Classic Spanish Flan Recipe

Raise your hand if you're a fan of custard-based desserts. Creme brulee, banana pudding, Boston cream pie, and bread pudding — we love them all! However, one of our favorites has got to be flan.

Recipe developer Catherine Brookes brings us this recipe for a classic Spanish flan with a caramel syrupy topping. Brookes notes that "this flan is perfect for serving to guests at a summer dinner party, or as a slightly lighter alternative to other cakes or puddings you might be serving as part of a big spread." While making a custard base might be slightly intimidating, this easy recipe comes together in just over an hour and is sure to impress.

That said, it can be hard to slice flan into perfect pieces. To achieve crisp edges when slicing, Brookes suggests "using a sharp, non-serrated knife." It may also be helpful to run the knife through warm water so that the flan doesn't stick.

Gather your ingredients for Spanish flan

To make this classic Spanish flan, you can start by gathering your ingredients. For this recipe, you need sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and whole milk. Brookes recommends adding a little cinnamon to this flan as it "adds a little hint of spice that balances the sweetness and creaminess of the flan perfectly."

Heat the sugar to form syrup

Begin by heating 1 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. After about 8-10 minutes, it will become golden and syrupy. While still hot, pour the syrup into the bottom of a round baking dish. Spread it around the bottom of the dish to evenly coat the surface.

Whisk together the custard base

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Add the remaining sugar and the ground cinnamon to a bowl. Whisk this mixture until it is thoroughly combined. Then, add the eggs, vanilla extract, and whole milk. Again, whisk this mixture until the eggs are fully incorporated.

Remove the air bubbles by straining

This mixture will be the base of your flan, which you want to be smooth and even. For this reason, it's important to eliminate as many bubbles as possible before baking. To do this, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the baking dish on top of the hardened syrup.

Bake the flan

Cover the baking dish with foil. Place the covered baking dish into a tray that has been filled halfway with water. This will ensure that the flan cooks evenly when in the oven. Then, bake the entire tray for one hour.

Chill and remove from pan

When the flan has finished baking, take the tray out of the oven and remove the baking dish from the tray. Set it on the counter until it has cooled to room temperature, then transfer the flan to the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours (or overnight). 

When you're ready to serve the flan, invert the pan onto a large plate and remove the baking dish. Then watch as the sweet golden syrup runs down the sides of the flan. Brookes notes that while this dish is incredible as-is "you could certainly add some toppings. Scattering with fresh berries or adding some whipped cream would be delicious." If you have any leftovers, she advises that they be kept "in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days."

Classic Spanish Flan Recipe
4.9 from 27 ratings
Custard desserts may not be as popular as chocolate ones, but this classic Spanish flan recipe deserves a place on your regular dessert menu.
Prep Time
Cook Time
slice of flan
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • 1 ⅓ cups sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups whole milk
  1. Heat 1 cup sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat until syrupy and golden. This should take about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Immediately pour the syrup into the bottom of a round baking pan (7-8 inches in diameter) and spread it out to cover the base.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar and cinnamon, then add the eggs and vanilla and whisk well.
  5. Add the milk and whisk until combined.
  6. Pour the mixture through a sieve into the syrup-coated pan. This helps remove any air bubbles in the milk mixture.
  7. Place the pan onto a baking tray, cover it with foil, and fill the tray with water so that roughly half the round baking pan is covered.
  8. Bake for 1 hour.
  9. Remove the baking pan from the oven and set it on the counter to cool to room temperature before transferring it to the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  10. To remove the flan from the pan, place your serving plate on top of the pan and flip it upside-down. Carefully lift away the pan. The syrupy topping should run down the sides of the flan.
Calories per Serving 205
Total Fat 4.4 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 99.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 36.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Total Sugars 36.6 g
Sodium 62.2 mg
Protein 5.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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