Creamy, sweet, and delicious vegan flan that literally melts in your mouth. This crème caramel is a no-bake dessert that requires only 15 minutes of prep time. The recipe is egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and very easy to make.
Creme Caramel vs Flan
A classic flan (pronounced FLAHN) is made from eggs, sugar, cream, and milk in a hot water bath. Sweet flan is a common custard dessert in Portugal, Spain, Latin America, and in the Caribbean (e.g. Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, etc.). A well-known variation of French cuisine is crème caramel. The desserts look very similar, however, flan can be either sweet or savory. Crème caramel is only served sweet.
What You Need
Of course, I didn’t use cream, milk, or eggs. Below are the ingredients and their substitutes that you will need for the vegan flan recipe.
All ingredients AND measurements are listed in the printable recipe card below! There you will also find the nutrition facts (calories in flan).
- Coconut milk – Since I live in the Caribbean, I used coconut milk (flan de coco is very popular here). However, you can also use soy cream or oat cream or a combination of a plant-based cream and plant-based milk.
- Cornstarch – Arrowroot flour might be used instead of cornstarch.
- Maple syrup – Any other liquid sweetener can be used instead of maple syrup, for example, agave syrup, date syrup, brown rice syrup.
- Sugar – You could also use brown sugar instead of white sugar. To make the flan refined sugar-free, try coconut sugar or date sugar with a little maple syrup.
- Vanilla extract, and salt – Used for flavor.
- Agar powder – You will need agar powder and not agar flakes. If you only have agar flakes, make sure to use three times as much (2 teaspoons).
How To Make Vegan Flan?
You won’t need a food processor or blender to make this coconut flan. All you need is two saucepans (I actually used the same saucepan) and a stove. Check the step-by step-photos below:
STEP 1: Start by making the caramel: Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once it starts boiling, turn down the heat, let simmer until the sugar caramelizes, then turn off the heat.
STEP 2: Pour the caramel into 4 small ramekins and spread it with a spoon or simply by tilting the ramekins. Try to be quick as the caramel starts to thicken. Set aside and start making the custard.
STEP 3: Add coconut milk, maple syrup, cornstarch, agar powder, vanilla extract, and sea salt to a medium-sized saucepan.
STEP 4: Stir with a whisk until combined, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. As soon as it starts boiling, reduce the heat and let simmer for 2 minutes to activate the agar, then remove from heat.
STEP 5: Pour the creme into the 4 ramekins and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
STEP 6: To unmold the flan, carefully slide a knife around the edges of each ramekin. Invert a platter on top of the ramekin and turn the ramekin and platter over (shake it carefully to release the flan).
Since sugar is highly hydrophilic, it will absorb moisture from the air in the fridge and from the custard and therefore, the caramel will be liquid once you unmold the flan.
Tips And Variations
- Make a flan cake: Use a larger mold instead of 4 small ramekins to make a flan cake.
- Add a flavor: You can add orange juice to make orange flan. It will add a refreshing and interesting flavor.
- Add a crunchy topping: You could add roasted walnuts, almonds, cashews or coconut on top of the caramel sauce for a nice crunch.
How To Store?
Store the flan covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I wouldn’t recommend freezing it.
If you love easy vegan no-bake recipes, make sure to check out my other delicious vegan desserts that also happen to be gluten-free.
- Homemade Marzipan
- Peanut Butter Mousse
- Lemon Coconut Balls
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies
- 3-Ingredient Coconut Balls
- Healthy No-Bake Brownies
- No-Bake Chocolate Protein Bars
- Homemade Bounty Bars
- Breakfast Granola Cups
Should you give this tasty vegan flan recipe a try, please leave a comment and rating below and tag me in your Instagram or Facebook post with #elavegan and @elavegan.
- 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar (*see notes)
- 1-2 tbsp water
- For the caramel, add sugar and water to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Once it starts boiling, turn down the heat, let simmer until it's dark golden brown and thickens, then turn off the heat.
- Quickly pour the caramel into 4 small ramekins and spread the caramel around the bottom with a spoon or simply by tilting the ramekins. Set aside while you make the custard.
- For the custard, add coconut milk, maple syrup, cornstarch, agar powder, vanilla extract, and sea salt to a medium-sized saucepan and stir with a whisk.
- Once combined, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. As soon as it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and let simmer for 2 minutes to activate the agar, then remove from heat.
- Pour the custard into the 4 ramekins and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
- To unmold the flan, gently slide a knife around the edges of each ramekin. Invert a platter on top of the ramekin and turn the ramekin and platter over (shake it carefully). Check the step-by-step photos in the blog post above.
- Enjoy! Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Refined sugar-free version: Try coconut sugar or date sugar with a little maple syrup instead of white sugar.
- Coconut milk: You can also use lite coconut milk or a mixture of soy cream or oat cream with the addition of soy milk or oat milk.
- Maple syrup: Agave syrup, brown rice syrup or any other liquid sweetener can be used instead of maple syrup.
- Cornstarch: Arrowroot flour might be an alternative to cornstarch.
- Agar powder: Make sure to use agar powder (not flakes). If you have agar flakes, you will need to use 3 times as much (2 teaspoons).
- Recipe serves 4. Nutrition facts are for one serving.
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