The secret to making perfect Flan (Crème Caramel)

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Flan (Crème Caramel)

My husband LOVES flan.  I’ve never understood why… every time I had flan in a restaurant it was lumpy and hard with a congealed cottage cheese texture – served in a bitter burnt-sugar tasting sauce.  It reminded me of curdled milk… yuck!  Since then, I’ve realized that is NOT how flan is supposed to be… and the poor flan examples I’ve had the misfortune of trying are what happens when you DON’T make flan correctly!

Good flan is supposed to be creamy and smooth, with a soft silky texture.  The sauce should be a rich golden caramel, with no hint of a burnt flavor at all.  Once you have REAL flan, you will never consider even looking at gross overcooked flan ever again.

So how do you make a good flan?  With trial and error, I figured out the secrets:

1. The less bubbles you start with in your custard batter, the less bubbles and “chunks” you will end up with in your cooked flan.  Don’t overly agitate your mixture, and make sure you strain it through a sieve.

2.  GENTLE heating is a must!  Control the temperature, and go low and slow… better to slightly undercook than overcook (as the flan will continue to cook once you remove from the oven.)

3.  Insulation!!!! (So that the sides don’t cook faster than the center, ruining the texture.)  Line the bottom of the baking pan with a thick kitchen towel, and use a hot water bath (NOT boiling water bath).

And 4.  Don’t overcook the caramel!  Caramel can go from perfect to burnt in less then 15 seconds, so babysit your cooking caramel, and do not leave the pot’s side!  Also, remember that crystallization will occur if you don’t cook your caramel the right way – follow all the instructions exactly as written, lest your caramel seize!  Don’t stir the caramel!

Caramel:

This is what overcooked/curdled flan looks like. YOU DON'T WANT YOUR FLAN TO TURN OUT LIKE THIS!!!! Not only is it ugly, but it's lumpy, and has a cottage cheese texture to it. Not good! :(

  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 2 T. water

Flan Custard:

  • 3 c. half and half
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. sugar

Hardware needed:

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Then make the caramel:  Place the sugar and water into a heavy bottom saucepan over medium high heat.  Place a lid over the pot for the first minute until all the sugar is dissolved, then remove.  (Do not stir – stirring will cause the sugar to crystallize and harden into a puck of sugar rock!)

2.  Cook the sugar mixture for about 5 minutes or so (maybe a few minutes longer if needed), swirling the pot very gently once every 30 seconds, until the mixture is a golden amber color.  (The sugar can burn or seize pretty quickly, so don’t walk away from the pan!  Once the sugar turns the correct color, turn the heat off immediately, and remove the pot from the stove.)   Do not stir, do not add water, do not add more sugar, and do not swirl the pan too briskly.  If your caramel seizes and turns into a jagged rocky mess of crystals, you will have to start over.  Remove the pan from the heat and proceed to step 3 immediately – the caramel will continue to cook and darken in the pot, so do this as quickly as possible (but don’t burn yourself – the caramel will feel like molten hot lava should you spill on yourself!).

3.  Quickly pour the hot caramel into the bottom of each ramekin.  (The caramel will harden against the bottom of the ramekin almost immediately – this is normal, so don’t worry about it!)  Tilt the ramekins slightly to ensure the caramel covers the entire bottom.

4.  In a bowl, gently mix all of the custard ingredients with a wire whisk.  (Do not use whipping motions – just stir slowly until the mixture is even.  You want to avoid creating air bubbles – those bubbles will ruin the smooth texture of your flan!  You can see that in the photo below, a few bubbles were created regardless of careful stirring – we will remove these by straining in the next step.)

5.  Strain the mixture through a sieve directly into a pitcher (for easy pouring in the next step).  Straining the custard mixture will help remove any bits of egg chalaza and any remaining air bubbles (for a smoother flan texture).

6.  Place a kitchen dish towel in the bottom of a large roasting pan (folded in half for double thickness), then place your ramekins on top of the dish towel.  Carefully fill each caramel lined ramekin with the custard mixture.  (The dish towel will help insulate the bottom of the ramekins for gentle cooking, as well as keep the ramekins from sliding around when you move the pan into the oven.)

7.  Carefully (and slowly) pour hot tap water into the roasting pan, about halfway up the side of the ramekins.  (I know some recipes call for using boiling water in the bain-marie.  However, I have found that for flan – this causes the outside of the ramekin to overheat somewhat, creating a curdled and overcooked texture.  So just stick with the hottest water from your tap only.)

8.  Very carefully place the roasting pan into the preheated oven.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes.  The center should be almost set, but will still be a little bit jiggly.  (Do not overcook – otherwise your flan will have “bubbles” on the side and will have a curdled texture to it.)

9.  Remove the roasting pan from the oven, and allow the ramekins to continue sitting immersed in the hot water for another 10 minutes.  (The flan will continue to cook and set as it sits in the hot water.)

10.  After 10 minutes, carefully remove the ramekins with tongs to a folded towel (or rack), and allow to cool completely.  Then, cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).  (I used a Home-canning Jar Lifter to remove the ramekins from the hot water – these have a rubbery grip and are made for lifting round things out of hot water!)

11.  To serve, run a knife or spatula around the edge to loosen the sides of the flan, then invert onto a dessert plate.

 Enjoy your perfectly cooked, smooth, flan!  You can store the flan in the (plastic wrap covered) ramekins in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Comments

  1. Katrina says:

    whenever i make flan the caramel always go hard after cooling down how to prevent this?

