Perfect Latin Flan

Perfect Latin Flan

This Perfect Latin Flan recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen. This Latin Flan has a nice rich, silky, and smooth texture with great flavor and the perfect amount of sweetness. I decided to make this after watching the episode called Sweet on Custard and Cookies

The ingredients for this Perfect Latin Flan are incredibly simple; all it requires is a can of evaporated milk, a can of condensed milk, whole milk (or 2% milk), several eggs, sugar, salt, and water.


The first step to this Perfect Latin Flan is making the caramel that will eventually be the sauce that coats the custard.

The caramel will be ready once it changes into a nice amber color. America’s Test Kitchen found that the caramel will not stick to the bottom of the loaf pan when after inverting the Latin Flan if a couple of tablespoons of boiling water are added after the caramel is done cooking (this tip worked perfectly when I tried it).P1130153

After the boiling water is added to the caramel, immediately pour the caramel sauce into the loaf pan.P1130156

The next step was making the custard part of the Perfect Latin Flan. This could not be any easier; just combine the 3 milks, vanilla extract, salt, and eggs into a bowl and whisk them until combined.P1130157

After the custard mixture gets whisked, it gets strained into the loaf pan onto the caramel to ensure a smooth texture. I was worried that the eggs would cook on the hot caramel, but that didn’t happen.P1130158

The final step was putting the custard into a water bath. The loaf pan went onto a kitchen towel which was in a 9×13 inch pan. The towel was there to keep the loaf pan from shifting around when being transported to and from the oven.P1130159

The loaf pan was covered tightly with aluminum foil before going into the oven between 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.P1130162

After 1 hour 15 minutes, I checked the temperature of my flan. My thermometer read that the center of my Latin Flan was cooked perfectly at 180 degrees F, so I removed it from the oven and let it cool in the water bath uncovered.P1130164

The next step was the unmolding. I used a paring knife and loosened the edges, put a serving dish on top of the loaf pan, and inverted the flan.

I had never made flan before, but I’m convinced that this really is the Perfect Flan recipe. Everything came together very quickly, and it’s something that you can make up to 4 days ahead of serving.P1130172


Thank you, America’s Test Kitchen, for introducing this amazing recipe to me!P1130179


Serves 8 to 10

This recipe should be made at least one day before serving. An  8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan is recommended for this recipe. If your pan is 9 x 5 inches, begin checking for doneness at 1 hour. Serve the flan on a platter with a raised rim to contain the liquid caramel.

  • 2/3 cup (4 2/3 ounces or 130g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 5 yolks
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or 2% milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Stir together sugar and 1/4 cup water in medium heavy saucepan until sugar is completely moistened. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, 3 – 5 minutes, and cook, without stirring, until mixture begins to turn golden, another 1 – 2 minutes. Gently swirling pan, continue to cook until sugar is color of peanut butter, 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from heat and swirl pan until sugar is reddish-amber and fragrant, 15 – 20 seconds. Carefully swirl in 2 tablespoons warm tap water until incorporated; mixture will bubble and steam. Pour caramel into 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan; do not scrape out saucepan. Set loaf pan aside.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees F. Line bottom of 13 x 9-inch baking pan with dish towel, folding towel to fit smoothly, and set aside. Bring 2 quarts (8 cups) water to boil.
  3. Whisk eggs and yolks in large bowl until combined. Add sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, whole milk, vanilla, and salt and whisk until incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer into prepared loaf pan.
  4. Cover loaf pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in prepared baking pan. Place baking pan in oven and carefully pour all of boiling water into pan. Bake until center of custard jiggles slightly when shaken and custard registers 180 degrees F, 1 hour 15 min to 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove foil and leave custard in water bath until loaf pan has cooled completely (for approximately 90 minutes). Remove loaf pan from water bath, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill overnight or up to 4 days.
  5. To unmold, slide paring knife around edges of pan. Invert serving platter on top of pan and turn pan and platter over. When flan is released, remove loaf pan. Using rubber spatula, scrape residual caramel onto flan. Slice and serve. (Leftover flan may be covered loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 4 days.)

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

31 thoughts on “Perfect Latin Flan

  1. I watched the same episode and bookmarked the recipe. Now I’ve got an amazing step by step photo how to on your blog! I love flan and will be making this soon. Your flan looks exactly like the one in the show. Awesome job!

      1. I love flan, got introduced to it at a Brazilian friend’s party and loved it. Thanks for the awesome blog post about it. I’ll absolutely give it a go.

