Enjoying a perfectly baked flan (creme caramel) has never been so easy thanks to Instant Pot and this simple recipe! Typically, baking a flan can be tricky. Some may have difficulty with the caramel, baking process, or both. This is why I have created the best Instant Pot Flan (Creme Caramel) recipe to solve all of your problems!
Moreover, cooking and baking in an Instant Pot is one of the hottest trends in today’s household kitchens. Rightfully so, it is amazing what you can create within minutes using an Instant Pot. Take my Instant Pot Flan (Creme Caramel) recipe for an example. This recipe is so easy to make and the flan only takes 9 minutes to bake to perfection!
In addition to my Instant Pot Flan (Creme Caramel) recipe, this post also includes the inspiration behind the recipe, whether there is a difference between flan and creme caramel, a brief history of flan, and more.
Full disclaimer – This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on the link you will have the option to purchase a product at no extra cost to you, but I would receive a small commission. I want to thank everyone for following and supporting us on all of “Our Sweet Adventures.”
Inspiration Behind the Best Instant Pot Flan
In 2016, we spent two months traveling throughout Italy and living with different local hosts. All three of our hosts owned a pressure cooker and at that time, we had never heard or seen one before. Fast-forward to today, and it seems like everyone in the United States has a pressure cooker (Instant Pot).
With that said, this simple Instant Pot flan recipe is inspired by our host, Marina, in Tuscany because she showed a pastry chef how to cook flan within 10 minutes. It still blows my mind that a dessert that typically takes one hour can now take less than 10 minutes. Technology is amazing!
Baking flan in an Instant Pot is so easy. Moreover, the flan comes out perfect every time! It is silky smooth and has a little jiggle to its step when you move it.
One element that is different than most flan recipes is the lemon peel. You do not have to include it, but Marina added lemon peel to her recipe and I wanted to make sure I did the same. The lemon peel does add some lightness with a hint of citrus to cut the sweetness in the flan.
Flan vs. Creme Caramel
So what is the difference between flan and creme caramel? You might have already guessed correctly based on the parenthesis I add in this post – essentially nothing. Some may beg to differ, but in both my professional time in the kitchen and travels, I have seen the same dessert called one and the same.
Whether it is called flan or creme caramel, it is a silky smooth custard dessert with a layer of caramel sauce on the top and around it. The creamy custard is served cold and can have a variation of different ingredients. Today, you can find flan flavored with pumpkin, coffee, chocolate, coconut, and more.
Brief History of Flan (Creme Caramel)
I will keep the history of flan (creme caramel) short and simple. When people hear flan, they relate it to a Spanish or Mexican dessert. When people hear creme caramel, they relate it to a French dessert. However, flan (creme caramel) did not originate from any of those countries.
The caramel custard originated in Italy during the Roman Empire, but it was a savory dish, not sweet. When the Roman Empire fell and the Medival Era began, the flan found its way across Europe eventually making its way to Spain. The Spaniards perfected the savory flan by turning it into a sweet caramel dessert.
During this time, when the flan was making its way throughout Europe, the French called it creme caramel (translation, caramel cream). Then when the Europeans came to the Americas, they brought their sweet treat with them. The rest is history. Now flan (creme caramel) is a beloved dessert across the world.
Instant Pot Flan (Creme Caramel) Ingredients
Flan is very simple. The main ingredients consist of dairy, eggs, and sugar. My recipe includes half and half which provides the custard with a perfect consistency. I also add vanilla extract, lemon peel, and a pinch of salt to enhance the flavors.
You can buy your awesome Instant Pot here.
- Half and half
- Vanilla extract
- Lemon peel
- Pinch of salt
How to Make Flan (Creme Caramel) in an Instant Pot
Making Instant Pot flan (creme caramel) is so easy that it takes just 3 steps! Moreover, it only takes 10 minutes to prep and 9 minutes to cook. The only long part of the process is waiting for the flan to chill in the fridge.
