Rose Petal Flan

Light caramel flan with a hint of roses, custard made with whole milk, sugar, and eggs.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Chilling time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 4



  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon rose water*

Special items needed

  • 4 6-ounce ramekins

*Rose water can be found in Mediterranean markets and also Whole Foods in the baking department. According to the Doña Tomàs book you can also make your own by boiling a cup of rose petals (fresh from a garden, not store-bought, no pesticides, no fungicides) in a cup of water with a tablespoon of honey, for 10 minutes. Let steep overnight and then strain. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


1 Make caramel, pour into ramekins: Have your ramekins ready, near the stove. When you pour out the caramelized sugar you will want to work fast. Place the sugar and water in a small, thick-bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium heat. As the sugar beings to melt, gently stir with a wooden spoon to break up unmelted lumps.

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Once the sugar has melted it will begin to turn golden and then darker brown. As soon as it turns a strong shade of reddish brown, remove the pan from the heat, working quickly, evenly divide the sugar between the ramekins, coating the bottom of each ramekin.

Place the ramekins in a 2-inch deep baking dish.

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2 Make flan custard mixture: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small saucepan, on medium high heat, mix sugar and milk until the milk is warm to the touch and the sugar has completely dissolved (about 120°F). Do not let the milk boil. Remove from heat.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and rose water.

Temper the egg mixture with a little (about 1/4 cup) of the warm milk mixture, whisking as you add the milk.

Add the egg mixture back into the pan of milk. Lower the heat to low and whisk the egg mixture in for a minute until the egg mixture is fully incorporated.

3 Pour custard mixture into ramekins, add water to baking pan: Pour custard mixture into the ramekins, up to about 1/4-inch from the top edge of the ramekins. Pour enough hot water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins.

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4 Bake: Bake on the middle rack at 350°F until centers of flans are gently set, about 45 minutes. Transfer flans to rack and cool.

5 Chill: Chill until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead.)

6 Loosen flan from ramekins, turn onto a plate to serve: To serve, run small sharp knife around flan to loosen. Turn over onto plate. Shake gently to release flan. Carefully lift off ramekin allowing caramel syrup to run over flan.


Repeat with remaining flans and serve. If you have refrigerated the flan over night and the flan won't easily release, you can heat it in the microwave for a few seconds (10-15) to loosen it.

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  • Jessie Daniels

    Please excuse my weird idea… but.. I want to try and make the flan with a sugar-free substitute. Obviously, the caramel won’t work the same so, could I bake this in a pie crust? Thanks!!! :)

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Jessie! Emma, managing editor for Simply Recipes, here! Sure, I think you could bake this in a pie crust. I’d recommend using a tart pan and pre-baking the crust before pouring in the custard. Let us know how it works out!

      • Jessie Daniels

        Excellent! Thank you! I most certainly will do so… I’m hoping the marriage-inducing quality of the flan willing will be just as powerful in a pie crust! ;)

  • rick

    Great flan. I garnished with rose petals and a bit of sweet rose salsa. Totally delish.


  • AGS

    My mistake – I was too anxious to eat the flan so I did not let it chill for the recommended 2 hours. I tried the flan the next day and it was not too sweet with a hint of rose flavour! Lesson learnt!

  • AGS

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. Since I was making a flan for the first time, I halved the recipe. The texture was lovely but the custard was too sweet for my liking. Also, I did not have rose water so used rose syrup. I probably did not put enough since I could not taste the flavour.

    I will try again with less sugar & more rose syrup.

  • Chayliana

    I don’t know what went wrong, but my sugar wouldn’t turn golden or caramelize. After nearly 10 minutes of simmering & stirring (over medium heat as instructed) it suddenly seized up on me & reverted back to dry crystallized sugar. I added another 2T water & 1/2 tsp butter & it returned to the simmering stage but still wouldn’t caramelize. After several minutes it seized up again, so I added 1T butter & turned up the heat, then it FINALLY melted & browned, but immediately hardened to peanut brittle consistency in the ramekin. They’re chilling now, so I don’t yet know what the end result will be.

