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Classic Caramel Flan — If you’ve been scared to make what seems like a complicated dessert, don’t worry!! This flan recipe is easy to follow and delivers delicate, TENDER, delicious flan with an IRRESISTIBLE caramel sauce!!
What Is Flan?
Flan is essentially a sweetened egg custard with a caramel sauce that coats the top. If you’re a fan of crème brûlée or sugar cream pie, it’s a fair assumption that you’ll probably really enjoy flan.
It’s soft, creamy, tender, delicate, and satisfying.
In my opinion, when it’s done right, flan shouldn’t taste eggy. I used four eggs in this recipe and I think that’s a good balance. Less eggs means the texture of the homemade flan is more delicate and it takes longer to set up. If you use more eggs, the texture becomes denser, and while it sets up a bit easier, it’s more prone to tasting eggy.
The longer flan rests in the fridge, the less eggy I find it tastes over time. It mellows with time, to a point of course.
Caramel Flan Ingredients
To make this easy flan recipe, you’ll need:
- Granulated sugar
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Evaporated milk
- Vanilla extract
How to Make Flan
Most traditional flan recipes call for melting granulated sugar, just granulated sugar, no water or butter, until it turns into caramel sauce. While this is definitely possible, it takes quite a while and you run the risk of burning the dry sugar before it liquifies and turns into caramel.
If you want to make the caramel sauce for the flan the traditional way on the stovetop, there are no shortage of recipes as you will quickly find on Google. Just basically put sugar in a pot and add heat until you have caramel sauce.
Caramel sauce made in this fashion is prone to becoming granular and gritty because the sugar crystalizes and can turn the whole batch of caramel granular. You can read more about making caramel sauce in this post on the Best and Easiest Homemade Caramel Sauce.
Step 1: Make the Caramel Sauce
My method for making the caramel sauce for the flan is easier and less prone to errors. Simply take a two-cup glass Pyrex measuring cup, add one cup of sugar, one-half cup of water, no need to stir it, place it in the microwave, and heat on high power for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce is a light amber color. Since all microwaves vary, keep a close on on your caramel.
You don’t want to burn it and don’t overcook it just to be safe because that will make releasing the flan harder because you’ll be dealing with extra sticky caramel.
Pour the caramel sauce into a 9-inch glass pie dish. I have never made flan in individual ramekins, although be my guest.
Step 2: Make the Flan Batter
Another trick for making flan is to combine all the batter ingredients, at once, in a blender rather than using a mixing bowl and whisk or mixer. A blender truly blends the eggs so you don’t have to fight to break the yolks and get them to incorporate smoothly with the whites.
There’s no flour in flan, which makes this a naturally gluten-free dessert, and also makes it a goofproof batter for the blender since there’s no flour to overwork.
Step 3: Bake the Caramel Flan
Pour the batter over the caramel sauce, cover the pie dish with foil, and bake for 1 hour. In the last 10-15 minutes of baking, I remove the foil. This is a gametime decision based on how done and browned your flan looks. If it’s already fairly dark but not set, keep the foil on the whole time.
Step 4: Let the Flan Cool
Cool the flan on your counter for 3-4 hours, then chill it in the fridge for 3-4 hours, overnight is great.
Step 5: Release The Flan
The longer you cook the caramel, both in the microwave and as the flan bakes in the oven, the stickier the caramel will become, making it harder to release the flan from the pie dish. The caramel literally will be grabbing hold and not wanting to release.
Allow the homemade flan to rest at room temp for about 15 minutes before you want to invert it. If you try and it’s not working, just wait another 10 minutes or so with the pie dish inverted over a serving platter. It might just plop out for you!
If you’re not having luck with that, run a dish towel under super hot water, wring it out, and place that over your inverted pie dish. The warmth should knock that flan right out of the pie dish and onto your serving platter.
How to Tell When Flan Is Done
Caramel flan will be jiggly in the center, even when it’s done. However, a knife inserted in the center should come out clean. It’s a bit of a challenge to know exactly when it’s done, especially your first time making it. As long as the jiggly part is about the size of a deck of cards or smaller, I’d say the flan is done.
You don’t want to overbake it because it will turn tough, the caramel will burn, and the texture could change and it could become gritty and not good.
Can I Prep Flan in Advance?
Absolutely! This is a dessert you do have to make in advance and plan for but that’s also means it’s a great candidate to be the dessert you serve after a dinner party or when you’re entertaining. You can make it days in advance, have it waiting in the fridge, and can check dessert off your to-do list the day of the party.
How Long Does Flan Last?
This easy flan recipe can be made up to five days before you plan on serving it. Keep the flan covered tightly in the fridge!
Can You Freeze Flan?
Perhaps, but I’ve never tried it. There’s a lot of dairy and eggs in flan, so I’m not sure how well it’d freeze.
More Caramel Desserts:
Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake — This upside down cake is super moist thanks to the combination of sour cream, buttermilk, and vegetable oil. It’s so easy to make, and the caramelized banana flavor is impossible to resist!
Salted Caramel Buttery Crumb Bars — These salted caramel bars feature a buttery shortbread base and an addicting crumb topping I simply can’t get enough of! Such an easy one-bowl dessert!
Carmelitas — For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy layered bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe that everyone loves!
Coconut Caramel Poke Cake — An incredibly EASY and super moist cake thanks to a creamy caramel mixture that’s poked into the cake!! Topped with crispy toasted coconut, this cake is a DELISH winner!!
Browned Butter Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Blondies — The combination of browned butter, salted caramel, chocolate, and sea salt is INCREDIBLE!! A complex-tasting salty-sweet dessert that is EASY to make and a guaranteed FAVORITE!!
Caramel-Stuffed Brownie Bites — An EASY, no mixer recipe for homemade brownie bites stuffed with CARAMEL and topped with whipped cream and sprinkles!! Rich, FUDGY, decadent, and DELISH!!
Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars — The bars are made with salted caramel peanut butter and they’re super soft, slightly chewy, easy, and you don’t need a mixer.
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