Holiday Flan Tips

Use these cooking tips to help you prepare a delicious flan this holiday season or for any occasion throughout the year!

A triangular slice of flan on a white plate with a pool of caramel and mint garnish.


The Perfect Caramel Topping

Step 1) Cooking Sugar. Boil the sugar and water without stirring for about 10 minutes until it combines to form a caramel color.

Step 2) Swirling the Sugar. When heating the sugar, avoid stirring after it melts; instead slightly swirl the pan to help dissolve the sugar and redistribute any sugar that's starting to brown. Make sure to stop swirling once the mixture boils.

Step 3)Timing is Key. When making the caramel, don't let it get too dark or it will taste bitter and burnt. As soon as the caramel is a golden brown, remove from heat and pour it into the dish (or dishes) you’re using for baking. Swirl the caramel in the dish to coat the bottom evenly. Make sure to handle with care as the caramel will be hot.

A small flan on a white plate with a bite taken from it.

Create a Smooth Texture

Don't over-mix the eggs or they will become foamy, and the air bubbles can affect the texture of the finished product. Also, pour the custard base through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl to ensure a smooth texture in your flan.

A clear dish filled with vanilla bean flan with a vanilla bean garnish.

Using Vanilla Bean

If using a vanilla bean, add the vanilla bean and seeds into the warming milk to infuse; remove the vanilla bean before whisking the hot milk into the eggs. If substituting a vanilla bean for vanilla extract, remember that 1 vanilla bean is equal to 3 teaspoons of extract.

A rectangular flan on a sheet pan with caramel on top and beneath.

Baking the Flan

Make sure to bake the flan in a water bath to prevent it from cooking too fast and cracking. To determine when flan is done, gently shake the pan; the center should jiggle slightly and an inserted knife will come out clean. Let the flan cool in the water bath until the dish is cool enough to handle; refrigerate for eight hours before serving. To unmold flan, run a knife around the inside of the mold and place a platter top side down on mold and invert flan onto platter.