small stainless saucepan, heat the sugar over MEDIUM-LOW to LOW heat.

Shake the pan occasionally to distribute sugar evenly. As the sugar begins to melt, stir occasionally with a wooden spoon, but don’t overdo it or the sugar will crystalize and clump too much. Scrap down crystals that form on the sides of the pan as much as possible.

Continue to melt and brown the sugar until it liquifies. The caramel is ready when it is thin, translucent, and dark amber in color. (The caramel in the image on the right is about three-quarters done. It becomes thinner and more translucent before it is done.)

Easy Classic Caramel Flan (2)

Pour the Caramel

Be very careful as you do this step: Remember that both the pie dish and the caramel are very hot!

The dish or pan you pour the caramel into must be hot so that the caramel doesn't set up before the bottom of the pan is evenly coated.

Use silicone gloves or potholders to remove the hot pie dish from the oven and immediately pour the caramelized sugar onto the bottom, swirling to coat evenly. Set aside.

Once poured, the caramel-lined pie dish is totally OK to set it aside for as long as you need. Also, don't worry if the caramel cracks as it cools: it will all come together when you baked the flan.

Easy Classic Caramel Flan (3)

Make the Custard

In a blender, combine sweetened condensed milk, cream, milk, eggs and vanilla and blend on high for about a minute.

You can also just whisk the custard ingredients together by hand.

Set the custard mix aside until you are ready to pour it into the pie dish.

Prepare the Bain-Marie (Hot Water Bath)

Put a large pan or casserole dish (one big enough for your pie dish to easily sit inside of) into the oven.

Set the pie dish with the caramel in the bottom into the larger pan.

Can I pour the custard before putting everything in the oven?

Do what works for you. I find I have less sloshing if I can cut the distance the very full pie dish has to travel, so this works for me. If it works better for you to pour it on the counter and go from there, do that!

(A newflanera is in my near future: the most difficult part of this whole recipe is putting the custard into the dish in the oven without getting any water in it and then removing it when it's done. A flanera totally solves that problem.)

(Video) Easy flan / creme caramel in 3 simple steps

Easy Classic Caramel Flan (4)

Carefully pour the blended custard mixture over the caramelized sugar.

Add about 1-inch of very hot water to the outer pan, being careful to avoid getting any water in the custard.

Easy Classic Caramel Flan (5)

Bake the Flan

Bake the prepared flan in a preheated oven 350°F [175°C] oven for 50-60 minutes. Check for doneness.

How do I know when the flan is done?

The baked flan should be removed from the oven (and water bath) before the center is completely set.

The flan is ready to take out of the oven when the center is still slightly wobbly when gently shaken. It should wobble like one unit - like set Jello - however, it should not slosh or ripple. (The internal temperature will be 170-175°F [76-79°C]) The flan custard will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven.

When the flan is ready to take out of the oven, carefully lift the pie dish out of the hot water bath and put it on a cutting board or wire rack to rest.

TIP: Use silicone potholders or gloves to lift the pie dish up and out to avert burns. Avoid using cloth potholders, as they get wet too easily and then become heat conductors.

Easy Classic Caramel Flan (6)

Flip the Flan

In a perfect world, refrigerate the baked flan overnight.

If you want to serve it today, allow the flan to cool completely on the counter, and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

If you want to serve it right now, allow it to cool for exactly 10 minutes; no more, no less. (This is only recommended if you are (a) in a hurry to get the flan on the table, and (b) confident in your flan-flipping skills. You will need to use a pot-holder to hold the hot flan pan if you proceed this way.)

For reference, the flan in all of the post images was flipped after 10 minutes; just so you know that it is possible to have a fresh, warm flan ready to serve in under 2 hours if necessary.

When you are ready to flip the flan:

Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pie dish.

Place a large rimmed serving plate on top of the flan in the pie dish. Carefully and quickly, flip the flan over. Gently tap the side of the dish to encourage the flan to release. Carefully lift the pie dish off the flan.

