A Classic Cheese and Onion Flan

Cheese and Onion Flan Recipe

 The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Chill: 30 mins
Total: 100 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
488 Calories
35g Fat
30g Carbs
12g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 488
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 45%
Saturated Fat 18g 92%
Cholesterol 199mg 66%
Sodium 275mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 4mg 20%
Calcium 179mg 14%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 211mg 4%
*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.)

Do not confuse a classic cheese and onion flan with a quiche. While this baked egg recipe may resemble the traditional French dish, the flan is made differently and tastes a little different. It is the traditional British version of the ubiquitous quiche and, for many Brits, is the stuff of memories. Those memories being school lunches, summer meals, afternoon tea, and dinners with cheese and onion flan served alongside a salad and often boiled new potatoes.


For the Pastry:

  • 200 g all-purpose flour (plain flour)

  • 110 g cubed unsalted butter, or an equal mix of butter and lard

  • 1 pinch kosher salt

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:

  • 55 g unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, finely sliced

  • 3 to 4 large eggs (200 ml)

  • 75 g aged cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • 1 cup milk

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredient to make a crust for cheese and onion flan
     The Spruce
  2. Place the flour, butter (or butter and lard mix), and salt into a large, roomy mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles sand.

    Butter and flour mixed in a bowl
     The Spruce
  3. Add the water a little at a time and bring the mixture together to create a soft dough.

    Flan pastry dough in a bowl
     The Spruce
  4. Form the pastry into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

    Dough wrapped in plastic wrap
     The Spruce
  5. While the pastry is resting, prepare the filling.

    Cheese and onion flan filling ingredients
     The Spruce
  6. Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan. Once melted, add the sliced onion and sauté over medium heat to soften (but not brown). Place the softened onion onto a dinner plate and leave to cool. 

    Onions cooking in a pot on the stove
     The Spruce
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 F / 204 C. Roll the pastry to 5 millimeters thickness and line a greased, 10-inch loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill in the refrigerator while you make the remaining filling. 

    Lined tart tin with pastry
     The Spruce
  8. Put the eggs into a large measuring jug and whisk them. Add the cooled onion, grated cheese, and parsley. Top with the milk. Season with a little salt and black pepper. 

    Cheese and Onion Flan filling in a measuring cop
     The Spruce
  9. Take the pastry case from the refrigerator, place it on the middle shelf of the preheated oven, and carefully pour in the egg-cheese mixture until it is two-thirds full. Do not overfill as the flan will rise while cooking.

    Cheese and onion flan in the oven
     The Spruce
  10. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and set, but not completely solid when gently pressed in the center.

    Cheese and onion flan cooling on a cutting board
     The Spruce
  11. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving.

    Cheese and onion flan cooling on a rack
     The Spruce
  12. The flan is lovely warm but can also be eaten cold. 

    Cheese and onion flan slices
     The Spruce

Recipe Variations

  • Add crisped bacon pieces or tiny cubes into the egg for the meat-eaters. 
  • Use a different cheese; crumbly blue is amazing. 
  • Change or add a different herb. Basil and tarragon are good choices.

What's the Difference Between Flan and Quiche?

Flan, in the British sense, is an open-faced pie or tart with a savory or sweet filling. This can include egg-based pies also called quiche. Quiche is a French dish that is a savory egg tart and can include other fillings like ham, cheese, and vegetables. Flan is also a term used for a Spanish and Latin dessert of set vanilla custard with a caramel sauce.

Recipe Tags: