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Banh Flan Recipe: Vietnamese Caramel Crème Cake for Flan Lovers

There’s a certain magic in discovering a new dessert that’s both delightful and unique in taste. If you’re a flan lover, you’re in for a treat with this Vietnamese take on the classic dessert. Yes, I’m talking about the Banh Flan Recipe. This popular Vietnamese dessert, also known as Vietnamese Caramel Crème Cake or bánh caramel, is a unique fusion of French crème caramel and Southeast Asian ingredients. It’s an absolute must-try for those who adore their dessert with a twist.

Unfolding the Banh Flan Recipe

The banh flan recipe is a rich and creamy custard dessert coated with a layer of caramel. The main ingredients include whole eggs, egg yolks, and a mixture of cream and milk that gives it its creamy texture. The dessert is sweetened with white sugar and flavored with vanilla extract, creating a distinct flavor that makes it stand out from other types of dessert.

A delicious-looking banh flan with a layer of caramel on top, served on a white plate.

From French Desserts to Vietnamese Tables

It is believed that banh flan was inspired by French desserts, particularly the caramel custard or crème caramel. The French introduced this delicious dessert during their colonial rule in Vietnam. Over time, the Vietnamese put their twist on it, incorporating ingredients like coconut milk and pandan leaves to enhance the flavors.

A bowl of ingredients for banh flan, including coconut milk, sugar, and eggs.

The Secret to a Rich Flan: The Egg Mixture

The egg mixture is perhaps the trickiest part of the banh flan recipe. It consists of whole eggs and egg yolks, which contribute to the smooth custard texture of the flan. The mixture of egg and milk is slowly cooked on medium heat, and it’s essential to whisk it continuously to prevent any lumps from forming.

A whisk stirring the egg and milk mixture in a large bowl.

Caramelizing the Sugar

The caramel sauce, which forms the golden brown color top of the custard, is made by cooking sugar on low heat until it caramelizes. This caramelized sugar is then poured into individual ramekins before the custard mixture is added. The edges of the ramekins are lined with caramel, creating a deliciously sweet coating for the creamy custard.

Caramel sauce being poured into a ramekin.

Cooking Banh Flan: The Water Bath Method

The water bath, or bain-marie, is an essential part of the cooking process. The ramekins are placed in a baking dish filled with warm water, ensuring that the custard cooks evenly and maintains its creamy texture. The cooking time usually ranges from 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the ramekins and the oven temperature.

Ramekins of banh flan in a water bath inside a baking dish.

Unmolding and Serving the Flan

Once cooked and cooled, the flan is unmolded by running a thin knife around the sides of the ramekins. The flan is then inverted onto a serving plate, revealing the layer of caramel on top. It’s a special occasion dessert that’s sure to impress your guests, making it a great dinner party dessert.

A perfectly unmolded banh flan on a serving plate, with the caramel topping glistening.

The Unique Flavor of Banh Flan

The flavor of banh flan is unique and appealing, thanks to the combination of rich ingredients like heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut cream. The addition of vanilla extract adds a distinct flavor that enhances the overall taste of the dessert. It’s a type of dessert that’s hard to resist, making it a popular dessert in Vietnamese cuisine.

A close-up shot of a piece of banh flan, showing its creamy texture and caramel topping.

Enjoying Banh Flan: Pairings and Variations

Like its French and Mexican counterparts, banh flan is often enjoyed on its own or paired with fresh fruits or a scoop of ice cream. In Vietnam, it’s common to serve it with a side of shaved ice and black coffee or Vietnamese coffee flan, adding a refreshing and bitter contrast to the sweet and creamy dessert.

A serving of banh flan paired with fresh fruits and a cup of Vietnamese coffee.

In Conclusion: The Charm of Banh Flan Recipe

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply want to indulge in a unique dessert, the banh flan recipe is a surefire hit. Its creamy texture, caramelized sugar topping, and distinct flavor make it a deliciously appealing dessert that’s worth the effort. So, get those ramekins ready and start cooking this delightful Vietnamese treat. You won’t regret it.

A beautiful arrangement of banh flan on a serving plate, ready to be enjoyed.

Heavenly Vietnamese Banh Flan Recipe

Heavenly Vietnamese Banh Flan Recipe

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 2 hours

This Vietnamese Banh Flan Recipe delivers a silky, rich, and indulgent dessert. It's a wonderful blend of caramel and custard, perfect for any occasion or simply when you want to treat yourself.



  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can (14 oz.) of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (14 oz.) of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract


  1. Start by creating the caramel. In a saucepan, mix together the granulated sugar and water.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  3. Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Do not stir.
  4. Boil until the syrup turns a golden brown color. This should take about 10 minutes.
  5. Carefully pour the hot caramel evenly into six ramekins. Be careful as the caramel is extremely hot. Set the ramekins aside to cool and harden.
  6. Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C) and start working on the custard. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, and vanilla extract. Mix well until everything is combined.
  7. Pour the custard mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl to ensure a smooth texture.
  8. Then, divide the strained custard evenly among the caramel-lined ramekins.
  9. Place the ramekins in a large baking dish. Pour hot water into the dish around the ramekins until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45-60 minutes, or until the custard is set but still jiggles slightly in the middle.
  11. Carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath and let them cool to room temperature.
  12. Then, refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until thoroughly chilled.
  13. To serve, run a thin knife around the edges of the ramekins to loosen the flan. Invert onto a plate. The caramel will flow over the custard, creating a delicious sauce.


Be careful not to overcook the flan as it can become rubbery. You can add a touch of lime zest to the custard mixture for an extra burst of flavor. This dessert can be made a day ahead, making it perfect for dinner parties.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 180mgCarbohydrates: 60gNet Carbohydrates: 60gFiber: 0gSugar: 50gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 10g

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