A classic Portuguese custard flan needs only a few ingredients and is an easy recipe to make. With its delicious custard and caramel, it's very similar to the French crème caramel.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (151 votes)



  • 50–75 ml water
  • 200 g sugar 


  • 200 g sugar 
  • 12 eggs 
  • 1 litre milk 
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 1 strip lemon rind 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 30 minutes

To make the caramel, pour the water into a heavy-based saucepan and add the sugar, pouring it into the centre of the water so it doesn’t touch the sides of the pan. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes without stirring. The caramel will slowly colour from blonde to a rich, dark brunette. Pour into ramekins to set.

To make the custard, put the sugar in a bowl and whisk in the eggs one at a time until the mixture is slightly frothy.

Put the milk, cinnamon, lemon and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to boil, then remove from the heat and stir into the egg mixture, being careful not to over-stir.

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Strain the milk mixture into a jug, then pour into each ramekin, swirling as you do so the toffee doesn’t crack in one spot. Place the ramekins in an ovenproof dish and fill the dish with water to halfway up the ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes, turning the dish around after 15 minutes so the flans cook evenly. Rest for 30 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the ramekins and turning the flans onto serving plates.