    • Mika Mika says:

      You can’t prevent this. The caramel is supposed to get hard. When you cook the flan over the caramel, and after storing in the refrigerator though… enough of the caramel will “melt” with the liquid in the flan and create a liquid caramel sauce, and give you the nice golden brown top. If you have a little bit of hardened caramel stuck in your ramekin, soak it in hot water to clean. The longer you store the flan in the refrigerator, the more the caramel will turn from hard to a syrupy sauce. I recommend making them a day ahead of time if possible.

  2. tasha ho says:

    instead of sugar, can I use condensed milk?

    • Mika Mika says:

      There are other recipes for flan that call for sweetened condensed milk – this recipe is not one of them. You would need to alter many of the ingredients and proportions if you wanted to make that substitution. It would be better to just find a different recipe calling for sweetened condensed milk and go with that one instead. Many of the techniques in this recipe should still help make your flan turn out well regardless of the recipe used.

      • Sandra says:

        May I ask what means 3 c. half and half in custard ingredients?

        thanks

        • Mika Mika says:

          “Half and half” is a common dairy product sold in the United States. Literally, it is “half cream, half milk”. If you cannot find actual “half and half” where you live, then use instead 1 1/2 c. whole milk + 1 1/2 c. heavy cream.

  3. I am SO impressed by this entry asnd photos on flan. It is so clear and well explained. So now I understand three critical things: the towel , the sieve, and the knife insertion an inch from the center. Wow you are terrific. I am going to link to this site wherever i can because everyone should read this before making flan!

    You don’t cover your baking flans? I covered mine with foil tonight because i only have a convection oven (and it doesn’t have a no-fan option) and the fan was roughing up the surface of the flan. I would also stress to cooks to not pour the water higher than halfway up the ramekin sides, because of problems that can arise from lifting the heavy pan into the oven and tilting it such that water gets into the flan. Arggghhh, i had that happen tonight.

    Thx again for this great entry. I will spread the word far and near!

  4. Alfa says:

    When you say 2t water is 2 tabelespoon?

    Thanks

    • Mika Mika says:

      Yes. 2 T. = 2 Tablespoons.

      The standard abbreviation for “Tablespoon” is a capital letter “T”.
      “Teaspoon” is abbreviated as lowercase “tsp”.

  5. Kim says:

    Hi, I was just wondering if you were to blend the ingredients to create the flan, does that ruin the texture to it or create bubbles? Do you recommend to best do it by hand?
    Also by using sweetened condensed milk, will it make the flan more sweet or is there not much of a difference if created with sugar?
    Finally, some other sites chose brown sugar to make the caramel, does that make a difference too?
    Sorry for asking so much and hope to hear from you soon.
    Thank you (:

    • Mika Mika says:

      I wouldn’t use a blender to mix the custard unless you have plenty of time to wait for the bubbles to subside. Any bubbles in the liquid custard will make your baked custard have a curdled texture (the small bubbles created will expand in volume when heated during the baking process). So it’s best to mix by hand, slowly stirring without creating too many bubbles.

      As far as using sweetened condensed milk vs. sugar… do not make any substitutions in this recipe. Some people like to make their flan with sweetened condensed milk, but the proportions of ingredients will be different. It’s just a different way of making flan.

      You can make the caramel out of brown sugar… however, I always use regular white (granulated) sugar, so I can’t give you any advice on that. It depends what kind of flavor you want in your caramel. Brown sugar has a hint of molasses flavor… so if you like that flavor, then you might enjoy the caramel made with brown sugar instead. However “brown sugar” is just white sugar + molasses, so it isn’t necessarily “better”, just different… and it definitely has a higher moisture content…. so you have to take that extra moisture into account when making the caramel.

  6. Samiya says:

    Hi.we do not get half and half here so instead of tht can I use fresh milk and for cream fresh cream???

  7. Neha says:

    OMG!!! Thank you soooooo much for this! I had to submit something to cooking class soon and all the other website’s flan sucked! Yours was so great! I greatly appreciate this!!!!! I hop you have more of you great recipes that we will all be willing to learn!!!!!

  8. Ivan Gallagher says:

    How long can you keep the Créme Caramel out of the fridge?

    • Mika Mika says:

      Not too long. Once it cools down (after baking), it must be refrigerated because it is an egg based custard.

  9. Shynette says:

    Hi I made flan once and I failed because of too many bubbles and it sucks so now I’m afraid to try it again cos it’s a money waste :( Can you give some few tips to prevent bubbles? And also, Can I use egg the whole egg? Cos some people use the whole eggs. Thanks :)

    • Mika Mika says:

      I think if you use my instructions & recipe from start to finish (follow the instructions exactly), you will not end up with any bubbles. If you look at the recipe above, you will see that it does call for whole eggs. Also, please read the tips in the body of the text above the recipe.

  10. Joanne says:

    I loved your recipe and how delicious the result was just the authentic French creme caramel. I know I should have followed your instructions to the T but i used a hand mixer and created a frothy custard :(
    i know it ruined everything. Now it’s in the oven but it’s passed 30 mins and still not set. I am sad because i love this dessert and your recipe was easy to follow.
    Thank you and will try it again.

    • Mika Mika says:

      Don’t wait for the custard to “set” in the oven… you need to take it out after 25-30 minutes, while it is still jiggly. Otherwise, it will definitely overcook and curdle! Remember, that the custard will continue to cook while it is cooling.

