How To Make Mexican Flan (From Scratch)

Mexican Flan is the ultimate indulgence; light and creamy and yet surprisingly simple to make! Learn how to make this classic dessert with an easy to follow recipe.

Mexican flan on a white serving plate with a slice on the side.

***This post was originally published on May 2016. It has been updated to be more helpful.

Flan dessert

There is nothing that compares to a homemade flan. Velvety and smooth, serve it with fresh berries or a dollop of whipped cream.

If you’re not familiar with this is a classic dessert, it’s a Latin America dish made from eggs mixed with milks and cream cheese. It’s very similar to a cheesecake texture.

Though the ingredients are simple, flan can be a little intimidating to make. Because flan is a custard, it needs to be baked gently in a water bath, and you have to worry about the surface of the custard cracking, as well as over or undercooking. 

I’ve included tons of detailed tips and important info in today’s post so you can make the perfect flan every time. For a visual how-to, be sure to check out my step-by-step photos in this post! 

A person holding a flan placed in a serving plate with a pink flower on the side.

Ingredients

  • Sugar for making a caramel sauce and to coat flan mold.
  • Cream Cheese – everything tastes better with cream cheese right?
  • Sweetened condensed milk – this is a staple ingredient for this Mexican flan recipe.
  • Evaporated milk – alternative you can use coconut milk for a tropical flavor.
  • Vanilla bean seeds or vanilla extract.
  • 5 large whole eggs.
Ingredients Icon Graphic.

Did you know that vanilla is native to Mexico? As one of the world’s most popular flavors, it is right at home on the Mexican table. On that note, make sure you use a fresh vanilla bean for this flan as it will make all the difference on the flavor.

You can’t beat fresh ingredients!!!

The ingredients for this recipe on a white plate.

How to make Mexican Flan

Making flan isn’t hard, but does require a few tips and tricks to make sure you don’t end up with a grainy, frothy or with lumpy cream cheese.

Make the caramel sauce:

  • Melt 1 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat until it becomes liquid. Stir often with a wooden spoon until is lightly browned. This will take about 5 minutes.
  • Pour the melted sugar into the pan or each ramekin and swirl around to coat the bottom.
  • Set aside to cool while you make the flan mixture.
A baking round pan with caramel sauce.

Make the flan mixture:

  • Add the eggs, cream cheese, vanilla, condensed and evaporated milk, in a food processor or blender and mix until well blended.
  • Fill the cake mold or ramekins with the flan mixture.
  • Place the mold or ramekins in a baking pan and fill the pan with enough water to rise about halfway up their sides.
  • Bake for about 1 hr & 15 minutes if baking in a cake mold (about 40 minutes in ramekins) or until the custard is set (it should not feel liquid or loose when tapping ).
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. (see note 2)
  • To serve, run a knife around the edges of the pan and flip the flan out onto a serving platter. Serve with fruit and/or fresh whipped cream.
Flan in a pie mold placed in a baking mold with water.
The perfectly baked Flan looks golden on top and not too jiggly.

Notes about baking the flan

The mold

You can make it in a 8, 9 or 10 inch baking pan or ramekins. But I must say that using ramekins is much more fun….and surprisingly easy! One of the advantages of using individual ramekins is that you don’t have to worry about flipping the flan and they’re ready to eat as is.

About Baño Maria (water-bath in English)

Baño Maria means to bake using a water bath. For this you will need a baking pan that is large enough to hold a springform pan (or other baking dish), and is also large enough to allow for water to surround the springform pan.

A word of caution: If using a baking pan with a removable bottom, wrap the bottom and sides of the pan in aluminum foil. This will prevent any water from getting into the flan mixture.

Mexican flan on a white serving plate.

Readers FAQs

What is Mexican flan made of?

This popular Mexican dessert has minimal ingredients and it’s made with eggs, cream cheese, condensed & evaporated milk.

Do you flip the flan hot or cold?

You flip once it’s cold after it has cooled and settled in the refrigerator.

Is Flan a custard?

Custard is made by blending eggs with milk or cream, therefore, Flan is a form of a custard dessert.

Is flan supposed to be jiggly?

Once it’s cooled it has the texture of cheesecake and it should not be too jiggly. If it’s too jiggly this means it’s undercooked.

Is Mexican flan gluten free

Yes, flan is gluten free as all milk products are gluten free.

A slice of flan on a white plate with a fork taking a piece.

Storage Icon Graphic.

How to Store

When it comes to storing this flan so you can eat it later, there are some specific ways to do it right so that your flan stays as fresh delicious.

  • In the fridge: The simplest way to store flans is by keeping it in the refrigerator. Place in an airtight container to keep the smell of other food products will not ruin the dessert.
  • Do not wrap it in plastic wrap as the caramel will stick to the plastic!

How fun are these little ramekins? They’re perfect to impress your guest or just to treat yourself!

Flan in two small ramekins.

💫 If you make this recipe be sure to leave a rating in the comments below. You can also tag me on Instagram at @anafriasb.🙏

Print Recipe

A slice of flan on a white plate with a fork taking a piece.

How To Make Mexican Flan (From Scratch)

Servings 6 Slices
Ana Frias
4.93 from 13 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Mexican Flan is the ultimate indulgence; light and creamy and yet surprisingly simple to make! Learn how to make this classic dessert with an easy to follow recipe.

Equipment

  • Food processor or blender
  • 8 inch baking pan or 6 (4 oz) ramekins
6 Slices

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 8 oz Cream Cheese cubed
  • 1 14 oz sweetened condensed milk can
  • 1 12 oz evaporated milk can
  • 1 vanilla bean seeds scraped or use 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the caramel

  • Melt the sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat until it becomes liquid.
    1 cup white sugar
  • Continue cooking and stirring with a wooden spoon until is lightly browned. About 5 minutes.
  • Pour the melted sugar into each ramekin to coat the bottom.
  • While the caramel is still hot and liquid, very carefully ( using oven mitts) swirl the pan around while sugar is still soft to cover bottom and sides. It will get thicker as it cools and eventually harden. 
  • Set aside to cool.

