The Best Mexican Chocolate Flan Recipe

Topped with fresh fruit, this creamy Mexican chocolate flan is the ultimate chocolate dessert. This easy-to-make Mexican flan recipe is a popular custard dessert in Latin America, made with eggs and milk and covered with a light sweet syrup. Also known as crème caramel, this showstopper dessert will impress friends and family, perfect for Cinco de Mayo celebrations or any occasion!

Mexican chocolate flan

A creamy Mexican dessert flan that your kids will love

Growing up back in Guatemala, my grandma made the most delicious flans you can imagine for afterschool snacks or special celebrations. She always said that nothing compares to a good homemade meal, and ending a meal with a sweet treat was her specialty. Therefore, recreating some of her most cherished recipes has become my way to honor her.

Since moving to Florida, I developed a craving for comfort food that reminds me of my childhood in Guatemala, like pork taquitos, savory tamales colorados, or creamy desserts like flan. And since we are trying to keep traditions alive and teach our kids about their Hispanic heritage, cooking is the perfect teaching vessel. So, every year, I think of new ways to celebrate important dates like Cinco de Mayo or Day of the Dead. 

When I think of a Mexican dessert, the first thing that comes to mind is a plate of soft flan topped in sweet syrup. So I decided to give the traditional Mexican flan recipe a twist that will surely make my grandma’s skill in the kitchen proud. Adding chocolate gave me the desired result: a creamy custard full of flavors that will have your kids licking their fingers! 

best Mexican chocolate flan

What is Flan?

Also known as caramel custard or crème caramel, flan is a creamy vanilla custard dessert made of eggs, milk, plus flavorings such as vanilla or coffee. It is a mix between French crème brûlée and vanilla pudding, baked in a traditional bain-marie or water bath.

It is a caramel lover’s dream, with a rich layer of sugar-based syrup that bathes the entire flan. You can eat it warm out of the oven, but I prefer serving it chilled as this custard dessert sets better after a day in the fridge. 

Easy chocolate flan recipe

Is Flan a traditional Mexican dessert?

Although nowadays flan is a staple among Mexican cuisine, it originally dates back to ancient Rome as a savory dish. It was usually an egg-based side dish alongside meat and fish until a chef added honey and turned it into a popular sweet dessert.

Then the Spanish adopted the recipe and gave this creamy custard a twist by adding a caramel sauce on top, giving birth to the traditional flan. When the Spanish arrived in Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula, they brought their favorite dishes, much of their gastronomy fusing with our Latin American culture. As a result, you will find a strong Iberian influence among many traditional Latino recipes. Still, flan has kept the basic recipe throughout the years.

Mexican chocolate flan recipe

What is Flan made of?

A traditional Mexican Flan is a custard-based dessert made with eggs and sweetened condensed milk, cream, or whole milk. It is baked in a water bath to get the best consistency and topped off with a rich, liquid caramel made from sugar and water. 

You might be wondering, can I make different flavors of flan? Most definitely Yes! The best part about this Mexican dessert is that you can play around with other flavorings like vanilla, coconut, coffee, orange, and my favorite, chocolate! Be sure to check out my other flan recipes!

how to make chocolate flan

How to make Mexican chocolate flan 

Make the caramel

  1. In a medium-size saucepan, stir 2/3 cup of sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a boil on medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Reduce the heat and continue to cook without stirring until the syrup gets a light amber-caramel color. Brush the sides of the saucepan with water as needed to wash down any crystals that might form.
  3. Immediately pour the caramel into the bottom of an oven-proof pan, swirling the caramel to cover the bottom evenly. Set aside.

Whisk the Flan:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325° F. Place a large baking pan inside and add warm water until it reaches about ¾ inch. It will be the water bath for later on.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk ½ cup of sugar with the eggs, yolk, vanilla, and salt.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and cinnamon to a boil. Add the Mexican Chocolate and whisk until it dissolves.
  4. Remove the cinnamon sticks and slowly pour the chocolate mix into the egg batter, whisking to combine.

Mexican hot chocolate flan

Make a water bath for the flan

  1. Carefully pour the hot custard into the caramel-coated pan and place it on the oven rack, creating a  bain-marie or water bath for the pan.
  2. Bake the flan until it is set but still a bit wiggly, about 30 minutes. Then, let it cool down at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  3. Chill until completely set, about 4 hours.

Remove cooked flan from pan:

  1. Once the flan has cooled, run a sharp knife between the flan and baking pan to loosen it from the edges.
  2. Place a large serving plate on top of the pan and quickly flip it over in one smooth move to invert the flan onto the plate. 
  3. Be careful not to spill any liquid caramel from the pan. Instead, it should bathe the top of the flan as a syrup.

Final touches

  1. Wash the fruit and pat dry.
  2. Cut the strawberries with a small heart-shaped cookie cutter.
  3. Garnish flan with strawberry hearts, raspberries, blueberries, pomegranate, and mint leaves. Serve.