  11. TEZ says:

    I know you said the recipe needs half and half, but I can’t do dairy because of the lactose. Will substituting for Almond milk completely work? I did it with another recipe and it seemed fine. Also would cook time change if I only had 10 ounce oval glass bowls? (They are just a bit wider than in the picture but about a similar height)

    • Mika Mika says:

      You could try almond milk, but I don’t know if it has enough fat to give a creamy texture. Try it and see I guess? Coconut milk might work a little bit better… but I haven’t tried substituting the dairy in the recipe, so just a suggestion.

    • Maddalyn says:

      I’ve made flan with coconut milk (full fat) successfully.

  12. Borj says:

    Why whole eggs? Not 3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg? If use it, it will be the same outcome?

    • Mika Mika says:

      Why whole eggs? That’s my recipe, and that’s how I make it… that’s why! ;)

      I’m not sure where you got “3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg” from… I didn’t mention that at all in the recipe. I wouldn’t use that substitution, though, because volume-wise, you will have much less egg to thicken your flan, and you will end up with more of a custard/pudding texture than a jiggly flan texture.

      • oneeyedsage09 says:

        Borj- The Yolk heavy flan you may be thinking of is closer to the Filipino flan and not what Mika is representing with this recipe/ Using more yolks is a creamier fattier alternative, but also is more touchy and easy to split when handling. Mika’s recipe is a great recipe for those looking for a more versatile Americanized flan. It is just as delicious, albeit slightly different. That’s what makes food great! Options!

        ***Also, for large quantity, this can be made in large or small aluminum loaf tins. Still cook in water-bath. Sprinkle a little sugar on the top for plastic wrapping to prevent the wrap from sticking. Keep the flan in the tins, wrap and refrigerate. As Mika has said and to add to it, sugar attracts moisture and so will liquify in the fridge even more when refrigerated overnight or longer. Will stay good for about 5 days in fridge. I wouldn’t hold it any longer for food safety, even with the high amount of sugar. Pull out tins as needed. Either loosen whole and plate or cut into cubes with strained caramel poured over.

        God luck! Happy sharing<3

  13. Meg says:

    Thanks for your recipe and detailed post! Quick question – can I bake the flan in a larger dish – pie or cake pan – rather than individual ramekins? Will it just affect baking time, or do you think there are more ramifications?

    • Mika Mika says:

      You could try baking in a larger dish… but the edges might end up more “done” before the center is fully set. I’ve never baked it that way – I prefer the smaller ramekins… so you might have to experiment with the baking time.

    • T'mara says:

      I have been doing it in the 10 oz custard cups. It does take more time and the top of the the flan will start to turn a little brown because I have to leave it in for 40-50 minutes. If you experiement, make sure you don’t take the flan out of the oven until it is jello jiggly ( not unbaked cake mix jiggly). But, I use oval glass cups as well, so that might affect something or other depending on your cake pan, I do recommend a circle or square though. Good luck! Also, I don’t know if you make a water bath or not, but plan to. Happy baking!

  14. JESSICA says:

    hello Mika,
    I need to make 100 for the church fundraising event. I am not sure how to mass produce this. could you please let me kow if I store the bake flan in the fridge longer than a day, would it make the flan harder. Also I notice when I flipped out the flan, I do have sugar stick on the dish. Can you tell me why and how to prevent it.
    Thanks

    • Mika Mika says:

      I think I have mentioned previously that it is NORMAL to have sugar stuck to the dish when you flip it. Some of this is inevitable. If you store the flan (refrigerated) longer (like 1-2 days ahead of time) more of the sugar will dissolve, and you will have less sugar stuck to the dish. The flan will not become hard if you cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days ahead of time.

  15. Brooke says:

    when you say 2tsp. vanilla, do you mean vanilla extract?

  16. Im planning to sell my Mom’s flan. Do u have an idea how to mass produce it?

  17. Can u help me with the costing if i plan to sell it? I mean aside from the ingredients, what else shld I include in the computation to properly account everything and come up with a price?

    • Mika Mika says:

      I’m not a commercial baker – this is just a hobby for me. Other than pricing the ingredients, you might consider how much time your labor is worth, and what your costs are in terms of packaging, selling, marketing, etc. your product. Unfortunately, I can’t give you any advice about mass producing the flan – I only make single batches to serve to my family and friends. My suggestion would be to experiment to see what works best for you.

  18. I just read this recipe and am excited about trying it. I have been looking for a flan to put in my chocoflan cake that I’m experimenting with. The flan always comes out with a texture that is not palatable to me because I use sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk, along with crème cheese as the different recipes recommend. However I’m wondering if I can use this recipe for the flan part and if it would work. Would it be to light and mix with the chocolate batter which rises to the top? What do you think?
    Thanks for your help, I can’t wait to try this my friends who love my cake just don’t get what I mean about texture.

    • Mika Mika says:

      I’m not really sure. Are you planning on making the flan separate and using it as a layer between chocolate cake? I’m not sure how it would work out if you mixed it with chocolate cake batter… I don’t think it will separate out into chocolate cake and flan. It might be easier just to make a large flan and use that as a layer in between the actual cake.

  19. cristel lacson says:

    Good Day!
    Im planning to make a bake leche flan. My question is, is it okay if i will use a small glass jar instead of llaneras or ramekin? and how long will it take to bake inside the oven if i use it?

