Homemade Flan

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If you thought this dessert was too challenging to make at home, we’re here to make you rethink that notion.

One of our favorite desserts to order after a Mexican feast of tacos, enchiladas, or fajitas is this classic vanilla custard lightly bathed in a thin caramel sauce. The steps to achieve the most silky custard are easy to follow and can be made days in advance of serving. You and your family are going to love everything about this iconic dessert! This dish is as iconic as homemade churros

A straight-on view of homemade flan that has a light caramel sauce on top of it and surrounding the base and is on a white plate with other plated servings nearby.

How To Make Perfect Homemade Flan


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The Ingredients You Will Need

There are just a handful of ingredients to make incredible homemade flan. Most of them, you probably already have. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

For the Light Caramel Sauce

Sugar – Granulated.
Water – Tap is just fine.

For the Vanilla Custard

Eggs – You’ll need four whole eggs and two egg yolks.
Sugar – Granulated.
Salt – Just a pinch of table salt is all you need.
Milk – Whole is best. You could also use half and half, or a combination of both.
Vanilla extract – Since this is a key ingredient, go with a top-notch brand, if possible. We love Nielsen-Massey.

EXPERT TIP: To make the perfect light caramel sauce, you’ll want to remove the pan of sugar and water as soon as it starts to turn an amber color. No need to stir with a spoon, simply swirl the pan. As soon as the mixture reaches a deep amber color (but not dark brown), quickly pour it into your ramekins.

A person pouring a light caramel sauce from a silver saucepan into an 8-ounce ramekin that is sitting in a roasting pan partially filled with water.

Tips for Making Perfect Homemade Flan

Use Top-Notch Whole Milk – Using whole milk will give your flan a rich and creamy texture. Make sure to use fresh, high-quality whole milk for the best results.

Caramelize the Sugar Slowly – When making the caramel sauce, heat the sugar slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly until it melts and turns a golden brown color. Be careful not to burn the sugar, as this will give the caramel a bitter taste. Swirl the pan, don’t stir.

Strain the Custard Mixture – After combining the milk, eggs, and sugar for the flan, be sure to strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any lumps or air bubbles. This will result in a smooth and silky flan texture.

Use a Water Bath for Baking – When baking the flan, place the ramekins or baking dish in a larger pan filled with hot tap water. This gentle, indirect heat will help the flan cook evenly and prevent it from curdling.

EXPERT TIP: For easy transferring the custard into your ramekins, strain the mixture through your fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or pitcher. This makes pouring into the ramekins a snap.

A person pouring a vanilla custard into 8-ounce ramekins that are sitting in a large roasting pan that is partially filled with water.

How To Serve

Even though warm flan is special and luxurious, it’s difficult to remove from the ramekin while it’s hot. If you want to serve it warm, let it rest in the warm water in the roasting pan for 1 to 2 hours.

Allowing the flan to chill for a couple of hours ensures it is fully set and will keep intact once inverted. Overnight is even better.

Simply run a knife along the tops of the set custard, place a serving plate over the top of the ramekin, invert it, and give it a couple of good thrusts. This might take a little practice to find the right amount of force, but you can’t go wrong.

Once you hear a slight thud, and see the caramel start to seep outside the bottom of the ramekin, you’ll know the flan is ready and you can gently pull the ramekin away. Serve at once.

EXPERT TIP: It can be challenging to carry the roasting pan that is filled with the custard-filled ramekins with the hot water bath without spilling some of the custard into the water. It’s easier to place the pan with the ramekins on the oven rack and then carefully pour the hot water from a pitcher into the pan.

A person pouring hot water from a large pitcher into a black roasting pan that has four ramekins in it that are partially filled with vanilla custard.

Other Amazing Dessert Recipes to Try

An extra-special meal always deserves an extra-special dessert. Here is a collection of our favorite dessert recipes that are sure to please every sweet tooth in your home:

Crème Brûlée
Coconut Cream Cake
Key Lime Pie
Buttermilk Blueberry Pie
Old Fashioned Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
Strawberry Pavlova
Tropical Carrot Cake
Lemon Meringue Pie
Chocolate Mousse Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Raspberry Linzer Bars

These are all amazing without a doubt. But, in the meantime, isn’t this calling your name?

An overhead view of four white dessert plates that are holding homemade flan that are resting in a small pool of a light caramel sauce.

