My mother-in-law has the most delicious FLAN recipe that she makes all the time. I was so surprised to see how EASY it is to make her silky-smooth flan. It’s all cooked in the oven, no endless stirring on the stove-top. My favorite part of the recipe is that you use the can from the condensed milk to do all of your measuring… one less measuring cup in the sink!
In Spain — where my mother-in-law lives — creamy pudding-like flans, nocillas, and crema catalanas are staple desserts and afternoon snacks. I remember my mom making a nutmegy instant custard when I was a boy. We’d eat them when they were just set and still a little bit warm. It’s very similar to the taste and feeling when I tried flan in Spain for my first time.
This recipe has a couple of techniques that I think a lot of people are afraid of. Trust me… there’s no need to worry! The CARAMEL… it’s so easy to make the caramel sauce/topping for the flan. You simple pour 3/4 cup sugar into a pan and melt it over low heat until it’s a deep amber color. There’s no candy thermometer needed. Just be careful.. it’s HOT! The second technique that I think people sometimes like to avoid is the WATER BATH. In Spain they call it a BAÑO MARIA. I always put my baking dish in a larger pan, set both on the oven rack, and then pour in the water once the pans are in the oven.
This recipe is SO VERSATILE! You can add in a condensed milk can full of coconut or ground almonds. I want to try chia seeds next! You can use just about any extract you like. I’ve made it with pistachio flavor, vanilla, almond, and even maple! I’ve even substituted chai concentrate for some of the milk and added turmeric for a deep yellowy-orange color.
Easy 5-Ingredient Spanish Flan
This is a simple everyday silky-smooth flan recipe that uses condensed milk, eggs, milk, sugar, and flavor extract. It’s a very versatile recipe that you can customize in many ways. The recipe comes from my mother-in-law in Santander, Spain.
For the caramel topping:
- 3/4 cup sugar
For the flan:
- 1 14oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk save the can to measure your milk
- 28 ounces whole milk simply fill the condensed milk can twice!
- 4 eggs large
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract you can substitute any flavor you like
- immersion blender, blender, or mixer
- aluminum foil
- water bath
Melt the sugar over low heat until golden brown, about 4–5 minutes.
Carefully pour melted sugar into a 6-cup baking pan (I used a Pyrex pan), and rotate to coat the sides with the caramel. Set aside to allow to cool. It’s really HOT so be really careful.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Open and pour the contents of the sweetened condensed milk can into a mixing bowl and retain the can.
Fill the empty can TWICE more with whole milk and add to the bowl.
Add 4 eggs to the mixing bowl.
Mix well with an immersion blender or electric mixer.
Pour flan base into the pan that you’ve prepared with caramel.
Cover well with aluminum foil and place the covered pan into another baking pan. We’ll create a water bath for the flan by setting the pan within a pan onto your oven’s middle rack. Once in the oven, fill the outer pan with hot water.
Bake flan in water bath 1 hour to 1 and a half hours, until completely set. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the counter for a half hour.
Chill for 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.
When ready to serve, carefully invert the flan onto a plate with edges. You may need to run a knife around the sides of the pan to allow it to release. Make sure all the gorgeous caramel syrup pours out over the flan and around the edges!
Scoop, serve, and enjoy!