A delicious baked egg custard dessert. Easy to follow instructions on how to make a silky smooth caramel leche or flan to die for!

Creme Caramel Custard, Flan.
A delicious baked egg custard dessert. Easy to follow instructions on how to make a silky smooth caramel leche or flan to die for!

Creme Caramel, or milk leche, or custard flan, is an international favorite. The variation of names is a testament to how far-reaching across the globe this favorite dessert really is.

From the Philippines to Spain, from Puerto Rico, to India, each country has it's own version of the popular creme caramel custard, with varying ingredients, substituting fresh milk for condensed milk, or coconut milk.

You may have eaten creme caramel custard before. What did you notice about it?

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Have you ever come across a creme caramel custard with a load of bubbles in it, or had a grainy texture? Here you will be able to get a very smooth, silky, velvety dessert, which will want you eating more!

It truly is delicious! Follow the easy steps below and you are sure to wow anyone that eats your creation. It's simply sublime!

This is definitely the BEST caramel custard recipe out there!

Equipment you'll need

a baking tin to put the ramekins in and fill 2 cm high with water.
4 ramekins. Mine are 10 cm wide and 5 cm deep.
a sheet of foil to cover the baking tin
2 saucepans (a small one non stick if possible)
A sieve or tea leaf strainer

Prep time

20 minutes

Baking time

45 minutes

Serving size

4 servings

Ingredients

There are 3 simple parts to this recipe as follows;

The Caramel

1/2 cup or 80 g sugar
5 Tablespoons boiling water

The Milk

13.5 fl oz or 400 ml milk
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract

The Eggs

2 Whole eggs
4 Egg Yolks (save the egg whites for our meringues recipe or something else)
2 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar

Instructions

Heat oven to 140C, Gas 1, 275F. Grease your ramekins with butter.

Make the Caramel

1. Place the sugar in a small non-stick pan and heat on a medium heat until the sugar turns brown.

Creme Caramel Custard, Flan showing sugar in the pan

2. Have the kettle on ready for some boiling water.

3. The heating process will take about 5 minutes on a gentle heat. As soon as the sugar starts to turn brown, tilt the pan to distribute the liquid (you may get parts where the sugar hasn't turned brown yet.

Creme Caramel Custard, Flan showing sugar heated and color it should be
Can you see there is still unmelted sugar in the middle of the pan. I tilt the pan to distribute it and wait for it to bubble

4. As soon as it starts to bubble, add 5 Tablespoons of boiling water (I measure the water into a cup so I can tip it in one go).
***Be careful when you add the water. The caramel may spit slightly and it will be HOT!

5. As soon as you have added the water, swirl it around in the pan so it is combined with the sugar and turn off the heat.

6. Pour the caramel into each ramekin, evenly sharing it between the 4 ramekins.

Creme Caramel Custard, Flan showing caramel being poured into ramekins
Be careful when pouring the caramel. It is HOT!

7. Tilt the ramekins so the caramel covers the entire bottoms.

8. Place the ramekins in the baking tray and add cold water to the tray so the water level comes 2 - 3 cm up the sides of the ramekins.

Creme Caramel Custard, Flan showing amount of caramel poured in to ramekins
Caramel covers all the bottom of the ramekins

When the caramel is ready, you need to work fast as the caramel will start to set once you turn the heat off, so pour into ramekins immediately!

As soon as you have poured the caramel, place the pan in hot soapy water for ease of washing later.

Make the milk part and egg part

1. Heat the milk and sugar in a pan on gentle heat.

2. Keep the measuring jug that you used for your milk handy as we will need it.

3. Whisk the 2 eggs and 4 egg yolks together with the sugar on a medium speed. Try not to whisk so hard you get loads of bubbles. We don't want bubbles!

Creme Caramel Custard, Flan showing milk ready to be added to egg mixture

4. When the milk has started to boil, transfer back to your measuring jug.

5. Keeping your mixer on a LOW speed, very slowly add the milk until everything is combined. Then add the vanilla.

Top Tips

If you add the milk too fast, you may scramble your eggs and result in a very lumpy mixture.

6. Place your sieve over the measuring jug and transfer your mixture back into the jug through the sieve.

Creme Caramel Custard, Flan showing egg mixture being passed through a seive to remove any lumps and bubbles

Top Tips

By sieving the mixture, you will remove a lot of the bubbles and also any bits of cooked egg lumps. This is the part which will give you the smooth, silky, velvety texture so don't skip it!

7. Pour the mixture into the ramekins.

Creme Caramel Custard, Flan showing egg mixture in ramekins ready for the oven, in a water bath
See the water level. Add more water up to 2 cm high

7. Make sure your water level in the baking tin is up to 2-3 cm high. Cover the baking tin with the sheet of foil and gently transfer to the oven and let it gently cook for 45 minutes.

This method of cooking of often called Bain Marie.

Bain Marie is a term used for 'water bath'. It is used when you want to evenly cook something gently and gradually.

8. Once 45 minutes is up, remove the tray from the oven and leave as it is with the foil over it until it cools. The caramel will still be cooking gently.

9. Now, this is the hardest bit of the whole recipe. When cool, cover with some plastic wrap and leave in the fridge to chill for a minimum 3-4 hours.

10. When you are ready to serve, use a thin-bladed sharp knife and run the blade around the sides of the ramekins, taking care not to wobble or slip with the knife - this will damage the set custard inside.

11. Take a serving saucer and place over the top of the ramekin, and holding both the saucer and the ramekin, turn upside down so the saucer is on the table.

Gently lift the ramekin off. If the custard won't come out, gently tap the top, or leave for a few minutes. Gravity will win in the end and it will come out.

