When you’re craving something sweet or you want to make dessert for a fun dinner party you’re having, try one of these Indian desserts. Indian cuisine is loaded with a variety of different ideas for easy and quick desserts.
The great thing about Indian sweets recipes is that they are rooted in humble ingredients and use basics like milk, sugar, eggs mixed with fruits, and compotes to create delicious dessert dishes.
Most of these Indian dessert recipes don’t even use the oven, so they can be made if you only have a stovetop, or feel nervous about taking on a baking project.
Though a lot of the recipes are rooted in the same basic ingredients, each one has a unique and interesting flavor of its own. Try out these easy Indian desserts and see for yourself!
1. Indian Pudding
This recipe will be sure to deliver you some easy Indian sweets. It’s quick to put together and only cooks on the stove for a short time before it’s ready.
The warm spices and creamy texture is reminiscent of American pudding but the flavor is really something different.
Lots of spices make up this Indian pudding recipe and it’s perfectly served with vanilla ice cream.
2. Ras Malai
Ras Malai is typically found in the northern regions of India. Quick Indian desserts often feature cheese as their main component.
This particular dessert uses a cheese similar to cottage cheese but a bit more firm.
Cut into rounds, it’s soaked in sweetened thick milk or clotted cream. The dish is cold and deliciously creamy, traditionally scented with cardamom pods and saffron threads, which dye the milk a beautiful golden color as the cheese soaks in its milk bath.
3. Mango Shrikhand
Much like a pudding or ice cream base, these quick Indian desserts come in all kinds of flavors, but mango is perfect for summer when they are ripe and sweet to be mixed with the yogurt.
This Mango Shrikhand is an absolutely essential summer dessert choice.
It’s cold and refreshing without being heavy or dense. It comes together super fast with just a couple of ingredients and utilizes what is best in the summer, mango!
4. Rice Kheer
Rice Kheer is one of the most popular Indian dessert recipes in the world. It is an Indian version of a classic rice pudding.
The kheer is made using basmati rice, or long-grain rice, which is typical for Indian cuisine.
The rice is cooked with milk and lots of sweet and warm spices to make this delicious pudding. It is typically served cold but can also be enjoyed once the rice has softened and thickened the mixture, and served hot with a sprinkle of cinnamon or cardamom.
5. Gulab Jamun
Served for celebrations, special occasions, and at many festivals and parties, gulab jamun is a classic Indian dessert that you must try to know how delicious it is.
Traditionally it’s made using milk solids that have formed after simmering milk for a long time. Formed into a ball and flavored with rose water and warm spices the little balls are fried and then bathed in a sweet-scented syrup.
You can make these using milk powder, which is widely available and makes the recipe easier and faster.
6. Gajar ka Halwa
Similar to Kheer, gajar ka halwa is a traditional Indian dessert pudding using carrots as its base.
The pudding is typically made during the winter months when carrots are at their best.
The texture will not remind you of a traditional pudding as it’s not as creamy and smooth.
The carrots take on a luscious texture however as they are slowly cooked with milk and spices. You can save some time and use sweetened condensed milk instead of slow-cooking the milk.
Shrikhand is eaten all over the Indian subcontinent, it’s typical of most meals and is as simple as it can be.
This quick Indian dessert consists of strained yogurt, thickened by the straining process, sweetened with sugar or honey, and then flavored with whatever the cook chooses.
Typically it’s flavored with saffron and cardamom, which is traditional, but you can also use fruit or rose water.
The sweet treat is served with a sprinkling of nuts or fruit and is very refreshing on a hot summer night.
8. Mango Fruit Custard
Mangos grow all over India, and when they are ripe there is really nothing quite like a fresh mango fruit custard.
This recipe is so easy and quick that you will want to make it every night for dessert. Simply combine thick greek yogurt with mango puree, put into a vessel, and top with fresh mango chunks and a sprinkle of cardamom.
No chilling or cooking is required and it can be ready in as little as ten minutes. Get mangos that are nice and red on the skin which means they ripened on the tree.
This Indian dessert treat comes from the western states of the country where pistachio trees are common and basundi is enjoyed widely throughout the year.
Basundi is a delicious, rich, aromatic, and creamy dessert that’s made from kitchen staples.
Milk and sugar are cooked slowly till thickened, then seasoned with spices like nutmeg and cardamom and garnished with chopped nuts. Pistachios are traditional but you can use any nuts you have.
10. Sooji Halwa
Sooji, means ‘wheat’ in Indian or rather semolina which is the wheat they typically use there.
This sweet dessert is also often served at breakfast. It’s made by cooking semolina dough in ghee, or clarified butter, till toasted and browned, then adding syrup that’s been spiced.
Often when it’s served cold milk is added to cut the sweetness of the syrup and nuts and fruit can be added as well.
11. Peanut Katli
Katli is made the same way most of these Indian desserts have begun, simple and straightforward.
Combining sugar and milk you cook this mixture over low heat to thicken. Then peanuts are added in and the mixture is blended into a smooth and thick paste or batter of sorts.
You pour this batter into a pan to cool and when it’s done cooling you have a delicious dessert that’s reminiscent of peanut butter cookies.
The nuts and milk become something of a fudge-like consistency and are deliciously spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon.
12. Kaju Katli
This is the traditional version of Katli, using cashews instead of peanuts. The cashews have a wonderful buttery taste that compliments the sweet milk quite nicely.
These quick and easy Indian desserts are traditionally from the northern region of India and served during festivals and celebrations.
They are oftentimes cut into a diamond shape and arranged on a platter to resemble a star shape.
The secret to really good Katli is fresh cashews, but you can substitute any nut you like best and make it your own.
These little milk dumplings come from the Bengal region of India.
They are traditionally made from boiling milk and extracting the curdled solids.
These are kneaded with sugar and ground cardamom to make a thick and smooth dough, then formed into little rounds and topped with colorful sweets like chocolate chips or sprinkles.
You can easily make this using paneer, which is a soft cheese typical in India, rather than boiling milk to get the solids.
These sweet treats are found all over India, they are widely eaten and sold in shops and bakeries. Kalakand is kind of like the Indian version of a brownie.
They are squares of condensed, sweetened milk that have been chilled and set into a pan to be cut and eaten in small little bite size pieces.
Kalakand is often flavored with various spices and sometimes topped with nuts or dried fruit.
15. Coconut Ladoo
These little balls of joy are the perfect holiday gift for those who love a sweet treat or to make for a party or celebration.
They are traditional in India for festivals and made with just a few ingredients. Ladoo just means little ball so you could make these using any of your favorite ingredients or dried fruits.
Fresh coconut can be substituted with dried or shaved varieties and you can use any sweetener you choose between sugar, honey, maple syrup, or whatever you have on hand.
These little sweet fried treats are all over Indian market stalls and street vendors. They are a traditional Indian dessert and could be compared to the American funnel cake.
Jalebi is made by creating a batter with flour, sugar, and water. This batter is dripped or funneled into hot oil to create the fun little spiral shapes, then taken out and soaked in a sweet spiced syrup till ready to be eaten.
17. Mysore Pak
This brownie-like dessert originated in the city of Mysore, hence its name. This dessert is quick to make and stores well.
It is a combination of a flour called gram flour, which is made from ground-up dried chickpeas, as well as sugar, milk, spices, and a very generous amount of ghee. The ghee in this recipe makes for a very moist and delicious treat.
18. Sweet Boondi
Boondhi refers to “little balls” which is exactly what is made with this fried and sweetened treat.
The boondhi is made by creating a batter similar to that of the jalebi. It’s a combination of gram flour (chickpea flour), water, and sugar.
The batter is poured through a ladle with holes in it, to form little droplets of batter into hot oil making the small balls.
They are then tossed in sugar syrup. These are often an offering at temples and ceremonies.
This sweet and creamy Indian dessert offering is very similar to rice pudding and the Kheer we saw earlier in this list. Phirni however is made using nuts as well as rice, and is typically found in the North for special occasions and ceremonies.
Long grain rice is simmered with milk, nuts and sweetener then spiced heavily and served cold. This is a particularly good dessert to serve on the hot days of the year when you need a bit of cooling off.
Another use for gram flour, or chickpea flour, these little dumplings are snow white and always have the flavor of the rose as their main flavoring.
The dough is a combination of gram flour, sweetened milk, paneer cheese, and spices.
They are formed into little balls and then cooked slowly in a sweet syrupy liquid of sugar, water, and rose water. Delicious and decadent, garnished with delicate strands of saffron.
21. Seviyan Kherr
This version of Kheer is made using vermicelli noodles instead of long-grain rice.
The pudding has a similar base of milk, sugar, and spices but the noodles are toasted, to begin with, so that the mixture takes on a slightly nutty and toasted taste and aroma.
The flavoring is typically rose petals and sweet spices like nutmeg and cardamom. You can use rice noodles or wheat vermicelli, they both will work just fine.
22. Ras malai
This version of Ras malai is made using the traditional method of separating milk into whey and solids.
The milk is boiled with a little lime or vinegar to help this separation occur. The solids are strained and then kneaded into a dough with sugar and spices.
The dough is formed into little patties and then boiled in water scented with rose water. These juicy and luscious little dumplings are then soaked in clotted cream for a truly decadent dessert you must try.
23. Shahi Tukra
This is one of the more interesting Indian dessert recipes. It actually originated in Persia, made its way into northern India, and became popular across the country.
Leftover bread is fried in ghee, and clarified butter, then soaked in sweet, thickened milk seasoned with saffron and cardamom. The dish is finished with chopped nuts and typically eaten cold.
Kulfi is an ancient recipe that dates back to the 16th century and Mughal empire. It is considered traditional Indian ‘ice cream’. A truly refreshing treat in the hot sun.
Kulfi is thicker and richer than American or Italian ice cream, as it’s made from milk that has been cooked down and thickened, giving it a toasted and slightly sweet taste.
The thickened milk is flavored with rose, mango, or cardamom and is molded into whatever shape the maker likes.
25. Sooji Ka Halwa with Semolina
This version of the bread pudding-like Indian dessert is made using only semolina flour which makes for a denser and heartier dish.
The batter of semolina, ghee, and sugar is cooked for a long time to create a pudding-like structure and then bathed in sweet milk.
This recipe gives many topping and flavor ideas for giving your Sooji a unique twist. It’s a comforting dessert to make for friends or family during the fall or winter when you need a warm and sweet dessert to make an end to a meal.
25 Easy Indian Dessert Recipes
- 4 c hot milk
- ½ c yellow cornmeal
- ½ c maple syrup
- ⅓ c packed brown sugar
- ¼ c molasses
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsps butter, melted
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ c cold milk
- Pour milk into a large metal bowl or double boiler set over a pot of simmering water. While stirring, slowly pour in the cornmeal and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and keep the heat low so as to not burn the milk.
- Set your oven to 300F (150C). Prepare a 2-quart round baking dish with oil or butter rubbed all over the inside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, eggs, melted butter, salt, ginger, and cinnamon. Stir the mixture into the hot milk until evenly combined. Pour into the baking dish.
- Pour ½ cup cold milk over the top of the pudding mixture Bake for about 2 hours, till fully set but slightly quivery on top. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.