Rich and silky flan (créme caramel) has a creamy vanilla custard topped with an amazing caramel. This popular latin dessert is beyond easy to make and the perfect finish to any meal.

What You’ll Need for This Recipe

Ingredients to make flan on a marble counter.

Cream cheese: Make sure it’s completely room temperature or even warm. You can sub in Neufchatel cheese or omit if desired.

Vanilla: This is one of the primary flavors, I highly suggest using a pure vanilla extract and avoiding the imitation variety.

How to Make Flan

Caramels cooking in a pan then getting poured into a cake pan.

1. Add the sugar and water to a large pan then swirl to mix the water in a bit and place over medium-high heat. Wash the side of the pan down with a wet pastry brush and cook without mixing or disturbing the sugar until it takes on a golden color. 

2. Immediately remove from heat and pour the caramel in a round 8 or 9 inch baking dish then tilt the pan to distribute the caramel into an even layer on the bottom. Set aside to cool while you mix the custard.

Cream cheese and eggs getting mixed in a glass bowl.

3. Beat the room temperature cream cheese until creamed.

4. Add the eggs one at a time and beat to combine. Scrape the bowl down and mix until completely smooth.

Flan pouring into a round pan with caramel on the bottom.

5. Add the evaporated and sweetened condensed milks along with the vanilla then mix until combined.

6. Place the pan in a large roasting dish then pour the custard mixture over top of the flan on the now hardened caramel. 

Hot water getting added to a a roasting pan with a flan placed in the middle.

7. Fill the large roasting dish with an inch of hot water. Bake the flan at 325F for about 50 minutes. The flan is done when the center jiggles just a bit when you wiggle the pan. It will continue to cook and set once removed from the oven. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool to room temp then either serve immediately with the below instructions or chill.

8. Briefly dip the pan into a bowl of hot water to warm the caramel up then run a small knife along the edge then place your serving plate on top and flip upside down. If the flan doesn’t fall onto the serving plate then you can tap it a few times or lift both up quickly to help coax it down.

Pieces of flan on porcelain plates next to a cup of tea.

Pro Tips for this Recipe

  • If you have some stubborn lumps of unmixed cream cheese in your custard, then just pour the mixture through a sieve and the result will be a silky smooth flan.
  • Gently tap the pan on your counter to help any air bubbles inside the custard escape. 
  • Almost any size and shape of pan will work for flan so go ahead and use a loaf pan or ramekins for individual servings. Check for doneness at the 40 minute mark with the jiggle test.
  • You can make your flan mixture in the blender or food processor but be careful not to mix too much air into the mixture.
  • You can substitute Coconut milk for evaporated milk if you’d like to add a flavor twist.
A piece of flan on a plate with a bite taken out.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does flan mean?

The name flan is derived from a long chain of languages spanning the course of about a thousand years, from french, to old English, Latin, and Old High German. The name refers to a type of flat cake.

What does it taste like?

Flan is a silky vanilla custard topped with caramel. You get complex notes of cooked sugar and a subtler sweetness from the custard itself.

Can you overcook it?

You can definitely overcook flan, which will make it rubbery and firm instead of a creamy custard. Remove your flan from the oven when the center jiggles just a bit when wiggled. It will finish setting up as it cools.

How should you store it?

Store your flan in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

From: The Preppy Kitchen