What is Cheese Flan?

Cheese flan is a type of baked custard dessert made with eggs, milk, cheese, and a pastry crust. It is sometimes called "cheese pie" or "cheese and egg flan."

What is Cheese Flan

Cheese flan has a smooth, creamy texture similar to cheesecake thanks to the addition of cheese to the custard filling. It is made by baking a savory custard made with eggs, milk, and cheese in a pastry crust until set.

The resulting dish is rich, creamy, and slightly sweet with a delightful contrast between the soft custard filling and the crisp, flaky crust. The use of cheese gives it a tasty salty and tangy flavor that balances out the sweetness.

Cheese flans likely originated in the United Kingdom, where sweet and savory baked custards and pies have long been popular.

Versions of egg custards baked in pastry have been around since medieval times. Recipes for egg and cheese tarts have been found dating back to the 1400s.

Over time, these types of recipes evolved into the cheese flans and egg flans commonly served in British schools and households. They were an economical and filling meal that made good use of simple ingredients like eggs, milk, and cheese.

The concept was likely adapted from French quiches but used more readily available ingredients. Cheese flan became a cheap, easy, and tasty meal common on dinner tables across Britain.

The Main Ingredients of Cheese Flan

Cheese flan has only a handful of main ingredients:

  • Pastry dough - Typically a shortcrust or pie dough. It provides the crisp, flaky base and sides that contain the filling.
  • Eggs - Whole eggs provide structure, richness, and bind the custard.
  • Milk - Most often whole or evaporated milk. It lends moisture, creaminess, and a mild sweetness.
  • Cheese - Usually a hard cheese like cheddar, Colby, or swiss. It gives tangy flavor and enhances the creamy texture.
  • Sugar and salt - A small amount of sugar balances flavor while salt boosts overall taste.

That's it! The beauty of cheese flan lies in its simplicity. The few basic components meld into a delightful dessert.

Key Takeaway: Cheese flan contains just a few key ingredients - pastry, eggs, milk, cheese, sugar, and salt - that combine to make a tasty baked custard dessert.

How to Make Cheese Flan

Making a cheese flan is straightforward though it does take some time for baking and chilling. Here is an overview of the basic steps:

Make and Pre-Bake the Crust

  • Make pastry dough using your preferred recipe, enough for a 9-10 inch tart pan or pie dish.
  • Roll out the dough and press it into the pan, trimming any overhang.
  • Pre-bake the crust until lightly browned. This prevents a soggy bottom.

Make the Filling

  • Whisk eggs together in a large bowl.
  • Heat milk just until steaming then slowly stir into the eggs.
  • Add grated cheese, sugar, and salt and whisk until fully blended and smooth.

Bake the Flan

  • Pour filling into the pre-baked crust.
  • Bake at 350°F until the center is just set, 35-45 minutes.
  • Allow to cool completely then chill for at least 2 hours (overnight is best).

The lengthy chilling time allows the custard to fully set up. Then it's ready to slice and enjoy!

Different Varieties of Cheese Flan

There are a few tasty variations on classic cheese flan:

Mexican Flan de Queso

This style adds cream cheese or queso fresco to the custard. It is unmolded to showcase the rich caramel sauce topping.

Italian Cheese Tart

Ricotta or mascarpone cheese is used in the silky filling. It's baked in a buttery shortcrust and served warm.

Broccoli and Cheese Quiche

This veggie-loaded quiche adds broccoli florets and cheddar cheese to the custard baked in a savory whole grain crust.

Bacon and Green Onion Quiche

Crispy bacon and green onions are sautéed then mixed with the custard and jack cheese poured into a flaky, buttery pie crust.

So while cheese flan is a simple dish at heart, there are all kinds of flavor twists you can put on it!

Key Takeaway: There are many tasty varieties of cheese flan including Mexican flan de queso with caramel topping, Italian tarts with ricotta cheese, and veggie or bacon-loaded quiches.

What Does Cheese Flan Taste Like?

A perfectly-made cheese flan offers an irresistible blend of contrasting flavors and textures:

  • The crisp, flaky pastry crust provides a delicate, savory foundation.
  • The smooth, creamy custard filling is lush and rich.
  • The eggs and cheese lend a lovely hint of salty savoriness.
  • Subtle sweetness balances out the tang.
  • The silky texture melts in your mouth.

Balance is the key. The custard offers a harmonious mingling of sweet and tart, accented by the delicate crunch of the crust.

When chilled, these flavors have time to mingle further. That results in even more complex creamy-tangy-salty-sweet taste sensations.

How to Serve Cheese Flan

Cheese flan is a versatile dish that makes a lovely meal or dessert. Here are some serving suggestions:

  • For a retro lunch or dinner, serve squares of cheese flan with baked beans and french fries or tater tots.
  • Offer it as a plated dessert with fresh berries or a fruit compote and whipped cream.
  • Slice it up for tea time or an afternoon coffee break along with finger sandwiches and biscuits.
  • For easy summertime entertaining, set out a platter with an assortment of cheese and fruit with flan squares.
  • Pack slices in school or office lunchboxes for a tasty portable meal.
  • Take it along on picnics - it travels well and makes a nice light lunch.

However you choose to serve it, cheese flan always makes for a comforting, crave-worthy treat!


What's the difference between cheese flan and quiche?

Quiche is very similar but often contains other mix-ins like vegetables, meat, or seafood baked in the custard too. Cheese flan keeps it simple - just cheese baked in the eggs and dairy.

Do you have to use cheese?

You can leave it out for just an egg custard flan, but the cheese is what gives this dish its distinctive flavor. Using a good melting cheese like cheddar or gruyere is recommended.

What kind of cheese works best?

Most recipes call for sharp cheddar, Colby, gruyere, or swiss. The sharpness balances sweetness while these cheeses melt smoothly. Avoid soft cheeses like mozzarella.

Can you use ready-made pie crust?

Yes, you can save time by using refrigerated packaged pie dough instead of homemade. Just be sure to thoroughly pre-bake it before adding the filling to prevent a soggy bottom crust.


Cheese flan is the ultimate comfort food that brings together a few simple ingredients to make a truly crave-worthy dessert.

With a crispy, flaky crust and a luscious cheese-infused custard filling that marries creamy, sweet, salty, and tangy flavors, cheese flan offers an irresistible anytime treat.

It's budget-friendly, simple to throw together, and suited for everything from school lunches to elegant dinners. Just be warned - this retro delight tends to disappear quickly!

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions