Flan de Coco (coconut flan) with an easy to make caramel sauce! So smooth and creamy. Each piece is a slice of tropical heaven!
Flan is one of our favorite desserts around here and it comes in so many flavors.
My favorite flavor is always whichever one I’m eating!
We’ve got Flan de Queso (Cheese Flan), which I swear is better than cheesecake.
Cinnamon spiced Pumpkin Flan (Flan de Calabaza) is our dessert of choice once Fall rolls around.
But one of the all-time most popular flan flavors is flan de coco with coconut milk and cream of coconut.
Coconut Flan is popular in many Latin cultures including Puerto Rico, Colombia, Brazil and Costa Rica.
Everyone makes it a little differently, but these are the ingredients which I think makes the BEST coconut flan recipe!
Ingredients for Flan de Coco:
- Coconut milk – traditional flan is made with fresh coconut milk, but that’s quite a process.
I recommend using a brand without fillers and additives like Goya.
- Cream of coconut – this is the ingredient that gives it the most coconut flavor along with some sweetness.
If you’d like a milder coconut flavor, substitute with another can of coconut milk and add ½ cup white sugar.
- Evaporated milk – adds to the creaminess of the flan. Substitute coconut milk if you’d like this dessert to be dairy free.
- Eggs – this is what sets the custard and gives it a silky texture.
- Sugar – for the beautiful caramel sauce.
I absolutely adore flan with cream cheese, but I purposely left it out of this recipe so the coconut flavor can really shine.
If you’d like to make flan de coco y queso you can add a half or whole box of cream cheese (softened) and blend well with the other ingredients.
You can use a cake pan or a flan mold known as a flanera to cook the flan.
A flan mold has a lid and can be used in the oven or for cooking the flan on the stovetop.
Most of the flaneras I’ve seen aren’t large enough to hold ALL of the custard, but you can always split it between two if yours is smaller.
The one I’ve linked is large enough!
My trusty round 8×2 cake pan is not large enough for this particular flan so I recommend using a 9×2 pan or an 8×3 pan.
You can also use a pot with oven safe handles.
Caramel for flan:
The caramel can be prepared on the stove or in the microwave.
For this flan de coco receta I experimented with the microwave and I was pleasantly surprised how perfectly it turned out!
(Stovetop instructions are listed in the Cheese Flan post.)
For the microwave you need to combine sugar and water until it’s semi-dissolved.
Then microwave about 5 minutes, until the deep honey color is achieved.
The sugar will melt, then bubble, then change color.
Do not walk away. Sugar can burn very easily, especially once it’s started to caramelize.
If extra time is needed add it in small increments and keep checking on it.
Tips for making flan:
Remove air bubbles
After mixing the ingredients, pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove air bubbles.
This extra step gives the finished flan a smooth texture free of air pockets.
The secret to a silky texture is to cook the flan in a water bath or baño maria.
The pan with the flan goes inside a larger pan that’s halfway filled with water. This ensures the flan cooks at a slow even temperature.
To cover or not to cover?
Many people cover their flan with aluminum foil before baking. If using a flanera it already has a lid with it.
I’ve cooked flan both covered and uncovered. Personally, I prefer uncovered, but it turns out great either way.
How do you do it? Let us know in the comments below!
I know it’s difficult to wait, but resist the temptation!
After cooking, let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Overnight is best and you won’t regret it when you flip over the pan to reveal your perfect flan in a shimmering pool of caramel sauce!
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 can cream of coconut (Coco Lopez)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
- 6 large eggs
- Coconut shreds, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare the water bath: heat a kettle of water to boil. Set out a 9x2 round cake pan for the flan and a larger baking pan that the flan pan can fit into.
- In a microwave safe dish, such as a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup, combine the sugar and water. Start with 4 minutes and microwave until sugar begins to melt, bubble and turn a light amber color.
- Add additional time in 30 second increments until caramel color is achieved. Be careful after it begins to darken since it can burn easily.
- Quickly pour the caramel into the flan pan and swirl to coat the bottom. Caution: Use an oven mitt or towel since the pan will be hot. Set the caramel coated pan aside to cool while you prepare the custard.
- In a blender (or by hand with a whisk), combine the cream of coconut, coconut milk, evaporated milk and eggs until well mixed.
- Place the cake pan with the caramel into the larger pan. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into the cake pan.
- Next, add the boiling water to the larger pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the flan is set around the edges with a slight jiggle in the very middle.
- Remove from oven and let the flan cool in the water bath, about an hour. Once cool, cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Overnight is best.
- When ready to serve, run a knife around the edges to loosen. Set a plate over the flan and flip upside-down to invert.
- If desired, garnish with shredded coconut. Slice into wedges and serve.
For the caramel:
For the flan:
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 249Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 92mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 22gProtein: 5g
Nutritional information provided is an estimate only. Please consult the labels of ingredients you use for more accurate results.