    Thanks

    • Mika Mika says:

      I’m not sure how long it will take. If the jars are a similar size as the ramekins, I would guess it would take about the same time.

  20. Elias s says:

    How long flan have to cook in the over ?? and what temperature It’s the better to cook the flan ?? Because everytime i make flan the flan came out with hole on the side like the picture above , i don’t like it :( help me plz thanks

  21. teresa says:

    hi ilan condenses milk at evap milk sa 30 eggs?thank u

  22. Martha says:

    Hello Mika,
    I typically hate Flan, I feel like its too sweet for my taste and I feel like more often then not Flan’s texture is more jello like than creamy. I’m interested in learning to make it because I have a boyfriend who LOVES Flan, so I will be experimenting with a couple different methods…yours being one of them. Recently I went to a local non-chain Mexican restaurant who is known for having great Flan… I was VERY hesitant because of my experience with it. To my surprise it was very creamy and not too sweet, I felt like it was perfect. Do you happen to know what might be different between the restaurants and what I have experienced growing up? do you think they might have made it with cream cheese instead…because it sure didn’t taste like it. Thanks for your input.

    • Mika Mika says:

      Regarding the restaurants…I’m not really sure? I know different restaurants have different “quality control” standards… differing recipes too. I had the same experience as you… every time I had flan in the past at a restaurant, it was lumpy and gross… But I guess people get used to the way they make it, and if they are used to the lumpy texture, over time… maybe they don’t see it so much as a flaw, but part of how it “is supposed to be”? Although I would argue, that’s really NOT how it’s “supposed to be”.

      As far as making the flan, you can always adjust the sugar to your liking. I feel that my recipe is not overly sweet, so you might try it as-written first, then decrease the sugar slightly to your taste if you feel like it is still too sweet for you. I’ve never made flan with cream cheese before… to me, flan is more of a custard, and I worry that the use of cream cheese would make it too cheesecake-like, which I didn’t want.

  23. ColdFire says:

    This is almost exactly how my mother used to make it. Can’t wait to give your recipe/techniques a try. First I need to go buy some ramekins.

  24. Sherian says:

    Thank you so much for your flan making tips! I’ve used a variety of combinations of milks, including coconut milk using your recommendations and every flan has turned out delicious and silky smooth. I just made one for a function and it was a hit. I had several people come up to me to say that they do not like flan, but mine was delicious. Thanks again!

  25. Luna says:

    Hi:) I’m just wondering if I bake in a big round glass if it’s ok to not put it on top of a towel or add water..it’s going to be my first attempt .

    • Mika Mika says:

      So you are planning on baking this in a glass pie pan instead of individual ramekins, without the insulation of the towel and the water bath? Sure, you could do that… but I’m not sure how this is going to turn out for you… it might end up being quite overcooked on the edges by the time the center has a chance to set. I think if it’s your first time, it will be easier to have the recipe turn out if you follow the instructions exactly as written.

  26. Mika,I am a 78 year old single male; I love flan, but I usually give in to the commercial (non egg) boxes because they are quick and are done on stove top. However, your recipe has inspired me, as have YOU. I read all of the comments and posts and your diligent responses. You must be an extraordinarily wonderful person because I have never before read such kind responses to what are sometimes mindless questions. You must have the patience of Job. Thank you for the recipe (which I will try tomorrow) and thank you for being YOU. I am going to subscribe to your blogs and it will be the first blog I have ever subscribed to. THANK YOU.

  27. Guadalupe says:

    How is my flan not cooking? Its liquid.

    • Mika Mika says:

      Is your oven on? Lol.
      Did you use hot tap water? Did you use small ramekins?
      Keep in mind that the flan will continue to cook after you take it out of the oven – so you want it to still be a bit jiggly when you take it out. Do not wait for it to be solid or firm.

  28. Pot says:

    Can i use plastic mold? Im not baking it , im using steamer . Thanks

    • Mika Mika says:

      I don’t really know. I have never made flan in a steamer. My concern would be that the plastic would melt when you add the molten hot caramel into it.

  29. mitch says:

    Hi.
    Just want to ask what is the difference of.whole milk from fresh milk? Can i use fresh milk instead?

    • Mika Mika says:

      “Whole milk” is a product commonly sold in the USA – it means “milk without the fat removed” (about 3.25% fat content). In contrast, here in the USA, we can buy “low fat” milk (either 1% or 2% milkfat), or “nonfat” milk (fat removed).

      For this recipe, I do not use milk, I use “half and half” – which is another USA product that means a liquid that is 50% cream, and 50% whole milk (1:1 ratio). We typically use “half and half” as coffee creamer, and in many dessert/dairy recipes.

  30. Eljay says:

    Ah, in a perfect world…all ramekins, pans, and ovens would be equal. But I don’t live in that perfect world.

    When it says follow the recipe EXACTLY, that means as far as the size and material the pans are made of.

    After baking 45 minutes my flans were still totally liquid. I checked the water temp with a thermometer and the water had not even reached the temp at which custard begins to set.

    My hot tap water is VERY hot, but I was using a glass baking pan, and glass does not transfer heat as well as metal. I did not have as much clearance around my ramekins as in the recipe and I think this all contributed to SLOW cooking.

    When my flans began to set up, they did so very unevenly meaning I was taking them out in stages as much as 20 minutes apart!

