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Mexican Flan

  • Serves 6-8.


  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Position rack in middle of the oven and preheat to 350°. Set an 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish next to the stove. Stir 3/4 cup of the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, swirling the pan but not stirring, until the sugar is amber-colored caramel. Remove pan from heat and pour caramel into baking dish. Working quickly so caramel doesn’t harden, tilt and rotate the dish to coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.

Put milk in medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Whisk eggs with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Gradually temper egg mixture by adding hot milk to eggs a small amount at a time. Whisk vigorously. Add vanilla. Don’t beat mixture too much or flan will have air bubbles. Pour mixture into caramel-lined dish. Skim foam or bubbles from the surface.

Put a roasting pan in the oven and set flan in the center. Pour enough hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Tent loosely with aluminum foil; bake about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until flan is set around the edges but still wobbles a bit in the center when you give the dish a gentle shake. Cool flan in the water bath on a rack until water is room temperature. Remove flan from water and cool. Stretch and seal plastic wrap across the top of the dish but not on surface of the flan; refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Gently pull the edges of the flan away from dish with your fingertips. Invert a large, deep serving platter over the baking dish and flip. The flan should fall gently onto the platter and caramel will flow over it. Cut into squares and serve with a spoonful of caramel drizzled around each piece.

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