Cuban Flan

This flan recipe was given to me by Marian who is a dear family friend. She gave me the recipe after my kids had tasted the flan she made when we had dinner at her house and they couldn’t stop raving about it. My husband who has known Marian for many years, has been a long-time fan of this flan recipe even years before I met him. Marian is a fantastic cook and it’s always a treat when she invites us to dinner. She has also taught me how to cook a few Cuban dishes much to my husbands delight. He loves Cuban food, Cuban music (he is a percussionist in a Cuban band), the Cuban laidback mentality and everything else about Cuba. If it were up to him we would go to Cuba every year to spend our holiday there. I love Cuban cuisine too, because it’s a blend of Spanish, African, and Caribbean cuisines. You can’t go wrong with that combination, right?


Anyway………..we were talking about Marians flan. What is a flan? A traditional flan is a vanilla-infused custard with a sweet caramel top layer baked in a flanera.Good flan is creamy and smooth, with a soft silky texture. The sauce should be a rich golden caramel.


Sugar can be cooked into caramel using two ways: “wet” or “dry.” Wet cooking means adding 1 tbs of water and is the easier method, because it gives you greater control over the degree of caramelization. I always cook my caramel dry because that’s how I was taught to do it.

Once you have had the real deal, you will never consider even looking at another flan recipe ever again. This recipe is the real deal in my opinion, my kids and husbands and everyone’s opinion who ever came for dinner and had this dessert at our house.

Some recipes for flan call for sweetened condensed milk while others use cream or whole milk. A flan made with sweetened condensed milk will be slightly denser than one made with milk or cream. Likewise, flan made with milk rather than cream will be slightly lighter than a cream-based custard. This recipe uses sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. Evaporated milk, known in some countries as unsweetened condensed milk, is a shelf-stable milk product with about 60% of the water removed from fresh milk. In the Netherlands it’s widely used as a creamer for coffee.

This flan-tastic recipe has been in my possession for years and is just too good to keep it a secret any longer.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!


Cuban Flan
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • (optional: 1 tbs water)
  • 5 eggs
  • 8 tbs castersugar
  • 1 tsp good vanilla extract
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (250 gr)
  • 250 ml evaporated milk
  • pinch of salt
  • A nonstick saucepan to make the caramel in.
  • A flan mold with lid (see picture below) and 1 pan where the mold will fit into.
  1. First prepare the caramel to cover the bottom of the flanera (flan mold).

  2. In a small nonstick saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat. Shake and swirl occasionally to distribute sugar until it is dissolved and begins to brown. Lower the heat and carefully continue to brown the sugar until it becomes a dark golden brown. Stay with it and do not walk away because it can go from amber to burned in a few seconds. You may slightly stir while cooking (only when needed), but continually stirring causes the sugar to crystallize. 

  3. When it reaches a golden brown color you pour the caramelized sugar immediately into the flanera and swirl to coat the bottom and sides of the flanera evenly. You do this because it will continue to cook once you pull it off the heat, so don’t let it get too dark or the caramel will taste bitter and burnt. Be very careful to avoid burns because the mold will get hot so have a towel nearby. Let the caramel cool in the mold while you make the custard. It will harden and stick to the sides of the flanera and that's exacty what you want.

  4. Using a blender or immersion blender, blend together the eggs, vanilla extract, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and a pinch of salt until smooth. Pour the egg and milk mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the prepared flanera to ensure a silky smooth texture in your flan. Note that the caramel, as the milk hits it, will start to crack and make noises. This is normal!

  5. Cover the flanera tightly with the lid and place it into a pan that is big enough to hold it and fill the outer pan with water until about 4cm of water covers the sides of the flanera. Baking custards in a water bath is crucial, due to their delicate nature. The water insulates the custard and keeps it from cooking too fast, which causes cracks in the finished flan and a rubbery texture.

  6. Bake the flan on the stove on low heat for at least 45 minutes. To ensure that flan is done remove lid and test it with a wooden stick. It should come out clean when it's done. When it's done remove the flanera from the pan with water and let it cool completely. If you don't plan to serve it after it's cooled, place it in the refrigerator.

  7. When you want to serve the flan you remove the lid and place a dish or plate that is bigger than the top of the flan pot on top, make sure the plate has a small lip as caramel will run. Place one hand on bottom of pot and one hand on top of plate and turn upside down on platter. The caramel, which set up hard in the bottom of the flanera, will have softened due to the moisture in the custard.