    I used the glass baking pan because I didn’t have a metal one large enough to bake all the flans at once in. Next time I will use a larger metal pan, give the flans lots of room and bake then in two sets rather than one.

    also, with the longer baking time, I needed to top off the hot water…which is not good because adding water at a diferent temp sort of throws the whole thing off yet again…so I had to mess with a thermometer to make sure I was adding water of aprox the same temp.

    All the info in this recipe and method is top notch, but now I know they need more room and a metal pan!

    I’m over 90 minutes into this and I still have two poking along in the oven.

    I’ll know better next time.
    I wanted to share this in case someone else ran into these issues, so they know they are not alone!

    Don’t crowd your flan!

  31. Lila says:

    Hi,
    I was wondering, do I heat the half and half up? Most recipes for creme caramel say to heat up the milk/cream, but this doesn’t. Is that true, I should just mix the cold milk with the other ingredients? Also can I use whole milk instead of half-and-half? Thanks!

    • Mika Mika says:

      No, you do not need to heat up the half and half. Use it at room temperature.

      Also, I would suggest that you do not substitute the half and half for whole milk. The reason why, is that half and half has a higher fat content and will create a creamier and richer flan, whereas straight milk will not be quite as creamy. If you can’t find half and half, then you want to use a 1:1 mixture of milk:cream, as that is (literally) what “half and half” stands for – half milk and half cream.

      • Taimy says:

        When you refer to cream (for the people who don’t have half and half so you told them to use 1:1 mixture of milk and cream), which product are you exactly referring to? The only cream I know of is sour cream but I doubt you are talking about that one. lol

        • Mika Mika says:

          American “half and half” is 50% whole milk, and 50% cream. Cream is a natural dairy product, just like milk. When a cow is milked, the liquid separates: the fatty layer (which is less dense) rises to the top – this is “cream”, the lower fat layer (more dense) is on the bottom – this is “milk”.
          Most stores sell different varieties of liquid cream – some higher fat (good for whipping), some lighter fat (for use in coffee, soups, etc.). Use a lighter fat cream to mix with milk to make half and half.

  32. kelly says:

    I was wondering how much ingredients to use if I make it in a nine inch cake pan

    • Mika Mika says:

      I’m not sure? I prefer to make this in individual ramekins because the smaller the dish, the more uniform the flan will cook. When you use a larger dish – sometimes the outsides overcook while the center isn’t yet done. You can try using one full recipe to make a 9″ flan… but I’m not sure how long it will take to make, you might have to experiment on that.

  33. Arpita says:

    Spectacular recipe and methodical explanations. Yours was the best online recipe by a long shot. My husband loves creme caramel and it is one of the select few desserts he enjoys and eats. So… Having never made it before, I tried your recipe in a 10inch glass pie dish and it was a dream…! My fussy husband said it’s the best he’s ever had. My toddler had three bowlfuls. I have personally never liked creme caramel because it always left an odd soapy taste/residue on my upper palate on the rare occasion that I tried it (overcooked egg possibly?) but THIS was a revelation and a wonderful surprise. I think the techniques that you have laboriously come up with after much experimentation helped a flan novice like me. Kudos!
    The only changes I made were:
    a) I used about half the sugar recommended. (We don’t have too many sweet teeth!)
    b) I baked for about 45 mins. (My oven takes longer for everything) but I made sure the centre was wobbly and jiggly.
    c) I used whole milk.

    There is going to be a lot of creme caramel coming out of my happy kitchen!
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

  34. emily says:

    its easier if you put your ramekins in the oven while it is preheating and then pour the caramel into them while they are piping hot. gives you a few extra seconds before the caramel cools down and sets.

  35. JoAnn says:

    In answer to Harmony’s question about chocoflan. YES, this recipe does work with cake and you don’t have to make them separately. Follow all of the directions for this flan recipe but after you caramelize the sugar, add your cake batter FOLLOWED by the flan mixture. Through some kind of magic the flan ends up at the bottom so that when it’s inverted it ends up at the top and is beautiful and delicious!

  36. Prince2100 says:

    Can I add cacao powder? What will be the amount? Do I have to increase any of the ingredients?

    Your kind response is highly appreciated.

    • Mika Mika says:

      I have never added cocoa powder, so I can’t really tell you exactly how much – you may need to experiment. I’m thinking you could probably start with about 1-2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder without adjusting any of the other ingredients.

  37. Priya says:

    Wonderful recipe – and so easy! Thank you for sharing.

  38. Sarai says:

    How do u make the caramel look very light cause when i make it it looks dark

    • Mika Mika says:

      The longer you cook your caramel, the dark it will be. As soon as your caramel is almost at the color you want, remove it from the heat and immediately pour it into the ramekins. The longer you keep it in the pan (which is hot), the darker it will turn.

  39. arvie says:

    Thanks to ur post.. i saved some of my almost ruined flan.. yipee…

  40. StellaMaris says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe with all of the detailed notes, which I’ve been keeping mind. On the same day I tried two recipes–the one you posted here as well as the one here http://www.ricardocuisine.com/recipes/633-creme-caramel . I brought both batches to a family gathering and asked my sisters (who are Argentine “flan” enthusiasts) to compare them. Interestingly, they couldn’t tell there was much difference, except yours was slightly creamier. The second recipe is somewhat more complicated because it requires heating the milk (then careful incorporation into the eggs) and also boiling the water for the bain marie, so I thought it was interesting that in the end, the extra trouble didn’t seem to greatly affect the final result.

    A modification I had to make: For your recipe, I did have to bake the cups for much longer than 30 minutes, and I also ended up turning up the heat to 360, since the mixture was still quite watery (not jiggly) after half an hour. Perhaps the thick dish towels and the not-really-hot water I used were factors there.