Chocolate flan with fresh berries

Tips for making the best Mexican chocolate flan

  • Handle with care: Be super careful when flipping the flan, as the hot caramel can burn your skin. Instead, use a serving plate with rims to catch all the syrup and avoid accidental burning. Plus, the rimming will keep the caramel all over your kitchen counter.
  • Is your oven range not working? Don’t panic! If you don’t have an oven or yours is not working correctly, you can make this Mexican recipe the old-fashioned way: on your stovetop. Cook it inside a large pot at medium heat in a water bath!
  • Have fun with shapes! Although you can use a traditional flan mold for this recipe, you should always use what you have at home, like cake pans, flan tins, tart pans, or any heat-resistant dish. I chose individual mini bundt pans to give this dessert a touch of fun, allowing me to personalize each plate. 

Make Ahead of Time

As a general rule, cooked dairy or egg products last refrigerated for 3-5 days. Anything past five days is a gamble; just remember that spoilage can happen before you can see or smell it. Having said that, I like to make this delicious Mexican dessert late in the afternoon the day before I plan to serve it. 

After you cool and unmold the flan, cover with plastic wrap directly over the custard and refrigerate overnight, so the flan sets better before adding the garnish. You can then serve it cold or bring it to room temperature for about 30 minutes on your kitchen counter, but keep it covered. Finally, serve on a plate, garnish, and enjoy!

What To Serve with Mexican Flan?

A plate of this creamy custard is a satisfying and refreshing way to end any meal! It is perfect as Valentine’s desserts or after a romantic dinner, a fun summery snack for the kids, or as a great Cinco de Mayo dessert.

And if you want to make it a bit more decadent, pour a little dulce de leche or condensed milk on top! Of course, it goes without saying that this dessert flan recipe pairs perfectly with a steamy cup of Guatemalan coffee!

Other Delicious Flan Recipes You’ll Fall in Love With

  • Caramel Apple Flan:  This easy-to-make caramel apple custard dessert brings together the flavors of caramel apples and the creamy deliciousness of flan, the perfect dessert to enjoy this fall.

Caramel Apple Flan

  • Nutella Chocolate Flan: A lovely dessert that combines the delicious taste of chocolate Nutella with the soft, creamy texture of flan. This Nutella flan is the ultimate heart-shaped chocolate dessert!
  • Eggnog Flan: Add eggnog to give a traditional flan a holiday twist. The dessert recipe is very simple and easy to make. Its soft, creamy texture and sweetness will make you ask for seconds… and thirds!
  • Coffee Chocolate Flan Recipe: A bit of coffee always amplifies the flavor or desserts, especially when paired with chocolate. This delicious recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk with eggs, enhanced with the rich flavor of the coffee.

I love reinventing traditional desserts that take me back to my childhood in Guatemala. And after all these years, my love of flan followed me to the US. And as Cinco de Mayo gets closer, I thought it would be a great idea to give my classic flan an upgrade. This Mexican chocolate flan is easy to make and combines the flavors of traditional Mexican flan and Mexican hot chocolate into a light, delicious chocolate dessert. It is a light and creamy dessert that everyone is sure to love. I hope you enjoy this Mexican dessert flan as much as I do, as it is the perfect chocolatey ending to a meal. 

Mexican chocolate flan

Mexican Chocolate Flan

Yield: 12 portions
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes

A creamy chocolate flan bathed in caramel

Ingredients

For the Caramel:

  • 2/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

For the Flan

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 large yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

For Garnish:

  • 1 cup of assorted fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and pomegranates)
  • Fresh mint leaves

Instructions

Make The Caramel

1. In a medium-size saucepan, stir 2/3 cup of sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a boil on medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves.

2. Reduce the heat and continue to cook without stirring until the syrup gets a light amber-caramel color. Brush the sides of the saucepan with water as needed to wash down any crystals that might form.

3. Immediately pour the caramel into the bottom of an oven-proof pan, swirling the caramel to cover the bottom evenly. Set aside.

Whisk the Flan:

1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325° F. Place a large baking pan inside and add warm water until it reaches about ¾ inch. It will be the water bath for later on.

2. In a large bowl, whisk ½ cup of sugar with the eggs, yolk, vanilla, and salt.

3.  In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and cinnamon to a boil. Whisk in the chocolate until it dissolves. Remove the cinnamon sticks and slowly pour the chocolate mix into the egg batter, whisking to combine.

Time for A Water Bath

1. Carefully pour the hot custard into the caramel-coated pan and place it on the oven rack, creating a water bath for the pan.

2. Bake the flan until it is set but still a bit wiggly, about 30 minutes. Then, let it cool down at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

3. Chill until completely set, about 4 hours.

Remove Cooked Flan from Pan:

1. Once the flan has cooled, run a sharp knife between the flan and baking pan to loosen it from the edges.

2. Place a large serving plate on top of the pan and quickly flip it over in one smooth move to invert the flan onto the plate.

3. Be careful not to spill any liquid caramel from the pan. Instead, it should bathe the top of the flan as a syrup.

Final Touches

1. Wash the fruit and pat dry.

2. Cut the strawberries with a small heart-shaped cookie cutter.

3. Garnish flan with strawberry hearts, raspberries, blueberries, pomegranate, and mint leaves. Serve.

Notes

If you don’t have an oven or yours is not working correctly, you can make this Mexican recipe the old-fashioned way: on your stovetop. Cook it inside a large pot at medium heat in a water bath.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 274Total Fat: 13.1gSaturated Fat: 7.8gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 77mgCarbohydrates: 34.4gFiber: 1gSugar: 32.4gProtein: 5.9g

2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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