    1. It tells you in the directions to set your oven at 300 degrees F and adjust your oven rack to the middle position. You may have missed that part, it is easy to do.

  2. I have not made flan in several years. I made this recipe last night and followed the direction as written. I tried a slice this morning and must admit it was wonderful. Very creamy and full of flavor. I had absolutely no problem with this recipe, although it was very time consuming. It was worth the time and effort and easy to follow the well written directions.

    1. I’m not sure what took so much time. I made this in 15 minutes, including cleanup. This absolutely the best flan I’ve ever had. Perfectly creamy and delicious. I’ve tried a ton of recipes and they’re either too custardy, too eggy or just flat in terms of overall flavor. Such a great recipe!

  3. Mine Never set ! I cooked 1:15 then raised the temp to 310 and then 325. Baked and checked in 5-10 minute intervals. I followed directions exactly even looking at the ATK YouTube video. I checked my oven temps with an independent thermometer and the flan with my instant read therm. Both were measuring correctly. I ended up baking about 1:45. Cooled then chilled hoping for overnight set. Nope. The next day I tried baking it longer (what did I have to lose by then?) Baked another 1:20 but now at 350. No set, knife wasn’t coming out clean either. Checked the water bath. It was only 160 ! So I took the flan out of the bath and put the pan of water right on the burner to get up to boiling and then put the flan back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Did this THREE times! Finally it got up to 170-175 and a knife was coming out clean but very wobbly. And I gave up, took it out. Can you tell I’m frustrated? And I am supposed to bring this to a Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I’m now going to see if I can be successful with another recipe. Good thing I still have some eggs and milks.
    I am a Very Experienced cook and have made flans before successfully, usually in individual sized ramekins but also in larger vessels. I wanted to try this Latin Flan recipe since my son’s in-laws are from Central America a specifically asked me to bring flan.
    And I had such faith in ATK.

    1. I takes me much longer for my flan to cook than this recipe says…be patient and leave it in the oven at 300 degrees. …it is worth the waiting. Excellent, excellent flan!!!…..make sure you have a thermometer and wait until it reads 180 degrees. ….make it the day prior to your event….it took me twice as long to bake it.

  4. I made this flan for Super Bowl 2017 and it turned out just perfect. I made it in 6 Pyrex ramikrns. They ended up baking for 45 min. Had none of the problems Luisa described. The texture was creamy and the caramel portion of the recipe worked great.

  5. As an experienced cook I should have known better than to add water to hot syrup. It seized up and no coating the dish was possible. If you are considering this omit this step

  6. This flan is excellent. ..I should know, I am Cuban……easy to follow instructions. It takes me longer to cook than your instructions say…..have a thermometer to make sure you know when it is done. I let eggs and milk get to room temperature before mixing ingredients. ….thank you American Test Kitchen. …….enjoy!!

    1. I added brandy and a bit of almond extract and the flan was even more luxurious to the senses. Next time I’ll add coconut and cream cheese. Also, I made it in a round 8-inch mold with two small 4-oz ramekins and they all turned out just fine. The instructions are clear, precise and on the money!

  7. I always order flan at restaurants when it’s on the menu. I just finished making this flan recipe and it came out exactly like the pictures shown. It’s a very silky smooth custard. Very good recipe. Thanks for providing such a detailed recipe.

  8. I made this twice now but both times it came out tasting like too much condensed milk. I followed the recipe precisely. Should I cut the condensed milk down?

    1. Perhaps replacing some of the condensed milk with fresh milk would help.The condensed milk’s job is to help provide some structure. If there is too much of it, it can be a little rubbery. The fresh milk helps with the creamy, non-rubbery texture. You can also try increasing the amount of vanilla to see if that helps the flavor!

  9. I have made this recipe since it first aired on ATK! Probably 15-20 times and it always comes out perfect. I recently bought a flan pan from Amazon and the flan was just as good as the glass dish I was using. This is a neighborhood favorite and am asked to always bring it to any gathering. The other frequent request is the Tres Leches cake from ATK. Can’t go wrong with either. Thank you.

  10. Ok, so the dish towel goes into the oven as well? Of course in the water bath. I’ve never done that so a little confused.

  11. This is the first recipe from my ATK cookbook I’ve had trouble with. Yet to see if it turns out. First my Carmel never turned dark. I’ve made flan before but wanted this one to go to neighbors Latin party. I accepted the third time and I’ll know tomorrow if it’s anemic flan. Then the cooking. I live in high altitude so I expected the 1.5 hours but mine went way over 2 hours and only got to 179. Temp started going down rather than up. Figure from testing so often.

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