Dairy Free Flan

Dairy Free Flan

Great British Bake Off/Baking Show, Series 3 (UK) 

Episode 4:

Technical Challenge– Flan

My next challenge to follow along with is Flan!  I used to eat it sometimes when I was a kid. I haven’t had it in quite a while. They of course had to be modified to be dairy free for me, so I looked up some dairy free recipes. 


I’ve read online that it is compared to crème brûlée. Both flan and crème brûlée are types of custards, that involve eggs, milk, and sugar and have caramel on them.

The difference would be that flan is inverted from the dish and the caramel is dripped on the top, meanwhile crème brûlée is kept in the dish and the sugar is melted on top to create the hard crust. 

In order to have the flan keep itself solid enough to hold its shape outside of the dish, the egg ratio has to be different from crème brûlée. I’m thinking it might have to do with the fact that flan takes some whole eggs, while crème brûlée is all egg yolks, but that’s just a guess! 

Flan Base

This recipe replaces regular milk with coconut milk. I started by simmering coconut milk and sugar on the stove top for about 20 minutes to create a sort of coconut condensed milk.

I did have a horrible mishap though because I turned my back for about 5 minutes and it boiled over…I’m lucky I didn’t set the fire alarm off! So I had to do a take two with the coconut milk. After it simmered, I added lemon zest, vanilla, and some salt.


Caramel and Bake

While the coconut milk was cooling, I moved on to the caramel. The last time I made caramel, I made a thick caramel with cream added to it. The caramel this time was just  strictly melted sugar and it used a completely different technique.

I put the sugar into my skillet and a couple tablespoons of water over medium heat. Just stir constantly until it’s fully melted and caramelized. The sugar will kind of go through phases where it starts to melt, then clumps a little, and finally melts all the way and changes color. I got it to a nice golden brown, then poured it into my ramekins. 

Last thing is to whisk eggs together and slowly pour the coconut milk into it. The completed custard filling gets poured into ramekins and baked in a bain marie which is a water bath.  

After cooking, I took the flans out of the oven and let them cool. Then I put a butter knife around the sides, flipped it over, and the flans plopped right out. They looked pretty with the caramel dripping around the edges.

My mother-in-law loved them, she barely left any for us. They were creamy and smooth. I surprisingly wasn’t too into them, I think it was the taste, a bit eggy. So overall this wasn’t one of my better challenges.

Try it out if you want, maybe you’ll like it better than me! This recipe was borrowed from Savory Lotus blog who adores it.


Dairy Free Flan

Sweet Melissa, Recipe From Savory Lotus
Creamy, smooth flan dripping with caramel.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Alternative Baking
Servings 6 Flans


  • 2 Cans Full-Fat Coconut Milk
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar, divided
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Water


  • Heat coconut milk in large saucepan on medium heat until it starts simmering. Then add 1/2 cup sugar. Let simmer for 20 minutes. It should reduce. After the 20 minutes, add the salt, vanilla, and lemon zest. Let cool.
  • In a small saucepan, put remaining 1/2 cup sugar and water on medium heat. Stir constantly until it completely melts and turns an amber color. Pour evenly into 6 ramekins. 
  • Whisk eggs together. Slowly pour coconut milk while whisking eggs. Pour into the ramekins and bake in a water bath at 325°F for 45-50 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate. When ready to eat, stick a knife around the edges and invert. 
Keyword Dairy-Free

Check out the other bakes I’ve made for my great baking challenge.

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