Easy Vanilla Flan Recipe. The best dessert for your 4th of July celebration.

“No dessert is as satisfyingly delicious, than a Flan or Crème Brûlée.

The smooth texture of these two paired with the right amount of sweetness and that touch of vanilla brings back childhood memories of fun times.

Although completely different yet similar, Crème Brûlée share the exact same ingredients with flan, just in different proportions with a slightly different method to prepare.

The Origin of Flan

Flan – mid 19th century: from French (originally denoting a round cake) from Old French flaon, from medieval Latin flado, fladon-, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch vlade ‘custard’.

The origin of Flan can be traced all the way back to the Roman Empire. The mixture of cream and eggs to make a flat custard cake was called “flado”.

In the beginning, flan was prepared usually flavored with fish or meats. A much sweeter, and albeit pleasant version with honey was created later on, replacing the salty concoction almost entirely. As the recipe spread throughout Europe, variations started appearing.

In Spain, caramelized sugar additionally to the new exotic flavor of Vanilla from Asia was added to the mix of cream and eggs evolving into the Flan of today we know and love. France, on the other hand changing the proportions of the same ingredients and with a slight variation of the method created Crème Brûlée, a softer, creamier version of the traditional Flan.

Easy Vanilla Flan Recipe.

Recipe by Manuela ValentiCourse: Food, Manuela’s JournalCuisine: French, SpaniardDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time





Flan should be cooked in a Bain Marie pan. If you don’t have a Bain Marie pan you will need a tall sauce pan with a removable handle or a tall cake pan or mold that can be heated on the stove, and a larger sauce pan that can sit the sauce pan or cake mold in with at least an inch of space all around.


  • 1 can of condensed milk

  • 5 eggs

  • 1 can of whole milk (use the empty can of condensed milk as your measuring cup)

  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

  • 2 cups of sugar

  • 2 tablespoons of water


  • In a sauce pan large enough with a removable handle, a tall cake pan, or the insert of the bain Marie pan, add the 2 cups of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of water. Do not mix. Place the pan on the stove at a medium heat. Caramelize the sugar until it develops a nice golden caramel color, not too light nor too dark. Once the right color is achieved turn the heat off and coat the walls of the pan 2/3ths up with the caramel by tilting the pan slightly until walls and bottom are completely coated with caramel. Set aside.
  • In a blender add all the rest of ingredients, the condensed milk, eggs, milk and vanilla. Put the lid on and turn the blender to high. Mix until all the ingredients are completely incorporated and it looks smooth, (2-3 minutes).
  • Slowly add the mixture to the caramel covered pan.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and place inside the bain Marie. Fill the space in between the two pans with water, half way through.
  • Place on stove and heat to high until water begins to boil. Once boiling turn the heat to medium/medium-low. Water should soft rolling boil. Check for water evaporation and replace if needed making sure no water accidentally falls into the cooking flan. Do not leave the Bain Marie pan without water. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Check the flan is fully cooked, by piercing it with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the flan is fully cooked.
  • After the flan is fully cooked, it needs to be unmoulded right away. Carefully remove the pan with the flan in it from the Bain Marie. Take the lid off the pan and with a knife gently detach the flan from the walls. Place a large plate, serving tray or cake pan upside down on top of the pan containing the flan. To unmould the flan from the pan, with a hand holding the plate on top of the pan and your other hand holding the bottom of the pan with the flan, in a fast movement turn over and flip upside down. Place on top of the countertop. Carefully remove the pan until the flan completely detaches from it, being careful not to splatter the caramel. Scrape all the caramel left on the pan if any. Leave out covered if you prefer until it cools down to room temperature. Refrigerate for about 1 hour prior to serving. Store in the refrigerator. Consume within 5-7 days.

Happy 4th of July!

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