Classic Flan Recipe


Flan is a classic dessert beloved by many for its smooth, creamy texture and rich caramel flavor. This timeless treat has graced the tables of countless gatherings, from family dinners to festive celebrations. If you’re looking to impress your guests or simply satisfy your sweet tooth, this classic flan recipe is the perfect choice. Follow these detailed instructions to create a delicious and beautiful flan that will be the highlight of any meal.

Overview of the Recipe:

This classic flan recipe features a luscious custard base topped with a decadent caramel sauce. The caramel is made from granulated sugar and water, cooked to a deep amber color, then poured into a baking dish to create a sweet, glossy layer. The custard is a simple mixture of eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract. The flan is baked in a water bath to ensure even cooking and a silky texture. After chilling, it is inverted onto a serving plate, allowing the caramel to cascade over the custard, creating an irresistible dessert.

History and Origin:

Flan, also known as crème caramel, has a rich history that dates back to ancient Rome. The Romans were known for their custard dishes, which evolved into flan over time. The dessert gained popularity in Spain, where it became a staple in Spanish cuisine. From Spain, flan spread to Latin America, where it was embraced and adapted with regional variations. Today, flan is enjoyed worldwide, with each culture adding its unique twist to this classic dessert.


For the Caramel:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

For the Flan:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Prepare the Caramel:
    • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of water.
    • Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and turns a deep amber color. This will take about 10-12 minutes.
    • Immediately pour the caramel into a 9-inch round baking dish, tilting the dish to coat the bottom evenly.
    • Set the caramel aside to cool and harden.
  3. Prepare the Custard:
    • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 4 large eggs, 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk, 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract until well combined and smooth.
  4. Assemble the Flan:
    • Pour the egg mixture over the hardened caramel in the baking dish.
  5. Create a Water Bath:
    • Place the baking dish in a larger roasting pan.
    • Fill the roasting pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the baking dish to create a water bath. This helps to cook the flan evenly and prevents cracking.
  6. Bake the Flan:
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the flan is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    • Carefully remove the baking dish from the water bath and let the flan cool to room temperature.
  7. Chill the Flan:
    • Refrigerate the flan for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow it to fully set and develop its flavors.
  8. Serve the Flan:
    • To serve, run a knife around the edges of the flan to loosen it from the dish.
    • Place a serving plate over the baking dish and quickly invert it, allowing the flan to slide out and the caramel to drizzle over the top.


This classic flan serves 8 and is perfect for any occasion. Serve it chilled, with the rich caramel sauce cascading over the creamy custard. For an elegant presentation, you can garnish it with fresh berries or a dollop of whipped cream.

Pairing and Serving Suggestions:

Flan pairs beautifully with a variety of flavors. Consider serving it with a side of fresh fruit, such as strawberries, raspberries, or mango slices. A cup of strong coffee or a refreshing mint tea also complements the sweet, creamy flavors of the flan.

Variations of the Recipe:

  • Coconut Flan: Add 1 cup of coconut milk to the custard mixture and reduce the evaporated milk to 1/2 cup. Sprinkle shredded coconut on top before serving.
  • Chocolate Flan: Melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate and mix it into the custard mixture for a rich, chocolatey twist.
  • Pumpkin Flan: Add 1 cup of pumpkin puree and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the custard mixture for a seasonal variation.

Health Benefits:

While flan is an indulgent dessert, it does offer some nutritional benefits. The eggs provide a good source of protein and essential vitamins, including vitamin D and B12. The dairy ingredients contribute calcium, which is important for bone health. However, due to its high sugar and calorie content, flan should be enjoyed in moderation.


  • Be cautious when making the caramel, as it can reach high temperatures and cause burns if not handled properly.
  • Make sure to use a water bath to ensure the flan cooks evenly and maintains a smooth texture.
  • Allowing the flan to chill thoroughly is crucial for achieving the right consistency and flavor.


Q: Can I make flan ahead of time? A: Yes, flan can be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Q: How do I store leftover flan? A: Store leftover flan in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Q: Can I freeze flan? A: Freezing flan is not recommended, as it can alter the texture and cause the custard to become grainy.

Q: Why did my caramel harden too quickly? A: Caramel can harden quickly if it cools down too fast. Work swiftly when pouring the caramel into the baking dish.

Q: What if my flan doesn’t set properly? A: If your flan doesn’t set properly, it may need to bake longer. Ensure that the water bath is sufficiently hot and that the flan is baked until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Classic flan is a delightful dessert that brings a touch of elegance to any meal. With its smooth, creamy custard and rich caramel topping, it’s sure to impress your family and friends. This recipe is straightforward and allows for creative variations to suit your taste. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, this classic flan recipe is a must-try. Enjoy the process of making and savoring this timeless treat!

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