    Thanks again for sharing this recipe and the detailed notes. I’m sure I’ll use this recipe again.

  41. Ben says:

    A tip for avoiding crystallized caramel: add some acid to the sugar and water mixture! I add about a tablespoon of lemon juice. It’s foolproof! (Tip courtesy of le grand Jacques Pepin)

  42. Jhy says:

    Hi! How can I prevent the eggy taste?

    • Mika Mika says:

      Have you tried my recipe? I don’t think it tastes very “eggy”. The worst thing you can do though, is over-cook the flan. If you over cook it, it won’t taste as good.

      If you don’t like the taste of eggs though, you might want to pick a different dessert that isn’t quite so egg based.

  43. Khai says:

    I’m a little inexperience when it comes to caramel, so I must ask: is there any difference in making caramel out of pure sugar, and making it with water? Love your recipe by the way. :-)

    • Mika Mika says:

      I don’t typically make caramel just with sugar – I find it is a bit quicker to burn. I think it’s a bit easier to control the caramelization process with a “wet” method.

      • Khai says:

        But would it change the end result?

        • Mika Mika says:

          What do you mean, you mean if you make the caramel without the water? Yes, it might be a bit harder, and probably more dark, and maybe slightly harder to pour over the bottom of the ramekins. The way that I make flan is in the steps above, as the recipe above describes. If you want to try making dry caramel – then go for it. It’s your flan, and there is no right or wrong way – both dry and wet methods have their pros and cons. But this is how I make it.

  44. MaryRose says:

    I used this recipe the other day for a Chocoflan cake. It was absolutely perfect! Smooth, beautiful, and so delicious!

    Some notes:
    When making the carmel topping, make sure you start with a hot pot. Mine was too cold and I thought I had ruined it . I tossed out two batches before finally getting it got enough to realize I hadn’t ruined the first two, I just hadn’t waited long enough.

    I used a bundt pan. I still used the hot tap water Bain-marie and the kitchen towel. No cover over the cake, it turned out perfect (just had to cook longer).

    Follow the instructions! This is so beautifully laid out, with such a clear walk through, that it is a shame if you don’t use it! If you do follow directions, it will be perfect!

  45. gsmchugh says:

    Fantastic instructions for your flan! Very detailed and extremely easy to follow. Thanks for adding the pictures. My oven is gas and it always takes much longer to cook/bake and your recipe for the carmel was what I was really after. You have a great recipe and I’ll try it on another occasion. In the past, I have had trouble with the caramel turning like a rock in the ramekin. Will I have to put my ramekins in hot water to release the caramel from the bottom of the ramekin? I am serving them at a dinner party tonight!

    • Mika Mika says:

      I don’t think so? Usually once the flan has been chilled, and good portion of caramel is on the flan… I haven’t needed to use hot water to release. :)

  46. Chari Rasner says:

    you don’t said what size eggs , large, medium or extra large?

  47. Scott says:

    Hi Mika just wandering if you have ever tried silicon molds or if you have any ideas for a more decorative serving Thanks

  48. diane says:

    I used whole milk and it was perfect..thank you so much

  49. Lilly says:

    This is soo helpful. I find that when i make a cheese flan, i soften my cream cheese in the microwave and then add to my eggs to mix, it congeals. Very frustrating! What i am realizing is that my eggs are cold and then the cream cheese is hot, this is my problem! So my question, room temperature for eggs and the cream cheese, how long can i keep those unrefrigerated AND should i use a mixer on low or use hand method of mixing? I use a sieve and literally 80% of the mixture is left in there than in my pitcher. How can i “liquify” it again making it creamy instead of just throwing it away? Seriously, you have been such a help! Can’t wait to try your flan!

    • Mika Mika says:

      When I make cheesecake, I will often leave eggs and cream cheese out overnight… so I think you would be safe for up to 8 hours if you live in a temperate climate.
      The recipe that I posted above does not contain cream cheese – I think the cream cheese is what is clogging up your sieve – I don’t really have any useful suggestions for you since I don’t make my flan that way – maybe try a coarser sieve with larger holes? Try my recipe without cream cheese and see what you think.

  50. Sydnay says:

    How pong should I leave the flaun in the refrigerator

  51. A says:

    I followed your recipe and methods to a T and it was perfect. I’ve tried many recipes but yours is the best. Thank you!!!

  52. Jasmine Li says:

    What is the serving size for this recipe? Thanks!

  53. Naye says:

    Hi,

    Are you sure you are using 6oz ramekins? I Used that same size twice and I didn’t have enough custard to pour on all eight. Also, mine took almost two hours to bake, maybe because I was only able to fill 6 ramekins. In the picture your ramekins look smaller than mine. Please let me know what size you are using exactly? I measure the custard and it was about 4 cups so I don’t think you were using 6oz ramekins. I did the math and it just doesn’t add up. Please help me!

    • Mika Mika says:

      The ramekins I used hold exactly 3/4 c. of liquid if you fill it up to the brim. When I make the flan, I don’t fill the custard up to the top – I fill them maybe about half way to leave room for expansion (they tend to swell a bit when baking, and I don’t want anything to overflow).

