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Leche Flan

This classic Leche Flan is creamy and rich made from egg yolks and milk. Learn the secret to making a very smooth and silky leche flan you could ever make. 

Leche Flan is caramel custard made of milk, sugar and eggs and usually flavored with vanilla and key lime zest.| www.foxyfolksy.com

What is Leche Flan?

Leche Flan or what is known as Spanish Flan outside the Philippines is a traditional Filipino dessert made of evaporated milk, condensed milk, and egg yolks. It also has a layer of caramelized sugar that turns into syrup after cooking them together.

It is commonly served as dessert at Fiestas, holidays and other special occasions. Aside from the basic ingredients, it is also normally flavored with vanilla and key lime zest.

Is it the same as crème caramel? The short answer is yes. They are very similar and look exactly the same. However, most crème caramel recipes call for the addition of cream, Filipino Leche Flan does not. The latter also uses condensed milk instead of just sugar. The Leche flan is richer while crème caramel has a lighter texture.

Learn the secret to a perfectly smooth and creamy Leche Flan. Get recipe here! | www.foxyfolksy.com

Being the eldest daughter, I was taught early to help in the kitchen. This recipe of Leche Flan was the very first dessert I learned and was taught to me by my Lola (grandma) when I was only ten or so.

The most important thing I remembered because she was very specific about it, is that I am not to make any bubbles while stirring the mixture to get that flawless texture. I also remembered how much my arms—yes both of them, and shoulders hurt from all that slow stirring until all the sugar has completely dissolved. We do big batches at this time.

Good thing I do not have to do this manually these days. I let my stand mixer do all the work and I also have a neat trick up my sleeves.

Well, it is not really so much of a trick, I only use a sieve or strainer to remove the stubborn pieces that take ages to melt.

I hope my Lola, bless her soul, is not frowning at me when she sees me doing this. (Yikes!) But I am sure she would understand.

Learn the secret to a perfectly smooth and creamy Leche Flan. Get recipe here! | www.foxyfolksy.com

How to cook Leche Flan?

The traditional way to cook leche flan is to steam it using a steamer. But nowadays, it is also common to bake it in the oven using bain-marie or a water bath. Rice cooker can also be used as a steamer.

  1. First, you have to make the caramelized sugar. Simply add sugar to the llaneras and cook it over medium heat until it melts into a texture similar to molten-lava. Let it cool down and set.
  2. Next is to make the custard by combining the egg yolks, condensed milk and evaporated milk.
  3. Pour this mixture to the now hardened caramelized sugar.
  4. Place the llaneras in a steamer or in a bain-marie and steam until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let it cooled down (in the fridge) to set. To serve, turn it over on a plate with the caramel layer on top.
    Learn the secret to a perfectly smooth and creamy Leche Flan. Get recipe here! | www.foxyfolksy.com

The secret to a creamy and smooth Leche Flan

I will let you in a secret I learned to have a perfectly smooth and bubble-free Leche Flan like this one.

  • This Leche Flan was baked in the oven in a water bath instead of steamed. I got this neat trick from Lalaine’s Leche flan recipe of Kawaling Pinoy. I tried it on a batch I did for New Year’s Eve and it worked nicely!
  • Try not to beat too fast to avoid adding air to the egg-milk mixture. This will become bubbles that will form holes in the custard once cooked. Tap the llanera on the counter several times before cooking to release trapped bubbles.
  • When making the caramel, make sure that all the sugar has completely melted and not gritty. It should look like dark honey without any granules left.  If not, this will leave marks on the sides of the flan as the caramel starts to melt when steamed.

Additional Tips

  • Try not to burn the sugar when doing the caramel. Burnt sugar will give the Leche Flan a bitter taste.
  • You can add a bit of water to the sugar to melt it faster.
  • Do not separate the egg whites and yolks too early. Exposing the egg yolks to the air will allow it to create a skin. This will become lumps that are difficult to melt.

