Custard Vs. Flan | How Are They Different? 

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Ever had custard and thought, “This tastes somewhat similar to flan.” Well, you’re not entirely wrong and today we’re going to explore custard vs flan; where they converge, and how they diverge.

Custad vs flan

I would like to open with a statement. All flan is custard, but not all custard is flan. In other words, the custard is a component of flan. 

They are both made with eggs, milk, and sugar. But despite having the same main ingredients, these two are different. 

The main difference between the two is that custard can be served plain or with other toppings like fruits. But flan is a dessert made of custard with caramel syrup. 

But this is not the only difference. They can be distinguished in many ways like their origin, taste, and texture.

If you are interested in the differences between the two, read this article. I will discuss their similarities, differences, types, and many more.

 Custard Vs. Flan| Difference table

Basis of DifferenceCustardFlan
OriginUnited KingdomEurope
Main IngredientsEgg, milk, and sugarEgg, milk, and sugar
TasteRich and creamyMilky, and sweet
TextureThin and runnySmooth and creamy
Serving TemperatureCold or WarmCold or Warm
Best Paired WithPuddingsWhipped cream, Fruits, and nuts

What Is Custard?


A custard is a sweet dish made by cooking eggs, yolks, milk, and sugar together until they thicken. It is frequently sweetened with sugar or other sweeteners, is rich and creamy, and is typically served as dessert. 

Cheesecake, Crème Brûlée, Flan, Pudding Cake, and pies with pumpkin or coconut custard are some examples of sweet custards.

Therefore, savory custards come in many forms like quiche, and frittata, despite being primarily served as a dessert. However, most people are used to having the sweeter variant. 

A custard’s consistency can be altered simply by adjusting the ingredients. In contrast to custard with a thinner consistency, which works best on puddings and other desserts, thicker custard works better on its own.

Types Of Methods To Cook Custard

  • Stirred Custards – Stirred custards cooked on the stove, or in a double-boiler. These include crème Anglaise, zabaglione, and Bavarian cream. 
  • Bain Marie Custard – A bain-marie, also known as a water bath, is used to bake custards. Examples include cheesecakes, crème brûlée, flan, and custard pies.
  • Boiled Custard – Boiled custards made with cornstarch or flour as an additional starch. Example of this is crème pâtissière. 

 What Is Flan?


In Mexico, Spain, and many other Latin American nations, flan is a popular dessert made of creamy custard and topped with a caramel sauce. It is also known as milk flan, leche flan, and crème caramel. 

Flan is made with eggs, milk, caramel, and any flavorings of your choice, including vanilla, lemon, chocolate, coffee, orange, and many others.

Types Of Flan 

  •  French Crème Caramel – French crème caramel is one of the most well-liked Flam varieties. Due to the absence of sweetness, it is healthier than Flan. It is made with four ingredients: milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. It has a creamy, smooth texture.
  • Fruit Flan – The sight of various fruit varieties in a tart-like structure is pleasing. Fruits and flan together are a delicious combination. It is a traditional German dessert with a fruit base, smooth custard, and seasonal fruits drizzled with sugar.

They differ from one another, but they also share a lot in common. Let’s check that first.

Custard Vs. Flan | Similarities Between The Two


Both Are Desserts

While flan is a dessert, the custard is typically a sweet dish despite its ability to double as a savory dish. 

Flan is made with custard or can be a baked form of custard. These both differ in many ways. If you don’t have enough time to make a dessert or don’t have time to go to the grocery store. It is easy to make, and you can have the best experience with these two.

Both Main Ingredients Are The Same

The main components of custard and flan are eggs, milk, and sugar.

Eggs, milk, and sugar are used to make a custard, with additional flavorings. Many flavors are available, including rose, vanilla, chocolate, and others.

Flan is also made with eggs, milk, sugar, and any flavorings you choose, including vanilla, lemon, chocolate, coffee, and many others.

We’ve covered all the similarities between these two, so how do they differ from one another? 

Custard Vs. Flan | What Is The Difference Between The Two?


1. Ingredients

Eggs, milk, and a sweetener are the common ingredients in custard and flan.

Custard’s main ingredients are milk, eggs, sweetener, and starch, which thickens the custard. In contrast, the ingredients for flan are eggs, cream, sweeteners, and the flavoring of your choice. 

It can be coconut, coffee, or vanilla. A caramel sauce pours on top just before serving to enhance the flavor.

2. Preparation Method

Custards are prepared in two ways: First is stirred custard that is cooked on a stovetop and second is baked custard that is prepared in the oven. The recipes are then cooled and refrigerated to further gel. 

