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This famous French dessert consists of a vanilla custard with a texture similar to flan, and a delicious salted caramel on top. It’s super smooth, perfectly sweet, and so light! This flan is vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free! SO GOOD!

Vegan Creme Caramel

⭐️ Why You Should Try This Recipe

  • It’s a dreamy dessert. The silky smooth yet delicate texture of this flan will get you addicted in no time! It’s a crowd-pleasing dessert that even non-vegans are going to love!
  • It’s quick and easy. You are just 6 ingredients and about 30 minutes away from this dessert. The process is super simple, and I’m showing you below how to make it step-by-step.
  • Perfect for caramel lovers. This vegan flan packs a ton of caramel flavor! Combined with the fresh vanilla aroma of the flan, it creates a real flavor bomb.

📘 What is Creme Caramel

Creme caramel, also called Flan, is a dessert that first appeared in France during the middle ages, around 1400. It consists of a custard creme that is infused with vanilla and topped with a layer of caramel.

It is now popular all around the world, from Latin America (Milk Flan) to the Philippines (Leche Flan), and Viet Nam (Bánh Flan). Each version has slightly different ingredients and processes.

Most recipes usually call for eggs to firm up the creme, but here we are going with a combination of coconut milk and agar to get a rich and creamy consistency with a firm texture.

🥛 Ingredient Notes

This vegan flan requires pantry staples that are affordable and easy to find. Here is what you will need:

  • Unsweetened almond milk – Or soy, cashew, or oat milk. I personally like to use soy milk, but any plant-based milk works!
  • Coconut creamCoconut cream brings richness and creaminess. It also helps the flan get firmer once cold.
  • Sugar – Or maple syrup. You will be using sugar to prepare the caramel and sweeten the flan itself.
  • Vanilla extract – For the vanilla, you can use vanilla extract or the seeds from a fresh vanilla bean if you are looking for a deeper flavor.
  • Cornstarch – It acts as a substitute for the eggs, giving the flan a creamier and slightly thicker consistency.
  • Agar agar – Finally, agar makes the flan firm up once chilled. Make sure you are using agar agar powder, not agar flakes.
Vegan Creme Caramel

🥣 How to Make Vegan Creme Caramel

This recipe consists of two different preparations. First, we have the caramel that will harden at the bottom of each ramekin. Then, we have the vanilla cream that will go on top of the caramel.

1. The Caramel

We start by preparing the caramel. I am sharing two ways to make it: the traditional way that makes use of granulated sugar, and a refined sugar-free version that makes use of maple syrup and coconut sugar. Here, I will be showing you how to make the former one.

  1. Add the sugar and water to a light-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat until the sugar starts to melt and bubble. Do not stir.
  3. After a few minutes, the sugar will start to crystallize. It will appear as if it’s getting harder. That is totally normal. Keep heating the sugar over medium heat.
  4. After another 1-2 minutes, the caramel will turn golden brown. Heat it for another 10-20 seconds or until it gets an amber color.

Next, divide the caramel into 4 small ramekins and tilt to spread the caramel evenly into each ramekin. Let it harden at room temperature.

For The Refined Sugar-Free Version

If you want to make this creme caramel without using any refined sugar, I have got you covered as well!

To do so, we will use a combination of maple syrup and coconut sugar to create the caramel. Why a combination of both? Simply because maple syrup prevents the coconut sugar from burning. To make the caramel, you will need:

  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Add the maple syrup, coconut sugar, salt, and white vinegar to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring regularly until it starts to boil. Once boiling, let it boil for about 30 seconds, keeping an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  2. Immediately remove from heat and divide the caramel between 4 small ramekins.

2. The Flan (Vanilla Custard)

Once the caramel is done, it’s time to prepare the flan.

  1. Add the almond milk, coconut cream, sugar or maple syrup, vanilla, cornstarch, and agar to a saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat, constantly whisking until it comes to a boil.
  3. Once the mixture has slightly thickened, transfer to the ramekins, over the caramel.

Here is a quick tip if you want your creme caramel to look good: let the vanilla custard cool down a bit (2-3 minutes) before pouring it into the ramequins. I found out that if you pour it while still very hot, the creme tends to crack a bit on top.

Finally, refrigerate for at least 8 hours before flipping over a plate. The caramel will “melt” over the creme caramel! It is sweet, full of vanilla flavor, and so creamy!

Vegan Creme Caramel

If you want to make this creme caramel fancier, I highly recommend making the salted coconut topping! It consists of shredded coconut and coconut flakes combined with maple syrup and salt that are toasted until golden brown and crunchy. Check out the recipe card below for the full recipe!

📔 Tips

  • Sugar vs. coconut sugar for the caramel. If you are hesitating between the different ways to make the caramel, here is some information that may help you decide. The white sugar version, which is the traditional way of making caramel is a bit simpler and yields a slightly superior flavor. The maple syrup and coconut sugar version is a bit more tricky as I find it easier to burn the caramel. It is, however, free of refined sugar, so the choice is yours!
  • For a salted caramel. If you want to give a hint of saltiness to the caramel, stir in about 1/8 teaspoon of salt once the caramel has turned an amber color.
Vegan Creme Caramel

💬 FAQ

Are flan and creme caramel the same?