  54. Priyanka says:

    Hi,

    I tried to make caramel pudding for about 5 people using a rectangular cake pan. I used a water bath in an aluminium tray and placed the pan inside.I baked it for about 30 minutes at 375 F. But the top layer of the pudding started turning brown right after 15 minutes. Even though the pudding was still very much undercooked. So I could not take out the pudding for another 15 minutes. Can you please tell me how to avoid the browning of the top layer. I just want it cooked, and not turn brown. I am planning to again make the pudding in the next 3 days. Please help me with where I am going wrong. Thanks a ton.

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi there. What happened to your flan is exactly why I don’t like to bake flan in a large dish… I think they turn out much better (and it’s easier to control the cooking process) if you make smaller individual flans. So try using smaller round ramekins instead of a large rectangle pan. (The other thing to keep in mind is that with a rectangle shape, your corners will cook much faster than the other parts.) If you really really really want to make a large one… I’m not sure what to tell you. Is the heating element of your oven on the top or the bottom? If you have an upper heating element, or if your heat is up too high (keep in mind the temperatures I post are in Fahrenheit, not Celsius), it will most likely “toast” the top… When I make flan, the way described in the recipe above, the custard does not brown.

  55. Maddalyn says:

    I like to add a can of pumpkin, a little clove, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom — this require adding 2 more eggs.

  56. Anne says:

    Hi Mika. May I ask if you use a whole eggs or you separate the egg yolk and egg white. Thank you!! :)

  57. Colleen says:

    Your recipe is incredible and the instructions are great. Thank you! This was my first attempt at flan, and definitely not my last. I made them last night and tested one this morning. They turned out beautiful and taste wonderful!
    I have one inquiry for you. When I strained the mixture through the sieve, approx. 1.5-2 T of egg white was remaining in the sieve. It wasn’t chalaza. My best guess is that it was the thicker of the albumen/egg white. At first, I tried pushing it through but to no avail and didn’t want to agitate the mixture, so I chose to discard this remaining amount. It’s possible my sieve is extremely fine, or maybe I should try stirring the mixture a bit more before straining. I’m curious if this is typically what you see and if not, is there something I could try to do differently?
    Thanks again!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi there! I haven’t had that happen to me… but with 4 eggs in the mixture, missing a small amount shouldn’t affect the outcome too much. How did it turn out? If your flan didn’t turn out, then next time try a slightly coarser sieve.

  58. Joy says:

    Why i didnt read your blog before i tried cooking this flan.. i tried the other recipe.. how frustrating!

    Anyhow, the oven should be set on bottom heat only? Is electric oven will do?

    Thank you so much for all the tips!

    God bless..

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi there. My oven is electric, and when set to the “bake” setting, heat only comes from the bottom – however it does have convection (fan blows the hot air around the oven). If you have the option to do bottom heat only, that’s what I would do. If you have an additional top heating element, it will most likely cook quicker, and the tops will be browned/toasted.

  59. Chris Pedrano says:

    Hi! What’s the problem if leche flan is too soft? It’s kinda watery.

    • Mika Mika says:

      Are you talking about this recipe for flan? If it’s too soft, you may need to cook it a few minutes longer next time.

  60. MD says:

    Just made this last night. LOVED IT! It was my 1st time making flan, but I’ve always loved the taste. I, too, had a flan that was so smooth and silky at a Cuban restaurant in NYC. This recipe is the closest to it by far! Thanks so much!

  61. bassent fisal says:

    can i use my yogurt maker to made this , but for longer period of time may be 3 hours or so ?

  62. Anyang says:

    My leche flan always break when I transfer it. Why is it? It has cracks in the middle

    • Mika Mika says:

      I don’t know? Are you using my recipe above, or are you using a different recipe/technique? I would guess if it has cracks in the middle, it might be overcooked.

  63. buder12 says:

    Hi there,

    Love the website. Whenever I make flan, when I unmold it, there are always bits and pieces of custard. Why is this? In your picture, I don’t see any bits and pieces!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Did you use my recipe and technique? I’ve never had the flan stick or had any “bits and pieces” using my method.

  64. Mac says:

    Hi- great tips! I’ve been making this for 40 yrs+. I almost always use undiluted evaporated milk instead of half-and-half, although I’ve made it almost exactly like this recipe also. Condensed milk can definitely be used as part of the liquid and for most of the sugar- I’ve done this before too. When it is used, the flan has a much denser texture, which is how it is usually made in Latin America and in Spain. Also, I prefer a custard that isn’t overly sweet, so I taste as I add sugar. And probably because of my French heritage, I always dust the top with nutmeg. Flan/custard just seems to be missing something to me without it!

  65. Erinn says:

    So, I have to make flan for 30+ people. Is there a way to make one bulk flan, or would I need to make several? I’ve never made it before.

    • Mika Mika says:

      I normally do not like to make 1 large flan because it is more prone to failure – the sides cook much faster than the center.

  66. Williamcoms says:

    Appreciate you sharing, great forum post.Thanks Again. Really Great.

  67. Sherry says:

    Hi! I tried your technique, but cut the recipe in half. Both times, the flan was still watery. What am I doing wrong? I also cook it for 30 mins!

    • Mika Mika says:

      I’m not sure. Did you allow the flan to continue resting in the water bath after cooking or did you remove immediately? It needs to continue sitting in the hot water after removing from the oven to continue cooking. Also, make sure that you are not using really large ramekins or overloading each ramekin – too much custard will take much longer to cook.

  68. tintin says:

    Hi Mika, I did experiment leche flan twice already & the result was..
    It is quite reached.
    At first I tried it with the with egg yolks & the 2nd time whole eggs.

