Coconut flan recipe that makes the perfect summer dessert with just 5 ingredients. You can easily make it by blending most of the ingredients and then baking for about 45 minutes. It is smooth, custardy, and has a delicious tropical coconut flavor. A real hit just like our brigadeirao (Brazilian chocolate fudge flan).
Flan de coco (in Spanish), pudim de coco (in Portuguese), or coconut flan is the type of dessert able to sweep off your feet.
It has an amazing smooth and creamy texture with a mild coconut flavor combined with a drizzled sweet caramel, making a simple yet scrumptious treat.
You don’t need a special occasion to make this but it is perfect for Mother’s Day because it is as sweet and smooth as mother’s love. 😉
I hope you give your Mom this type of present and that she enjoys as much as I, a mother of 2, did.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Dating back to the time of the Roman Empire when it was called tyropatina, flan became very popular during the Middle Ages and was mostly served during Lent.
It was around the seventh century that the French word "flan" became popular to refer to a custard but it is derived from the old High German flado, which meant cake or flat object.
At that time flan was savory and there was a Roman costume to sprinkle pepper on top. Later on, it became a sweet treat, being caramel flan its most classic variety.
Around the world there are variations of ingredients, the way is cooked, and also the name it is known for such as copa lolita which is a small flan (Cuba), leche flan, (Philippines), purin (Japan), quesillo (Venezuela), and pudim de leite (Brazil) among others.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Sugar: Combine 1 part of sugar, ½ part of water, and a few drops of lemon juice to make the caramel over medium heat until sugar dissolves and turns into an amber color. Water will help to make the caramel sweet instead of bitter and the lemon juice will avoid crystallization.
- Sweetened condensed milk: It is mostly made of dairy and sugar and the ingredient used to replace those other 2 ingredients. To make a dairy-free flan, replace one can of sweetened condensed milk for 1 ¾ cups of dairy-free milk such as soy or coconut milk and ¾ cup of sugar.
- Full fat canned coconut milk: It is the flavoring ingredient of this coconut milk flan! But it also contains fat and is thick and creamy, helping to give body to this baked custard.
- Eggs: It provides a firm structure and of course, richness. You may use 2 ½ teaspoons of unflavored agar-agar powder and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for every 1 ¾ cups of milk (not canned coconut milk) to replace the eggs in our recipe. But in this case, our flan de coco recipe would be cooked on the stovetop instead of being oven-baked. These egg substitutes would be perfect for a vegan flan. For another option, check out our baking substitutions charts.
- Pure vanilla extract: It is optional but it provides more flavor and cuts through the coconut flavor a little. For a more intense coconut flavor, replace vanilla extract with coconut extract.
How to Make Coconut Flan
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
- In a nonstick medium skillet or saucepan, stir together sugar, water, and a few drops of lemon/lime and cook over medium heat until the sugar melts and turns into an amber color (about 8-10 minutes). Make sure to not stir or disturb the mixture while cooking! Pour into an 8-inch round pan, quickly swirl the caramel around the bottom and sides of the pan to coat, and let sit for at least 3-5 minutes or until hardened. SEE PIC. 1
- In a blender, combine sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, eggs, and vanilla until smooth (and there are no visible traces of eggs), about 30-60 seconds. Pour the mixture into the pan. SEE PIC. 2
- Prepare the bain-marie (water bath) by placing the flan pan into a 13×9-inch baking pan. Fill the outer pan with boiling water to halfway up the flan pan. SEE PIC. 3
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the coconut flan is set and slightly jiggly. Transfer the flan pan to a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Then, place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until the flan chills.
- To unmold, warm the bottom of the pan on a warm water bath for about 3-5 minutes and gently run a paring knife around the edges of the pan. Place a large plate over the pan and invert while holding tightly to unmold the flan. Top with coconut flakes for garnish. Chill until serving time! SEE PIC. 4
Tips for the Best Coconut Flan Recipe
- Do not disturb the sugar while it is cooking or has not fully melted because it may crystallize it. The lemon juice will help to prevent that too! Once the sugar has melted and starts to turn into an amber color on the edges, you can start stirring in order to not burn.
- Make sure to transfer the caramel to the flan pan as soon as its cooking time comes to an end or while it is still running before it hardens.
- After pouring the caramel into the flan pan, swirl the pan in every direction and get a nice coating of caramel in the bottom and on the sides but you have to work fast because it hardens quickly. Then you can set it aside to harden and start working on the coconut custard.
- To determine if the flan is set after baking, carefully jiggle the pan. It must jiggle like firm jello. If it waves or ripples on the surface, it has not set and needs a little more time. Once it has set, remove it from the oven and let it sit on a rack for at least 30 minutes or until it comes to room temperature.
