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How Do I Choose the Best Flan Pan?

By Janis Adams
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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When selecting the best flan pan for your culinary creations, it's essential to consider material, size, and price for optimal results. According to Cook's Illustrated, non-stick surfaces or silicone pans are often recommended for their ease of use, especially for beginners. The material not only affects the ease of unmolding but also the cooking time—darker pans can decrease baking time by 10%. 

Size is another crucial aspect, as the volume of the pan should match the recipe requirements to ensure proper cooking and presentation. While prices can vary, more expensive pans do not always equate to better quality. By weighing these factors against your specific needs, you can find a flan pan that ensures precision in both preparation and presentation, enhancing your dessert-making experience.

Choosing a Material

Flan pans are made of a variety of different materials. Many of the most traditional flan dishes are made of glass. Some are made of porcelain, though these may prove harder to work with, particularly for beginners, as they are much heavier. Stainless steel pans are also a popular choice. The key to any of these pans is that their surface is smooth and will ensure the easy removal of a flan when it's ready to be plated and served. Adding a bit of oil or butter to the pan before cooking is a common trick, but too much can alter the flavor and presentation.

how do i choose the best flan pan

One of the biggest tasks facing a cook is removing the flan from the pan without ruining it in the process. For this reason, soft and flexible silicone pans have become quite popular. These pans offer a non-stick surface and are very easy to clean. They aren’t usually as attractive to look at, though, which can be a con if you’re hoping to display your pan when it’s not in use.

Oven Safety

Perhaps because flan pans are so often used to adorn shelves and kitchen curio cabinets, it is very important to ensure that the pan you choose is actually oven safe and that any decorations that have been added can withstand high temperatures and are food grade. All flan recipes require that the dessert be cooked at a high temperature in the oven. For this reason, any pan which does not clearly state that it is oven safe should not be purchased.

Size and Decorative Considerations

Size matters in most cases, too. Pans designed specifically for flan come in a huge assortment of sizes, as flan can be made in single servings or larger, cake-size rounds to provide dessert for a crowd and a pleasing presentation. Knowing what size flan you will be preparing is an important part of the decision-making process.

Smaller pans can be similar to a traditional ramekin. Some will have very lightly scalloped or fluted edges, and this will create a decorative appearance when the flan is removed from the pan. These smaller pans are often sold in sets. Also, some come with a tray in which they can be set while the flan is baked. A flan pan must generally be set in a water bath while the flan is baked, so trays that fit all small pans together often prove to be good deal when choosing a set.

Price and Budgeting Matters

Price will probably also be a variable, and pans can be found at all points of the spectrum from very inexpensive to quite costly. A pricier pan does not necessarily mean that you will be happier with it. When making your choice, it’s often best to look at all that a product will offer you and make a decision on which pan will best fit your needs and at the same time stay comfortably within your budget.

best flan pan
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Discussion Comments
By Ocelot60 — On Oct 05, 2014

@raynbow- I think your ceramic flan pans are great for making individual servings of this popular Mexican dessert. However, if you want to make a large serving, metal kitchen pans are still your best option in my opinion.

By Rundocuri — On Oct 04, 2014

@raynbow- Though the article indicates that flan pans made of porcelain, which is similar to ceramic, are difficult to work with, I have never had any trouble using them. For me, these types of flan pans are easy to use because the dessert cooks very nicely and doesn't burn or stick.

If you have small ceramic dishes, I think you will be even happier with the way your flan turns out. Not only do these types of flan pans make the dessert easy to make, but are also attractive and convenient for serving individual guests.

By Raynbow — On Oct 04, 2014

I have some small, ceramic oven-proof dishes that seem perfect for making flan. I have always made it in metal flan pans in the past, so I don't know what to expect. Does anyone have experience baking flan in these types of pans?

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