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Impress your friends and family by making this fabulous flan recipe courtesy of "Martha Stewart's Cooking School."

  • Yield: Makes 8

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, February Winter 2009


For Caramel

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

For Custard

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large whole eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Prepare oven and ramekins: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place a small bowl of cold water and a pastry brush near the stovetop, and prepare an ice-water bath. Place eight 4-ounce ramekins in a large roasting pan. Bring a large kettle or pot of water to a boil.

  2. Make caramel: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, mix sugar and water, stirring to combine. Do not stir again. Cook, washing down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystals from forming, until caramel is amber, about 8 minutes, swirling pan to color evenly. Remove from heat, and immerse bottom of pan in ice-water bath for 3 seconds to stop cooking. Dry bottom of pan. Working quickly, pour about 1 tablespoon caramel into each ramekin, swirling each to coat bottoms evenly.

  3. Make custard: In a small saucepan, heat milk with half the sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) over medium heat just until mixture starts to steam and bubble around the edges, 5 to 6 minutes (do not let it boil).

  4. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, remaining sugar, and salt.

  5. Temper eggs: Add ladle of hot milk mixture to the egg mixture and whisk to combine. (This is called tempering, and it prevents the eggs from curdling.) Add two more ladles of milk mixture, one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Gradually whisk in remaining milk mixture.

  6. Strain: Strain through a fine sieve into a large liquid measuring cup or a bowl (to remove any cooked bits of egg). Stir in vanilla.

  7. Bake: Divide custard evenly among ramekins. Place pan in oven. Add enough boiling water to pan to come halfway up the sides of ramekins. Bake until custards are just set (they should tremble slightly in center when shaken), 35 to 42 minutes.

  8. Chill and serve: Remove pan from oven. Use tongs to carefully remove ramekins from hot-water bath and place on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours (or up to 3 days). To unmold, run a sharp knife around inside of ramekins, and place a rimmed serving plate upside down over top of each. Invert, and gently lift ramekin to remove. Serve immediately.


To make a large flan, prepare caramel as directed above and pour into an 8-inch round cake pan. Top with custard, then set pan in a hot-water bath and bake, chill, and serve as directed.

Reviews (14)

  • dpica7 2 Dec, 2014

    I had great success with this recipe! I made it in a 9in round pan and it did require an additional 10 mins or so in the oven. Like one of the other posters, I was thrown by the caramel hardening when it hit the pan but by some cooking magic it liquified beautifully in the oven (don't know how that works - don't really care). I tried a different recipe first that used sweetened condensed milk and fewer eggs. I found that recipe overly sweet and very creamy (I prefer the "eggier" version).

  • Myang1971 26 Nov, 2014

    Delicious recipe - my guests raved. BUT, the modification to make in an 8 inch cake pan needs adjustment. I had more custard - enough for three ramekins- after I poured it into the pan. Maybe a 9 or 10 inch pan would be better. And it needs to bake 10-15 mins longer in a big pan.

  • Charley1945 15 Nov, 2014

    This is the "best" flan recipe. I have been cooking for over 40 years. I served this flan to a party of 18 and everyone practically licked their bowl clean including the guys. The white bowls were very shallow which made the presentation outstanding. In order to get the best caramel results, you must use quality cookware. I use one of my small stainless steel all-clad pots which is known for its uniform heat..bottom & up all sides. I have made this recipes 5 times with perfect results.

  • MSRenkert68 24 Feb, 2014

    I made this recipe when it first appeared in 2009. It's easy as can be. I was thrown at first by the fact that the caramel sauce hardens when you put it in the ramekin. Then you add your custard and bake it. Somehow the caramel liquefies during the cooking and chilling process, and it's the most gorgeous sauce that flows out on top of the flan when you unmold them. I'm making it again today for dessert after our venison chili.

  • Strawberry 11 Jul, 2012

    I made this using a round pan instead of remakins and it was fine, but I think next time I will def. use remakins. The flan tasted good but I haven't had too many of them so can't really make a comparison. I didn't have any problems making the caramel or the custard. However, baking it in a water bath was a pain in the ...... And then I left it out for an hour or so and put it in the fridge overnight. It was good but I wasn't blown away by it and def. too much work.

  • shaoi 3 Jul, 2011

    I made this last night and am making it again tonight for tomorrow's July 4th party! I followed the recipe to the tee and ended up with the perfect flan. Thanks, Martha!

  • MyraJones 1 Jan, 2011

    We made this for a Latin American themed party and it was a huge hit! We could not believe how easy it was to make and came out perfect. You'll impress your friends with this one.

  • JeaninVancouver 11 Mar, 2010

    I suggest a cast iron pan to melt the sugar in; evens the heat well. and about getting it in the bottom of the ramekins... even if you can't swirl it, during the cooking process it will spread all over the bottom as it should. Don't worry; try again. I make it often.

  • JeaninVancouver 11 Mar, 2010

    I suggest a cast iron pan to melt the sugar in; evens the heat well. and about getting it in the bottom of the ramekins... even if you can't swirl it, during the cooking process it will spread all over the bottom as it should. Don't worry; try again. I make it often.

  • AnotherFoody 13 Nov, 2009

    I've made flan before and this sugar melting process is a bit different from what I'm used to. If you're getting bad results I would suggest using only one tablespoon of water while melting the sugar. To prevent it from re-crystallizing add one teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar once the sugar disolves.

  • livinginaz 27 Mar, 2009

    OK, four tries and I gave up. So now the flan is in the oven without the caramel. The written instructions say to swirl the caramel, I did. I must be doing something wrong. I am walking away and I will try it again tomorrow, the sauce will go on AFTER.

  • livinginaz 27 Mar, 2009

    I am not sure if I'm going to like this recipe. It seemed pretty easy and I consider myself a knowledgeable cook, but...I've been trying to make this for almost 2 hours. The egg mixture was very easy, but I just can't seem to get the sugar/water mixture to turn amber. It keeps cystalizing. This is the fourth time I've had to start that process over, while the egg mixture sits on the counter. Martha even mentioned the crystalizing on her show when making this recipe.
    Very frustrating.

  • felizycontenta 26 Feb, 2009

    This recipe is excellent.. I usually make my custard using a blender, in it I pour 1 can of Sweet Condensed Milk, the empty can I fill it with whole milk, add 4 eggs one at a time blending after each addition, add 1TBS of very good vanilla, and continue with the recipe as describe above. The easy and delicious Venezuelan way to a flan.

  • felizycontenta 26 Feb, 2009

    This recipe is excellent..I usually make the custard using a can of Sweet Condensed Milk in a blender and in the empty can I add 1 can of whole milk, 1-1/2tsp vanilla, 4 whole eggs one a time blending well, and pour it into prepared molds or one mold as described above. The results are also excellent.

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