Gajar Ka Halwa | Carrot Halwa (4 Ways)

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Making the popular Indian dessert known as Carrot Halwa (a.k.a. Gajar Ka Halwa in Hindi or Gajrela in Punjabi) is so simple when you use my detailed step-by-step guide and video! Whether you make it using the traditional stovetop method, or take some shortcuts by using milkmaid, khoya or the Instant Pot, I have you covered all with detailed step-by-step photos in this helpful post.

gajar ka halwa in a bronze bowl on a bronze plate with a bronze spoon by side

What Is Halwa?

The word halwa comes from the Arabic word for “sweet,” and refers to desserts that are cooked down with ghee and sugar. Whether made with noodles (vermicelli), lentils (moong dal), grains (like semolina), or vegetables (like carrots or beets), Indian halwa is a pudding that is absolutely delectable.

Contrary to popular belief, Indian halwa is different from Middle Eastern halva, which is a candy made primarily from sesame seeds.

Halwa is a yummy dessert that is reserved for celebratory occasions. It isn’t difficult to make, but it does tend to take a bit of time. If you’d like to make gajar ka halwa more of a regular occurrence, consider using one of my genius shortcuts listed below!

Carrot Halwa

Carrot halwa is a popular sweet made in North India, and it is especially popular during winters. The traditional gajar ka halwa recipe is made with only carrots, whole (full-fat) milk, ghee and sugar; there’s no need for khoya (evaporated milk solids) or condensed milk.

If you prefer using either khoya or milkmaid (sweetened condensed milk), skip to the appropriate section below to learn how!

I prefer to use red Delhi carrots to make the halwa, as they are tender and juicy. That said, you can use any carrots – red, orange, or even black – so long as they are not fibrous, stringy or hard.

One of the reasons that I love making carrot halwa is that it has a pretty long shelf life. I can make a batch that’ll last for upwards of 10 days in the fridge, meaning we always have something sweet to snack on after dinner.

Step-by-Step Guide

How To Make Gajar Halwa

Prep and Grate Carrots

1. First rinse and peel 650 grams carrots (8 to 9 medium-sized tender, juicy carrots or 6 to 7 long carrots).

peeled carrots on a cutting board.

2. Next, grate the carrots with a box grater or in a food processor. You will need about 4 to 4.5 cups of grated carrots.

grated carrots to make gajar ka halwa.

Cook Carrots

3. In a heavy kadai or wok, add all of the grated carrots.

carrots added to kadai.

4. Pour in 4 cups full-fat milk. Switch on the burner.

milk added to kadai with carrots.

5. Mix the grated carrots and milk together.

stirring carrots and milk as first step of making carrot halwa.

6. Cook this mixture on a low-medium heat. After a few minutes, the milk will begin to froth and then start slowly reducing.

simmering gajar ka halwa milk and carrot mixture.

7. Keep stirring this halwa mixture often, scraping the sides of the kadai to remove the evaporated milk solids. Stir the milk solids into the cooking mixture. 

reducing milk in carrot halwa mixture.

8. Cook the carrot and milk mixture until the liquid is reduced by 75%.

continuing to reduce milk in gajar ka halwa.

Make Gajar Halwa

9. Add 4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter). Note that some milk will be there when you add the ghee.

ghee added to pan with carrot halwa mix.

10. Mix very well.

carrot milk mix after adding ghee.

11. Next, add 10 to 12 tablespoons sugar, or to taste.

sugar added to gajar ka halwa.

12. Add cardamom powder – 5 to 6 green cardamom pods powdered finely in a mortar-pestle, or about ½ to 1 teaspoon pre-ground cardamom powder.

cardamom powder added.

13. Mix very well.

carrot halwa after adding sugar and cardamom.

14. Continue to simmer on a low flame, stirring often.

simmering carrot halwa after sugar and spice is added.

15. Simmer till the gajar ka halwa mixture starts to thicken and reduces more. Stir at intervals.

carrot mixture is becoming thick and the milk is evaporating.

