Fine Desserts

Mexican Chocolate Flan Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Make our decadent Mexican Chocolate Flan to indulge in heavenly caramel-covered, incredibly-smooth cocoa custard with a spicy twist.
Mexican Chocolate Flan is served on a golden rim platter and a slice has been cut and served on a dessert plate. The flan is silky smooth in deep chocolate color and covered with a thin layer of caramel.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: Our Mexican Chocolate Flan Recipe delivers a lush, elegant dessert made with seven simple ingredients. This flan gives you a silky smooth treat with deep cocoa flavor and a delightful kick!

  • Cinnamon and a touch of ground cayenne pepper accentuate the chocolate and bring satisfying warmth.
  • The custard base is topped with a thin, saucy layer of irresistible caramel.

Mexican Chocolate Flan is my new favorite recipe featuring what I think is the greatest flavor combination: chocolate and caramel. For more ways to dig into this sweet dream team, check out our Caramel Filled Chocolates, Decadent Caramel Brownies, Espresso Parfait with Chocolate Caramel Sauce, and Chocolate Salted Caramel Truffles.

Table of Contents

Mexican Chocolate Flan is served on a golden rim platter. The close-up shot shows that it is silky smooth in deep chocolate color and covered with a thin layer of caramel.

What is Mexican Chocolate Flan?

  • Mexican Chocolate Flan is a baked then chilled custard dessert covered with a thin layer of caramel. “Mexican chocolate” refers to the specific flavoring in this flan. Mexican chocolate has a deep cocoa taste and a deliciously complex flavor profile because it’s flavored with cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
  • Flan‘s signature smooth texture is partly due to the cooking method. The baking dish is placed in a water bath (bain-marie) so it cooks gently and slowly. The water bath prevents the flan from getting tough.
  • Flan is a close cousin to the French Crème Caramel. Both custard desserts evolved from an ancient Roman dish made from eggs, milk, and honey.

Tools You Need

Key Ingredients and Why

  • Granulated sugar

    • Sugar sweetens the custard base, and sugar is the chief component of the caramel.
    • In a flan mixture, sugar draws moisture from other ingredients, such as eggs and milk. This contributes to the flan’s velvety texture, and it also prevents weeping (the flan releasing excess moisture).
  • Egg yolks

    • Eggs provide tenderness, emulsification, and structure.
    • Using only egg yolks adds stability and makes the flan’s mouthfeel extra luscious.
    • Unless specified, eggs should always be at room temperature. Here are quick tips to warm up eggs that are straight from the fridge.
  • Whole milk

    • Milk gives the flan its smooth creaminess.
    • The proteins in milk are essential to creating the flan’s structure.
    • For all recipes, I always use full-fat milk for the best flavor and texture.
  • Heavy whipping cream

    • The high-fat content of heavy cream gives the flan a sumptuous texture.
    • Using a combination of heavy cream and whole milk makes flan indulgently rich without being too heavy.
  • Bittersweet chocolate

    • Bittersweet chocolate gives an intense chocolate flavor that’s not too sweet or cloying.
    • Using bittersweet chocolate in Mexican Chocolate Flan is a more authentic choice than sweeter, milder milk chocolate.
  • Cinnamon

    • Cinnamon is a traditional ingredient in Mexican chocolate recipes.
    • Its spicy warmth balances out the sweetness and richness of the flan and enhances the chocolate.
  • Salt

    • The small amount of salt it essential, as it brings out the chocolate and spice flavors and keeps the dessert from being overly sweet.
  • Cayenne pepper

    • The mild heat of cayenne pepper adds a flavorful kick to the sweet flan.
    • Chocolate dishes in Mexico commonly include cayenne pepper, which accentuates the cocoa flavor.

How to Make Mexican Chocolate Flan

  • Prep:
    • Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).
    • Place an 8-inch (20cm) round cake pan in a large roasting pan and set aside.
    • Set a kettle of water to boil.
  • Make the caramel:
    • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add one cup (8 oz/225 g) of sugar and ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) water. Over medium-low heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved.
    • Stop stirring and allow the mixture to simmer gently just until the sugar caramelizes to a deep, dark amber color, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat immediately.
    • Pour into cake pan and let harden at room temperature.
  • Make the flan mixture:
    • In a heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the ¼ cup (2 oz/57 g) of sugar.
    • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk, cream, chocolate, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat.
    • Slowly pour the hot liquid into the egg yolks, whisking constantly.
    • Strain the custard through a sieve onto the caramel in the cake pan.
  • Bake the flan:
    • Place in the oven and pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the cake pan.
    • Bake for 50 minutes, until the edges are set, but the middle is still jiggly.
  • Chill and serve the flan:
    • Remove the cake pan from the water bath, and let the flan cool to room temperature.
    • Refrigerate the flan for at least 4hours (preferably overnight) to chill and set.
    • To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the flan. Place a rimmed serving plate on top of the pan and invert the flan onto the plate. Carefully remove the pan.

A slice has been cur from the Mexican Chocolate Flan that's served on a golden rim platter. The close-up shot shows that it is silky smooth in deep chocolate color and covered with a thin layer of caramel.

Can I Make Mexican Chocolate Flan in Advance?

Yes, you can make Mexican Chocolate Flan in advance.