Learn the secret to a perfectly smooth and creamy Leche Flan. Get recipe here! | www.foxyfolksy.com

You may also be interested in trying my Puto Flan recipe. Combining two well-loved Filipino desserts in one, the Puto and Leche Flan.

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Try the classic German black forest cake. Get recipe here! | www.foxyfolksy.com
4.35 from 20 votes

Smooth and Creamy Leche Flan

Learn the secret to a perfectly smooth and creamy Leche Flan! Get the recipe now for the ultimate dessert for any special events and occasions.
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian,Filipino
Keyword: leche flan,spanish flan
Servings: 12
Calories: 81kcal
Author: Bebs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated or fresh milk - - or fresh milk
  • 1 can (10 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon key lime or lemon zest - (optional)
  • 8-9 tablespoons granulated sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Prepare the caramel. Scoop 3 tablespoons of sugar in each (3 small) llanera or flan molds or 4 tablespoons for big llanera. Place the llanera on top of the stove over low heat. When the sugar starts to liquefy, using tongs, turn the llanera in a circular motion to prevent the sugar from burning and let them caramelize evenly. Remove from heat once all granules have turned liquid and are light brown. Set aside.
  • Place the egg yolks in a bowl, and slowly beat them with a fork or whisk. Try not to beat too fast and create a lot of bubbles. Gradually add the milk and condensed milk while continuously stirring. Lastly, add the vanilla extract and zest of key lime or lemon and stir a couple of times more until all is well blended. Sieve the mixture with a strainer to remove undissolved bits.
  • Pour the mixture into each mold. Tap the mold several times on a flat surface to get rid of trapped bubbles. Place the filled llanera or mold in a water bath and bake in the oven at 160°C/320°F for about 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Do not overcook or the will start to create tiny holes.
  • Let them cool down and then chill in the fridge for at least an hour. When ready to serve, run a knife around the inner edges to separate the flan from the mold. Place a serving plate top-side down over the llanera and flip them over to transfer.

VIDEO

RECIPE NOTES

They may also be steamed like the traditional way but it might not be as smooth.
This recipe make 3 medium-size llanera or 2 large ones.
To make just 1 llanera use the following ingredients:
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup condensed milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lime zest (optional)
If you do not have a llanera, you can also use a round aluminum mold.
Nutrition Facts
Smooth and Creamy Leche Flan
Amount Per Serving
Calories 81 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 163mg54%
Sodium 7mg0%
Potassium 16mg0%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 216IU4%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 19mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe? Tell us how it went. Tag us at @foxyfolksy or leave a comment and rating below.

More Christmas Desserts

Bebs

Bebs here! I love to cook and try new things and DIY projects! And although I think of myself as a homebody, I like seeing other places from time to time.
If you are looking for a recipe and it ain't here, make a request and I will try my best to make it for you!

This Post Has 82 Comments

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  1. 5 stars
    thanks for this wonderful recipe! i’ve tried your recipe and my kids are delighted! truly an awesome recipe. thanks a lot!

  2. Hi, I have a problem with running the metal spatula on the sides of llanera, sometimes its breaking. What should I do?

  3. 5 stars
    Hello, i was wondering, what would my adjustments be if i am using a 9 1/2 x 2 round cake pan? Thank you!

    1. You should just adjust the cooking time. Just check from time to time if an inserted toothpick comes out clean, then it is done. Do not let the mixture cook too long or boil or you will have holes in the flan.

  4. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing for this recipe. Kindly please advice how to cook with an electric oven .. For the temperature 160 degress for 30 mins. “Water bath”. Question is how does the heat for the over to be set, is it under only, is it above only, or both above and under.

    You’re advice is highly appreciated.. thanks

    1. Hi Jonathan, I also have an electric oven and use the top and bottom heat. After the 30 minutes are over just leave it in the oven for some minutes more to continue to cook and set.

