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Watalappan-Coconut Custard Recipe

watalappan-cardamom spiced coconut custard
Watalappan- A classic Srilankan dessert ! This delicious and creamy coconut custard is made with only a handful of ingredients and resembles a creme caramel flan. Spiced with cardamom and pure, unrefined palm sugar it's gluten free and dairy free.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 6


  • 5 eggs large
  • 250 g kitul jaggery/ brown molasses sugar
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • ¼ teaspoon cardomom powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Roasted cashews to garnish


  • If using jaggery, shave the jaggery using a sharp knife on a cutting board or grate.
  • Heat a pan in medium, add the grated jaggery or sugar along with 2 tablespoon of water. Cook until dissolved.
  • Take the pan off heat and let it cool.
  • Whisk the coconut milk into the sugar syrup.
  • Whisk the eggs, with a pinch of salt and cardamom powder in a separate bowl.
  • Add the coconut milk mixture to the eggs and whisk until combined. Don’t whisk until it’s frothy.
  • Strain the mixture and discard the solids. Pour into 6 x ½ cup ramekins . Or one large dish.

Traditional steaming:

  • Place the ramekins in a large pot and fill the pot with water so that quarter of the dish is submerged in water. Cover and seal the lid with a heavy object on top. Steam for 30 minutes for the ramekins or 40 minutes for a large dish.

Instant pot:

  • Place the steaming insert in Instant Pot and add 2 cups of water. Place the ramekins on the insert. Close the lid and put the vent in sealing position. Steam for 15 minutes. Once done,force the pressure out by turning the vent. Take the ramekins and let it cool.

Baking in the oven:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the ramekins in a large dish and fill it half way with hot water. Cover the ramekins loosely with a foil.
  • Place the dish in the oven.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes. You want the custard to set and the middle to be wobbly.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool.
  • You can serve the watalappan as it is or chill for a few hours. Garnish with roasted cashews when serving.
Keyword coconut, Sri Lankan
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