Lisa’s Flan: My Panamanian Flancito

flan panama lisa

Submitted by Lisa Kear

This Panamanian flan ”was my mom’s favorite,” says Lisa Kear, one of our favorite homecooks. ”My mom could not cook—except to make white rice, or anything involving food that was canned or frozen from the commissary store. So either my abuela would bake her flan, or my mom would commission my brother’s girlfriend to bake ‘un flancito‘ for our family. My mom would ask her to make this flan almost every Sunday. Her flans are delicious and I have always wanted to duplicate her recipe, as she lives in Panama.”

Why makes this flan so delicioso? ”It’s extra good because of the egg–milk–sugar ratio,” explains Lisa, who now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. ”The 5 eggs give it the perfect semi-firm texture, while the condensed milk has just enough sweetness to complement (but not compete with) the caramelized sugar topping. Also nice is that flan is a high-protein calcium dessert that is nutritious.”

This flan remains one of her forever-favorite dishes, she says. ”As a child, I always looked forward to meals that included flan, and today I still crave this delicacy that reminds me of growing up in Panama. Today, I make flan when I crave for it—which is pretty often. About every two weeks I find myself wanting to nourish myself and my family with some sort of milk–egg combination, including creme brûlée, pudding or custard—like this flancito!”

To try more of Lisa’s Panamanian recipes, check out her empanadas with beef, her empanadas with guava and cheese, her handmade corn tortillas, and her delicioso Panamanian pollo guisado with spaghetti—chosen by Dominican homecook Belqui of Belqui’s Twist, to make on her blog and YouTube channel. That’s how good of a cocinera Lisa is.

Ready to Make Lisa’s Recipe Contest-Winning Panamanian Flan?

Lisa’s Flancito

4 from 22 votes
Recipe by Lisa Kear Cuisine: Panamanian

8 to 10

Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 cup 1 sugar

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 water

  • 14 oz 14 condensed milk can

  • 14 oz 14 milk (fill the same condensed milk can)

  • 5 5 eggs, large

  • 2 tsp 2 vanilla extract


  • Make the Caramel
  • In a flan mold that is about 8 inches wide and 3 inches tall, add the sugar and water. Stir.
  • Place the mold on a stovetop burner. Turn the heat to medium high.
  • Let the sugar dissolve and come to a boil.
  • When the sugar turns to liquid and amber in color, using oven mitts, remove the very hot mold from the stove.
  • Tilt the to distribute the caramel so that it coats the sides of the mold, all around and up to the edges.
  • Allow the caramel to cool.
  • Make the Flan
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a saucepan on the stove, bring about 3 to 4 cups of water to boil.
  • In a blender, add the two milks, eggs, and vanilla extract. Blend well.
  • Pour the mixture into the flan mold with the now-cool, caramelized sugar.
  • Find a large pan that is wider than the flan mold. Carefully pour the boiling water into this pan.
  • Cover the flan mold with aluminum foil.
  • Pace the large pan with the flan mold in the 350° oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • As soon as the flan comes out of the oven, use a butter knife or icing spatula to loosen its edges from the mold. The flan needs to cool for 1 hour minimum in the fridge before serving. (Overnight is ideal, if you have time.)
  • When ready to serve, run your knife or spatula around the sides again to be sure the flan is fully released. Cover the flan mold with a serving platter that has a border (to hold the melting caramel). Flip over gently but swiftly, so that the flan slides onto the platter. Serve cold.


  • Don’t forget to cover the flan with foil while baking it in your baño Maria—or it won’t firm up to the right consistency.
lisa kear flan Panama
This slice of Lisa Kear’s Your Favorite Flan Recipe-winning custard is served and ready.
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    1. Good q. We asked Lisa, the maker of this winning flancito, and she says: “As soon as the flan comes out of the oven, loosen with a butter knife or icing spatula, if available——that is what I use—and loosen flan from around the pan. Needs to be cooled for at least 30 mins. Or refrigerate overnight in pan before flipping.”

      Does this help? Will you let us know how yours turns out?

    2. We will ask Evelina and get right back to you! We suspect it will be similar to another of our Familia Kitchen flan expertas Lisa who advises: “As soon as the flan comes out of the oven, loosen with a butter knife or icing spatula, if available——that is what I use—and loosen flan from around the pan. Needs to be cooled for at least 30 mins. Or refrigerate overnight in pan before flipping.” But we will check with her, Frances, and get back to you!

      In the meantime, here is Lisa’s flan: