Flan is probably right up there on my list of top favorite desserts. It's light, creamy, smooth, and so, so comforting. The fact it's also topped with caramel (my absolute favorite flavor ever) helps a little too...
So what's a girl to do when she wants flan, but doesn't eat eggs, dairy, or white sugar? Find a workaround of course ;)
So obviously this is no typical flan... in fact there is nothing conventional about it. All the classic flan ingredients were tossed out the window...well apart from vanilla ?... oh wait, that was actually replaced with raw ground vanilla bean instead, because it just tastes so much better.
Honestly, who could resist those tiny flecks of vanilla bean in their flan, right? ? So yeah, some of the classic steps were turned inside-out, but hey, the end result is very similar to the traditional recipe. So long as this hack method to eggless flan works, why not! :)
Quick Tip 1: up top is said flan pictured with a hint of maple syrup on top. Below it is wearing a heavier coat of date syrup. Both work to give the flan that caramely taste, so go for whatever is available to you and makes more sense. Date syrup is a bit thicker so holds its shape well on top of the flan. Maple syrup will drip right off, so best to serve the flan on a plate with rims.
Quick Tip 2: I don't share recipes with agar agar often (though it is an amazing ingredient that can help you make things like gelatin-free jello or eggless lemon curd) because it tends to be one of those things that causes people unfamiliar with it go "what's that?!", "is there something else I can use?!" etc. And I don't like to create such panic ?.
But in this case the agar agar is necessary, and I promise it'll be absolutely worth going outside your comfort zone for. This eggless creamy vanilla treat will be your reward :)
Simple Eggless Flan
This refined sugar-free and eggless flan adaptation is a delicious, smooth, simple, and comforting little treat. This classic recipe fits a wide variety of diets as it's gluten-free, vegan, grain-free, and oil-free, soy-free, nut-free, and can be made coconut-free as well.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 3 servings
- Category: Pudding
- Cuisine: Dessert
- 1 cup light coconut milk (or almond milk)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp agar agar flakes (mine were finely crushed; see notes re: powder)
- ⅛ tsp raw ground vanilla bean (or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
- a few tablespoon date syrup (or coconut syrup), or alternatively some maple syrup
- Place all flan ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer on medium heat, stirring regularly. Once the mixture comes to a light simmer, let it simmer for about 30 seconds to 1 min, then turn off the heat.
- Divide this mixture between three small ramekins (or small glass containers), let cool to room temperature, then carefully place in the fridge and refrigerate for two-three hours (or overnight) to set.
- When ready to eat, run a knife around the edge of the flan to loosen it up a little, then flip the ramekin onto a plate and tap the top to release the flan (or alternatively simply enjoy out of the ramekin). Top with some date syrup and enjoy! Keep leftovers refrigerated.
Note: agar agar flakes are not the same as agar agar powder. They are the same source product, but the change from flakes to powder is significant as the powder is a lot more concentrated. I used flakes here as that is what I had on hand, but if you want to substitute agar agar powder in this recipe you'll need to reduce the amount to about .66 of a teaspoon (the conversion of powder to flakes is 1:3).
This looks amazing! With the almond milk sub, will ordinary store-bought almond milk work? Or do I need to make the almond milk from scratch first? Thank you :-)
Hi Celia, store-bought almond milk would work fine here -- however, I'd recommend going for a version that's a bit richer -- here the almond milks at the shops either come in a regular variety (roughly 90-110 calories a cup) or slightly de-fatted (40-60 calories a cup). I'd go with the regular variety as it'll ad a bit more richness and smoothness. However, any variety will work really. Enjoy it :)
I followed this recipe using soy milk and the suggested agar agar powder conversion, and it really did not work for me. :( Not sure if it was the soy milk, but it didn't solidify at all and remained a watery mixture even after 24 hours of refrigeration. Also, the flan itself was way too sweet! Feels like such a waste of ingredients. I might try again reducing the syrup and increasing the agar agar, but I don't know if it's worth it.
Hi CK, sorry it didn't work out for you. It sounds like the agar agar did not get activated. If you try this again, let the mixture steep a little longer. It's very heat sensitive and requires just enough heat to be dissolved. So I'd try that + you can use a bit more agar agar powder for sure. And it's not an issue to reduce the amount of maple syrup, if you prefer it less sweet. Would love to hear how you go if you do remake it.
Wooow! No way it looks like jello!! but its vegan! nice! I'm going to try pretty much all the desert recipes in your nut-free section lol XD I've been vegan my whole life, never tasted gello! is the consistency like gello? I don't even know if im spelling gello right.. It might be spelled with a j, who knows? I have little experience in the kitchen I'm only 13, but I want to prepare really cool vegan deserts one day, and this site is such and inspiration! Anyways, really excited to try, thanks for sharing another awesome recipie!
I feel your excitement!! :D
Flan is sort of jello-ish, but more creamy. It's delicious. If you want though, I have a recipe for a vegan jello dessert here as well :) https://www.unconventionalbaker.com/festive-vegan-jello-dessert-recipe/
I see, thanks for response!!
This was absolutely delicious and SO easy to prepare. Looking at your website, I am in awe of what you create. I am a vegan and off white sugar so what you create is remarkable. I can5 wait to try some of the other recipes here as I haven man6 of these ingredients in my home already!!!
Hi Caryn, thanks so much for the lovely feedback. I'm so glad you're enjoying the recipes!
You could name the flan vegan creme brulee :)
I know what you mean -- the two desserts are quite close, though I guess I'm used to creme brulee having a hard and snappy scorched caramel shell :)
Hi there.Would it be about 1/4 tsp for the agar powder? I'm hopeless at math! Thank you :)
No worries, I'm hopeless in math as well -- luckily math in baking is not an issue though :)
It's 2/3 of a tsp powder in total for this recipe (.66 = two thirds) to substitute for the 2 tsp flakes.
dana grabbel says
I've always loved flan growing up, I miss having it so much! Gonna try this recipe with almond milk! Thank you!
Hi Dana -- enjoy it! :) I've been making it with homemade almond milk lately and it's the best. I actually prefer it to the coconut milk version, although both are nice.
Casey the College Celiac says
Witchcraft! ;) This looks absolutely scrumptious - I can't believe it's egg free!!!
Thanks Casey -- so funny that the same simple ingredients can make so many awesome things, isn't it? :)
Parizad in AZ says
Im suuuper excited for this dairy free Flan!!! Yay
Awesome -- enjoy it! :)
NH Parry says
Sounds good, but do you mean just use the "cream" that rises to the top of the coconut milk can, or shake the can and then use the combined mixture?
Also, what's the vegan (sugar-free) recipe for making caramel? (I'd use it instead of maple syrup (which I make with coconut nectar and some maple extract)
I used light coconut milk, which doesn't usually have much cream in it -- I just opened a can, stirred it up and used a cup of the milk. So no need to chill and scoop the solids for this recipe.
I used date syrup for the topping as it closely resembles caramel, so can recommend that. Otherwise coconut nectar can be very close to it as well. I'd recommend going with one of those two for something like this as it's the simplest option. If you wanted to make a caramel from scratch, there's a nice raw dulce de leche recipe on the blog you can try out.
what can one use instead of agar agar , we have sensitivities to that product
Hi Eva, I think this particular recipe can only work with agar agar. You could try substituting with a tiny bit of vegan gelatin (if vegan; there are some made with carageenan instead of agar), but I'm not sure of the quantity as I haven't tried it myself.
You could skip the whole simmering process, and just blend everything together with a tsp of coconut oil, then chill a while to set. It won't be a "flan" per se, but would still taste good :)