Authentic Spanish Flan Recipe

Today David shares his recipe for one of the easiest and most delicious Spanish desserts. Homemade flan is well worth making, I hope you’ll try it!

I hated flan when I first moved to Spain.

What was all the hype about? From what I could see, it was just a mushy goo. The line between flan and baby food seemed pretty thin.

But then I realized. I just hadn’t been eating the right flan. I was sitting at a restaurant in Madrid, happily chowing down on roast pork, when the waiter handed me the dessert menu. Maybe it was the wine, or just a desire to try one last time, but I chose the flan. It came out wobbly and jiggly on the plate, like some sort of beautiful custardy dream.

flan on a plate
Flan is the light, jiggly dessert that makes Spain great.

To this day it was the best flan I’ve ever tried! The flavor of vanilla and toffee-like caramel was delicious, and the texture was so silky smooth  I thought it would melt on my tongue. Ever since that flan, I’ve been trying to recreate it at home. 

This recipe is as close to the real thing as I’ve ever got! It’s super simple (just four ingredients), and effortlessly delicious. The technique isn’t too hard, but it does take concentration and good timing to work with the sugar syrup before it hardens too much. But trust me, the final result is worth the extra focus. 

Classic Spanish Flan Recipe

Now I understand why flan is one of the most popular Spanish desserts!

A good flan has the texture of a just-firm-enough custard. It should wiggle and jiggle on the spoon, and still be silky smooth when you bite into it. The sticky sauce on top is a simple caramel; just melted sugar that goes into the ramekin before the custard mixture. 

So how do you make this Spanish flan recipe? You can see all of the ingredients and steps below. For an extra hit of acidity and sweetness, serve with fresh, tart berries. Raspberries are perfect, so use a heavy hand!

Authentic Spanish Flan Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
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This classic Spanish flan recipe is so simple it's almost criminal. Just 4 ingredients and a handful of steps will get you a silky smooth flan with a devilishly gooey caramel.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Spanish
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups (300g) of sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups (480ml) milk (full fat)
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Start by preparing the ramekins (you could also use one larger mold if you prefer): put six of them (1 cup volume) on a 13-inch baking dish. Fill the dish with warm water (tap is fine). The warmth is important here, since it will keep the ramekin warm when the sugar syrup goes in and stop it from hardening.
  3. Cook 1 cup of the sugar over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until it liquefies and turns a light golden brown color. You'll need to keep a watchful eye on the sugar here, to stop it from burning.
  4. Take it off the heat and quickly pour it into the ramekins. If it starts to harden midway through, put it back on the heat and stir until it's smooth again. Set aside while you make the rest of the flan.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs with the remaining ½ cup of sugar until creamy.
  6. Add the milk and vanilla and stir until well-combined.
  7. Divide the flan mixture evenly among the six ramekins, pouring right on top of the caramel. Cover each ramekin with aluminum foil and tightly seal. Bake in the oven for one hour, or until it wobbles and jiggles when you lightly shake the ramekin.
  8. Take the ramekins out of the water-filled baking dish and set aside to cool to room temperature. Then place in the fridge and chill for at least 4 hours.
  9. To serve, take a butter knife and run it around the inside of the ramekin. Quickly (and gently!) flip the ramekin over the plate. The caramel should run out to coat it as a sauce. If any of the caramel has hardened and stuck to the ramekin, just leave it!

Have you tried my authentic Spanish flan recipe? Let me know how it turned out in the comments below! And if you want to try a different Spanish dessert, check out this recipe for Gateau Basque from the Pais Vasco.

Comments

  1. Hi, I’m wondering how this flan recipe compares or differs from Crema Catalana. Can you comment on that? Thank you!

    1. The texture is very different. Crema Catalana is like a creamy custard — a similar texture to yogurt. A flan is much more solid, similar to gelatin (though much more creamy). I hope this helps!

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