4 Ingredient Flan from Scratch

Also Known as Crème Caramel, Serves 6

Custards are one of the easiest things to make from scratch.  Trust you me!  It usually takes just about the same amount of time to make custard from a premade mix as it does from scratch.  This flan is super easy to make and only requires 4 ingredients, all of which can usually be found even in the basic of pantries.  This is something you can whip up in a hurry for unexpected guests, for kids (and adults) with a sweet tooth when the last bit of cheesecake has been eaten up or for parties and potlucks.  It’s so rich and creamy with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and yet oh so jiggly, the perfect flan.  Let’s get to it.


4 Ingredient Flan from Scratch – Recipe


For caramel:

  • ½ cup refined white sugar, free of impurities (this is the sugar you probably already have at home, just make sure there aren’t any stray bits of this and that in it)
  • ¼ cup water (same as above, clean tap water should be fine)

Note:  You will need a heavy, sturdy pan that can withstand high heat and a wooden spatula, thoroughly cleaned and dried.  The sugar will latch on to impurities and recrystallize so make sure that your equipment is scrubbed clean prior to starting on the caramel.

For custard:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract  (vanilla extract works best here as a vanilla bean would not have enough time to impart its flavour in the custard)


  • Heavy, sturdy pan
  • Wooden spatula
  • 6 ramekins
  • Large enough baking dish to fit all ramekins
  • Beaker cup (optional)
  • One large and one small bowl, not plastic


  1. Clean ramekins and a small bowl (preferably not plastic) and have them next to the oven.  You’ll need to work fast once caramel is ready.
  2. Heat pan on medium and add in ingredients under ‘caramel.’
  3. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until sugar melts down and starts to caramelize.  It’s ready when it reaches an amber colour.  Pour into waiting bowl.  The reason we pour it into a bowl instead of keeping it in the pan is so that the heat from the pan doesn’t further cook the caramel.  Trust me, you don’t want burnt caramel.  You may have to scrape the pan with a spatula in order to get all the caramel into the bowl.
  4. Spoon enough caramel to smoothly coat the bottom of each ramekin.  You’ll have to tilt the ramekin around in order to coat it as caramel will be quite thick.  There should be more than enough, however, for 6.
  5. You can store the remaining caramel to spoon over later or to dip tart apples in.  Caramel will be hard, but a few seconds in the microwave prior to use should be enough to get it smooth and pliable again.
  6. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Beat eggs in a large bowl until creamy, set aside.
  8. Heat a heavy bottom, non-stick pan on low and add milk and sugar, cook until milk is warmed through and sugar has melted, 5 minutes should do it.
  9. Transfer to a beaker cup (makes it easier to pour) and add to egg mixture slowly, stirring slowly and constantly.
  10. Add vanilla extract and stir until smooth.  Mixture will be thin.
  11. Arrange prepared ramekins into a large baking dish and sieve equal portions of the custard mixture into them, making sure each ramekin is no more than ¾ full.
  12. Pour hot water into the baking dish until ramekins are half submerged, transfer carefully into the oven and bake for 50 – 60 minutes.  Test at 50 minutes with a toothpick to see if it comes out cleanish.  If not, bake for another 5 minutes and test again and so on and so forth until custard is fully set.
  13. Take ramekins out of the pan and if you have unexpected company it can be served hot as caramel pudding.  However, the best way to eat this custardy goodness is to let it cool completely and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  Once cooled, loosen the sides and turn over onto a plate, the top will be dark brown in colour and the liquefied caramel will run over the sides.  It’s a sight to see.  You may spoon over more caramel if you wish or top with mango slices, but I just love eating them as they are.

Enjoy flan, made from scratch.


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