Easy Caramel Flan

Caramel flan recipe

The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  • Total: 80 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Refrigerate: 60 mins
  • Servings: 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
541 Calories
14g Fat
92g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 541
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 17%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 185mg 62%
Sodium 195mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 92g 34%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 14g
Calcium 350mg 27%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Flan is a popular creamy custard dessert in Spain and all over Latin America, and there are many versions of it. This particular caramel flan recipe is prized for its simplicity, so if you’ve never made flan before, now is the time to try. 

You will need 12 (4-ounce) custard dishes, ramekins, or other similar cookware for individual servings. You can also use a 1 1/2-quart soufflé dish, cake pan, or loaf pan if you want to serve it whole. Keep in mind the dishes must comfortably fit into larger baking pans. Like most custards, this version is baked in a baño maría (bain-marie or water bath) because moist, indirect heat is required for the successful cooking of the dessert.

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (divided)
  • 6 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 (13-ounce) cans evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for caramel flan
    The Spruce / Ana Zelic
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Heat a kettle or pot of water for the water bath.

  3. Pour 1 cup of the sugar in a warm pan over medium heat.

    Pour in sugar
    The Spruce / Ana Zelic
  4. Constantly stir the sugar while it heats until it browns and turns into caramel—that is, becomes a brown liquid. Do not overcook since the caramel will burn.

    Constantly sugar
    The Spruce / Ana Zelic
  5. Immediately, and quickly, pour approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons of caramel in each of the 12 individual custard dishes or ramekins, tilting them so the caramel swirls around on the inside. Work quickly, as the caramel will cool and harden almost as soon as it hits the dish. Reheat the caramel in the pan if it thickens too much to work with.

    Caramel flan in ramekin
     The Spruce / Ana Zelic
  6. In an electric mixer or with a whisk, blend the eggs. Add the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk, then mix.

    Add sweetened condensed milk
    The Spruce / Ana Zelic
  7. Slowly mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar while beating, then the vanilla. Blend until smooth after each ingredient is added.

    Slowly mix
    The Spruce / Ana Zelic
  8. Pour the custard mixture into the caramel-lined dishes, distributing it equally. Place the individual dishes in a large ceramic or metal baking pan with sides. Carefully pour hot water into the baking pan around the custard dishes to a depth of about 2 inches.

    Pour the custard mixture in
    The Spruce / Ana Zelic
  9. Cover the pan with foil and bake the flan for 45 minutes to an hour in the water bath. Check with a knife inserted just off-center into one of the servings; if the knife comes out clean, the flan is ready.

    Bake flan
    The Spruce / Ana Zelic
  10. Remove the large baking dish from the oven and carefully take the individual dishes out of the hot water. Let cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. Leave flan in the dishes they baked in until time to serve.

  11. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the dish and invert each individual dish onto a small plate, allowing the flan to drop out and the caramel sauce to flow over the custard.

    Caramel flan
    The Spruce / Ana Zelic
  12. Enjoy.

    Caramel flan
    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

Tip

  • Make sure to use a bain-marie (also known as a hot water bath) to cook this custard. The purpose of a bain-marie is that it creates a gentle heat around the food and results in a uniform cooking process.
  • This flan recipe can also be baked in a larger container but may take longer to cook (up to an hour and 20 minutes).
  • Individual flans can be frozen. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before serving.