Basically, yes, it is the same dessert. The denomination changes depending on the country.

How do you eat caramel flan?

There are two ways to enjoy this delicious dessert: Flip on a plate and let the caramel coat the vanilla pudding, or simply dig with a spoon in the ramekin.

Which is best, vanilla extract or a vanilla bean?

Both yield great results! Seeds from a vanilla bean give the pudding a deeper, fresher flavor. However, it is more expensive than vanilla extract.

How long does creme caramel keep?

Creme caramel will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

I hope you will all love this creme caramel! They are full of vanilla flavor, rich, and melt in your mouth! The caramel on top goes perfectly with the vanilla creme.

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Vegan Creme Caramel
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Recipe
Vegan Creme Caramel

Vegan Creme Caramel (Flan)

4.92 from 25 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Super creamy vanilla creme caramel topped with a rich salted caramel sauce. It melts in your mouth and is perfectly sweet! Eggless, dairy-free, and vegan!
Prep Time : 30 minutes
Cook Time : 5 minutes
Total Time : 35 minutes
Servings 4 Cremes Caramel
Calories 158 kcal

Ingredients
 

Caramel*

Creme

Salted Coconut Crumble (optional)

  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp large coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Start by preparing the caramel. Add the maple syrup, coconut sugar, salt, and white vinegar to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring regularly until it starts to boil. Once boiling, let it boil for about 30 seconds, keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn.
  • Immediately remove from heat and divide the caramel into 4 small ramequins. Tilt each ramequin to spread the caramel in the bottom. Set aside and let it cool for at least 20 minutes.
  • In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the almond milk, coconut cream, and maple syrup. Add the cornstarch and agar and whisk to dissolve.
  • Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens (usually just before boiling). Once it has thickened, remove it from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and whisk again.
  • Cover the saucepan with a lid and let it cool for about 5 minutes before pouring it into the ramequins over the caramel. I recommend letting it cool a bit because if you pour it immediately over the caramel it will make it melt and it won't result in good-looking creme caramel.
  • Let the creme caramel cool a bit at room temperature before transferring it to the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight, the creme caramel will set and the caramel will melt.
  • To serve, run a knife along the edges of each ramequin, cover with a plate, and flip it. The caramel sauce will be on top and coat the creme. Serve fresh, topped with the salted coconut crumble!

Salted Coconut Crumble (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, mix the shredded coconut, coconut flakes, maple syrup, and salt.
  • Spread the coconut on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let it cool completely before using.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • For a more traditional caramel: place 1/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Add 1 tbsp of water and a pinch of salt. Heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved and starts boiling. After another 1-2 minutes, it will get nice golden brown color. At this point, remove from heat immediately as you don’t want the caramel to burn, and divide into the ramequins.
  • Sugar vs. coconut sugar for the caramel. If you are hesitating between the different ways to make the caramel, here is some information that may help you decide. The white sugar version, which is the traditional way of making caramel is a bit simpler and yields a slightly superior flavor. The maple syrup and coconut sugar version is a bit more tricky as I find it easier to burn the caramel. It is, however, free of refined sugar, so the choice is yours!
  • For a salted caramel. If you want to give a hint of saltiness to the caramel, stir in about 1/8 teaspoon of salt once the caramel has turned an amber color.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 Creme Caramel (without topping) | Calories: 158 kcal | Carbohydrates: 26 g | Protein: 0.9 g | Fat: 5.9 g | Fiber: 0.4 g | Sugar: 19.3 g
Course : Dessert, Sweets
Cuisine : French
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
Vegan Creme Caramel
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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108 Comments

  1. Agar comes in flakes and powder – you do not mention which is used. They can’t be used interchangeably.

  2. Hi Thomas, I’m anxious to try this recipe. Question: what form of agar is this – flakes? or powder? Thanks. 🙂

  3. Hi Thomas, your “flan” seems perfect, and your photos are absolutely amazing 🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe ! I will do it very soon !!

        1. Hi, i just wanted to make sure, in the video it says coconut milk and on the recipe it says coconut cream which both are 2 separate things lol which one is the correct one to use?

          1. Hi Lena,
            Both will work, however coconut cream yields a slightly firmer consistency (I always go with coconut cream when I make these flans).

  4. Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for the recipe ! Why using vinegar here ?. .. can I use lemon juice instead ?

  5. 5 stars
    Hii, I’m from Brazil and just want you to know that your recipe is amazing and it’s in this part of the world! Loved your blog s2

  6. Okay honestly, I wanna marry you. There are just too many recipes. I love them all. I thought I was adventurous in the kitchen. Then I got introduced to you. I’m like… he’s the one!

