I love the richness of this Mexican Flan ice cream. Super creamy custard base flecked with shards of hardened caramelized sugar. So good! Don’t miss my round up of all my ice cream recipes. Mexican Flan Ice CreamI am addicted to flan. Just ask The Beloved. If it’s on the menu, I have to order it. I’ve had sublime flan at restaurants. I’ve had horrid flan at restaurants. Sometimes I hesitate to order it because there are so many ways that such a simple dessert can go wrong. Then, my addiction and curiosity get the better of me, and I order anyway. There is something so comforting about a perfect Mexican flan. Since it contains both evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk, Mexican flan has a bit thicker mouthfeel than creme caramel. And because both milks have a reduced water content, they are perfect for ice cream making. Mexican Flan Ice CreamI took a very standard and delicious Mexican flan recipe–one can of evaporated milk, one can of sweetened condensed milk, 4 eggs and some vanilla–and adapted it slightly to yield a smooth, rich and creamy Mexican flan ice cream. Flan is most often baked with a layer of caramelized sugar in the bottom of the pan. Once it is chilled and depanned, the caramel spills over the flan and acts as a thin, flavorful sauce. To mimic the same thing in my ice cream, I simply caramelized some sugar and poured it out onto Silpat to cool. I then broke it up into small pieces and stirred it into the ice cream. Some of the sugar melts into bittersweet caramel pockets in the cool, creamy flan ice cream while some retains some crunchiness for contrast. This is an easy one, and one that flan fans are sure to love. It is dense, smooth and oh-so-rich, so the one quart this recipe makes is gracious plenty for a crowd!

Mexican Flan Ice Cream

Jennifer Field
This ice cream base is almost identical to Mexican flan base. The only differences are that the ice cream recipe contains a bit more sugar and some corn syrup to inhibit crystallization and is a stirred custard (stove top) while flan is a still (baked) custard.
3.80 from 5 votes
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Freezing Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 35 minutes
Course Ice Cream Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 1 quart
Calories 373 kcal


For the Ice Cream Base

  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 oz light corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch (optional--will make base very, very thick)*
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ½ teaspoons 1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract (preferable Mexican vanilla)

For the Caramel

  • cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water


For the Ice Cream Base

  • Combine all the ingredients except for the vanilla in a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
  • *You can leave out the corn starch if you want to. You will need to make sure that you remove the custard from the heat before it comes to a boil though. The starch buys you some time if it does boil. Using the cornstarch will also give you an extremely thick base. You may have to check your ice cream maker and stir with a spatula a few times during churning to make sure it freezes evenly.
  • Cook, whisking constantly, over medium to medium-high heat, until the mixture thickens. If not using cornstarch, shoot for 185F. If using corn starch, allow to boil (still whisking constantly) for about 10 seconds. Evaporated milk tends to stick and scald very easily since it has a relatively low water constant. You really will need to whisk constantly and regulate your heat if you feel it sticking on the bottom of the pan. I normally cook all my custards over high heat, but even I dialed it back to a dull roar to be on the safe side.
  • Immediately strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl with the vanilla. You will need to push the thick custard through with a silicone spatula.
  • Stir well to incorporate the vanilla.
  • Chill in an ice bath or cover with plastic wrap (press it directly on the surface of the custard) and put in the freezer to chill quickly or refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Make sure your base is very cold, no more than 40F, before churning.

For the Caramel

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with Silpat or parchment that you've lightly coated with pan spray. (Silpat is preferred here)
  • Place the baking sheet on two trivets or a folded towel to protect your counter.
  • In a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat the sugar and water over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, and bring to a boil.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and let boil for a minute or two to wash down any sugar crystals that might be clinging to the side of the pan.
  • Remove the lid and allow to boil until the caramel starts to turn golden. Swirl the pan gently to make sure the sugar caramelizes evenly.
  • Continue to heat until the sugar is a dark amber color and has started to smoke just a bit. I know mine is ready when it starts to sting my eyes. Make sure to take it this dark. If you don't, it will be too sweet and not provide a slight bitterness in contrast to the sweet, creamy flan base.
  • Immediately pour the caramel onto the prepared pan.
  • Holding the pan with a towel or oven mitts, tilt the pan to allow the caramel to flow into a thin sheet. You have about 1-2 minutes to get it as thin as you can by tilting before it becomes too hard to flow.
  • Allow to cool until hardened.

Putting It All Together

  • Churn the ice cream base according to manufacturer's instructions. Especially if you used corn starch in your base, you'll want to keep an eye on it and make sure the base is being churned evenly. I stirred every couple of minutes with a spatula.
  • While the ice cream is churning, break up the caramelized sugar with a rolling pin or whatever hard thing is handy. Break it into fairly small pieces, no more than 1/2" or so.
  • Once the ice cream is at soft-serve consistency, stir in the caramel "shards."
  • Pack into a container and press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream. Put a lid on your container (if it has one).
  • Freeze for several hours or overnight before scooping and serving.
  • Enjoy in small portions--this is rich stuff!
  • Once the base is frozen into the consistency of soft serve

Did You Make Any Changes?


Serving: 1gCalories: 373kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 12gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 252mgSugar: 56g
Keyword custard ice cream, ice cream, ice cream recipe, Mexican flan ice cream
Did you make this recipe?Please tell us what you loved!
Seriously, if you love flan, try this. It tastes just like the best, most creamy and delicious Mexican flan you’ve ever had. Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Have a lovely day. I make ice cream at least once a week, and these are my

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    1. Hi, G. I’ve never made a rolled ice cream, but I expect if you pour a thin layer on a sheet pan and freeze it for 30 minutes or so you’d be able to roll it. Of course you’d have to do it in batches, but I think it’s doable.

  1. 5 stars
    Perfect! . I love flan and i love ice cream.
    j made it using egg yolks only and added lemon juice to caramel recipe.

  2. Delicious!
    Just made it today (first time using my new ice cream maker). It is heavenly.
    I modified recipe a bit, using only egg yolks (5) and added lemon juice to the caramel recipe (the way i usually make my flans) It turned out delicious, a bit rich, but this may be because i only used egg yolks?
    I did not add corn starch.

    Thank you very much for sharing this recipe.
    Have you made the “coconut flan” ice cream version?

    1. I’m so glad you like it! It is a super rich ice cream for sure! I haven’t made other versions, but not I feel like I probably should! Thanks so much for letting me know, Esther! Enjoy!

  3. 4 stars
    I just had my first bowl! Yum! However, most of my caramel bits melted into little pockets. Is there any way to preserve the crunch? Maybe make the caramel layer thicker before breaking? Freeze caramel bits before adding to ice cream?

    1. Ah yes, the melting caramel. I like it melted since it is sort of self-saucing, just like a flan would be. Honestly, the only thing I can think of to keep the caramel hard is just to add it as a topping right before serving. Sugar is so hygroscopic that it’s just going to pull in moisture and get soft. Wish I had a better answer for you, but I really hope you enjoy what you have!

    1. Hi Katherine! This is a traditionally churned ice cream. If you are looking for a no-churn recipe, you could easily adapt this by using a can of sweetened condensed milk and cream whipped together until thick. Add some Mexican vanilla and a good pinch of salt. I would partially freeze and then fold in the shards of caramel. Enjoy!

    1. It honestly does taste like the real thing, but possibly even more rich and dangerous because of the creamy churned texture, Matt! Flan is one of my favorite things, and I ate a bowl of this last night and was in flan heaven!

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