Stupid-Easy Recipe for Classic Mexican Flan (#1 Top-Rated)


This silken, caramel covered custard dessert came to Latin America from Spain and is very popular in Mexico today. Simple to make with just 6 ingredients – and easy to make ahead, which makes it perfect for entertaining. Like most custard, flan is baked in a baño maría, or“water bath until gently set to achieve its signature soft, creamy texture. It then needs to be cooled to room temperature and chilled overnight. For that reason, plan on making your flan a day in advance to serving. Once you’ve tried the classic, see the Chefs Notes for other flavor variations on this addictive and versatile dessert.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this easy-to-make recipe for Classic Mexican Flan.

1. Info for Classic Mexican Flan

  • Cook Time: 1 hr 58 min
  • Total Time: 1 hr 58 min
  • Servings: 10
  • Calories: 311.3 kcal

2. Ingredients for Classic Mexican Flan

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon hot water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup La Lechera Sweetened Condensed Milk (plus 1 1/2 Tbs.)
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (halved lengthwise and beans scraped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 cups boiling water (for water bath)

3. Directions:

  1. Special Equipment: 9-in/23-cm x 5-in/12.5-cm loaf pan; 9-in/23-cm x 13 in/33-cm x 2-in/5-cm pan; spatula; pastry brush; fine mesh strainer; aluminum foil; thermometer; wire baking rack; paring knife
  2. Position one oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325ºF/165ºC/gas 3. Place a 9-in/23-cm x 5-in/12.5-cm loaf pan in the oven to heat. (A preheated loaf pan helps spread the caramel).
  3. Make the caramel: In a small saucepan add the sugar and ¼ cup of water. Set the pan on a stove set to medium-low heat and cook, stirring gently with a spatula until the sugar crystals dissolve. Once the sugar crystals have dissolved, stop stirring. Brush the sides of the pan using a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystallization. Bring to a boil, then continue to cook until the caramel is a deep amber color, another 10-12 minutes. Swirl the pan as needed to make sure the caramel is cooked evenly.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat, hold it over your kitchen sink, and drizzle in the Tablespoon of hot water, swirling the pan to incorporate (careful, it will spatter). Remove the warmed loaf pan from the oven and pour the caramel into the dish (do not scrape the pan). Make sure the base is evenly coated. Set aside to cool.
  5. Bring 2 quarts/64 fl oz/2 liters of water to a boil. Prepare the 9-in/23-cm x 13 in/33-cm x 2-in/5-cm pan by lining it with 4 layers of paper towels. Set aside.
  6. Make the custard: In a medium mixing bowl add the eggs and egg yolks. Fit the KitchenAid® 7-Speed Hand Mixer with the whisk attachment. Place the whisk into the bowl and turn to speed 2. Mix until just combined. Turn off the mixer.
  7. Add the sweetened condensed milk, heavy whipping cream, whole milk, vanilla seeds (you can save the other ½ of the pod for another use), and salt. Place the whisk into the mixture and turn to speed 2. Mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Turn off the mixer. TIPS: To scrape a vanilla bean, put the bean on a cutting surface. Using a paring knife, cut the bean in half (save the other half for another recipe). Using the tip of the paring knife, cut the bean lengthwise. Use the point, or edge of the knife to scrape the seeds loose from the pod; do this on both sides of the split bean. Place the paste into the bowl when ready to use. The vanilla pod can be reserved to be used in another recipe.
  8. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into the loaf pan. Cover the top of the loaf pan tightly with aluminum foil, place it into the center of the prepared 9×13-in pan, then put into the oven. Carefully pour the boiling water into the 9×13-in pan so that it reaches 1-in up the sides of the loaf pan. (This is the water bath.) Bake until the center of the custard slightly jiggles when shaken and the custard reaches 180ºF/82ºC, 50 minutes, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven and set on a wire baking rack. Remove the foil, and let the custard cool in the water bath until it reaches room temperature, about 1 hour. Remove the loaf pan from the water bath, wrap with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight, or for up to two days before serving.
  10. To remove the flan, run a paring knife around the edge of the pan. Place a serving dish with a raised rim over the top of the pan and gently, but quickly, turn it over and remove the loaf pan. Using a spatula, scrape any leftover caramel onto the flan. Note: if the caramel doesn’t release, you can set the pan in a pot of hot water for 10 minutes to help loosen it).
  11. To serve, cut the flan into squares, plate, and spoon extra caramel sauce over the individual slices.
  12. Tips: Leftover flan can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  13. Mix It Up: Change up the flavor profile of your flan! We offer flavor variations below:
  14. Coffee Flan – 3 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder. Add the espresso powder in with the custard.
  15. Spiced Flan – 1 Tbs orange zest, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground cloves. Add the zest and the spices in with the custard.

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