Today’s Best Recipe is Instant Pot Caramel Flan, also known as creme caramel. Flan is a rich, sweet custard with a thin amber color caramel syrup. It uses only a few simple ingredients, so the higher quality ingredients are worth splurging on for this dessert. This dessert is more about execution, so following the instructions precisely is the key to success. It’s also a dessert that requires resting in the refrigerator for 4 hours minimum (best if overnight).
The cooking time for Instant Pot flan is drastically reduced from almost an hour to 9 minutes. The Instant Pot is the perfect vessel for this dessert because adding the water to the bottom creates the water bath that you cook the flan in traditional cooking methods.
For this recipe, you can use 6-8 (3-inch x 1.5-inch) ramekins or an Instant Pot flan pan.
You may also want to check out my Pinterest Instant Pot board for more great recipes like this pressure cooker flan!
The History of Flan:
Flan dates back to the Roman Empire.
The Romans domesticated chickens, which gave them eggs, which meant they needed recipes to use the eggs.
From there, Flan became part of the new European culture.
The Spanish introduced the delicious caramelized sugar to the dish.
The simplicity of eggs, cream, and sugar made this a dessert that kept the recipe through generations.
The Europeans brought it to the Americas.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Setting and Time:
Pressure Cook: 9 minutes high pressure
Pressure Release: Natural for 4 minutes, then Quick Release
Total Time: 4 hours 38 minutes
½ cup Carmel Sauce
3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, optional
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, optional, but worth it
1/8 cup half and half or heavy whipping cream
1/4 Tablespoon real vanilla extract
1. Prepare Instant Pot: Add 1 cup water to the Instant Pot liner and place the trivet in the bottom of the pot.
2. Make the Caramel Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan: Simmer over low heat while constantly whisking until no longer watery and thickened (about 7 minutes). This sauce will thicken as it cools, so don’t whisk it too thick. Add 1 Tablespoon of caramel to the bottom of each of the six (3-inch x 1.5-inch) ramekins. Set aside and let caramel rest at the bottom of the ramekin while you prepare the custard.
3. In a small mixing bowl, add the whole eggs + 1 yolk, and using a wire whisk, gently whisk the eggs until they are well combined and there are no egg-white “strings.”
4. Add the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg (if using) to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stirring continuously, heat just until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Temper the eggs (see tip below) and continue whisking while very slowly adding the rest of the milk mixture.
6. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium mixing bowl and strain the whisked egg mixture to remove any egg pieces that are not combined.
7. Pour mixture evenly; fill the ramekins two-thirds full of the flan mixture.
8. Tap Ramekins on the counter to gently remove air bubbles, use a fork tine for popping any surface bubbles, and then cover the ramekin tightly with aluminum foil.
9. Carefully place three filled ramekins on top of the trivet in the Instant Pot, and then stack the next three ramekins on top.
10. Place the Instant Pot lid on the pot and lock it. Turn the valve to “sealed”. Pressure Cook ramekins on manual high pressure for 9 minutes. (A 7-inch flan pan should take 12-minutes on high)
11. When beeps, allow natural pressure release for 4 minutes, then quickly release any remaining pressure. The custard mixture will still be jiggly in the center of the flan.
12. Move ramekins to a wire rack to cool until room temperature, then place covered in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
13. To serve: Place ramekin in a dish with hot water for 20 seconds, and run a butter or sharp knife around the edge of the flan. Place the serving plate over the top of the ramekin and turn the plate upside down. The flan should release with a coating of thin caramel. If it doesn’t release, place the ramekin back in hot water for 20 seconds and try again.
Tips for best results:
Temper your eggs.
Tempering means slowly warming the eggs before introducing the eggs to the recipe.
This is key to the texture of the flan.
To create a silky smooth texture custard, tempering the eggs is crucial.
If your flan turns out lumpy or with a lot of holes, the tempering wasn’t successful.
How to Temper the eggs:
Whisk the eggs slowly and add the warm milk mixture in a very small quantity at the same time while continuously whisking.
Don’t over whisk.
When you overwhip the eggs or mixture, it will create bubbles.
This will create a porous flan that will cook unevenly.
If you have already made the caramel sauce, you can place 1/2 cup of caramel in a small, microwaveable bowl, heat the caramel sauce in the microwave for 15 seconds.
How to Store Flan:
Store for up to 3 days: Keep the flan tightly covered and in the refrigerator.
When you’re finished, why not give your Instant Pot a deep clean.
- ½ cup Carmel Sauce
- 3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, optional
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, optional, but worth it
- 1/8 cup half and half or heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 Tablespoon real vanilla extract