Making a Dry Caramel
First, you will make a dry caramel. Warm-up a small stainless steel saucepan over medium heat. Then slowly sprinkle some sugar to see if it will melt. If it does, you are ready to add more sugar. If the sugar does not start to dissolve, then you need to wait for the stainless steel saucepan to get hotter.
To make a dry caramel, slowly add sugar into the saucepan until the sugar crystals dissolve. If you add the sugar too quickly, the crystals will clump together and the process will take longer. Once all the sugar melts and turns into a caramel turn the heat down.
The dry caramel should be a nice golden amber color. When you notice the caramel getting close to an amber color, turn the heat off. The caramel will continue to cook when the heat is off i.e. the caramel will get darker. The darker the caramel, the more bitter it will be.
Quickly pour all of the caramel into your desired ramekins, flute pan, cake pan, etc. If you are using several ramekins, try to evenly distribute the caramel. Set aside and let the caramel in your ramekins/pan cool completely.
Making the Custard
Next, heat up the half and half, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon peel, and salt in another saucepan over medium heat. Once it comes to a very low boil, remove from the heat. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs in a bowl. Remove the lemon peel.
Temper the eggs by slowly adding the hot liquid into the bowl while whisking. Keep pouring the liquid into the eggs while mixing everything together to prevent the eggs from curdling. Strain the custard into another bowl or pitcher (anything with a spout).
Bake the Flan and Serve
Lastly, pour the strained custard into your desired ramekins, flute pan, cake pan, etc. Use a torch to remove all the bubbles on the surface. Then cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Add cold water to the Instant Pot followed by a steamer rack. Then place the covered flan into the Instant Pot. Cook the flan at High Pressure for 9 minutes with Natural Release. Once the flans are cooked, carefully remove them and chill in the fridge for 3 – 4 hours.
When you are ready to serve, carefully take a spatula or knife around the rim of the ramekin. Flip the flan over the desired serving plate and viola. Serve with some mixed berries and enjoy!
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups half and half
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 small lemon (peeled)
- Pinch of salt
- 4 eggs
- Make a dry caramel by heating up a stainless steel small saucepan over medium heat. When the saucepan is hot, slowly sprinkle the sugar over the pan. When the sugar crystals melt, add more slowly until all of the sugar is dissolved and turned into caramel. When the caramel begins to turn into a golden amber color, remove from the heat. The caramel will continue to turn darker. Pour the caramel into the ramekins making sure you distribute it evenly.
- Whisk the eggs together in a bowl. Meanwhile in another saucepan, heat up the half and half, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon peel until it comes to a low boil. Remove the lemon peel. Temper the eggs by slowly pouring the mixture into the eggs while whisking everything together. Continue to pour the mixture until everything is combined well. Do not pour the mixture all at once or too quickly because you will risk the eggs to curdle. Strain the custard mixture into another bowl or pitcher.
- Pour the custard into the ramekins with the set caramel. Make sure you distribute the custard evenly and fill below the rim. Cover the ramekins tightly with aluminum foil.
- Pour 1 cup of cold water into the Instant Pot followed by a steamer rack. Then place the ramekins into the Instant Pot. (If you do not have enough space, you will have to do the cooking process twice - use fresh cold water). Cook the flan at High Pressure for 9 minutes with Natural Release. When the flan is finished cooking, carefully remove the flan and chill in the fridge for 3 - 4 hours.
- When you are ready to serve, use a spatula or knife and run it along the ramekin to remove the flan. Flip the flan over in your desired serving dish and enjoy!
If you are cooking the flan in a desired flute pan, cake pan, or bigger ramekins, do not change the cooking time.
It is okay if not all the caramel comes out from the ramekins when you flip and remove the flan to serve. Most of it will come out and it will be enough.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, when you click on the link you will have the option to purchase a product at no extra cost to you, but I would receive a small commission. I want to thank everyone for following and supporting us on all of “Our Sweet Adventures” and for cooking with my recipes on "Christina's Culinary Creations".