    Sounds like you are using a sugar substitute like Splenda, and not real sugar. Real sugar melts. ~Elise

    • Sumi

      The same thing happened to me as well. I used regular granulated sugar and after meeting, then turning a pale liquid yellow it then slowly thickened and reverted to crystallized sugar.
      One difference is I am making the recipe x5 but I don’t see how that should affect this step. Is tap water vs bottled or other purified water preferred?

  • oralia

    I have done this recipe before, but I used coconut milk instead of whole milk. I just love the coconut taste!! yum!

  • massy safai

    Great recipe. This was my brother’s favorite desert.

  • Moe

    Dear Elise

    Thanks for the awesome Recipe
    I like to add only one note, that the 1 teaspoon Rose Water
    are not enough to show the hint of it
    I think you should try 3 teaspoons to make sure that people
    taste the difference

    I agree. I have updated the recipe. Thanks for the suggestion! ~Elise

  • cecila

    thank you for such a yummy recipe.

    3 more variations….

    1.for a more creamy and thick flan use condense milk instead of regular milk and reduce sugar by half.

    2. to make flan come easily from ramekins, as you pour the hot caramel into the ramekins make sure that you carefully move it around so the caramel covers the wall of the ramekins as well.

    3. to make flan without an oven simply add corn starch and cook in medium heat until it thickens

  • steph

    I could have sworn I saw rose water in Belair in the ethnic section (or was it orange essence?) I was so happy they had it in stock even though I didn’t buy it. I will make this for Valentines Day. Can you use one pan instead of 4 ramekins? What size pan should it be, maybe a 9 inch pie dish. Thanks Elise!! :)

    Also I didn’t know Flan was called leche quemada in mexico?
    doesn’t Creme Brulee mean burnt cream/milk also?

    Hi Steph, your guess is as good as mine on the one pan versus ramekins. Good luck! ~Elise

  • Irene U

    This recipe looks absolutely wonderful! I’ve tried a French version of flan that a family member of mine that had cream, and I’d say it was a bit rich for my taste… but the ingredients of this one make it seem like it’s going to have fantastic texture! I must try it and see how it differs from my own.

  • Lucia

    This recipe sounds great but I was wondering if any one knows a recipe for flan on the stovetop? I love flan but I don’t have an oven.

    The first time I had flan it was made in a huge stock pot on the stove. The flan was just an inch at the bottom of the pan. I don’t know how they did it, I assume that the pan was on a burner with very low heat. Obviously, the flan wasn’t in a mold, so there was no turning out. We just scooped it up out of the pan and put it in a dish as is. ~Elise

  • ann

    If Rick comes back, maybe he could share the recipe for sweet rose salsa?

    I’ve been able to find rose water in my local oriental grocery store, if that might help someone.

  • Yee

    I made this for the third time today simply because my husband loves it! The first time I made it, I used skim milk because that is all I had on hand. Both my hubbie and my friend love the consistency so I’ve been using skim instead of whole milk ever since. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  • marina

    I just made this flan and the flavor and consistency were wonderful. The caramel didn’t turn out as caramel, though; it stayed at the bottom of the ramekins, hard and crystallized. I don’t know what I did wrong.

  • Lisa S.

    Happy Birthday, Elise – 2008!

    Flan is the best dessert ever made. The site has rose water (and the pomegranite molasses for the cassis chicken you featured a few weeks ago) and nearly every other extract and spice you could need for your recipes with reasonable prices and package options.

    PS, I made my own pomegranite molassas and it turned out perfectly.

