There's something about custard desserts that are the perfect way to end a meal- they're sweet, silky smooth, and in my opinion, not too heavy or filling. Traditional flan, also know as crème caramel, is a delicious custard made up of sugar, milk, cream, and egg yolks. A common Mexican and Spanish dessert, I like to think of flan as a reversed version of crème brûlée!
Most flan recipes are cooked in custard cups, ramekins or round baking pans and have a layer of golden brown caramel sauce on the bottom. When it's time to unmold the flan onto a dessert dish, the caramel sauce melts and creates a delicious sauce for the custard. There's no doubt that flan is an impressive dessert that you can easily make for any dinner party!
Check out some of our favorite recipes.
1. Mexican Flan Recipe
This traditional flan recipe is so easy to make and starts off by preparing a simple caramel sauce with half a cup of sugar. Once the sugar dissolves, it's poured into a round soufflé dish or individual custard cups. The milk mixture is flavored with a little vanilla extract and orange zest, poured over the caramel and baked in a water bath.
You'll notice that many custard recipes are baked in a water bath, which is a very important step. The hot water from the water bath helps to evenly distribute heat, while preventing a rubbery, over cooked texture to the custard.
Get the flan recipe here.
2. Coffee Flan
This is like traditional flan, but with a caffeine kick! The caramel sauce is made with sugar, water, and a little corn syrup and boiled gently in a medium saucepan.
Helpful tip: if you notice large sugar crystals hanging out on the sides of the pan, use a wet pastry brush to help release them from the pan, so they don't burn.
3. Mango Flan
A simple flan recipe, but with a tropical twist! This mango flan is still prepared with a caramel sauce, but in the milk and egg mixture, you'll notice the addition of mango purée and condensed milk.
Once the flan has cooled, you can easily un-mold it by running a sharp knife around the edges. If that doesn't work, no need to fear! You can also dip each custard cup into a pan of hot water for a few seconds and then run your knife around the edges, which can also help loosen it.
Here's the recipe.
4. Dark Chocolate Flan
Rejoice chocolate and flan lovers! This recipe is for you. For the custard, milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon stick, vanilla extract, and of course, dark chocolate are combined in a medium saucepan and brought to a simmer.
The chocolatey milk mixture is poured into a round baking dish or individual cups and baked until set. You can't go wrong with this recipe! Find it here.
5. Cream Cheese Flan
With the addition of cream cheese, condensed milk, and evaporated milk, this flan recipe is sure to be rich and creamy! Serve with a beautiful side fruit salad to scoop up all of that sweet caramel sauce for a seriously awesome dessert. Here's the recipe.
6. Coconut Flan
I highly recommend this coconut flan for your next dinner party. It's decadent, smooth, and full of coconut flavor due to the coconut milk and flakes.
I think this looks so impressive in one round baking dish, but you can absolutely serve them in individual custard cups, too. Here's the recipe.
7. Vegan Flan Recipe
The main ingredients in traditional flan recipes are eggs, egg yolks, and dairy, but it is possible to satisfy vegans with this vegan-friendly flan! This flan still has a gorgeous golden brown caramel sauce, but the custard base is made with coconut milk, agar-agar flakes, silken tofu, sugar, and vanilla extract.
If you haven't worked with agar-agar, it's very similar to gelatin, but vegan-friendly. Agar is derived from algae and is a natural thickener and jelling agent. It has no odor or flavor and you can purchase it online or at the health food store.
Get the flan recipe here.
8. Pineapple Flan
How beautiful is this flan? That caramelized pineapple slice really takes it to the next level, too. The custard mixture is made with pineapple juice, milk, large eggs, vanilla extract, and a splash of rum. Rum and pineapples just naturally go together, right?!
I'm sure this is going to be you're new favorite recipe! Find it here.