On the other hand, flan is prepared in tiny ramekins and baked in a pan.  First I prepared custard and then made a caramel sauce. Add caramel sauce and baked custard in a mold, and keep it in a refrigerator.

 3. Taste

The custard base may vary in flavor according to the ingredients used; however, they all taste smooth and creamy when appropriately cooked due to their high-fat content.

Flan has a rich, toasted caramel flavor from the topping and the base tastes very milky, perfectly sweet, and slightly eggy. It is similar to creme brulee or panna cotta in taste, but texturally the three are quite different.

The caramel sauce is baked into a caramel-colored ramekin until the cake has turned soft and wiggly.    

4. Texture 

Custard and flan differ in texture as well. The texture of the custard is velvety smooth and creamy. If there is a temperature difference, it is critical to make a perfect custard. 

The too-high temperature will cause the custard to curdle and leave the edges full of holes. Egg yolks alone can thicken custard more effectively than egg yolks and whites, giving it a smoother texture.

To make a custard that is firmer and harder to the touch, use more eggs in the recipe. A good flan has the texture of a just-firm-enough custard.

It should wiggle and jiggle on the spoon and still be silky smooth when you bite into it. The sticky sauce on top is a simple caramel, just melted sugar that goes into the ramekin before the custard mixture.

5. Serving Method

There are many different ways to serve custard. It can be eaten alone or served with other desserts like pies and tarts and can be used to fill pastries, tarts, etc.

You can serve it hot, cold, or at room temperature. When it is served warm, it is creamiest. There are frozen custards like whipped cream and ice cream.

To serve flan, make sure that it is completely cooled. Turn it over onto the plate after loosening it with a thin knife. Remove the ramekin slowly and carefully, allowing the caramel to run over the flan.

Add fruit for decoration if wanted, and serve it warm, cold, or at room temperature. If you like it, serve it warm for the creamiest texture. Bread and butter pudding or Apple and raisin oat crumble with caramel custard are even better.

Top Dishes To Make With Custard

Here is a list of a few dishes that you can make with custard.

 1. Raspberry Custard Kuchen

Rasberry custard

Raspberry Custard Kuchen is a traditional German dessert, and is a dreamy, delicious treat boasting so much flavor. The homemade pastry crust holds a fresh raspberry-studded custard filling. 

It’s made with a biscuit dough base, and the filling is a mixture of eggs and cream, with fresh raspberries all through the custard. It’s great warm or cold and can be kept in the fridge for a few days once cooked.

Enjoy this for breakfast, or treat yourself to a slice for dessert.

 2. Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding

Nilla wafer

Nilla wafer banana pudding is a tropical delight made with layers of Nilla Wafers, bananas, custard, and vanilla wafers. With every bite, you will have an explosion of flavors and textures.  

Wafers give crunchiness to it, and bananas and custard give softness to it. It is a great combination altogether.

Pro Tip: Choose a container that shows every layer of the pudding. As it said, presentation is king.

Chill the pudding for at least 4 hours before serving it for a more flavorful dessert. 

3. Coffee Custard


Coffee Custard is vegan and easy to make. It is an Italian-inspired recipe with a creamy texture. 

Coffee custard is made from milk, sugar, cornstarch, instant coffee powder, and vanilla extract. It depends on you whether to use espresso or instant coffee powder.

Whisk these ingredients in a bowl and keep in mind no lumps will be left. Add this mixture to a saucepan and cook till it becomes thicker.

 Your coffee custard is ready. Enjoy

4. Classic English Egg Custard Tart


Classic English eggs custard tart is a British classic with its origin many centuries back.

It is an open tart, pie, or baked egg with a custard filling. It can be savory or sweet, according to what you guys want to make. 

The recipe calls for flour, eggs, unsalted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, milk, and ground nutmeg as ingredients. Using flour, butter, and salt, make a dough in a sizable bowl. Set the dough aside for 30 minutes. Make your usual custard until then.  

Assemble the tart on a baking sheet, add dough, custard, and dry nutmeg, and bake differently till all the layers are crispy brown. Custard Tart is easy to make and eats slightly warm or cold.

Top Dishes To Make With Flan

Now, let’s see some of the ways you can make flan.

1. Chocolate Flan 

Chocolate Flan

Chocolate flan refers to a flan that contains chocolate. This flan contains eggs, milk, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and vanilla ingredients. Similar to a standard flan, but with chocolate added to the base.