  • Gluten-Free By The Bay

    Hi there – Why am I not shocked that this recipe is inspired by Dona Tomas, one of the tastiest restaurants ever? ;-P

  • Elise Bauer

    Cris – I wasn’t exactly an exchange student, but I did spend half a summer studying Spanish in Cuernavaca and Mexico City while at University. I have many relatives on my mother’s side who are Mexican who I met through my grandparents. I wanted to learn Spanish so I could more easily converse with them when I visited Mexico. Alas, that was almost 30 years ago and I’ve forgotten most of it. :-( And with my grandmother’s passing a year ago, most of that generation is gone now too.

  • Elise Bauer

    I think a lot of flan recipes call for sweetened condensed milk because in parts of Latin America where refrigeration can a challenge, those cans of sweetened milk are a great way to store it. I’ve also had flan made with cream, but frankly, it is just too rich for even me. I love this recipe because it is so easy and the result is so light. The rose water offers just a hint of roses. Regarding the rose water, I went out and bought some at Whole Foods, about $3 for a bottle. Though I would love to try making rose water sometime.

    Great comment on the marriage proposal. Good flan is quite seductive, isn’t it. :-)

  • David Hagadol

    I convinced my wife to marry me after I cooked Flan (with orange zest and grated coconut) for her!

  • ksklein

    Well, I burnt the caramel a bit, but anyway this was one of the best flans I have ever had and the first one I made myself. And in every way perfect! :)
    A keeper!

  • guchi

    In Argentina we eat flan with dulce de leche (similar to caramel) You should try it!

  • Tri

    I am huge fan of flan too. It’s funny how different nationalities have a different take on it. In Vietnam it is sometimes made with a touch of coffee. I’ve also heard that orange zest is a great addition. My mom says that the key to perfect flan is to not overcook it or it becomes more of a custard. Your version looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it out!

  • paraks

    I’ve seen other flan recipies that call for condensed and evaporated milk (haven’t tried them tho’).
    The recipe you used is very like a caramel custard pudding.
    What’s the difference?

  • Kimberly at Some Bunny's Love

    Interesting version in my recipe — only eggs yolks are used. But I can guess that my husband would prefer your flan over my Filipino version. No idea why, but he hates that flan type. And yes, that means I get to eat it all!

  • Cris

    Elise, a very similar recipe is so popular in Brazil. Glad to know it is one of your favorites too. Were you an exchange student in Mexico? Thanks.

  • ksklein

    Thanks for this recipe. I made them today and we’ll have them for dinner. I’m really curious how they turned out.
    I think I may have burnt my caramel. :(

  • Kate

    I made this dish for my boyfriend for Valentine’s day, and it was absolutely wonderful. I couldn’t taste the rose water at all, though, which made me a little sad. I think the milk just kind of overwhelmed the taste. It was also a touch sweet for me, but I cannot claim that I have a sweet tooth, so I find most things too sweet. When I make it again, I’ll have to up the amount of rosewater and decrease the sugar by a touch, and see what happens.

  • Ana

    We have a family recipe for flan which I’ve never learned, but I did learn one trick. The way you know when the sugar is done is when it is the same color as peanut butter. Any darker than that, and its burnt. And nothing ruins flan like burnt sugar.

  • Lisa C.

    Growing up in a farm in Brazil meant the ingredients for flan were readily available and as a result we had the dessert often. I remember detesting the texture of it and would not eat it. Just last weekend I visited my mom and you guessed it: she had flan! I decided to give it another shot and fell in love instantly! I can’t believe I passed it up all those years when it was made with the freshest ingredients! I guess I was also the stubborn kid…
    Anyway, my mom adds flaked coconut to the custard sometimes. Since I just learned that I love flan and last weekend’s batch did not have coconut, I’m not sure how it tastes. However, my Dad and siblings swear by it. So coconut lovers out there, here is another twist you can try. Enjoy!

  • CurlyCook

    I am of Portuguese heritage and we make flan the same way, but use orange and lemon zest for flavour instead of rosewater. For sure one of my favourite traditional desserts :)