  5. 5 stars
    Made your delightful recipe today. Used the water bath method and 6 whole eggs instead of yolks as advised in previous comments. Used single 5x9ish loaf pan which required about twice as much bake time for toothpick to come out clean. I will separate into smaller pans next time. Unsuccessfully tried to use brown sugar at first (disaster turning into rocks and would not melt right). White sugar was much easier, just needed patience. Melted the sugar in a small saucepan, stirring with a spoon and transferred that to the loaf pan (have wrist issues and it was hard to work with tongs and hot loaf pan). Straining mixture a couple times made it very smooth.

    Two additions made are macapuno to the caramel before it set & tbsp lemon juice to balance eggy taste of mixture (my zest was not very potent).

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. It’s something very nice to make during these trying times and was a blessing to share with my mom, I used to enjoy this at celebrations growing up and haven’t had it in years.

    1. Thanks for sharing your own experience making this Leche Flan. I like the whole eggs version too. I’ve never tried using brown sugar for the caramel as I am thinking it might be too dark after cooking😉. Glad you like it.

    1. 5 stars
      Hello. Tried your recipe yesterday just in time for father’s day, i was over the moon with the result. I did half of the recipe to try out. Been trying to cook leche flan lots of times and everytime i failed. But your recipe did not disappoint me love the texture and taste just how i remembered my lola’s flan during fiesta. By the way hubby and daughter love them too. Thanks for sharing. God bless 😊

  6. Hi Bebs.
    I want to try making this in a 9×13″ rectangular baking pan . How much would i have to increase the recipe? And how much longer would it have to bake?

    1. Try multiplying the recipe to 3 (30 eggs, 3 cans each of evaporated and condensed milk), As for the caramel, you probably have to add more sugar to make enough caramel to cover the size of the pan you like.

    1. You mean the 1 Tbsp of water for the sugar caramel. You can add it or skip it. I just find that melting the sugar is slightly easier with a bit of moisture.

  7. Hi Ms. Bebs, i just wanna ask if i can use a turbo instead of having it in an oven? will the result using the turbo be as fine as when it is baked?

    1. Hi Grace, this is baked in a bain-marie, meaning in a water bath. I am not sure if it will work with a turbo. A steamer should also work, just use very low heat to prevent bubbles…

  8. I want the recipe of leche flan during the time of our grandparents. They do not use condensed milk then. Thank you.

  9. Hi Mrs Bebs,
    I tried this recipe tonight, and the custard itself is delicious. I had a little trouble with the Carmel/sugar mixture. When it cooled it got rock hard in the bottom of my ramekin. Some did not so covered my leche flan when I turned upside down. Is there a trick to the sugar when caramelizing? Maybe I cooked it too long.

    1. Hi Bobby, yes that is a common problem with the sugar caramel. It should harden when cooled but it normally melts again once you steam or cook the flan in bain-marie. When making the caramel, make sure that no lumps of sugar are left and it is completely melted. You can add more sugar to make more caramel so that you still have enough to cover the flan even if some does not melt again. I also find that if you chill it overnight in the fridge the caramel melts away and is easier to turn.

  10. Hi Bebs,
    I don’t have condensed milk. Can I just use evaporated milk? I never really make them
    Without condensed milk before.

    1. Hi Caren, I am afraid the recipe calls for condensed milk specifically. If you will use evaporated milk in place of condensed milk, the outcome may be different. First, you have to adjust the quantity and then add sugar. Since I haven’t tried it I cannot say what measurements and if it will work at all.

  11. Hello Ms. Bebs, this is my favorite thing to cook. I was used to steaming it though. I would just like to ask if I was to bake it, do I need to preheat the oven or bake it right away? Do I still need to cover the llaneras?. Thank you.

    1. Hi Juliemar, no need to preheat the oven and you may cover the llanera with aluminum foil to make sure top is not burnt but I never found the need with my oven.

