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Flan Napolitano

This Flan Napolitano is a cream cheese flan. It is smooth, soft and creamy with an incredibly rich flavor.  The caramel sauce sets over the top and makes an impressive dessert.

Flan Napolitano or cream cheese flan
Flan Napolitano is Mexico’s version of the classic flan dessert.

What is Flan Napolitano?

Flan Napolitano is an egg-based custard usually cooked in a shallow dish that has a layer of caramel on the bottom.  When it is inverted onto a serving plate the caramel is on top creating a delightful sauce of deliciousness. 

Flan Napolitano
A creamy, sweet flan custard with a caramel sauce.

Flan Napolitano is one of the traditional desserts in Mexico, Spain, Latin and Caribbean countries.  Also, it is very similar to the French creme brûlée which is so well known in America. 

In Mexico, Flan Napolitano is made with the addition of cream cheese to the egg mixture giving the custard a firmer and creamier texture. 

When we lived in the Philippines our family loved the dessert called Leche Flan which was made with eggs, condensed milk and evaporated milk. 

I watched our friend, Naty, as she put this dessert together and one day she wrote the recipe down for me.  I have adapted her recipe and added cream cheese to make Mexico’s Flan Napolitano.

Ingredients needed to make Flan Napolitano: 

  • sugar
  • egg yolks
  • cream cheese
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • evaporated milk
  • vanilla extract

I used half-pint wide mouth mason jars to make these delectable desserts.   I love how easy and transportable the mason jars are.   Screw the lids on and stack them in the fridge until you’re ready for dessert.

As long as you use the jars that have a wide mouth shape to them then the flan will slide out of the jars easily.

Flan Napolitano
Flan Napolitano baked in Mason jars

The mason jars are heatproof and durable which makes them a great choice for this recipe.  If you don’t have mason jars then other choices are:

Be certain to have your dishes warm before adding the hot caramel syrup to them.   Even though these dishes are heat-proof they can sustain thermal shock if they sustain extreme temperature changes.

If you pour the hot caramel sauce into a cold glass dish, the sudden change in temperature will cause the dishes to break.  You can run hot tap water over the dishes to get them warmed up then dry them before placing the hot caramel in them.

Why use a hot water bath when cooking the Flan

The hot water bath is an essential step.  The water will insulate the custard and prevent it from cooking too fast which will cause the egg-based custard to curdle and give it a rubbery texture.   Slow, even heating is the key to a perfectly creamy flan.

Flan Napolitano
Sweet and creamy Flan Napolitano

This is a dessert you will want to keep bookmarked. Once you serve it to guests, you will get repeat requests to make more.

More desserts to check out:

Don’t forget to let the flan sit for at least six hours after it bakes. That will help get the caramel sauce soft and liquidy so it can drizzle out all over the custard.

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Flan Napolitano

Flan Napolitano

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A creamy, sweet flan custard with a caramel sauce. Flan Napolitano is a traditional dish in Mexico.


Caramel Syrup:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

For the Custard:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6 egg yolks, whisked briefly with a fork
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F

Make the caramel syrup:

  1. Fill a tea kettle with water and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer while preparing the syrup and custard.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix the sugar and water together. Stir gently until the sugar has melted. Once the sugar has melted only stir occasionally to make sure there are not hot spots. Cook until it is light amber in color. 
  3. Carefully spoon 2-3 tablespoons of hot syrup into each of 6 individual small oven-proof dishes. An example would be pyrex custard dishes. I used the half-pint, wide mouth Mason jars.

Make the custard:

  1. In a medium size bowl, add the cream cheese and slowly, in increments, add the condensed milk, stirring to keep the mixture smooth. Add the evaporated milk, the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla then mix together. Pour the custard mixture through a fine mesh strainer that has been set over a large bowl and strain out any egg particles or lumps.
  2. Place the individual dishes into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Ladle the custard mixture into the prepared dishes. Set the pan with the custards in the oven and pour hot water into the pan so it comes half-way up the sides of the custards.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes, (check after 30 minutes and cover with a sheet of foil if custards begin to brown) until a knife inserted into the center of one custard comes clean. Do not over cook. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the hot water, then remove from the water and refrigerate to cool completely. 
  4. Allow the flan to sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours which will give time for the caramel sauce to liquify into the custard. 
  5. To serve, insert a knife between the custard and the dish to loosen the custard. Carefully invert the dish onto serving plates and garnish if desired.
  6. These custards will keep for 3 to 5 days refrigerated.


  1. It is a good idea to have the custard dishes warm/hot prior to adding the hot caramel syrup. This step will help prevent your dishes from cracking.
  2. Do not cook the sugar syrup too long, only cook it until it is the color of light honey. It will continue to cook after you take it off the heat. In order to pour the caramel syrup into the dishes easier you can transfer it to a heat proof glass measuring cup with a spout but you need to work fast or the caramel will get too thick to pour.
  3. Allow the cooked flan to sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours which will give time for the caramel sauce to liquify into the custard. Un-molding sooner will leave a hard layer of caramel on the bottom of the dish but you will still have a delicious flan. 
  4. When mixing the custard, do not use the blender, mixer or food processor as it will add air bubbles to the mixture.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 551Total Fat: 28.2gCholesterol: 292mgSodium: 271mgCarbohydrates: 61gSugar: 59gProtein: 15g

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Chi-Fan Hu

Monday 14th of September 2020

Thanks for the recipe. Mine came out very dense like cheesecake. I was hoping to have a little lighter and more custard like. Not sure if it was suppose to have a cheesecake consistency. Perhaps I should try a regular flan recipe next time. My caramel didn't turn out very well either. First time, it turned into rocks but no amber color. The next time was better but hardened a little too much when I put it in the fridge. I'm sure its my error since I've never done this before but overall a good learning experience.

Dahn Boquist

Monday 14th of September 2020

Oh yes, flan Napolitano is made with cream cheese so it does have a thicker texture. The flan needs to sit for at least 6 hours for the caramel to liquify. We usually make it at least a day in advance. The longer the flan sits, the better the caramel will melt. Make sure you don't pour the caramel sauce in too thick of a layer or it won't melt all the way.

Emma @ General contractor

Wednesday 14th of December 2016

I'm not a huge follower of flan in all, but your own look so scrumptious I'm actually food craving one currently! This flan is absolutely image excellent! And that mason jar suggestion is brilliant! I never would have believed doing it in jars, but it makes complete feeling!


Wednesday 14th of December 2016

Hi, Emma....thanks for responding to our post. This flan is so smooth, creamy and delicious. The jars are perfect and Mason makes a smaller size as well that is great for smaller portions. I hope you enjoy the flan.

Nicola @ Happy Healthy Motivated

Friday 9th of December 2016

I'm not a big fan of flan at all, but yours look so delicious I'm actually craving one now! And thanks for the tip about warming the ramekins first - I never knew that.


Friday 9th of December 2016

Thank you, Nicola....this would make a delicious dessert for anytime :)

Elizabeth @

Thursday 8th of December 2016

This flan is absolutely picture-perfect! And that mason jar tip is genius--I never would have thought doing it in jars, but it makes complete sense!


Friday 9th of December 2016

Hi, Elizabeth.....Thank you for your comments, I love those little jars, they are not just for jams and jellies :)

Brian Jones

Thursday 8th of December 2016

I love how similar dishes tend to spread across the world, this looks so similar to creme caramel which is just delicious


Friday 9th of December 2016

Hi, Brian....thanks for your comments, these are similar to the French creme brûlée as well. :)

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