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Quiche vs. Flan: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 7, 2023
Quiche is a savory pie filled primarily with eggs and cream; Flan is a sweet or savory custard dish with a caramelized top.

Key Differences

Quiche is best known as a savory dish, originating from French cuisine. It primarily consists of a filling made from eggs and cream baked inside a pie crust. On the contrary, Flan, also with European roots, is mainly recognized as a sweet dessert, which is a creamy custard topped with caramel.
Quiche often incorporates various ingredients like cheese, vegetables, and meats, making it a versatile dish suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Meanwhile, Flan, in its sweet form, emphasizes simplicity with its silky texture and a prominent caramel flavor, often enjoyed as a dessert.
Though both dishes are based on eggs, the context in which they're enjoyed differs significantly. Quiche's rich, savory profile contrasts with the sweet, delicate nature of most Flans. But it's also important to note that Flan can sometimes be savory, especially in certain European traditions, though it's less common than its sweet counterpart.
The crust is another distinguishing factor. Quiche always boasts a crust, typically made from pastry dough. Flan, however, usually lacks a crust, and its focus is the caramelized top layer that complements its custard base.
Both dishes have enjoyed international popularity, with various cultures adopting and adapting them. While Quiche remains steadfast in its savory identity, Flan's dual nature as both sweet and sometimes savory showcases its versatility.

Comparison Chart


European (varied)

Typical Flavor

Mostly sweet

Main Ingredients

Eggs, cream, various fillings
Eggs, cream/milk, sugar


Yes (pastry crust)
Typically none


Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Dessert (or sometimes savory dish)

Quiche and Flan Definitions


Originating from French cuisine.
The authentic French quiche Lorraine is a classic.


Sometimes a savory dish in European traditions.
The vegetable flan was an interesting twist.


Typically baked in a pie crust.
The flaky crust made the quiche even more delicious.


A sweet custard dessert with caramel topping.
The caramel flan was the perfect end to our meal.


A dish often enriched with ingredients like cheese, meat, or vegetables.
The bacon and onion quiche was a hit at the party.


A versatile dish with variations across cultures.
The Filipino leche flan uses condensed milk for extra richness.


A savory pie with an egg and cream filling.
I made a spinach and cheese quiche for brunch.


Creamy in texture and rich in flavor.
This vanilla flan melts in your mouth.


A rich unsweetened custard pie, often containing ingredients such as vegetables, cheese, or seafood.


Typically crustless with a caramelized top.
I love the contrast between the soft custard and the crispy caramel in flan.


A member of a Mayan people of Guatemala.


A custard that is baked in a caramel-lined mold and served chilled with the caramel side up. Also called crème caramel.


The Mayan language of the Quiché.


A tart with a filling of custard, fruit, or cheese.


A pie made primarily of egg and cream, perhaps mixed with chopped meat or vegetables, in a pastry crust.


A metal disk to be stamped as a coin; a blank.


(slang) Extremely appealing to look at; sexually alluring.
I'm not even bragging, but me and my friends are pretty much quiche.


Baked tart with sweet or savoury filling in an open-topped pastry case. Compare quiche.


A member of the Mayan people of south central Guatemala


A dessert of congealed custard, often topped with caramel, especially popular in Spanish-speaking countries.


A tart filled with rich unsweetened custard; often contains other ingredients (as cheese or ham or seafood or vegetables)


A coin die. planchet.}}


The Mayan language spoken by the Quiche people


Open pastry filled with fruit or custard


Consumed during various meals.
Let's have quiche for dinner tonight.


Can flan be a main course?

While traditionally a dessert, some European savory flans can serve as main dishes.

Is caramel necessary for flan?

Classic sweet flans have a caramel topping, but variations may differ.

Which is heavier, quiche or flan?

Generally, quiche, due to its rich fillings and crust, is heavier than flan.

What's the origin of quiche?

Quiche has French origins, with the quiche Lorraine being especially renowned.

Can I make a mini quiche?

Definitely! Mini quiches are popular appetizers or brunch items.

How is flan different from crème brûlée?

Both are custards, but flan has a soft caramel, while crème brûlée has a hard caramelized top.

Is there a difference between Spanish flan and Filipino leche flan?

Yes, the Filipino version typically uses condensed milk, making it richer.

Can I make a crustless quiche?

Yes, crustless quiches are possible and are often termed "frittatas."

Is quiche always savory?

Primarily, yes, but variations might slightly sway from traditional savory profiles.

Can I add meat to my quiche?

Absolutely, meats like bacon, ham, or chicken are popular in quiches.

Do quiches require cheese?

Not necessarily, but cheese is a popular and flavorful addition.

Can flan be made without eggs?

Traditional flan recipes use eggs, but vegan versions might employ alternatives.

Is flan the same worldwide?

No, flan has regional variations in ingredients and preparation methods.

What's the texture of flan?

Flan is creamy and silky, with a soft set custard consistency.

What occasions are best for quiche?

Brunches, luncheons, or any mealtime, given its versatility.

Is there a dairy-free version of flan?

Yes, coconut milk or other alternatives can replace dairy in flan recipes.

Can I use alternative milks in quiche?

Yes, but it might alter the texture and flavor slightly.

Can flan be flavored differently?

Absolutely, flavors like chocolate, coffee, and citrus can be introduced.

How is flan's sweetness achieved?

It's mainly from the caramel and sugar in the custard.

Are quiche and pie the same?

Not exactly. While both have crusts, quiche has a specific egg and cream filling.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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