  12. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe for our noche buena! Loved it! This time I’m doing it again, though I ran out of evaporated milk.. What difference should I expect if I’d be using fresh milk? Thanks

  13. Hello! It’s been FOREVER since I made Leche Flan and I’ve been looking for a recipe similar to my moms. Do you know how long leche flan will keep in the fridge after it’s made? It’s only me and my husband, so I may just follow your instructions for one llanera but just in case I’d like to use the whole recipe, I’m curious! Thank you!

    1. Hi Ann, I’ve never known a leche flan that has gone bad if they are in the fridge. Perhaps because of all the sugar that goes in it and the milk used is evaporated milk. Note however that the taste and texture may differ after a while. I would (and have) eaten weeks-old leche flan from the fridge and I still like them, lol. Personally, I like leche flan best when it has been in the fridge a day or two when it is still fresh but has time for the flavor from caramel and the custard to blend. Lastly. just remember to place them in a container with lid or cover the llanera with foil and seal with a string or rubber band so they won’t dry up.

  14. Hi there! I just tried your recipe last night and it was delicious!!! It’s been years since I baked a Leche Flan. Everything came out perfect except just wondering if what I can do to thin it out a bit? I like my Leche Flan not as thick texture. Any advice? Thanks again for your delicious post!

    1. Hi Jay, you can add more milk or reduce the yolks. I recently tried a flan with whole eggs and it was lighter in texture. Try using 6 whole eggs instead. Do not beat them, just mix gently.

      1. 5 stars
        OMG! I just tried using 6 whole eggs like you said and to me it’s amazing!!! Just the right texture I was looking for. I was at first skeptical to use whole eggs but it came out super good! Thank you so much for the advice! You’re the best! Happy holidays!

          1. 5 stars
            Hi Bebs, I wanted to try the 6 whole eggs version, can you advise the measurement for 1 llanera only? I wanted to test it out first 🙂 thanks a lot! 🙂

            1. A bit tricky because this is already the smallest version following a can of milk. But here you go:
              4 oz. (1/2cup) evaporated milk
              4 oz. (1/2 cup) sweetened condensed milk
              2 whole eggs
              3 Tbsp. sugar for the caramel

  15. 5 stars
    hi miss bebs, thank you so much for sahring your recipe and how you do it.. i’ve tried it too and it’s awesome.. i’m so happy with it..i’m looking forward to try your other recipes..
    xoxo?

  16. 5 stars
    At last!! This recipe is the one that ive been lookin for and so thankful, for this one is so easy yet really yummy!
    Thank u so much Ms. Bebs for sharing! I am everyday excited to try your recipes?. Keep it up and God bless!

    1. Hhhmmm…never really thought about this one. The thing is, the size of the egg yolk, based on my experience, is not automatically proportionate to the size of the egg. I also just learned (because of this question) that younger hens lay eggs with smaller egg yolks. So I would say it does not really matter what size of eggs you use because you cannot be sure what size of yolks you will get. Use medium to large like I usually do.

  17. Hi! First of all, let me say that I’m super excited to try out this recipe and the sylvanas one. You make it sound so easy 🙂 I have a question though, how big is your llanera? I’m planning on buying some from Ebay and I’m not sure which one to get. I’m worried that it would affect my baking time a lot. thank you!!

    1. Hi Marcy, you can use medium to large size llanera, about 5.5 to 7 inches long and 3.5 to 4 inches wide. I would not worry much about the size though, any size and shape would do. You could try covering the top of each llanera with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning on top and just do the toothpick test to check if they are cooked through.

  18. 4 stars
    Did tried it cooking in the oven and it did came out very smooth than steaming it as what I usually does..thanks for sharing!

  19. I am totally inlove with this one! I always steam my leche flan. I need to try this. Thanks, Bebs!

  20. 5 stars
    Do i use up and down heat while baking? Your flan is so smooth and looks so yummy, i want to give it a try

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