16. When the halwa has reduced to a pudding-like consistency, add nuts and dry fruits of your choice. I have added 12 cashews, 12 almonds, and 2 tablespoons golden raisins.

NOTE: Chop the nuts before you add. Raisins can be kept whole. If using saffron, then you can add at this step.

chopped nuts and raisins added to gajar ka halwa.

17. Mix again and continue to stir and simmer.

simmering thickened carrot halwa.

18. Simmer till the halwa mixture becomes dry. The milk should evaporate completely and you will see fine milk solids in the mixture. You will also see some ghee being released from the sides. 

Remember to scrape the milk solids stuck at the sides of the kadai or pan and add them back to the carrot halwa. Some moisture is also fine in the halwa.

carrot halwa, gajar halwa, after reducing down to a thick, almost fudgy consistency.

19. Serve gajar ka halwa warm from the pan. Refrigerate any leftovers, warming them before serving. Garnish with some chopped dry fruits while serving.

overhead shot of carrot halwa filled in a bronze bowl placed on a bronze plate
Step-by-Step Guide

Carrot Halwa With Milkmaid

You Will Need

  • 1.5 kg carrots – approximate 9 cups tightly packed grated carrots
  • 6 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1.5 to 2 teaspoons cardamom powder or 8 to 9 green cardamoms – powdered in a mortar-pestle
  • 1 tin sweetened condensed milk – I used nestle milkmaid, 400 grams
  • sugar as required, optional
  • ⅓ cup cashews
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins

How to Make

To make carrot halwa with milkmaid or condensed milk, follow these steps:

1. Melt 6 tablespoons ghee in a heavy kadai or thick bottomed skillet or pan. Add in 9 cups of tightly packed grated carrots.

grated carrots in a heavy kadai/wok

2. Sauté the carrots until they turn tender and are cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes on low heat. Stir often.

sautéed carrots in kadai

3. Pour in an entire can of milkmaid or sweetened condensed milk (400 grams).

condensed milk being poured on carrots

4. Mix thoroughly.

carrots and condensed milk mixed well

5. Add 1.5 to 2 teaspoons cardamom powder, ⅓ cup raisins and ⅓ cup cashews.

dry fruits added to carrot halwa mixture

6. Mix well and simmer gajar ka halwa on a low heat. Stir often at intervals until the mixture thickens, reduces and dries up.

carrot halwa with condensed milk cooked in kadai

7. Serve carrot halwa hot or warm or chilled.

collage of carrot halwa in a box and gajar halwa squares in a white plate with a spoon by side
Step-by-Step Guide

Gajar ka Halwa With Khoya

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kilogram carrots or 9 cups tightly packed grated carrots
  • 6 tablespoons Ghee or clarified butter
  • 2 cups khoya or mawa – grated or crumbled (evaporated milk solids) or 400 to 410 grams
  • 1 to 1.25 cups sugar or add as required
  • 1.5 to 2 teaspoons cardamom powder or 8 to 9 green cardamoms – powdered in a mortar-pestle
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios, chopped or slivered – optional
  • ⅓ cup cashews, or add as required
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins or add as required

Method

1. Heat 6 tablespoons ghee in a deep bottomed heavy pan or kadai. Add 9 cups tightly packed grated carrots.

grated carrots in pan

2. On a low heat, sauté carrots in ghee, stirring often until they turn tender and are cooked – about 15 to 20 minutes.

grated carrots being sautéed in ghee

3. Add 2 cups of crumbled or grated khoya (a.k.a. mawa or evaporated milk solids). 

crumbled soft khoya pieces on top of sautéed carrots in pan

4. First mix thoroughly.

khoya mixed well with carrots

5. Then add 1 to 1.25 cups sugar. Adjust the amount of sugar depending upon the sweetness of your khoya. If your khoya is sweet, start with just 1 cup of sugar.