The only ingredient that makes anything richer and more flavorful is chocolate. Flan and chocolate go well together.

Pro tip: Use a water bath to bake the flan. Place the round baking pan containing the flan mixture inside a larger rectangle baking pan, and then pour hot water into the outer dish until it is 12 inches deep.

Before removing the flan from the mold, place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. It will lessen the likelihood of the flan breaking.

If you are in the mood for chocolate and flan, this dessert is the best.

2. Cheese Flan

cheese flan

Cheese flan is smooth, creamy, and slightly dense because of the cream cheese. Milk, cream cheese, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla are the components of cheese flan. 

The main difference between regular flan and cheese flan is not so sweet, and the addition of cream cheese gives a mild tang to it.

3. Lightened Coconut Flan


In the lightened coconut flan recipe, coconut milk is used in place of evaporated milk. The caramel topping is made in the microwave, and whole eggs are used. It has a rich, silky smooth with a hint of tropical flavor.

Coconut flan contains the following ingredients: eggs, coconut milk, condensed milk, and vanilla.

If you are baking the flan in the oven, make sure to use a water bath for a gentle and even cooking temperature. 

If steaming, cook low and slow to prevent overheating or overcooking the custard, which may result in a coarse consistency.

4. Rum and Ginger Flan with Caramelized Figs

Rum and ginger flan

Rum and Ginger Flan with Caramelized Figs is one of the coolest flan combinations.

A decadent sticky caramel sauce adds the perfect finishing touch to this ginger, fig, and rum flan that is unbelievably moist.  It fulfills all the requirements and pairs perfectly with caramelized figs.

The flavor is incredibly rich and creamy. 

Milk, sugar, ginger that has been peeled and sliced, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and figs are the components of figs.  Between summer and autumn, it’s the ideal dessert for this time of year.

Custard Vs. Flan | Which is healthier?

Custard tastier

 Custard is a good source of calcium and vitamin B12. In contrast to other desserts that are only composed of fats and sugar, it contains a lot of protein. To enhance the flavor and nutritional value of custard, it can be flavored or eaten plain.

Flan’s sugar content is very high and served with caramel topping. Flan is also high in fats, high in calcium, iron, and protein content.

So, custard wins out as the healthier option.

Custard Vs. Flan | Which is tastier?

Custars vs flan

Custard can be sweet or savory, the ingredients of sweet or salty custard are almost similar, but their taste differs. Savory custard is saltier and can be used to fill quiches. Custard can go with pastries, tarts, etc. 

Custard is the main ingredient in flan. It has a melt-in-your-mouth texture and is rich and creamy.  After baking and setting, the flan leaves behind a custard base with caramel sauce on top.

Flan comes in a variety of flavors, although caramel is by far the most popular. The custard-based flan base is enhanced by the caramel sauce topping.

In this category, it’s a tie.

Custard Vs. Flan | Which is more versatile?

Custard versatile

Custard can be served on its own, either hot or cold. It is used to fill pastries or baked foods or served alongside other desserts, such as pies and tarts.

Things that go with custard are fruit strudel, fruit crumbles, and baked apples. Flan is a creamy, sweet custard topped with caramel sauce.

It looks fancy, but it’s pretty simple to make. In recent years, because of its rich, creamy flavor and versatility, Flan has become a popular dessert. It serves as a simple dessert or dressed up with fruit, nuts, or chocolate.

So, the winner of this category is custard.

Custard Vs. Flan | Which is better?

Custard better

 Custard is easy to make. It can be a perfect dessert to make if you are craving desserts. The main slighter advantage of custard is you can make custard according to your wish. It can be stirred, baked, or even frozen custard. 

 Custard is a hand-down winner in this debate.


In this article, we detail Custard and Flan. Whether it is their origin, uses similarities, differences, and many more. Both of them have a similar ingredient list and also look alike!

I hope you have thoroughly enjoyed the article and have found some new information about custard and flan. If you enjoyed reading this article, you could look up more articles that we covered.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Are Custard and flan the same?

 Flan is a type of custard, but both are different.

2.  Is flan the same as caramel custard?

Flan and caramel custards are very similar desserts, but the main distinction between the two is how they look. Flan has a shorter custard base with a larger diameter than caramel custards, which have a larger custard base

3. Is flan a type of pudding or custard?

Eggs, sugar, and milk are combined to make a flan, which is then cooked in a pan with a caramelized sugar bottom. A pudding is a specific kind of pudding that lacks caramel and has a mousse-like consistency after being thickened with starch. Pudding is made on the stove, whereas flan is baked in the oven.

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