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What could be a better dessert option than a lovely creamy vegan flan? Flan is a popular sweet dish in Latin America, and it is no wonder it is a favorite because of its caramel flavor and silky bite! You would not know this recipe does not contain dairy or eggs, as it is still packed with flavor, and the texture is quite like the original flan recipe.



What Is Flan Made Of?



Traditional flan is a dish made of custard with a caramel sauce poured over top. While it is often thought of as a dessert that comes from Latin America, it is believed that flan originated in ancient Rome. There are quite a few variations on the traditional flan nowadays, and ingredients can differ depending on the ingredients available within the region, such as pineapple juice in a Puerto Rican flan or coffee in a Costa Rican flan. A traditional flan's most common base ingredients include eggs, milk, and sugar. However, to make a vegan flan recipe, ingredients other than eggs and dairy, such as coconut milk and tofu, can be used.






What Is the Difference Between Flan and Creme Brûlée?


Four components determine whether a dessert is considered a flan or a crème brulee: ingredient ratios, the custard’s thickening agent, how it is cooked, and toppings/presentation method. If more eggs are added to the custard, it will have more sturdiness. Regarding sugar, larger amounts will cause the custard to be less firm and take longer to set completely. What you choose for the form of fat that is incorporated into the custard will affect how rich the custard is. For the thickening agent, crème brulee and flan recipes often use eggs; however, a traditional Mexican flan usually incorporates condensed or evaporated milk in addition to the eggs. Any custard must be cooked at a low heat so as not to cook it too quickly. Both flan and crème brulee recipes call for the product to be baked in an oven. Lastly, crème brulee often has a hardened caramelized topping, which is done by melting sugar via a blowtorch. On the other hand, flan often has a caramel sauce poured over top. Regarding presentation, crème brûlée is usually served in individual serving dishes, while a flan is served in a larger portion within the baking dish.



Should I Cover Flan While Baking?


To ensure that your flan is completely cooked through, it is recommended that you create a water bath by putting the flan in a 9 x 13 baking dish and pouring hot water into that dish. The water bath will help achieve even cooking. Covering the flan with foil will also help to cook it more thoroughly.







Do You Wait for Flan to Cool Before Flipping?



It is optimal for the flan to cool completely in the refrigerator for at least two hours—overnight would be even better. When preparing to serve the flan, run either a knife or spatula all around the edge to loosen it. Once the flan is completely removed from the sides of the baking dish, flip the dish over on top of a plate (a rimmed one in particular) to make sure none of the sauce is lost.



Can Flan Be Overcooked?



Any recipe can be overcooked if not monitored. An overcooked flan will have a rubbery consistency. The best way to test for flan doneness is to gently knock against the side of the baking dish—if the custard has a uniform wobbliness and moves as one unit instead of having a rippling effect, then the flan is done baking.







Check Out These Other Yummy Vegan Recipes!


Help support Assuaged and SAVE on great vegan organic products and more at Thrive!


Please be sure to leave a comment below if you try something new or would like to share any tips or recommendations, we can all benefit from each other's experiences! What great vegan dessert recipes are your favorite? You can also share your favorite recipes with the Assuaged community on our ➡️ Share A Recipe ⬅️page!




Chen, S. (2021, September 22). What is the difference between creme brûlée and flan? Greatist.

El-Waylly, S. (2023, May 23). Double-caramel flan recipe. Serious Eats. 

Minimalist Baker. (N.d.). Easy vegan flan (no-bake)! Minimalist Baker.

Not_Tasha. (N.d.). Deceptively easy flan. Autodesk Instructables.

Taste of Home. (2024, June 26). Creamy caramel flan. Taste of Home.



No-Bake Vegan Flan

No-Bake Vegan Flan

Yield: 8
prep time: 4 H cook time: 15 M total time: 4 H 15 M


  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot starch
  • 1 tsp agar agar powder
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 (13.5-ounce) cans full-fat coconut milk


How to Make No-Bake Vegan Flan

  1. Start by getting out 4 individual ramekins; ideally, they should be 3-4 inches in diameter (at the base) and 2-3 inches deep. Place them within easy reach.
  2. CARAMEL: Add the coconut sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and water to a medium saucepan and turn on medium-low heat. Set a timer for 3 minutes and stir constantly while cooking - the sugar will dissolve and the mixture should start to bubble vigorously and thicken slightly. Stick with it! If it is only gently bubbling, turn up your heat very slightly. Or if it's smelling burnt at all, turn the heat down. As soon as the 3-minute timer goes off, quickly distribute the caramel between your 4 prepared ramekins (~1 heaping tablespoon per ramekin). Set aside.
  3. CUSTARD: You can rinse the same saucepan with hot water and use it for the custard, or choose another - make sure whatever pan you choose is deep enough to hold 4 cups of boiling liquid.
  4. Add the salt, cornstarch or arrowroot, agar agar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to the cooled (or room temperature) saucepan and whisk together until few lumps remain. Then add the coconut milk and whisk vigorously until well combined.
  5. Place the saucepan over high heat, whisking continuously until the mixture comes to a boil. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and set a timer for 2 minutes. Continue whisking until the timer goes off. The mixture will have thickened but should still be quite loose and pourable.
  6. Carefully distribute the custard between the ramekins, on top of the caramel. Let the flan cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring it to the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 3 hours, uncovered. If chilling for more than 3 hours, cover lightly with foil, leaving room for a bit of ventilation.
  7. Once set, you can eat your flan straight from the ramekins with a spoon, or carefully remove them by loosening the edges with a butter knife and turning them upside down onto a plate. You may need to shake gently and tap the bottom to help them slide out.
  8. Best enjoyed the first day, but will keep for up to 3 days lightly covered in the refrigerator. Not freezer friendly.
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