12. Be aware you will get caramel liquid coming out of the ramekin too, so make sure your saucer is not too shallow.

We'd love to hear from you and what you thought of our post. Did you make any changes or add some other goodies? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy cooking!

Creme Caramel Custard, Flan. 
A delicious baked egg custard dessert. Easy to follow instructions on how to make a silky smooth caramel leche or flan to die for!
Creme Caramel Custard, Flan. 
A delicious baked egg custard dessert. Easy to follow instructions on how to make a silky smooth caramel leche or flan to die for!

Recipe Card

Creme Caramel Custard / Flan Easy to follow instructions on how to make a silky smooth dessert to die for!

The Best Creme Caramel Custard

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

A delicious baked egg custard dessert. Easy to follow instructions on how to make a silky smooth
caramel leche or flan to die for!

Ingredients

The Caramel

  • 1/2 cup or 80 g sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons boiling water

The Milk

  • 13.5 oz fl or 400 ml milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract

The Eggs

  • 2 Whole eggs
  • 4 Egg Yolks, save the egg whites for meringues or something else
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 140C, Gas 1, 275F. Grease your ramekins with butter.

Make the Caramel

  1. Place the sugar in a small non stick pan and heat on a medium heat until the sugar turns brown. Have the kettle on ready for some boiling water.
  2. The heating process will take about 5 minutes on a gentle heat. As soon as the sugar starts to turn brown, tilt the pan to distribute the liquid (you may get parts where the sugar hasn't turned brown yet.
  3. As soon as it starts to bubble, add 5 Tablespoons of boiling water (I measure the water into a cup so I can tip it in one go).

***Be careful when you add the water. The caramel may spit slightly and it will be HOT!

  1. As soon as you have added the water, swirl it around in the pan so it is combined with the sugar and turn off the heat.
  2. Pour the caramel into each ramekin, evenly sharing it between the 4 ramekins.Tilt the ramekins so the caramel covers the entire bottoms. Place the ramekins in the baking tray and add cold water to the tray so the water level comes 2 - 3 cm up the sides of the ramekins.
  3. When the caramel is ready, you need to work fast as the caramel will start to set once you turn the heat off, so pour into ramekins immediately! As soon as you have poured the caramel, place the pan in hot soapy water for ease of washing later.

Make the milk part and egg part

  1. Heat the milk and sugar in a pan on gentle heat. Keep the measuring jug that you used for your milk handy as we will need it.
  2. Whisk the 2 eggs and 4 egg yolks together with the sugar on a medium speed. Try not to whisk so hard you get loads of bubbles. We don't want bubbles! When the milk has started to boil, transfer back to your measuring jug.
  3. Keeping your mixer on a LOW speed, very slowly add the milk until everything is combined. Then add the vanilla.

If you add the milk too fast, you may scramble your eggs and result in a very lumpy mixture.

  1. Place your sieve over the measuring jug and transfer your mixture back into the jug through the sieve.

By sieving the mixture, you will remove a lot of the bubbles and also any bits of cooked egg lumps. This is the part which will give you the smooth,silky,velvety texture so don't skip it!

  1. Pour the mixture into the ramekins.

Make sure your water level in the baking tin is up to 2-3 cm high. Cover the baking tin with the sheet of foil and gently transfer to the oven and let it gently cook for 45 minutes. This method of cooking of often called Bain Marie.

  1. Once 45 minutes is up, remove the tray from the oven and leave as it is with the foil over it until it cools. The caramel will still be cooking gently.
  2. Now this is the hardest bit of the whole recipe. When cool, cover with some plastic wrap and leave in the fridge to chill for a minimum 3-4 hours.
  3. When you are ready to serve, use a thin bladed sharp knife and run the blade around the sides of the ramekins, taking care not to wobble or slip with the knife - this will damage the set custard inside.
  4. Take a serving saucer and place over the top of the ramekin, and holding both the saucer and the ramekin, turn upside down so the saucer is on the table. Gently lift the ramekin off. If the custard won't come out, gently tap the top, or leave for a few minutes. Gravity will win in the end and it will come out.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 292Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 286mgSodium: 115mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 0gSugar: 37gProtein: 11g

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44 thoughts shared

  1. 5 stars
    I used 3 whole end and still came out really well. Will try 2 whole and 4 yolks next time. Thank you for the recipe.? The whole family loved it??

  2. 4 stars
    I love custard so when I saw this recipe I had to make it. I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfectly. My husband commented on how professional it looked! Thank you for recipe, it will be a keeper for many future desserts!

  3. 3 stars
    If I do not have any tin foil do you think it’s okay if I use parchment paper…?

    Really excited to see how this recipe turns out! I love making crème brûlées!

    1. Hi Lilia, I wouldn’t recommend using parchment as it will go soggy with the steam when it’s baking in the water bath. You really need to use foil

  4. hello,

    i tried your recipe. and took note of sieving the mixture and to mix slowly so that the air bubbles will not get trapped. but there are many small holes on the side. i use a porcelain cup that is buttered in the inside and steam for 20 minutes.

    Can you tell me how i can get a smooth texture on the sides without small holes?
    Is it because the milk is hot?

    1. Hi there, I do know if you steam these there will be air bubbles, so that is quite usual. However, if you do in the oven, you can use a skewer and run it through the mixture when it is in the ramekins to try and release some of the air. Just run the skewer slowly up and down and see if that helps!

      1. Comment author image

        Suhana Tambang

        says:

        I am planning to steam, will knocking the ramekins on the countertop help to get rid of the air bubbles before baking?