  • Let the baked flan cool to room temperature.
  • Cover the flan well in cling wrap and refrigerate for up to four days.

How to Store Leftovers

Store any leftover flan in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.

FAQs

  • How can I tell when the flan is done baking?

    • When done, the flan will be set around the edges but jiggle slightly in the center.
    • You want a jiggle in the middle because eggs continue to cook once the flan is removed from the oven.
  • Any tips for a newbie caramel maker?

    • Caramel making is not as complicated as you might think. It does take practice, and you do need to follow a few simple rules:
      • Use a heavy-bottomed saucepan
      • Unless specified in the recipe, DO NOT stir your caramel once it has started to simmer
      • Cook until you get a rich brown color, but don’t allow the caramel to smoke.
      • For a deeper dive into caramel making, check out my guide, How to Make Caramel.
  • Why do I have to use a water bath?

    • A water bath is a buffer layer that protects the flan from direct heat.
    • This ensures slow, even, gentle cooking, which keeps the flan from curdling and/or cracking.
    • In addition, the water creates humidity in the oven, which keeps the flan moist and prevents it from being dry or rubbery.
  • How do I make sure my flan is perfectly smooth and lump-free?

    • When combining egg yolks and sugar, make sure that you mix them together immediately. Otherwise, the yolks will quickly dry out from the undissolved sugar, which is called “burning.” This will leave you with hard bits in the finished recipe.
    •  Sieving the flan mixture will ensure the perfect texture.

A slice of Mexican Chocolate Flan is served on a white dessert plate. It is silky smooth in deep chocolate color and covered with a thin layer of caramel.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

  • When making the caramel, stir just until the sugar is dissolved, and then be sure to stop stirring, or the sugar may crystalize.
  • This flan has a subtle hint of cinnamon and spice, which is just right for me. Taste the chocolate mixture before you whisk in the egg yolks, and you can adjust the spice level to your liking.
  • Watch the flan carefully towards the end of the baking time so that it doesn’t overcook. It should jiggle in the center.
  • You will have a lot of egg whites left over. These egg whites can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months for use in other recipes. For egg white recipes, try one of my many pavlova or meringue recipes!
  • You can easily divide this recipe between five to six ramekins to make individual flans. The bake time will reduce dramatically, so keep an eye out for that jiggle in the middle.

More Flan and Custard Recipes

Watch The Recipe Video!

Mexican Chocolate Flan Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Make our decadent Mexican Chocolate Flan to indulge in heavenly caramel-covered, incredibly-smooth cocoa custard with a spicy twist.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 10 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Make our decadent Mexican Chocolate Flan to indulge in heavenly caramel-covered, incredibly-smooth cocoa custard with a spicy twist.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

Caramel

  • 1 cup (8 oz/225 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) water

Chocolate Custard

  • 10 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (2 oz/57 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (16 fl oz/480 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (8 oz/240 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup (6 oz/170 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C) and place an 8-inch (20cm) round cake pan in a large roasting pan and set aside. Set a kettle of water to boil.

Make the Caramel Topping

  • In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, add one cup (8 oz/225 g) of sugar and ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) water and turn the heat on to medium low. Stir gently until the sugar is dissolved, then stop stirring. Allow to simmer gently and watch carefully until the sugar caramelizes to a deep, dark amber color, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Immediately remove from the heat and pour into your 8-inch (20 cm) cake pan and let cool until hardened.

Make the Chocolate Custard

  • In a medium, heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining ¼ cup (2 oz/57 g) of sugar and set aside.
  • In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk, cream, chocolate, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat.
  • Gradually pour this hot liquid into the egg yolks while whisking constantly.
  • Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into the cake pan on top of the hardened caramel.
  • Place in the oven and pour boiling water from the kettle into the roasting dish to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes, until the edges are set but the center is still jiggly.
  • Remove from the water bath and let cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight to set.
  • When ready to serve, loosen the edges of the flan by running a thin knife all around the edge of the custard. Place a rimmed serving plate on top of the pan, then invert onto the plate. Gently remove the cake pan and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • When making the caramel, stir just until the sugar is dissolved, and then be sure to stop stirring, or the sugar may crystalize.
  • This flan has a subtle hint of cinnamon and spice, which is just right for me. Taste the chocolate mixture before you whisk in the egg yolks, and you can adjust the spice level to your liking.
  • Watch the flan carefully towards the end of the baking time so that it doesn’t overcook. It should jiggle in the center.
  • You will have a lot of egg whites left over. These egg whites can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months for use in other recipes. For egg white recipes, try one of my many pavlova or meringue recipes!
  • You can easily divide this recipe between five to six ramekins to make individual flans. The bake time will reduce dramatically, so keep an eye out for that jiggle in the middle.
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Anjali Washington
Anjali Washington
1 month ago

Hello Gemma

Your recipes are fool proof & easy to follow. Thank you so much. My whole family enjoyed the Mexican Chocolate Flan. It was delicious.

Terry
Terry
1 month ago

Gemma, me darlin’, you forgot to list the 1/4c sugar that goes in the custard, in the Ingredients list. 🤗
And…is that one of the 2″ high cake pans, or will one of the “old” style, shallower pans work? Thanks, as always, and have a great weekend!

Last edited 1 month ago by Terry

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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