Vietnamese Custard (Banh Flan)

Vietnamese Custard (Banh Flan) is a deliciously silky sweet treat and my go-to dessert when I am cooking for friends. It’s easy to make it the day before and have ready for dining.  My recipe is a healthier version of the traditional Vietnamese Flan.  I tweaked the recipe by eliminating (fatty) condensed milk, reducing sugar, and substituting 2% milk. (Save those calories for another splurge!)  Just 5 ingredients, this custardy treat is super easy to make and a wonderful dessert to round-out any meal.Silky and delicious Vietnamese Flan Custard (Banh Flan) | recipe from

Watch the video for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Coffee and Cream Agar Dessert (Thach Ca Phe) and Chocolate Flan Cake.


For the Caramel
3/4 cup sugar

For the Custard
5 medium eggs
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups reduced fat (2%) milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


For the Caramel

In a small sauce pan, heat sugar over medium heat.  Dissolve sugar, stirring every minute until sauce becomes a golden brown color, approximately 5 minutes.

Spoon the caramel into cups making sure to cover just the bottoms of the cups with even amount of caramel.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the Custard

In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs.  Combine milk, sugar and vanilla in large bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved.  Add in the eggs and whisk together.  Do not over whisk eggs as this will cause the custard to have air bubbles.

Strain the mixture.  Next ladle the mixture into the custard cups filling them about 2/3 full.  Place custard cups into baking dish.  Fill baking dish with warm water, about halfway up the sides of the custard cups.

Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into flan comes out clean and when lightly shaken the middle jiggles just slightly.

Remove from oven and allow cups to cool in the water bath, approximately 2 hours.  Remove cups, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

To serve run a knife around the edge of the cup and invert onto a plate.  Garnish with mint or fruit.

Yields: 8 custard cups

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25 Responses to Vietnamese Custard (Banh Flan)

  1. Tien January 1, 2019 at 5:07 pm #

    Hi Trang,

    I love your receipe and I had a great sucess the 1st time i tried it. But the 2nd and 3rd time, my flan is too liquid and it collapsed when I reversed it. What could have gone wrong?

    Thank you

    • Trang January 1, 2019 at 6:52 pm #

      Hi Tien,
      Sorry to hear that. A few things to review: 1) Double-check your measurements and just make sure everything’s accurate 2) Make sure water is not getting into the flan during baking, put less water in the wate bath 3) Be gentle moving the bowl after cooking as the flan is not fully set yet. Sometimes moving the bowl vigorously could cause the center to break, thereby causing it to collapse later when unmolding it. 4) Bake for longer if using larger ramekins. Give it another go and please stop back to share your results with me. Good Luck!

  2. Dung December 7, 2018 at 5:24 pm #

    Hi Trang,

    I went to a Thanksgiving party a few weeks ago and they served flan in a plastic cup! I was wondering how they did those. Wouldnโ€™t the hot caramel that you put at the bottom melt the plastic cups? I know itโ€™s pretty hot, because I accidentally touched a drop of it. I didnโ€™t want it to fall onto the table, and I stuck my finger out to catch it. It was so hot that I got a tiny blister from that drop!

    I would like to make them in little plastic containers like those so itโ€™s easy to stack them up and put them in the fridge. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon! Thanks a bunch for your help!

    • Trang December 8, 2018 at 8:37 pm #

      Hi Dung,
      That’s really interesting about the flan and I am sorry to hear you burned your finger. Yes, caramelized sugar (temperatures of 340 F and up) would melt most plastics. I am guessing they used a cooled caramel sauce (not made from pure sugar), added the egg custard and steamed in the plastic cups to set the flan. I don’t know of any food safe, heat-resistant plastic cups. I recommend using aluminum dessert cups which are food and heat-safe and also stack nicely. Here’s a link to the product: I hope that helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Loi September 28, 2018 at 4:26 pm #

    Hi Trang, if I use whole milk instead of 2% milk will it ruin the flan?