- It is essential that you use boiling water for the water bath and it comes halfway up the flan pan for a great start. The flan will cook slowly and evenly in the oven and will prevent getting that scrambled egg texture.
- Do not cover the flan pan while baking because the steam will make water droplets fall onto the custard and the possibility of overcooking the flan is greater!
- Always use a metal pan to bake your flan because it is a great conductor of heat, distributing it more evenly. Alternatively, you can use a ceramic dish (or ramekin) especially if they are small. Avoid glass because it doesn’t distribute heat evenly.
- Flan is a baked custard! The correct texture is not one full of tiny holes (a sign of an overcooked custard) but a smooth one. Some people in Brazil falsely believe the tiny holes absorb more of the caramel. But this is not true! They are so tiny that not much of the caramel will penetrate the custard.
- Although I blend the ingredients together to make the flan custard, you can temper the eggs into the simmering (not boiling) coconut milk and then whisk in the rest of the ingredients in order to not get scrambled eggs.
- If you blend all the ingredients very well and make sure there is no visible trace of eggs in it, you won’t need to strain the custard mixture to get rid of any bits of eggs.
- After baking, let the flan cool before chilling in the fridge to firm up.
- To unmold, warm the bottom of the pan in a warm water bath for about 3-5 minutes and gently run a paring knife around the edges of the pan. Place a large plate over the pan and invert while holding tightly to unmold the flan.
FAQ’s for Flan de Coco Recipe
- How long can I keep the flan? You can store the coconut flan in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5-6 days.
- Can I freeze the coconut flan? No, since this contains dairy it will not freeze well. It will alter the smooth texture when thawed.
Other flan recipes
- Pumpkin flan
- Coffee flan
- Sweet potato flan (no-bake)
- Strawberry flan (no-bake)
- Parmesan flan
PIN & ENJOY!
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Coconut Flan Recipe
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water and if possible, a few drops of lemon/lime juice to avoid crystallization
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 14 oz canned coconut milk
- 5 eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).
- In a nonstick medium skillet or saucepan, stir together sugar, water, and a few drops of lemon/ medium and cook over medium heat until sugar is melted and turns into an amber color (about 8-10 minutes). Make sure to not stir or disturb the mixture while cooking! Pour into an 8-inch round pan, quickly swirl the caramel around the bottom and sides of the pan to coat, and let sit for at least 3-5 minutes or until hardened.
- In a blender, combine sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, eggs, and vanilla until smooth (and there are no visible traces of eggs), about 30-60 seconds. Pour the mixture into the pan.
- Prepare the bain-marie (water bath) by placing the flan pan into a 13×9-inch baking pan. Fill the outer pan with boiling water to halfway up the flan pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the coconut flan is set and slightly jiggly. Transfer the flan pan to a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Then, place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until the flan is chilled.
- To unmold, warm the bottom of the pan on a warm water bath for about 3-5 minutes and gently run a paring knife around the edges of the pan. Place a large plate over the pan and invert while holding tightly to unmold the flan.
- Top with coconut flakes for garnish. Chill until serving time!
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John / Kitchen Riffs says
Flan is so good. Not something I make that often for some reason. Thanks for the inspiration -- yours looks terrific!
Ohhh this is great, I wonder why this is not popular back home in the Philippines since we have a similar dish called leche flan (made with milk) plus we also have a lot of coconuts which is a quite popular ingredient in many desserts and dishes. Definitely something good to introduce to my home country, I bet Filipinos would love this.
Denise Browning says
In Brazil this coconut flan is quite popular as well. Thank you!
Easy. And.Delish. 🙂 Thank you dear !
Denise Browning says
My pleasure. I am glad youe njoyed our coconut flan... simply a delicious, smooth and creamy dessert.
Can regular whole milk be used instead of coconut milk? No cream cheese in this recipe?
Denise Browning says
Yes, Maria you can use full-fat milk instead of coconut milk. Youc an add cream cheese to the recipe although it is not necessary. The flan will be creamya dn smooth if you don't overcook it!
ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!!! I wanted to make a flan de coco but I didn’t have evaporated milk or cream of coconut. THIS recipe came to the rescue. Beautiful texture, amazing flavor, not too strong on the coconut. Careful not to burn your sugar though. Low and slow (learned that the hard way) beautiful recipe! Well done!!
Denise Browning says
Hi Elise! I am so glad you enjoyed our coconut flan. Yes, this is one of my personal favorite recipes in the blog that my entire family enjoys.