Some of the happiest days of my childhood started with my abuela in the kitchen making her world-famous flan (and by world-famous, I mean family-famous). So frankly, I'm not well versed in the debate surrounding the pronunciation of "flan," but I figure I'm well equipped to settle it. I'm guessing you're here because you yourself are wondering how to pronounce "flan," as you've probably heard some people pronounce it as "f-lawn," some as "fl-an", and others as "fl-ayn."

Websites will feed you hundreds of reasons why one pronunciation is better than the other, but I'm here to say that from my experience growing up in a Cuban household, the authentic Spanish pronunciation is—drum roll, please—'flan,' to rhyme with 'lawn.'

What Is Flan?

caramel, cake, flan
Lissane Kafie

Flan is an incredibly creamy custard dessert, popular in places heavily influenced by Spanish culture – Spain, the Caribbean islands, and all over Latin America. Essentially, it's a sweetened egg custard topped with caramel. Absolutely delicious! And very customizable, as you can explore the world of flan by adding coconut, mango, chocolate, peach, etc.

#SpoonTip: Making your own flan is easier than you'd think. 

A Brief History

The word 'flan' can be traced back to the Old French word 'flaon,' which means pie or cake, but the lineage doesn't stop there. 'Flaon' comes from the Latin word 'fladō', which means flat cake and originated from the Frankish word 'flado' or 'flatho'. 

The first mention of flan can be dated back to the Roman Empire, but it was originally a savory dish flavored with eel and pepper. Their recipes survived the demise of the Roman Empire and were welcomed into the Middle Ages by word of mouth, spreading to Spain, England, France, and other European countries. Each culture influenced flan in a different way, but the Spanish were the ones to bring their take on the dessert to the New World.

One thing is for certain: no Hispanic will ever turn down some dessert. We all just genuinely love food; no celebration is complete without it (that and loud music, but that's for another time). The ideal party guest comes with a freshly made flan or a bandeja de pastelitos. Get ready to either blend in during your study abroad semester or really impress at your local Spanish bakery now that you know how to pronounce 'flan' the right way.