This recipe of Coconut Burfi (also known as Nariyal ki Barfi in Hindi), is a decadent sweet treat made with condensed milk and delicious coconut. It’s fudge-like consistency is soft so that each bite simply melts in your mouth. Here I share my favorite Coconut Barfi recipe with step-by-step instructions and photos to make this delish snack or dessert for all of your special occasions!
More on Coconut Burfi
Burfi is a popular treat that’s enjoyed as a sweet anytime snack and shared during Indian festivals. A barfi itself is simply a type of soft fudge, and can be made with nearly endless other ingredients to create a wide range of flavors.
Coconut Burfi is by far my favorite kind of barfi. There is just the right balance between the super sweet condensed milk and the not-quite-so-sweet coconut. Plus, the shredded texture of the coconut is divine when combined with the rich creaminess of the fudge!
These have become our new go-to sweet treat recipe for Raksha Bandhan and other festive holidays. We usually make Rice Kheer or Vermicelli Kheer, and now barfi is definitely on our annual must-make list.
After trying and testing several versions, I’ve perfected this coconut burfi recipe so that it’s wonderfully easy to make anytime you are craving something that is sweet, nutty, decadent and delicious.
And just as the flavors of barfi can be tweaked however you like, you also can use whatever type of coconut you have available: Fresh or desiccated (a.k.a dry coconut flakes) both work well.
Keep reading for the full Coconut Burfi or Nariyal ki Barfi recipe that my family loves, with my tried-and-true tips to prepare as a nearly foolproof fudge!
(And pssst – you can also make ladoo with the same mixture as is used in the recipe!)
How to Make Coconut Burfi
1. First soak dry desiccated coconut in milk to get a soft texture without altering the flavor.
To do this, add ¾ cup warm milk (not hot) to a bowl. Then add 1 heaped cup unsweetened desiccated coconut to the warm milk. Stir well and cover for an hour.
Note: The desiccated coconut has to be finer textured. You can also use the semi-coarse variety of coconut powder. If the shredded coconut is long or thick, powder it in a mixer-grinder until you get a semi-fine texture like that of suji or rava (cream of wheat).
Tip: If using fresh coconut, then there’s no need to soak. Simply grate the coconut meat and move on to step 2. You will need about ¾ cup of fresh grated coconut.
2. When ready to make the burfi, heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a pan.
3. Add the all of the milk soaked coconut and stir to combine with the ghee. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes on low heat.
4. Now pour in ¾ cup of sweetened condensed milk.
5. Stir and mix thoroughly.
6. If you want a really sweet burfi, stir in 1 tablespoon of sugar. This is optional.
7. Then add ½ teaspoon of green cardamom powder (3 to 4 green cardamoms, crushed to powder in a mortar-pestle).
8. Stir often and continue to cook the mixture.
9. The mixture will reduce, thicken and lose its moisture. Continue to stir, so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
10. Continue to cook and stir until you see ghee releasing from the sides and the mixture starts coming together in the pan.
This will take about 20 to 25 minutes on low heat. The time will vary depending on the type of pan, its thickness and the stovetop flame intensity.
Set Coconut Barfi
11. Now add the coconut burfi mixture in a greased plate or tray. Here I used a baking pan and managed to get more than half of the pan covered with the coconut burfi. Spread it evenly with a spatula keeping ½ to 1 inch of height.
To grease the tray or plate, use ghee or lightly brush with a neutral tasting oil.
12. You can sprinkle a pinch of crushed or powdered saffron on top of the burfi. You can also top the coconut barfi with 8 to 10 halved or chopped cashews or raisins.
13. Once the coconut burfi has cooled completely at room temperature, then slice it into squares or diamond shapes.
14. Serve Coconut Burfi or Nariyal ki Barfi. They can also be refrigerated and they stay good for 1 to 2 days in the fridge.
While technically you can, but the flavors and consistency of the coconut barfi is better when you soak it in milk rather than water.
Feel free to add your choice of dried fruits or chopped nuts to the barfi after you’ve spread the mixture into the pan but before it sets. Use the back of a flat spatula to gently press the goodies into the fudge. Cashews and raisins are tasty toppings you’ll often find in other types of barfi.
Fudge-y burfi will keep well for up to 2 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
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Coconut Burfi | Nariyal ki Barfi
- 1 cup desiccated coconut – heaped, unsweetened and finer textured
- ¾ cup whole milk
- ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder or 3 to 4 green cardamoms crushed to powder in a mortar-pestle
- ½ teaspoon rose water – optional
- 1 tablespoon sugar – optional
- 1 tablespoon Ghee (clarified butter)
- 12 to 15 saffron strands – crushed or 2 to 3 pinches of ground saffron powder, optional
- 8 to 10 cashews – halved or chopped, optional
- Warm the milk first in the microwave or stovetop.
- In a bowl, take the desiccated coconut and mix warm milk with it.
- Stir well. Cover and keep aside for 1 hour. If using fresh coconut, then no need to soak in warm milk.
Making coconut burfi
- Grease a baking tray or steel plate with ghee or a neutral flavored oil.
- Heat ghee in a pan. Add the milk soaked coconut. Stir to mix and sauté on a low heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Now add the condensed milk and stir to mix the ingredient thoroughly. Cook on a low heat stirring often.
- Add sugar if you prefer. Then add cardamom powder.
- Continue to cook and stir. The coconut burfi mixture will thicken slowly.
- Keep on stirring so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Ghee should start releasing from the sides of the mixture. You will see tiny drops of ghee. Takes about 20 to 25 mins on a low heat.
- Add rose water if using. Stir again.
Setting coconut burfi
- Then pour the burfi mixture in the greased tray or thali.
- Sprinkle saffron powder or press some halved or chopped cashews on the top.
- Let it cool completely at room temperature.
- Slice the burfi and then serve.
- Coconut Burfi can also be refrigerated. It keeps well for 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator.
- You could use finely grated desiccated coconut or coconut powder. If the coconut shreds are too large, grind them to a semi-fine texture in a mixer-grinder.
- If using fresh coconut, there is no need to soak it warm milk. Add about ¼ cup of fresh grated coconut.
- Cook the coconut burfi mixture until it comes together in the pan and you see some ghee releasing from the sides. If the mixture is not cooked properly, the burfi won’t set on cooling.
- Use any good brand of sweetened condensed milk.
- For more servings, you can easily scale up the recipe.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Coconut Burfi recipe post from the blog archives first published in August 2014 has been republished and updated on 28 July 2022.