    The first time I think it tasted good but really really sweet as I did not use the much the evaporated milk..
    The 2nd time, I did use it, but then the taste was not that sweet but quite reached still.

    Do you know how to make it not so reached? Or what is the secret?

  69. Cody says:

    Interesting, when I did this recipe for the first time, the sides of the flan came out with a somewhat bubbled” appearance indicating it was overcooked, and yet the interior of the flan was perfect – the picky eaters in my household all gave it thumbs up. I’m wondering just what went wrong; was it overcooked just slightly, could the water bath have been too low, or was there another problem I missed?

    • Mika Mika says:

      I’m not sure. The cooking times I suggested are guidelines, but you want to err on the side of undercooking. The flan will look quite jiggly when you remove it from the oven, and it will continue to cook itself with the carry over heat. If you had bubbles on the side… you might want to decrease the cooking time next time. Also make sure you don’t overly agitate the mixture.

      • Cody says:

        I have to wonder if overly agitating the custard was the culprit; I beat the sugar and eggs together pretty hard, the milk much more gently (and heated), and strained, but some bubbles still may have found their way into the flan. I’m definitely decreasing the cooking time; the flan came out very jiggly in the center, but solid around the edges. Probably overcooked just a bit. Flan is a delicate recipe, but really no more so then the cookies I often bake; just have to keep trying.

        Thank you for the response. :-)

        • Mika Mika says:

          THe only other thing I can think of is if you used a large dish instead of several small ramekins? I always suggest cooking in small ramekins because one large flan will have a tendency to overcook on the outsides by the time the center is just done.

  70. Niks says:

    Hello! thanks for this wonderful recipe, is the temperature of the oven 325F or 325C?
    Thank you :)

  71. Real mexican says:

    As a real life Latina I can honestly say this is not how you make flan. Why do white Americans insist on changing and complicating things?

    • Mika Mika says:

      Thanks for the racism!!! Lol. Yeah, because there is only ONE way to make something. And why do you think I’m a “White American”??? (As if that matters at all for making a recipe…)

      I’m Japanese Austrian, by the way.

  72. anonymous says:

    hi when you said pre-heat to 325 degrees, what happens after that? if you put the flans inside the oven, will you change the temperature 325 or not? beginner here

    • Mika Mika says:

      Well you typically preheat the oven to the degrees you plan to bake at… that way the oven is already at the correct temperature when you insert your pan. So for this recipe, you preheat the oven to 325, then, you bake at 325. So no, you don’t need to change the temperature. Just keep it at 325 degrees. (Fahrenheit).

  73. Angie59 says:

    Hi dear,
    I just made this recipe and it is still in the oven , I had made a mistake and used 6 glass Pyrex ramekins instead of 8 and it still too watery after 40 minutes .. Keeping till it’s just jiggly .. Fingers crossed I hope I don’t disappoint my husband :)

  74. ANN LOVELLE DAGSAN FAJA says:

    Can i use mason jars instead of ramikins?

  75. May says:

    For 40-1hr of cooking my flan in low fire, then why it stil soft ?

    • Mika Mika says:

      I don’t know. Did you change anything? Keep in mind that my suggested cooking time was for EIGHT 3.5 inch diameter ramekins. If you used a different sized ramekin, or divided your custard into fewer than eight ramekins… then this recipe will not work for you as written. Also, I did specify the exact temperature of 325 degrees. (Fahrenheit) So I’m not sure what you mean by cooking “in low fire”… but your temperature may not be correct. Did you use HOT tap water for the bain-marie?

      Do keep in mind that the flan should be a little bit soft and jiggly in the center when removing from the oven. The flan will continue to cook from carry-over heat as instructed in step 9.

  76. Ratika says:

    Every time I try it, after overnight refrigeration, flipping it upside down,the Carmel is always rock hard. (Have used lemon while caramelizing).
    Everything is perfect other than the hard caramel in the end….
    I don’t know what to do..very frustrating..!!

  77. Taimy says:

    I want to include the towel technique into my flan. I already strain the eggs before I add the rest of the ingredients but since I use sweet milk instead of sugar I am not sure if it is a good idea to strain it at the end. I will be sure to mix the ingredients gently though to avoid air bubbles. I also like to make coconut flan which would make it impossible to strain at the end or it will lost all the coconut, lol. Thanks for the tips, they are very useful.

  78. milagros v.rubio says:

    hello. thanks for the wonderful way of making custard flan. . i just have questions. is it ok to use steamer instead of oven. and llanera instead of ramekins? thank you very much in advance.

  79. Marie says:

    Hi I cooked and sold leche flan and according to the buyer it is delicious like it melts in the mouth. My problem is that its too soft. Can you give me an advise on how I can make my leche flan firmer.

    many thanks
    Marie

    • Mika Mika says:

      I’m not sure. Are you using my recipe? You can try decreasing the liquid to see if that gives you the texture you desire… you may have to experiment though.

  80. Tina says:

    Hi, I was trying to make the flan, but I realized I dont have half and half. Can I use evaporated milk instead?

  81. Chrislyn says:

    I just tried your recipe..perfect.love it and my husband thinks its the best that we had. I just have difficukty in getting it out from the ramekin..any other tips aside from using the kni for the sides? Thanks..

    • Mika Mika says:

      You can try warming the sides a little bit by setting the ramekin halfway in some hot tap water. Other than that, I always use a knife and it comes out fine.

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