This 4-ingredient Brazilian Flan recipe with condensed milk, also known as pudim de leite condensado in Portuguese, is creamy, sweet and utterly delicious. A stunning and fun jiggly dessert with a decadent caramel sauce, great for special occasions like holidays, or just because. This make-ahead dessert may look fancy but is actually quite easy to make! Check it out!
This is my mom’s flan recipe, and the one she made us for our whole lives, especially for special occasions like the holidays or dinner parties.
Yes, this Brazilian Flan may look fancy, but the reason my mom actually made it for special occasions is because it’s actually a pretty hands-off recipe. She could make it ahead of time, like a day or two before, leaving her very precious time available to get the rest of our holiday meal all cooked up. And, since she was the primary (ahem only) person cooking for the most part, she needed her every minute to be efficient!
So, really, serving pudim for dessert is actually a planning strategy!
And yes, I keep saying this is an easy recipe because really it is. Many people are intimidated by flan because of the unmolding part, but with the tips I’m about to give you, it’s impossible to fail!
So let’s get to it, yes? But first, here are some “flan” facts (pun 100% intended, ahaha) if you’re curious… (if you’re not curious, that’s ok, too. Just scroll right on through to get right to the recipe card, and the precious tips I have for you down below!)
What is Flan?
Essentially, a flan is a baked egg custard dessert, like crème caramel. Traditional flans have a caramel topping and are loved all over the world, especially in Latin countries. But, where is flan originally from?
Where is Flan From?
Flan’s roots can be traced all the way back to the Roman Empire, where it was served as a savory dish, and the egg and cream-based dish was served with meat and fish.
The addition of caramelized sugar is attributed to the Spanish, and then, this sweet custard became a classic dessert in many Latino households around the world.
And what makes Brazilian Flan different from other classic flans? A Brazilian Flan recipe calls for condensed milk. AND, trditionally, it bakes in a bundt pan, so Brazilian flan always has a hole in the middle of it.
Other Brazilian custards to try: Pudim de Tapioca – Brazilian Tapioca Pudding
Brazilian Flan Ingredients
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- Whole milk—lower or no fat milk will not work as well
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Granulated sugar
YOU’LL ALSO NEED
- A 9 x 2 3/4 inch bundt cake pan – To double the recipe, use a 10 x 3.5 inch pan instead!
- Heat-safe gloves or towel
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Roasting Pan
- A serving dish that’s large enough to hold the flan and its caramel
How to Make Brazilian Flan
First and foremost, we’re going to blend our egg-milk mixture, and let it rest while we prepare the pan. We do this to ensure your pudim comes out smooth and free of any ugly air bubbles.
So, add the eggs, the milk and the sweetened condensed milk to a blender. Pulse a few times to combine everything, then set the custard aside.
Then, before we move to caramelizing the sugar, bring bring approximately 2.5-3 quarts of water to a boil for the hot water bath in a kettle, or medium pan. We’ll need this ready for when we bake our Brazilian Flan, and it’s best to start it before you begin the caramelized sugar process so you won’t be distracted.
How to caramelize sugar for flan
Caramelizing sugar can intimidate a lot of people, but I can assure you that it’s actually easier than you think.
All you need to do is add the granulated sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium to high heat. Bring to a simmer, and let it simmer untouched until it turns a beautiful amber color.
It takes the sugar around 10 or so minutes to melt and turn light gold, then it just takes a few more moments for it to go from light gold to amber color. Keep an eye on your pan because from amber to burnt just takes a few seconds!
In fact, if you’re using a copper or triple bottom pan, you can turn off the heat when your caramel reaches a gold color because those pans trap heat and will continue to cook the sugar after the heat is off.
When the caramelized sugar is an amber color (and not any darker—it’ll be bitter if it is!), immediately pour it into the bundt pan.
Caramelized Sugar Pro Tips
- Do not stir this mixture, no matter how tempting it may be. If you stir it, the sugar will crystallize and will not become a smooth, beautiful sauce like the one you see in these photos.
- Keep an eye on it, always. When the sugar begins changing color, it’s going to cook quickly, and if you don’t pay attention, it will burn.
- As soon as the caramel is an amber color, pour it into your bundt pan. You run the risk of it burning and becoming bitter if you leave it in the pan, even if the heat is turned off. This caramel also hardens as it cools, so if you let it sit, you will not be able to pour it in the bundt pan later.
- This stuff is hot, so please, swear to me you’ll be extremely careful!!! I’m not kidding! It’s between 330°F-360°F!
Preparing the Pan for Brazilian Flan
Alright – so, you made your caramel, it’s pretty amber, and you immediately poured it into the bundt pan! Woot woot!
Now, hold the bundt pan with heat safe gloves or towel, as shown above. That sugar syrup is around 330°F, so be extremely careful while doing this!
Swirl the caramel around the bottom of the pan, up the sides and up the center piece of the pan, too. Make sure that the sugar coats the pan well because this is what will get your flan to unmold properly. If this part is done wrong, the flan might not easily come out of the pan in one piece.
