Flan de Elote Recipe (Corn Flan)

This Mexican flan de elote recipe has a sweet caramel topping and a decadent creamy base. Known also as corn flan, this sweet treat is a guaranteed winner at any dinner party and it tastes like a cheesecake and flan all rolled into one dessert!

Slices of flan de elote in small plates.

About

Flan de elote, also known as corn flan, is a popular Mexican custard dessert that is made with eggs, condensed milk, cream cheese, evaporated milk, and sweet corn. It is coated with a sweet, toasted caramel sauce and tastes similar to a panna cotta with subtle hints of corn.

Elote means corn, and in Mexico, this ingredient is used to make many traditional and modern sweet dishes like pan de elote (corn cake).

Flan originated in Ancient Rome and, believe it or not, started as a savory dish usually served alongside meat or fish. The word flan is the French equivalent of the Latin word flandon, which comes from the Old High German word “fado” and means “flat cake”

There are a few flavor variations of flan such as chocolate, coffee, and also fruit flavors like mango and orange.

It can take some time to perfect the flan de elote recipe but once you have it it’s a surefire recipe that you can put into your dessert-making repertoire. 

Flan de elote, aka corn flan in a cake stand.

Ingredients

Flan de elote is the perfect dessert to take along to any type of gathering or dinner party. The recipe asks just for a few ingredients and it’s a naturally gluten-free dessert.

  • Canned sweet corn: You can use fresh white corn if you like but grabbing a can is much easier and saves you time.
  • Eggs: Use medium eggs and you will be using both the yolks and the whites in this recipe.
  • Cream cheese: This ingredient brings out a beautiful texture to the corn flan.
  • Evaporated milk: You can choose to use store-bought for this ingredient to save time or use our recipe for homemade evaporated milk. Or you can replace it with whole milk.
  • Condensed milk: With this ingredient, you can again choose to use store-bought condensed milk or make your own from scratch using our recipe. This is what will make your flan sweet and silky smooth.
  • Vanilla extract – You want to make sure you use real vanilla extract for this recipe and not the knock-off vanilla flavoring.
  • For the caramel: Granulated sugar, water, and a pinch of salt.
Ingredients for flan de elote displayed with names on a kitchen countertop.

How To Make Flan de Elote

  • Place sugar, water, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Swirl the pan from time to time until it starts to bubble and change color to a golden brown.
  • Carefully pour the caramel into a baking round pan or flan mold and swirl the mold so the caramel will coat also a bit on the sides.

Place corn and milk in a blender and process at high speed until nicely smooth.

Add eggs, cream cheese, condensed milk, and vanilla, then blend for a few seconds until combined (make sure you don’t overmix).

Flan de elote custard in a blender.

Place a fine sieve over the prepared caramelized pan and carefully strain the custard into it.

Straining the flan custard inside the caramelized pan.

Place the pan with the flan mixture inside a larger baking pan. Pour hot water into the larger pan, enough to fill half of the pan with the flan mixture.

The pan with the custard placed inside a larger pan filled with water.

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and bake for 1 hour or until nicely set on the sides but a bit giggly in the middle.

Flan de elote completely baked inside the larger pan with water.

Remove the mold from the water bath and place it on a cooling rack. Allow to reach room temperature then cover with cling film and chill in the fridge overnight.

When ready to serve, run a knife around the edges of the mold to loosen up the flan.

Take a serving plate and place it over the pan. Quickly flip them, then lift the mold so flan de elote will easily slide out with the caramel nicely covering it all.

Close-up of flan de elote.

Recipe Notes

  • Don’t overcook your caramel: One of the trickiest parts of making flan is perfecting the caramel because it can go from perfect to burnt within seconds so you will want to keep a close eye and practically babysit your pot of sugar whilst it caramelizes.
  • Always strain your custard: The less bubbly and chunky your custard batter is at the start, the more smooth your flan will be once cooked. So it is always suggested to strain your custard mixture.
  • Use room temperature eggs: By doing this the shock of the warm milk won’t cause the eggs to scramble the mixture.
  • Alternative sweetener: You can replace granulated sugar with coconut sugar if you would like an alternative sweetener option.

How To Serve Corn Flan

Flan de elote can be served either at room temperature or cold just drizzled with the delicious caramel sauce.

Or you can serve with a spoonful of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with cajeta, or with a handful of fresh berries on the side.

Flan de elote is a perfect dessert to bring out after dinner or to enjoy in the mid-afternoon with a good cup of café de olla.

Flan de elote sliced and served in small plates.

How To Store

Custard desserts keep well in the fridge for about two days so they can easily be made the day or two before your party or gathering, leaving you more time for cooking your main meals on the day. 

Although it is not the best-recommended storage suggestion because the dessert could end up absorbing flavors from other foods in your freezer. If desired you can store this corn flan in the freezer for 2 months too. Thaw and bring to room temperature before serving.

More Flan Recipes

If you loved this corn flan and want to try out similar recipes then take a look at some of our other mouth-watering Mexican desserts.

Flan de elote recipe.

Flan de Elote

author Maricruz
8 servings
Corn Flan or Flan de Elote is a silky, sweet, and amazingly creamy dessert made with simple ingredients. The smoky and decadent caramel is delicious and all you need to serve this Mexican dessert.
prep 10 minutes
cook 1 hour 10 minutes
total 1 hour 20 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 9-inches round baking pan

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup canned sweet corn
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1-12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1-14 oz can condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For caramel

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 pinch salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Place sugar, water, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Swirl the pan from time to time until it starts to bubble and change color to a golden brown.
  • Carefully pour the caramel into a baking round pan or flan mold and swirl the mold so the caramel will coat also a bit on the sides.
  • Place corn and evaporated milk in a blender and process until nicely smooth.
  • Add eggs, cream cheese, condensed milk, and vanilla, then blend for a few seconds until combined (do not overmix!).
  • Strain the custard into the caramelized pan.
  • Place the pan with the flan mixture inside a larger baking pan. Pour hot water into the larger pan, enough to cover half of the pan with the flan mixture.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until nicely set on the sides but a bit giggly in the middle.
  • Remove the mold from the water bath and place it on a cooling rack. Allow to reach room temperature then chill in the fridge overnight.
  • When ready to serve, run a knife around the edges of the mold to loosen up the flan.
  • Take a serving plate and place it over the pan. Quickly flip them, then lift the mold so the flan will easily slide out with the caramel covering it all.

Notes

  • Caramel can go from perfect to burnt within 15 seconds so you will want to keep a close eye and practically babysit your pot of sugar whilst it caramelizes.
  • For a silky and smooth texture, always strain the custard mixture.
  • Use room-temperature eggs, so the shock of the warm milk won’t cause the eggs to scramble the mixture.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 153mg | Sodium: 250mg | Potassium: 402mg | Sugar: 57g | Vitamin A: 668IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 289mg | Iron: 1mg
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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    My corn flan turned out so smooth anc creamy! Thank you so much for this recipe, the straining tip helped me big time. I served this for our family dinner and they loved it so much!