Leche flan is a delicious egg-based dessert popular in the Philippines, where it is served on celebratory occasions. It's a perfect pairing of sweet, rich caramel and creamy custard. Leche flan has just four ingredients, and it is traditionally served with whipped cream or honey. You may serve it in a ramekin or tip it onto a plate for a more elegant presentation.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup / 75g sugar
  • 7 eggs
  • 400g /14.1 oz condensed milk
  • 380g /13.4 oz evaporated milk
Part 1
Part 1 of 3:

Preparing the Caramel and Flan

  1. Leche flan can be made in a nine-inch (23 cm) baking dish or individual ramekins. Choose a ceramic baking dish or ramekins to make it easier to invert the flan onto a plate. Use cooking spray or a little butter to grease the inside of the dish or ramekins.[1]
  2. Melt the sugar to make caramel. Place a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Pour in the sugar and allow it to slowly caramelize. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir it frequently and do not leave unattended, since the sugar can get very hot and burn quickly.
    • Remove the sugar from heat when it has liquefied and turned golden brown. If you continue to cook it past this stage, the caramel may burn.
    • Do not let it stand too long before pouring, or it will begin to harden.
    • This is called the dry way of making caramel, because you will not mix sugar with water.
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  3. Pour carefully, since the hot caramel could burn your skin. Tilt the dish you are using to coat the bottom evenly with caramel. After pouring, let the caramel stand for 10 minutes or more before you add the flan mixture.
  4. Stir together the condensed milk and the evaporated milk in a mixing bowl until they're thoroughly combined. Beat the eggs into the mixture, one at a time. The finished mixture should be light, fluffy and creamy.
    • Be sure the eggs and milk are completely mixed.
    • For added flavor, pour in a teaspoon of vanilla or lemon essence.[2]
  5. Be sure that ten minutes have elapsed since you added the caramel. Then pour the flan mixture into dish so that it rises up the sides.
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Part 2
Part 2 of 3:

Baking the Flan

  1. A bain marie is a water bath that helps the flan cook evenly and prevents it from cracking by creating a humid environment in the oven. To make one, pour hot water into a large, wide pan into which you can fit the baking dish or ramekins. Set the baking dish or ramekins into the water bath.
    • Make sure the water isn't so deep that it rises up the sides of the baking dish or ramekins. You don't want water to get into your flan.
    • A roasting pan makes a good bain marie pan.
  2. Lower the bain marie carefully into the oven and place it on the rack. Bake for one hour. The flan is ready when the custard (your milk and egg mixture) has set. Test it by jiggling the pan; if it seems set in the middle, it's ready. If it looks watery there, give it more time.[3]
    • Check on the flan every 15 minutes or so to make sure the water in the bain marie doesn't start to boil. This could cause the flan to overcook. If it begins to simmer or boil, add cold water to cool it down.
    • After the flan is ready, allow it to cool on the counter for about 10 minutes.
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Part 3
Part 3 of 3:

Chilling and Serving the Flan

  1. Place the cooled flan in the refrigerator so it will firm up. Keep it there until the flan is cold. This will make it much easier to unmold the flan.
  2. Run a knife around edges of the flan. Wet the knife first with warm water so it won't drag against the custard. Place a large, rimmed serving platter on top of the flan pan. Holding both the platter and the flan pan, carefully invert the flan onto the platter.
  3. Cut it into wedges or spoon it onto dessert plates. Spoon extra caramel sauce from the baking dish over each serving. Serve with whipped cream and honey, if desired.
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Community Q&A

  • Question
    Why do I need to beat the eggs one by one?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    To ensure the light texture and to get it mixed clearer since egg yolk is thick.
  • Question
    Do I have to use an oven?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    For years I made flan as my grandmother did all her life. I just placed one single large flan mold (not individual ramekins) in a larger pot with water and simmered it on the stove top for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, depending of the size of the flan. The water should touch the sides of the mold only up to the middle of it or less. Cover the mold tightly with aluminum foil to avoid water getting into the flan, which could ruin the consistency.
  • Question
    Why do you need to add lemon essence?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    It's optional as it adds another dimension of flavor. You can leave it out if you want to.
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Warnings

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Things You'll Need

  • Saucepan, heavy-based
  • Wooden spoon or other mixing implement
  • Egg whisk
  • A medium sized bowl
  • Ramekins or casserole dish
  • Large pan to hold water
  • Unmolding device such as a knife


Expert Interview

Thanks for reading our article! If you’d like to learn more about making leche flan, check out our in-depth interview with Maria Short.

About This Article

Maria Short
Co-authored by:
Baker
This article was co-authored by Maria Short. Maria Short is a Baker and the Owner of Short N Sweet Bakery & Cafe in Hilo, Hawaii. With over 24 years of experience, she specializes in specialty desserts and wedding cakes. She graduated from L’Academie de Cuisine’s Pastry Arts Program with honors and studied at Baltimore International Culinary College. In 2019, Maria competed in the 6th season of the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship. In 2010, she had a cake named one of “America’s Most Beautiful Cakes” by Brides magazine. This article has been viewed 958,096 times.
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Co-authors: 27
Updated: January 11, 2024
Views: 958,096
Article SummaryX

To make leche flan, start by making caramel by melting sugar in a pan. Then, pour the caramel into a small, round baking dish. In a separate bowl, mix condensed milk, evaporated milk, and eggs. Once the mixture is light and fluffy, pour it into the baking dish over the caramel. Then, bake the leche flan for 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, chill the flan in the fridge before serving. If you want to learn how to easily remove the flan from its mold, keep reading the article!

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