Flan de Calabaza Recipe - Traditional Puerto Rican Dessert

Flan de calabaza

Flan de Calabaza Recipe - Traditional Puerto Rican Dessert
Region / culture: Puerto Rico | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 6-8


Flan de calabaza
Flan de calabaza

Flan de calabaza is a delicious and creamy dessert that originates from Latin America. This dessert is made with calabaza, a type of West Indian pumpkin, giving it a unique and rich flavor. The combination of the sweet caramel and creamy pumpkin custard makes this dessert a favorite among many.


Flan de calabaza has been a traditional dessert in Latin American cuisine for many years. The use of calabaza in this recipe adds a twist to the classic flan, giving it a distinct flavor and texture. This dessert is often served during special occasions and celebrations, bringing joy to those who indulge in its creamy goodness.


How to prepare

  1. Peel a ripe but not overripe calabaza.
  2. Remove the seeds and the inner fibers.
  3. Cut the calabaza into one to two inch chunks.
  4. Boil the pumpkin in just enough water to cover the pieces until tender (about 15 minutes).
  5. While the pumpkin is boiling, prepare the caramel. Heat the sugar over medium to medium-high heat until it turns into a golden brown caramel.
  6. Carefully pour the caramel into the upper half of the Baño Maria pot, ensuring it covers the whole bottom and about one inch or so of the sides.
  7. Remove the pumpkin from the heat and drain. Puree it by hand or in a blender.
  8. Lightly beat the eggs.
  9. Add the remaining ingredients in the listed order, stirring lightly after each addition.
  10. Mix thoroughly after all ingredients have been added.
  11. Slowly pour the mixture into the upper portion of the Baño Maria pot, being careful not to disrupt the caramel layer.
  12. Fill the lower portion of the Baño Maria pot with water and heat it to boiling.
  13. Lower the heat to medium, fit the upper portion in place, and cover.
  14. Cook for about thirty minutes.
  15. Test for consistency by inserting a table knife through the middle of the flan.
  16. When the knife comes out clean, the flan is cooked.
  17. Insert the table knife along the side of the flan and go all the way around the pot to loosen the edges.
  18. Allow the flan to cool at room temperature for about an hour.
  19. Cover the pot with a platter and turn it upside down until the flan drops onto the platter.
  20. If necessary, lightly tap the bottom of the pot until you feel the weight of the flan on the bottom platter.
  21. The flan will last for two to three days when well covered in the refrigerator.


  • Add a splash of rum or brandy to the flan mixture for a boozy twist.
  • Top the flan with toasted coconut flakes for added texture and flavor.
  • Use butternut squash or sweet potato instead of calabaza for a different flavor profile.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Be sure to use a ripe but not overripe calabaza for the best flavor and texture.

- When making the caramel, be careful as it can get very hot. Use caution when pouring it into the pot.

- Make sure to cook the flan in a Baño Maria pot to ensure even cooking and a smooth texture.

- Test the flan for doneness by inserting a knife in the middle. It should come out clean when the flan is cooked.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the flan de calabaza chilled with a dollop of whipped cream or a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. It can also be served with fresh fruit on the side for a refreshing contrast.

Cooking Techniques

Boil the calabaza until tender before pureeing it for a smooth texture.

- Use a Baño Maria pot to ensure even cooking and prevent the flan from curdling.

Ingredient Substitutions

Use canned pumpkin puree instead of fresh calabaza for convenience.

- Substitute coconut milk for the evaporated milk for a tropical twist.

Make Ahead Tips

The flan can be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The flavors will meld together even more, making it even more delicious.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the flan in individual ramekins for a fancy presentation. Garnish with a sprig of mint or a dusting of powdered sugar for an elegant touch.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair the flan de calabaza with a cup of coffee or a glass of dessert wine for a delightful end to a meal. The creamy texture of the flan pairs well with the bold flavors of coffee or the sweetness of a dessert wine.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover flan in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, place the flan in the microwave for a few seconds or enjoy it cold straight from the fridge.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving



- Total Carbohydrates: 35g

- Dietary Fiber: 1g

- Sugars: 30g


- Total Fat: 5g

- Saturated Fat: 3g

- Trans Fat: 0g


- Protein: 4g

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin A: 150%

- Vitamin C: 20%

- Calcium: 15%

- Iron: 6%


Contains eggs and dairy


Flan de calabaza is a rich and creamy dessert that is moderate in carbohydrates and fats. It is a good source of Vitamin A and provides a moderate amount of protein.


Flan de calabaza is a creamy and decadent dessert that is perfect for any occasion. With its unique flavor and smooth texture, this dessert is sure to impress your guests and leave them wanting more. Enjoy the rich flavors of calabaza and caramel in every bite of this delicious flan.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was immediately drawn to it. It was a simple yet elegant dessert called Flan de calabaza, or Pumpkin Flan. The combination of creamy custard and sweet pumpkin sounded like a match made in heaven. I knew I had to learn how to make it.

I first encountered the recipe for Flan de calabaza while visiting a small town in Mexico. I had always been fascinated by the flavors and ingredients used in Mexican cuisine, and I jumped at the chance to learn a new recipe. The kind woman who shared the recipe with me called it a family tradition, passed down through generations. She showed me how to roast the pumpkin until it was soft and caramelized, then blend it with eggs, milk, and sugar to create a smooth custard.

As I watched her prepare the dish, I couldn't help but think of all the recipes I had collected over the years. From my own mother's kitchen to the bustling markets of Europe, I had gathered a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. Each recipe told a story, a tale of tradition and culture that had been passed down through the generations.

After my trip to Mexico, I couldn't wait to try making Flan de calabaza in my own kitchen. I gathered all the ingredients and set to work, following the steps I had learned with precision. The smell of roasted pumpkin filled the air, mingling with the rich aroma of vanilla and cinnamon. As the flan baked in the oven, I could hardly contain my excitement.

When the time came to taste the finished dish, I was not disappointed. The creamy custard was perfectly balanced with the sweet pumpkin, creating a dessert that was both comforting and indulgent. I knew I had stumbled upon a new family favorite, a recipe that would be passed down through the generations.

Over the years, I have continued to make Flan de calabaza for my family and friends. Each time I prepare the dish, I am reminded of the kind woman who shared the recipe with me in Mexico, and of all the other recipes I have collected over the years. Cooking has always been a way for me to connect with others, to share stories and traditions that transcend borders and language.

As I grow older, I find myself cherishing these recipes even more. They are a link to the past, a way to honor the memories of those who came before me. And as I watch my own grandchildren learn to cook and explore new flavors, I know that these recipes will continue to be passed down through the generations, creating a legacy of food and family that will endure for years to come.

So if you ever find yourself in my kitchen, be prepared to taste a little piece of history. Whether it's Flan de calabaza or another beloved recipe, each dish tells a story, a tale of tradition and love that has been woven into the fabric of my family for generations. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


| Calabaza Recipes | Dessert Flan Recipes | Puerto Rican Desserts | Puerto Rican Recipes |

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