Pressure Cooker Red Velvet Flan

Red Velvet Flan

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My boss hates flan, but loves anything red velvet.  When I asked her what she thought of a red velvet flan, she was like “H’mm…I might try that.”Sadly, Google wasn’t very helpful in locating a recipe for red velvet flan that looked promising.  So, I devised my own.

Making a red velvet flan posed a bit of a challenge at first.  The two primary flavors that come together to make that classic and recognizable “red velvet” flavor are cocoa powder and buttermilk.  So, I knew that I wanted to include buttermilk in the flan, but in a way that wouldn’t make it curdle or taste too sour.  I found that I could safely replace a fourth of the milk with buttermilk, and replaced the rest of the milk with half-and-half so that the additional fat content would discourage curdling.

Since owning a pressure cooker, flan is one of the many dishes that I have discovered that a pressure cooker excels at making.  The moist heat of the pressure gives it a smooth and silky texture in about half the time of oven baking.  I highly recommend using a flanera (flan plan), which has a lid that locks in place to protect your flan.  I know some people use a pyrex dish or cake pan covered in foil, and that should also work.  You can also bake the flan in the oven if you don’t have a pressure cooker.  Just bake at 350° for about an hour in a water bath.

Melt the sugar in a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat.  Once the sugar is melted and dark amber, remove from heat and add water.  It will bubble, steam, and sizzle furiously, so be careful.  Once you can get your hand close, stir until the water and sugar are combined, and then pour it into your flan mold.

The rest of the ingredients can go in your blender.

And blend until smooth.

Pour this mixture in your prepared flan pan (or making dish) and cover in foil.  Place on a trivet in your pressure cooker filled with about 1 cup of water, then cook on manual (high pressure) for 12 minutes.  After the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for another 10-15 minutes, then release any remaining pressure (if any) and remove the flan from the pressure cooker.  Uncover and allow to cool completely before refrigerating.  Let is refrigerate at least overnight before you remove the red velvet flan from the pan.

Red Velvet Flan

The food coloring kind of bleeds into the caramel and dyes it red, which I think adds some visual impact.

red velvet flan slice

There are a few air bubbles here and there, but the overall texture of this red velvet flan is very smooth and creamy.  Best of all, it tastes like actual red velvet!

Red Velvet Flan


  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp red food coloring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the sugar until it melts and turns medium amber.  Remove from heat and add the water (careful, as it may splatter), stirring until combined.  Quickly pour the mixture into a flan pan or baking dish.  Set aside.

Using a blender, combine the condensed milk, half-and-half, buttermilk, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and food coloring until smooth and uniform.  Pour mixture into prepared pan and cover.  Set pan on a trivet and lower into pressure cooker filled with 1 cup of water.

Cook on Manual (High Pressure) for 12 minutes, then allow the pressure to release naturally for 10-15 minutes.  Remove the flan from the pressure cooker, uncover, and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight before serving.

To unmold: Run a thin bladed knife around the inside of the flan pan to loosen the flan, then invert onto a baking dish (or a deep plate).  Lift the flan pan upward off the dish, shaking gently to loosen the flan.

Oven Directions: Same as above, except use an 8″ or 9″ round pan.  Bake uncovered in a water bath at 350° for about an hour, or until center is only slightly jiggly.

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