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Leche Flan: A Classic Filipino Dessert Recipe

Born and raised in the Philippines and now living in Sydney, I am proud of my heritage and love to write about Filipino culture.

Let's learn how to make leche flan, a great dessert for any occasion.

Let's learn how to make leche flan, a great dessert for any occasion.

An Amazing Filipino Dessert

Leche flan is a popular dessert in the Philippines. It is sweet and rich, similar to cream caramel.

Leche flan is a must during Christmas, New Years', and fiestas. Nowadays, making it has become a part-time job for someone who would like to earn extra money. Since making it takes a lot of time, busy people would often rather just buy it over the counter or order it for holiday celebrations. You will now find this dessert being sold in the market and delicacy stores, or you can order it over the phone and have it delivered to your door.

Like any other popular dish, there are many variations. But the classic recipe only calls for egg yolk, sugar, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and citrus flavourings. Steaming is the traditional method for cooking leche flan and is usually prepared in an oval-shaped metal pan called llanera and steamed over moderate heat until set.

It takes a while to master the techniques and perfect this recipe, but it is worth it.


  • 12 egg yolks
  • 2 cans condensed milk (14 ounces)
  • 5 cans of small evaporated milk
  • 2 cups fine white sugar
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla or ¼ teaspoon grated dayap rind (optional)

You will also need the following:

  • Llanera
  • Steamer
  • Strainer

How to Make the Caramelized Syrup

  1. In a stainless steel pan, dissolve 3/4 cup of sugar
  2. Add 1/4 cup water over medium heat. Do not stir, just swirl the pan gently. Caramelize in low heat if you don't want it burnt. Pale brown means sweeter and too dark means bitter.
  3. When you have achieved the desired color, pour the syrup into the llanera and make sure to coat all the parts of the pan.

How to Make the Custard

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all the egg yolks, condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla, and remaining sugar. Use a whisk to mix thoroughly but gently to prevent bubbles from forming. Remove any solids by using a strainer.
  2. Pour the mixture into the llanera and cover it with aluminum foil, so that the moisture from the steam won't get into the pan (as it will become watery).
  3. Steam cook for 40–45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Remove the llanera and let it cool at room temperature. Then refrigerate for several hours before serving.
  5. To unmold the leche flan, run a sharp knife around the edge and carefully invert it onto a platter or serving dish, let the caramelized sugar flow over the leche flan.

This recipes makes four to five llanera of leche flan.

Consider pairing this popular dessert with suman (sticky rice) or serve it with sweetened macapuno (young coconut) and ube (purple yam)—or just serve it as it is.

If you don't have a llanera, you can use a regular flan or custard pan.

If you don't have a llanera, you can use a regular flan or custard pan.