Filipino Food · nostalgia · Recipes

Leche Flan

I was 7 years old when my family and I first migrated to Australia. One of the first things I remember noticing was the difference in food. It was so different from the Philippines – the cheese, milk, bread…and …..what the heck was yoghurt?

I remember clearly wanting one of these Australian yoghurts because the Danone commercial said it tasted creamy and ‘delicious’. As a child who had never had fresh milk and cheese before, I felt betrayed by the smiling kids on tv who made it look like they enjoyed eating this creamy fruit salad flavoured yoghurt. After the first spoonful, I immediately regretted begging my mum to buy me yoghurt. Nonetheless, I forced myself to eat the whole serving, mum would not have been happy if I wasted food.

Then there was the time my family and I (probably more me) were really excited when we saw what we thought was Leche Flan in the fridge section at the Supermarket. It was called Creme Caramel but it looked EXACTLY like Leche Flan in the picture.

– “It must be the Australian version”

Mum bought some and I was so excited at the prospect of being able to finally eat Leche Flan again. Instructions were pretty easy

  1. Remove from the cardboard packaging
  2. Peel back the lid off the individual cups
  3. Tip upside down on a plate
  4. Lift the container………

Voila! Disappointment on a plate! It didn’t taste nice.

Ok so, what is Leche Flan?

Leche Flan

Apart from being a sweet serving of nostalgia on a plate, the direct translation to English is milk flan. Actually, it is the Filipino version of creme caramel made from eggs and milk. It is like a ….custard cake????  Yea, let’s go with that description, a very sweet custard cake.


Leche Flan is a very popular Filipino dessert and makes regular appearances at gatherings and parties.

My mother gave me her recipe a few years ago with instructions,

– Don’t share this with anyone else. This is a family recipe

I believed her.

I asked her again at a different time to find out the origin of this family recipe because I don’t ever recall any of our family  members making Leche Flan. She laughed and told me that she didn’t say it was from OUR family but it was a family friend, so that was close enough.


This is a really easy recipe. It just takes a little time. If you have never made one before and want to bring something to impress your Filipino family, other half, friend, inlaws or watevs, give this a shot. You are sure to get brownie points.

My Preference and Little Tips

If you skipped my story above, don’t skip this bit. It has a few useful information that might come in handy

Steam or Bake?

I like the method of steaming. You can use a bain marie or water bath to bake it in the oven if you like. My mum taught me to steam it and that’s how I will always do it.

I have a bamboo steamer but as you can see in the picture, the tin I like to use (9 inch) does not fit so I have to improvise. Instead, I use a deep wok style pan that has a lid that fits snuggly on top. Chuck a tray in it. Fill it with water about half a cm underneath the tray. You don’t want the simmering water to touch the tin during the cooking process.


The only main problem I encounter with improvising is that I have to use two flat spatulas to gently remove the tin. I have had a few incidents where I was over confident and the tray slipped. It wasn’t good news for the Leche Flan or me. I have no sure way for you here, you’re on your own (sorry…not really sorry).

My improvisation but there isn’t much room on the sides to easily remove the tin carefully without tipping it

Keep an eye out for the water. If you can remember what they taught you in school, condensation will occur. If you notice that the water is dangerously low, you need to carefully add some more hot water.

Sugar Syrup

I have had SO many sugar syrup fails.  I use a saucepan that is not coated with the non stick stuff so I can see the syrup change colour and texture.

At the beginning, stir the water and sugar until most of the sugar has dissolved and then just let it bubble to do it’s thing.

Keep an eye out on the caramel. It can easily go from golden to burnt toffee within a few seconds.

After about 10 minutes, the water and sugar will start bubbling like this
Oooohh!! It’s almost done!
….FAIL..too much… WAS perfect but I decided to fill the kettle to boil some water. Big mistake….


I use a fine mesh strainer AND a cheese cloth. I like to make sure that no chunky egg bits go through.


Ramekins or tins?

Some people use either or, however I have tried steaming leche flan using ramekins before and I failed miserably. I personally prefer tins.

Most Filipinos use an aluminium mold called llenera. You can find these online or at some Asian stores. Mum had some from her days when she used to sell leche flans to Filipino stores. I still prefer to use a large tin, it looks nicer when serving.

What a llenera looks like. Photo courtesy of Google

Stir – do NOT whisk

Stir gently to combine the ingredients. Don’t whisk or you will form too many air bubbles.  This is one of the key parts to making it creamy.


Keep the water at a light simmer. DO NOT boil.

There you go, my tips and preferences when making Leche Flan.

If you have any questions, send me a message and I will be happy to clear any of the instructions up for you

Don’t forget, this is someone’s secret family recipe. Guard it with your life people.

Let me know how yours turn out by tagging me on Instagram or Facebook.




Feel free to like, share and repost any of my posts. All I ask is that credit is given and that a link back to my blog is embedded.

Leche Flan

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Leche Flan - Philippine's version of a creme caramel.
Instagram : @foodcoffeeme


  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1 x tin condensed milk
  • 1 x tin evaporated milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup water


  1. Prepare the caramel first by mixing the water and sugar in a small saucepan on LOW heat. Stir until most of the sugar have completely dissolved. Keep on low heat and simmer until it thickens and changes in colour. Do not stir.  You’re aiming for an amber colour, resembling the colour of dark honey. This can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. While you’re making the caramel (no rush by the way, the caramel takes a bit of time anyway), prepare your steamer so it’s ready to go and make the custard.
  3. Place the large egg yolks in a medium/large bowl. GENTLY STIR the condensed milk with the yolks. Once combined, stir in the evaporated milk. Set aside
  4. Remember to keep an eye on the caramel syrup. When it reaches the amber colour, carefully pour into the tin. Be careful not to burn yourself. Slightly tip the tin around so that the inside base of the tin is covered in the syrup. Do this quick before the caramel hardens and becomes toffee.
  5. Using a strainer. Carefully pour the custard mixture in the tin. Hold the strainer at a low level so that it doesn’t create too many air bubbles.
  6. Cover the tin tightly with foil and carefully place in the steamer. Cover with the lid and cook for 45 minutes.
  7. When it’s finished cooking. Carefully remove the lid from the steamer (or pan). Be careful of the steam.
  8. Carefully remove the Leche Flan. Keep it covered in aluminum foil and let it set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  9. When you’re ready to serve – use a sharp clean knife to run along the sides of the tin to separate the leche flan from the tin.
  10. Place a flat plate on the tin, carefully tip upside down. Give it a few taps if it doesn’t transfer on the plate straight away.
  11. Serve as is or with some fruit. There is no point serving this with cream or ice cream.  It’s sweet enough.



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