    1. 5 stars
      Hi there! I know this has been posted a while ago, but just stumbled upon it, and am super excited to try it!
      I was wondering if it was possible to replace the coconut cream with a substitute of some sort? I have a coconut allergy and truly would love to make this for my family.
      Betsi

  7. 5 stars
    I found this recipe on Pinterest while searching for vegan flan. I had a can of coconut cream on hand so I used that instead of coconut milk. Other than that one substitution, I followed the recipe exactly. I even made the coconut crumble. I was concerned about the creme sticking to the ramekin but all four came out cleanly. The end result looked exactly like the pictures shown in the recipe! I was very pleased and so were my dinner guests. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    Hi Thomas,
    I made this last night. I had already started the recipe when I realized I only had coconut cream in the pantry but went ahead with using that. They slipped out of their ramekins perfectly and they were picture perfect. The taste was sublime and I could have eaten another one (and I am not a dessert person). The flavor was absolutely perfect, the caramel also spot on. So quick and easy to make too and love that it is make ahead. Fantastic – thanks Thomas – love your recips

  9. I know you used Agar powder and someone mentioned powder and flakes cannot be used interchangeably. I only have Agar flakes – will they work or do I have to order powder? If flakes will work, does the recipe or technique have be modified in any way?

    1. Hi Clementine,
      Sure, feel free to use soy milk instead of almond milk. Coconut cream will work as well, resulting in a very slightly firmer texture!

  10. Wow, so excited to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing – it’s so hard on my diet to find anything sweet. I’m allergic to coconut so can I use just almond milk?

  11. Wow, this looks great! I’m so excited to try it! I struggle to find anything I can eat as I am so allergic to so many things including coconut. Can I just use almond milk instead?

  12. 5 stars
    AMAZING! Salted coconut topping was even more amazing.

    I’ve been vegan for a few years now and miss having flan. This flan is even better than the flan you’d get at a restaurant.

    MAKE THIS FLAN! Super easy.

    1. Hi Mario,
      Make sure your flan mixture is not too hot when pouring into the ramequins. Let it cool a bit, give it another good whisk and then pour into the ramequins.

  13. 5 stars
    Thomas , it is a great recipe for creme caramel! I added a dash of curcuma to the creme. The taste and look are amazing. Together with the delicious topping one can say, “the best dessert ever” ! Thank you!

  14. 5 stars
    This could be interesting… didn’t want to use up part of a tin of coconut milk (400g) so used all of that and made up the volume with soy milk. Didn’t have cornstarch so upped the agar to 1tsp. Then I noticed what I thought was vanilla extract was almond extract.. oh well milk is boiling now might as well give it a crack.

    From the agar container it says it’ll thicken on cooling… we’ll find out. Even if a bit sloppy ae can still eat em out of the ramekins 🙂

  15. 5 stars
    Hmm doesn’t seem to let me reply to my comment. Anyway yes was perfectly good without cornstarch and with almond essence. Will make again with vanilla (I think seeds from pod would work best). Do you use more milk to bring down the fat content? And how does the cornstarch change the texture as seemed fine to me with just agar.

    Sadly kids didn’t like it. Maybe too grown up for them 🙂

    1. Great! If you add more milk, the consistency will change. It’s the coconut cream that also helps the creme firm up. Cornstarch gives it a creamier texture.
      I’m thinking kids will like it more with vanilla 🙂

  16. Hi Thomas

    This looks SOOOO good, can’t wait to try. Only thing is, my nutritional testing suggests I may have a food intolerance to Agar. Can you think of an alternate ingredient that might work reasonably well here?

    Thanks 🙂
    Sharon

    1. Hi Sharon,
      You could try adding some potato starch to make it thicken more, but you won’t get the same texture I’m afraid.

    1. You could use another milk and increase a bit the agar/cornstarch. I haven’t tried it without coconut cream so I’m afraid I can’t recommend amounts.

  17. Hi Thomas. Sorry if recipe posted long ago.
    I can’t have cornstarch. Can I replace it with arrowroot starch you think? Thanks!

  18. 5 stars
    This Crème Caramel is absolutely divine! The texture is just awesome. Thank you for sharing this great recipe, Thomas.

  19. In the photo that shows all the ingredients laid out on a tray, what is the substance that looks solid (white)–almost like vegetable shortening? Is that supposed to be the coconut milk? The recipe says full-fat coconut milk, which here in the U.S. does not have that much solids in the can. In the comments, there’s one where you say ” It’s the coconut cream that also helps the creme firm up.” So in the recipe is it the solid AND liquid parts of canned coconut cream? In the video, it looks like it’s all liquid, unless you’re really shaking and stirring the can of coconut cream. A little clarification on that would help. It would also help if you specify in the quantity “4 creme caramels” what size they actually are? I had to read through the comments to find the size of the little plastic cups you used. Also– you say this makes four, but in the video, there are six on the tray. So which is it? These are super tiny– about the size of a Jello shot. I’d want to, like, quadruple the recipe to make four 4-ounce desserts.

    1. It is the coconut cream you can see on the tray. You should use full-fat coconut milk with a high fat percentage so there is at least 30-50% of solid cream (or simply use coconut cream for a slightly firmer texture, which I actually prefer). In the video, the coconut can was shaked before and it was during a warm day so the cream was very soft.
      Regarding the size of the cups, you can make 4 large ones or 6 smaller ones. I do not have the exact size of the cups, but I would say 1/2 cup per ramekin if making 4.