Allow to cool completely, and then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Easy Classic Caramel Flan (7)

TIP: If your flan is kind of wonky on the serving platter, gently push it over a little at a time with a spatula to center it. (Don't try to pull it.)

Flan is traditionally served cold, after everything has had a chance to firm up.To serve, cut into wedges or spoon onto dessert plates.

Easy Classic Caramel Flan (8)
How do you store flan?

To store, flan should be tightly covered and refrigerated; it will last up to 5 days. Do not freeze flan.

Can I make this in individual servings instead of one large dish?

Absolutely! The baking times may differ slightly but the test for doneness is the same.

Easy Classic Caramel Flan (9)

4 from 1 vote

ClassicCaramel Flanis a creamy, silky-smooth custard topped with a rich caramel sauce. Perfect for any occasion!

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Course: Dessert

Cuisine: Mexican

Prep Time:30 minutes

Cook Time:50 minutes

Total Time:1 hour 20 minutes

Servings: 12 servings

Calories: 337kcal

Author: Renee

Equipment

  • 9½-inch glass pie dish

  • Roasting large enough to accommodate the pie dish

Ingredients

US Customary - Metric

  • cup white sugar
  • 1 14-ounce can can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Instructions

  • Put an empty 9½-inch glass pie dish into a cold oven and preheat the oven to 350°F [175°C].

(Video) Easy Baked Flan/Cream Caramel in 3 simple steps|Lady G's Kitchen

Make the Caramel

  • DO NOT RUSH the caramel-making process.It is not a difficult process, but it does require some patience. This step should take about 25-30 minutes.

    In a small stainless saucepan, heat the sugar over MEDIUM-LOW to LOW heat.

  • Shake the pan occasionally to distribute sugar evenly.

    As the sugar begins to melt, stir occasionally with a wooden spoon, but don’t overdo it or the sugar will crystalize and clump too much.

    Scrap down crystals that form on the sides of the pan as much as possible.

  • Continue to melt and brown the sugar until it liquifies.

    The caramel is ready when it is thin, translucent, and dark amber in color.

Pour the Caramel

  • Remove the hot pie dish from the oven andimmediatelypour in the caramelized sugar, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan evenly.

    Set aside.

Make the Custard

Prepare the Bain-Marie (Hot Water Bath)

  • Put a large pan or casserole dish (one big enough for your pie dish to easily sit inside of) into the oven.

    Set the pie dish with the caramel in the bottom into the larger pan.

    Carefully pour the blended custard mixture over the caramelized sugar.

  • Add about 1-inch of very hot water to the outer pan, being careful to avoid getting any water in the custard.

Bake the Flan

  • Bake the prepared flan in a preheated oven 350°F [175°C] oven for 50-60 minutes.

    Check for doneness.

  • The flan is ready to take out of the oven when the center is still slightly wobbly when gently shaken. It should wobble like one unit - like set Jello - however, it should notslosh or ripple. The internal temperature will be 170-175°F [76-79°C].

    The flan custard will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven for at least 10 minutes.

(Video) Professional Baker Teaches You How To Make CRÈME CARAMEL!

Flip the Flan

  • In a perfect world, refrigerate the baked flan overnight.

    If you want to serve it today, allow the flan to cool completely on the counter, and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

    If you want to serve it right now, allow it to cool for exactly 10 minutes; no more, no less.

    (The 10-minute method is only recommended if you are (a) in a real hurry to get the flan on the table, and (b) confident in your flan-flipping skills. You will need to use a pot-holder to hold the hot flan pan if you proceed this way.)

    When you are ready to flip the flan:

    Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pie dish.

    Place a large rimmed serving plate on top of the flan in the pie dish. Carefully and quickly, flip the flan over. Gently tap the side of the dish to encourage the flan to release. Carefully lift the pie dish off the flan.