Flan can be prepared using 6-ounce ramekins, 8-ounce ramekins, or even coffee cups or individual soufflé dishes.

There are just a few simple, but important steps in successfully making homemade flan.

Follow this recipe to the ‘t’ and you’ll have perfect flan every single time!

Every bite is truly a silky delicious flavor sensation!

A front-view of a homemade flan that is on a white dessert plate with a light caramel sauce on top of and surrounding the partially eaten dessert.

Ready to make the best flan in town? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A straight-on view of homemade flan that has a light caramel sauce on top of it and surrounding the base and is on a white plate with other plated servings nearby.

Homemade Flan

Homemade Flan is much easier to make than you might think, and the results are spectacular. Follow this recipe as written and you'll have success. Finding just the right amount of pressure to apply to help the flan free itself from the ramekin takes a little practice, but you'll figure it out quickly. And flan can be prepared days in advance of serving!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French, Mexican
Keyword: easy flan recipe, how to make homemade flan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting and chilling time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 435kcal


  • 4 8-oz ramekins or 6 6-oz ramekins
  • Roasting or baking pan large enough to hold the ramekins with about 1-inch distance between each.
  • 1 medium-sized saucepan with handle
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Fine-mesh sieve
  • Large measuring cup or heat-proof pitcher


For the Light Caramel Sauce

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • cup water

For the Custard

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • hot tap water enough to fill about ⅓ of the roasting pan.


Prepare the Light Caramel Sauce

  • In a medium-sized saucepan, add the sugar (over no heat). Sprinkle the water (⅓ cup) all over the sugar. Turn the heat to medium-high and gently bring the sugar/water mixture to a strong simmer. Don't stir the mixture.
    ¾ cup sugar, ⅓ cup water
  • Continue to allow the mixture to simmer strongly, swirling the pan occasionally until it starts to turn slightly brownish. Lower the heat to low and continue to occasionally swirl the pan. Once the mixture is a light amber, turn off the heat.
  • Lift the pan from the heat and continue swirling until golden amber color. Immediately pour the sauce evenly into each of the ramekins. Set aside (it's okay if the sauce hardens). (Clean the saucepan by filling it with hot water, or regular tap water and place it over medium heat, this will dissolve the hardened caramel).

Prepare the Custard and Finish the Flan

  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat until warm and just starting to bubble on the sides of the pan.
    3 cups whole milk
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Pour about half of the hot milk into the mixture, whisking continuously. Whisk in the remaining hot milk and whisk/stir until fully combined.
    4 whole eggs, 2 egg yolks, ¾ cup sugar, ¼ tsp salt, 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Strain the milk/egg mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or a heatproof pitcher. (If you don't have either of these, you can carefully ladle the mixture evenly into the ramekins.)
  • Place the ramekins in the roasting pan, about 1 inch apart from each other. Pour the custard (in equal portions) into the ramekins (fill from two-thirds up or up to nearly to the very top of each ramekin). Carefully place the pan on the middle rack in the oven. Pour the hot tap water (from a pitcher) into the pan until the water reaches about ⅓ to ½ way up each ramekin. SEE NOTES.
    hot tap water
  • Bake for 55 to 70 minutes, or until the custard has set and is lightly browned on the edges.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and allow the flan to cool in the water for about 1 hour. Next, place the ramekins in the refrigerator to cool for 1 hour, or overnight.
  • To serve, run a sharp knife along the top of each flan, only about ½-inch down. Next, place a flat dessert plate over the top of the ramekin. Invert the plate and ramekin and give a couple of good thrusts until you hear a slight thud and see that the caramel sauce is beginning to seep from the inverted ramekin.
  • Gently remove the ramekin and drizzle any remaining caramel sauce onto the flan. Repeat with remaining ramekins and serve at once.


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
Feel free to fill the ramekins to nearly the tops. You may have a little leftover custard after you have filled your ramekins.
NOTE: If you do fill the ramekins to the top, it may be easier to place the roasting pan on the oven rack, and then place the ramekins in the pan, pour in the custard into each ramekin, and then pour in the hot water into the pan. This will prevent you from spilling any of the custard when transferring the pan from the counter to the oven. 
Flan can be prepared up to 3 days in advance. Although, we've eaten flan up to a week after we prepared it and it was still delicious. 


Calories: 435kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 223mg | Potassium: 290mg | Sugar: 84g | Vitamin A: 432IU | Calcium: 239mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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