Healthy Recipe

April 28, 2012

Healthy Recipe – Yogurt Vanilla Bean Flan

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Yogurt Vanilla Bean Flan -
With two sliced strawberries, this flan has just the right amount of sweetness.

Prep time: 50 minutes
Bake time: 40 to 90 minutes (depending on size of dish)
Cool time: 30 minutes
Chill time: 4 to 48 hours
Is it worth it? Yes!

Looking for a dessert for your Cinco de Mayo celebration?  Try this flan, made with greek yogurt it has a different taste and textures.  Traditional flans are normally made with whole milk or sweetened condensed milk.

Growing up, flan was a special treat in my house.  It was a special treat I never liked…until I made this recipe. Besides the yogurt, the cottage-esque custard only has two whole eggs, one egg white, fresh vanilla bean and no additional added sugar!

Yes – I did not add any sugar to the custard. The caramel bottom and fresh strawberries (optional) provide all the sweetness needed!  I, gulp, even had some for breakfast… 🙂



  • 3/4 c. sugar (I prefer to use a super fine sugar such as Baker’s)
  • 1/4 c. water


  • 3 c. greek yogurt (preferred because it has already been strained)
  • 1 1/2 vanilla beans (affordable Madagascar beans at Trader Joes!); or,
    • 1.5 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg white

Garnish (Optional)

  • Sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 325 F. 

In a small sauce pan with a tight fitting lid, combine sugar and water. Over medium heat, gently swirl the pan until the sugar clarifies without boiling (If necessary, remove the pan on and off the burner). Do not stir – swirl only.

Yogurt Vanilla Flan_Caramel 1

Increase heat so that the syrup comes to a rolling boil. Cover the pan and let boil for 2 minutes.

Uncover and cook syrup until it begins to deepen in color.  Using gentle swirling motions, cook syrup until it is a deep amber color.

Yogurt Vanilla Flan_Amber Caramel

Quickly pour the caramel into three 16 oz. ovenproof ramekins or a 2 to 2 1/2 quart souffle dish.  Using a potholder, quickly tilt the ramekins or dish to spread over the bottom and halfway up the sides.

Yogurt Vanilla Flan_Caramel Sides

It is helpful, if you have an extra helper; otherwise the caramel may harden before you have a chance to tilt.  If it hardens, pop the dish in the microwave, reheat in 10 second increments until it is at a manageable consistency.  Be sure to use pot holders as the dish will be warm and the temperature of the sugar can burn your skin. 

In a large bowl, add the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla bean.  Whisk until blended.


Yogurt Vanilla Flan_Vanilla Scrape
Split the bean down the middle and use a small spoon to scrape the seeds.

Yogurt Vanilla Flan_ Whisk

Pour into caramel lined dish/es and bake in a water bath until firmly set, about 40 to 60 minutes for cups and up to 1 to 1 1/2 hours for a single dish.

How to prepare a water bath:  Choose a dish that is large enough to hold the the individual ramekins or souffle dish without touching the sides and can hold at least two inches of water. A roasting pan or deep lasagna dish works well. Place a kitchen towel or rag (white is best as the color won’t bleed into the water, something I discovered…)  in the center of the pan and center the flan dishes or single dish in the center. If using individual dishes, place them so that they do not touch the sides or each other.  Fill with hot tap water to come up 1/3 to 1/2  up the sides of the flan dish/es.

Yogurt Vanilla Flan_Water Bath
This square baking dish is the perfect size to fit a 16 oz. ramekin. Note: choose a white dish rag to prevent the ramekin from touching the hot bottom. Doing so will prevent color leakage.

The flan is done when a knife inserted near the middle comes out clean or with hardly any bits attached, and the center looks like firm gelatin.  Also, when you tilt the cup or dish at a 45 degree angle, the center should remain firmly in place.

Remove from water bath and cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 2 days.  To unmold, run a knife along the edge and dip the cups briefly in hot tap water. Invert onto an appropriate sized plate.

Garnish with fresh berries if desired.


Yogurt Vanilla Bean Flan_Nutrition Info
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