    Allow to cool completely, and then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve the Flan

  • Flan is traditionally served cold, after everything has had a chance to firm up.To serve, cut into wedges or spoon onto dessert plates.

Notes

To avert burns, use silicone potholders or gloves to lift the pie dish up and out of the hot water bath. to avert burns. Avoid using cloth potholders, as they get wet too easily and then become heat conductors.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 161mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 215mg | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 839IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 157mg | Iron: 1mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Have you tried this recipe?Mention @TheGoodHeartedWoman or tag #thegoodheartedwoman!

(Video) Best Technique for Classic Flan - Kitchen Conundrums with Thomas Joseph

We are big custard fans! Be sure to try our Classic Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée recipe, too! (No flipping required!)

Easy Classic Caramel Flan (10)

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FAQs

What is the sauce on flan made of? ›

Most traditional flan recipes call for melting granulated sugar, just granulated sugar, no water or butter, until it turns into caramel sauce. While this is definitely possible, it takes quite a while and you run the risk of burning the dry sugar before it liquifies and turns into caramel.

What does more eggs do to flan? ›

Egg whites make flan firmer and bouncier; egg yolks make it richer and softer.

What's the difference between creme caramel and flan? ›

Appearance: Both crème caramels and dessert flans use creamy custard bases and soft caramel toppings; however, compared to a crème caramel, a sweet flan has a shorter custard base and a larger diameter.

What is traditional flan made of? ›

What is flan? Flan, also known as Flan Napolitano, is a popular dessert in several countries in Latin America (like Puerto Rico and Venezuela) and the Caribbean. It is typically made out of eggs, sweetened condensed milk, cream, or whole milk.

Why is my flan caramel hard? ›

It's normal. Caramel hardens when you pour it into a ramekin but gradually melts into syrup during cooking. If the layer of caramel poured into a ramekin is too thick, it will not have time to completely melt during cooking. This is why caramel will stick to the bottom.

What is the difference between Mexican and Spanish flan? ›

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPANISH FLAN AND MEXICAN FLAN? In traditional Mexican Flan recipes like this one, it uses whole eggs. Spanish flan typically uses just the egg yolks. Also, Mexican flan uses vanilla where regular flan doesn't usually have vanilla in it.

Do you flip flan hot or cold? ›

Let the flan cool to room temperature, then chill, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. 10. To remove your flan, run your knife between the side of the custard and its container. Put a serving plate on top of the dish and quickly invert the two.

Should you cover flan while baking? ›

Place pans in oven and bake uncovered for 1 hour. Cover loosely with foil and bake another 30 minutes. Remove flan pan from larger pan and cool before refrigerating overnight (or at least 8 hours). 6.

How do you tell if a flan is done? ›

Your flan should be done when it's lightly colored and firm to the touch but not solid. To double check, stick the blade of your knife in the center of the flan and halfway down; the blade should come out clean. Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven, then remove the flan from the water bath.

What is the brown liquid on flan? ›

That is simply caramelized sugar that coats the dish before the custard is poured in for baking. As the flan is chilled, the moisture from the custard liquefies the caramelized sugar and results in the sauce.

What is the brown stuff on top of flan? ›

Flan is a gently cooked custard with a clear glaze of caramel on its top. I like it when the caramel has been cooked until it's an auburn brown, the texture of the custard is silky smooth and when I can really taste a hint of vanilla.

What is flan de queso? ›

Flan de Queso is a smooth cream cheese custard topped with a decadent layer of homemade caramel. Using only 5 ingredients and less than 5 minutes of prep time, this rich variation on traditional flan is one that you can master, fast! Serve chilled for a sweet finale to your next family dinner.

What should I serve with flan? ›

What to Serve With Flan? Flan tastes delicious even on its own. But, if you wish to sweeten things up a bit, you can spread Nutella or chocolate on top of the flan. You might also add fruit, nuts, or coconut to the meal to complement the sugary caramel flavor.

Videos

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