Make the flan mixture

  • Add the remaining of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until well blended.
    1 8 oz Cream Cheese, 1 14 oz sweetened condensed milk can, 1 12 oz evaporated milk can, 1 vanilla bean, 5 large eggs
  • Fill the cake mold or ramekins with the flan mixture.
  • Place the mold or ramekins in a baking pan and fill the pan with enough water to rise about halfway up their sides.
  • Bake for about 1 hr & 15 minutes if baking in a cake mold (about 40 minutes in ramekins) or until the custard is set (it should not feel liquid or loose when tapping ).
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. (see note 2)
  • To serve, run a knife around the edges of the pan and flip the flan out onto a serving platter. Serve with fruit and/or fresh whipped cream.

*Ana’s Notes:

  1. Make sure not to use a kitchenaid mixer. This will leave chunks of cream cheese.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. However, I do think that it tastes better when eaten the next day so this makes a great recipe to make ahead!

ADD YOUR OWN PRIVATE NOTES

Whenever you come back to this recipe, you’ll be able to see your notes.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 509kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 220mg | Sodium: 275mg | Potassium: 197mg | Sugar: 57g

The nutritional information and US conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or unit conversion tool.

If you would like, you can follow me too on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube!

Flan’s History

While Flan’s origin is not Mexican, it was quickly adapted by my native country as one of its classic desserts. In fact, my research concludes that Flan’s origin is from France!

Regardless where it came from, you need to make it!  This recipe is sweet, simple and the prep-work is minimal. A dependable, easy recipe that yields an exotic dessert.

Mexican flan on a white serving plate covered with caramel sauce.

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Recipe Rating




23 Comments

  1. Does the cooking time change when using ramekins or if I use a larger flan? I am going to double the recipe and I have not decided yet if I will make individual ramekin serves or one larger flan. Many thanks for sharing your recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    I love flan but have always been scared to make it. This Mexican flan is a recipe I can follow and I do appreciate all of the tips. Can’t wait to dig into this deliciousness!

  3. 5 stars
    Enjoyed this for dessert last night and it was a hit all around the table! So smooth and delicious; easily, a new favorite treat! My whole family loved it!

  4. Hi Ana I wanted to know what size the ramekins need to be, I am trying to surprise my boyfriend with some flan.

    1. Hi Tatiana! I would use 4 oz ramekins and fill them up equally. The cooking time should still be the same. I updated the recipe to show the size of the ramekins to make this flan. Thanks for the question and I hope you and your boyfriend enjoy it! Let me know how it turns out 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Muchas Gracias Ana !! Lo voy a preparar para el día de acción de Gracias. Se ve delicioso este postre y muy fácil de hacerlo 😊

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve made flan before but wanted to try a new recipe. That’s how I found yours. I made this for a friend who is going through chemo so her appetite is off. The only difference is I added a coconut syrup (2 TB) and toasted coconut on top. It was so easy and quick. Most importantly, we enjoyed sharing it very much. It put a smile on her face and for that, I say thank you.

    1. Hi Very, this is the sweetest thing of you to do for your friend! I hope your friend is doing better and that is on the mend! Thank you so much for such a kind review and I’m so happy you liked it. Take care! Ana

  7. Some of your recipe is difficult to understand. For instance you say “o n a pan” (for baking) as in ramekins on as opposed to mixture in -as in IN a springform? HELP!

    1. Hi Maureen! Yes you can! I haven’t done it yet but the timing should be similar to using ramekins…just keep an eye on it when in the oven just in case. Great idea! I’ll have to do it next time. Please let me know how it turns out.

  8. Hi Ana, I would like to make these as a gift for my friend’s 40th remarriage ceremony. They love Mexican food (we are in California). Her caterer is Mexican but she does not make desserts. I need to scale it up to 40 or so, and need to make them in individual portions. The little glass jars that you show…can they be used in a water bath? How would you suggest I scale up? Sorry about all the questions! I’m so glad I found your blog!

    1. Hi Susan! How awesome of you do want to do that for your friend! You can definitely use those little jars in the water bath since they’re oven proof. I bought those at World Market. Or you can use little ramekins that are oven proof. As far as scaling up the recipe I would multiply it 7 times to be safe ( I haven’t made that many at once!). This will fill them up almost to the top but if you want to put less in the ramekins, you can multiply the recipe by 6.

      Please do tell me how they come out! I’m sure they will be a hit! I’m sooo happy you found the blog too. I look forward to your visit here and there. Stay well! 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    I am SUPER excited to try this out! I had my first experience of ordeirng Flan from a resturaunt, and not finding the seemingly creamy / sweet delicacy I’ve come to know and love… gotta make it at home now! Thank you so much for the great recipe!

    1. Thank you so much Ethan! It makes me so happy to hear you truly enjoyed this homemade flan and now you can make it whenever you want! I hope you have a fantastic day 🙂

      XO,
      Ana

  10. 5 stars
    This is such a divine recipe. It turned out perfectly and it’s gone today and I just made it last night! Thank you for this wonderful recipe and for detailed directions. I needed them!

    1. Tank you so much Barb for the kind comment! I’m so happy everything turned out well! Sometimes people get intimidated by flan thinking it’s difficult when it’s not! I hope you have a wonderful day! xoxo Ana

  11. 5 stars
    I’ve never made flan before! I love it a whole lot too…definitely need to try yours!