Slice of Mexican flan topped with a strawberry

Mexican flan

Maysie Dee

Contributing writer

Throughout Mexico, flan is the most adored sweet treat of all time. With its basic ingredients of eggs, dairy, and sugar combined to produce a creamy, dense custard with a caramel topping… how can anyone resist?

Normally considered a Latin American dessert, flan had its beginnings in ancient Rome. Some say this was thanks to a surplus of eggs when Romans began domesticating chickens. From there, the delicacy made its way to Spain, where caramel topping was added. In the early 1500s, flan travelled to the New World with Spanish conquistadors.

Mexico adopted this sweet dish, and, as with all foods that travel the world, Mexican flan has changed and improved over time. Various recipes call for more eggs, cream cheese, or other flavours such as orange, chocolate, or almond.

Two pieces of Mexican flan on a plate

One year, when I was living in Mexico, a teenage neighbour appeared at our front gate one day, selling her homemade flan by the slice. It was so irresistible my husband and I soon graduated to ordering an entire pan of flan whenever we needed our fix!

We enjoyed several months of flan-filled bliss, and when we left the area, the lovely girl gifted me with her recipe, so we would never be without! Muy amable, as they say in Mexico…

This variety of flan is rich, thick, and creamy, and is sometimes referred to as “Tres Leches Flan” because it contains three different milk products.

Flan might seem mysterious, but it’s not difficult to make; you just have to pay attention to the steps and don’t over-cook it. And then, you have to wait while it refrigerates, which is actually the hardest part!


  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ can (200 ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk or whole milk
  • 250 ml heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract


  1. 1
    Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C.
  2. 2
    Melt sugar in a pan on stove top on medium heat, for 6-8 minutes. Stir constantly until the sugar becomes light brown in colour and smooth (caramelized). Avoid burning the sugar!
  3. 3
    Pour the caramelized sugar into an 8" round or 8" square baking pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with caramel syrup and tilt the pan to cover the sides. Work quickly as the caramel will harden.
  4. 4
    Add the remaining ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Then pour into the baking pan, covering the sugar.
  5. 5
    Place the pan into a larger pan and fill the larger pan with about 1 inch of water. (also known as a bain marie or water bath). Place the pan carefully into the oven and lightly cover with aluminium foil.
  6. 6
    Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. The flan is ready when the sides are set, and the very centre is still slightly jiggly.
  7. 7
    Take out of the oven and remove the pan from the water. Allow to cool on countertop or wire rack for 2 hours. The flan will continue to cook as it cools and will completely set.
  8. 8
    Once cool, refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  9. 9
    To serve, run a knife around the edge and unmold by covering pan with a serving plate. Turn over the plate and the flan pan and shake gently to release the flan. It should slide out easily. Any caramel that remains in the pan can be spooned on top of the flan or served in a separate bowl along with the flan.


  • This recipe can be doubled and put in a 9” pan if you want more flan.

  • Additional flavourings can be added to the flan or substituted for vanilla such as almond or orange extract. Just add according to taste.

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Maysie Dee

Author - Maysie Dee

Maysie Dee is a freelance writer, content editor, and recipe creator. She and her husband have travelled across the world for decades as natural product consultants, collecting stories along the way.

Last Updated 13 April 2023

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Situated in North America, Mexico is famous for its warm weather, sunny beaches and fascinating history.