    • Trang October 4, 2018 at 5:39 pm #

      Hi Loi,
      2% milk is just fine! Enjoy the flan! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Ann May 29, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    Have you tried to put the flan into plastic cups? I’m curious if that will melt in the oven. ๐Ÿ™
    I want to bring to picnic event in the disposable plastic cups but not sure how the Vietnamese stores do this in the plastic cups. Any insights?

    • Trang May 29, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

      Hi Ann,
      The stores use an oven-safe variety which may only be available through their vendors or at restaurant supply stores. You may want to ask them. There are foil disposable small pie pans which are oven-safe and you can find these at the grocery store. Good Luck!

  5. Elly February 11, 2017 at 7:00 am #

    Hi Trang, thanks for your recipe! I am just wondering why the side surface of my flan is not smooth, and its got holes/bubbles through out. And the top surface of my flan has a bit cracks. And I feel like the eggy smell is too strong in my flan. What would you suggest me to do?

    • Trang February 11, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

      Hi Elly,
      The oven temperature may be a bit too high or the cakes are too close to the heating element resulting in the cracks at the top. For the eggy smell, be sure to combine the eggs thoroughly with the milk to avoid eating any lumps of egg. Alternatively, you can reduce the recipe by 1 egg or add more vanilla extract. Good Luck Elly!

  6. Thao March 23, 2016 at 10:54 pm #

    Hi Trang. I really like the caramel sauce so I double the amount of sugar. Can you please tell me why there is a layer of harden caramel and some liquid caramel in my flan? Will the cooling process solve my problem? Flan still tasted great.

    • Trang April 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

      Hi Thao,
      The caramel sauce needs to touch the cake to maintain its liquid form. When you have a lot of caramel sauce, it’s common to have a hardened layer against the pan. You may want to serve additional caramel sauce on the side instead. Enjoy!

      • Tiffany August 17, 2019 at 9:25 am #

        Hi Trang,
        I wanted to make the flan using coconut milk (unsweetened in a carton variety). Would this work or do I need to change any other parts of the recipe as well? Thanks!

        • Trang September 9, 2019 at 4:29 pm #

          Hi Tiffany,
          It depends on the coconut milk. Use the full fat coconut milk. It should be thick and not watered down (reduced-fat or light versions). The fat in the coconut milk will help the custard to be thick and creamy. Good Luck and please stop back to share your results. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Thao November 24, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    Hi Trang, I want to ask if my ramekin is 3/18 diameter & 1 1/2 height…will I be able to use the same recipe like yours to make the banh flan? and also used a 16×9 dish to bake them as well?

    • Trang November 25, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

      Hi Thao,

      “3/18” diameter? Is this right? The ramekins I am using are 3.5 inches in diameter and 2 inches high. I can fit 8 ramekins in a 13X9-inch pan. Hope that helps!

  8. Quyen Anh August 22, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    Can I use regular whole or lactose milk?
    Will that change anything?

    • Trang August 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

      Hi Quyen,

      Do you mean lactose-free milk? If so this should be just fine. This kind of milk is often sweeter so you may want to cut back on the sugar a bit. Good Luck!

  9. Kenixkhuu May 15, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Hi Trang. I love watching you. I want make the flan but I want to use one of the baking pan.(like a pie or a pan for baking cake). Will that work too. Thanks

    • Trang May 15, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

      Hi, yes you can use a pie or baking pan. I’ve made it this way when I want to serve it family-style. Adjust the water level for the water bath as the pans can be shallower than the ramekins and you don’t want water getting into your flan. Good Luck and let me know how it turns out for you.

      • Carolyn March 5, 2020 at 7:00 pm #

        I know this comment is from ages ago but I was wondering when you bake this in a pie pan how long do you have to bake it for? Thank you!!

  10. julia March 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    how do i make 28 samples of flan

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