Work quickly, confidently and carefully in this part.
But again, amigos, the pan is incredibly hot, and you can get seriously injured by this molten caramelized sugar, so please, please, please be careful.
With the pan properly coated, gently place it in the roasting pan. Then, pour the custard into the caramel-coated bundt pan.
Lastly, pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the bundt pan.
Be careful in this part, too, as the water is hot, and we don’t want it to splash into our flan.
Baking Your Brazilian Flan Recipe
Place the roasting pan in the oven, and bake. This Brazilian Flan recipe will bake for an hour to about an hour and 15 minutes. After that time, the flan will still jiggle in the center. But, don’t worry about this because it will firm up as it cools.
Remove from the oven and let the cooked flan sit in the water bath on the stovetop or countertop for another hour or so. This will allow the pan to cool off and the flan will continue to cook gently with the residual heat of the water bath.
After that hour, loosen the Brazilian flan from the side of the pan by running a paring knife around the inside and outside rims. Do this slowly and gently to free any pieces of the flan that might be sticking.
Once you’ve done this part, refrigerate it in the pan for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. I recommend covering with plastic wrap so that your flan doesn’t soak up any flavors/smells that are floating around your fridge.
Unmold your Brazilian Flan
After your flan has refrigerated, you’re ready to unmold it.
You can do this!
Remove the flan from the fridge. Gently shake/wiggle the pan to make sure it’s already “loose”.
Place a serving plate large enough to fit the flan and all that delicious caramel sauce directly on top of the pan.
Take a deep breath, and flip the plate and pan together! When the pan is upside down, the plate can be placed on a countertop. Then, gently lift up and remove the pan.
If the pudim doesn’t come out of the pan easily, don’t hit the pan to try and MacGyver it out of there! LOL! Just re-warm the pan by placing it over a stove burner for a few minutes, just long enough to re-warm the caramel inside of the pan and try again.
That’s it! You’re ready to serve and eat!
As for serving, we typically don’t serve Brazilian flan with anything other than the caramel sauce, but if you want to, you can serve it up with some fruit or some whipped cream, too. You do you, boo!
Brazilian Flan Recipe Frequently Asked Questions:
What does flan taste like?
My short answer is — it tastes like sweet, sweet magic!
But, if you’re looking for specifics, a flan is a sweet creamy, custardy dish. If you’ve eaten a creme brulee, the texture is a little firmer than that, but the flavor is somewhat similar. Brazilian flan is probably sweeter as well.
How long to cook flan?
This Brazilian Flan recipe bakes for an hour to about an hour and 15 minutes. Please note the amount of ingredients and the sizes of the pans I use in this recipe because that makes a difference. Obviously, if you’re making a smaller flan in a smaller bundt pan, it will cook for less time.
How to store flan?
Store it covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. Never, ever, ever freeze it.
Other Flans from Around the world!
- Puerto Rican Flan by my girl Marta from Sense & Edibility
- Mexican Flan Recipe by Ana Frias from Muy Delish
- Spanish Flan Recipe by David Pope on Spanish Sabores
Other Great Brazilian Desserts to try:
- Brigadeiro Cake Recipe
- Pudim de Tapioca – Brazilian Tapioca Pudding
- Pave de Chocolate – No-Bake Chocolate Buiscuit Cake
- Brigadeiro Recipe
Brazilian Flan Recipe
For the Custard
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2x 14oz cans of sweet condensed milk
For the Caramel
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
Make the Custard:
- Add all custard ingredients (eggs, milk and sweet condensed milk) to a blender and pulse a few times to combine. Set aside.
Make the Caramelized Sugar Sauce:
- In a kettle, or medium pan, bring approximately 2.5-3 quarts of water to a boil for the hot water bath.
- Add the sugar and the water to a small saucepan over medium to high heat. Bring it to a simmer, and let it simmer until it turns an amber color, approximately 13 mins. Be sure to watch the pan at all times to avoid burning the sugar, and never, ever, ever stir it.
- When the sugar is amber color, carefully pour it in the bundt pan. Coat the inside of the pan with the caramel by swirling it gently up the sides and center of the pan–see the photo in post above. The sugar will be super hot, so be extra careful!
- Place the bundt pan in a large roasting pan. Then, pour the custard on top of the caramel.
- Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about approximately halfway up the sides of the bundt pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 mins, then remove the cooked flan from the oven. Please note that the flan will still jiggle a little at the center. It will firm up as it cools.
- Let the cooked flan sit in the water bath outside of the oven for another hour or so, until the pan is cool to touch.
- After that hour, loosen the flan from the sides of the pan by running a paring knife around the inside and the outside rims. Then place plastic wrap over the flan and refrigerate in the pan for at least 4 hours. (You can also refrigerate it overnight.)
- Unmold* and transfer to a plate, then serve and enjoy!