mound of sugar on carrot mixture

6. Combine and mix well.

sugar mixed with carrots

7. You will see that both the khoya and sugar will melt.

sugar has melted and carrot mixture looks liquid

8. Now add ⅓ cup of cashews, ⅓ cup golden raisins, 1 tablespoon pistachios (chopped) and 1.5 to 2 teaspoons cardamom powder.

dry fruits and cardamom powder on carrot halwa mixture in pan

9. Mix again and, stirring often, simmer gajar halwa on low heat. The halwa will start thickening, reducing and leave the edges of the pan. When you see these signs, switch off the heat.

gajar halwa made with khoya thickened and cooked in pan

10. Serve gajar ka halwa either warm or chilled. 

quick gajar ka halwa with khoya filled in a white bowl and garnished with one cashew placed on a paper doily
Step-by-Step Guide

Instant Pot Carrot Halwa

Ingredients

  • 500 grams carrots or 4 to 4.5 cups grated carrots
  • 1.5 cups full-fat milk or whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar or add as required
  • 4 tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 tablespoon cashews – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon almonds – sliced
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios – sliced
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder (ground cardamom) or 4 to 5 green cardamoms, powdered in mortar-pestle

Instructions

Making gajar halwa in the Instant Pot is super easy as you do not have to spend time stirring it. Follow these easy steps to make instant pot carrot halwa:

1. Add 4 to 4.5 cups grated carrots, 1.5 cups whole milk, ½ cup sugar, and 4 tablespoons ghee in the steel insert of a 6 quart Instant Pot.

carrot halwa ingredients in instant pot

2. Mix all of the ingredients with a spoon to make an even mixture.

carrot halwa mixture in instant pot

3. Seal with the Instant Pot lid. Position the valve to the sealing position. Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes.

outer panel of instant pot

4. After 3 minutes of pressure cooking (it should beep), carefully do a quick pressure release (QPR) by lifting the pressure valve. When all the pressure is released, open the lid. Stir and mix very well. 

pressure cooked carrot halwa mixture

5. Press cancel and then press the sauté button, setting the time to 5 to 10 minutes on normal mode.

outer panel of instant pot

6. The carrot halwa will begin to simmer and bubble. Continue to stir often until the halwa thickens.

simmering gajar halwa mixture in instant pot

7. When the halwa has almost thickened, add 1 tablespoons each of sliced or chopped almonds, cashews, pistachios and raisins. Add ½ teaspoon cardamom powder.

nuts, raisins and cardamom powder added to simmering carrot halwa mixture in instant pot

8. Keep on stirring and simmering until the liquids have evaporated and the carrot halwa thickens. The halwa will look glossy and you will some ghee releasing from the sides. Press the cancel button.

thickened carrot halwa in instant pot

9. Serve instant pot gajar halwa hot or warm.

instant pot gajar halwa topped with chopped almonds in a dark blue lined green enamel plate

Serving Suggestions

  • In the cold winters of North India, carrot halwa is best served hot.
  • You can have gajar halwa chilled if you prefer. It is a personal preference, much like some people prefer pudding hot while others prefer it cold.
  • In some restaurants, they serve a combination of carrot halwa with vanilla ice cream. Believe me: this combination tastes good. It’s like carrot cake pudding a la mode!

Storing

  • Refrigerator: You can store the carrot halwa in the fridge. It stays well for about 10-12 days, but never lasts that long in our house. When serving from leftovers, just warm the halwa and then serve.
  • Freezer: Large quantities of carrot halwa can be made and frozen. Gajar halwa keeps well in the freezer for about a month.
Tips

Expert Tips

  • Buy the best carrots: It is important to buy tender and juicy carrots so that they are easy to grate. Prepare yourself for an arm workout, unless you have a food processor. Even still, you’ll need to keep on stirring them on regular intervals. Small and medium sized carrots are preferable to larger carrots, which can become woody and tough.
  • Cooking: Remember to stir the halwa mixture often when you cook it in a pan. Leaving the skillet or pan unattended will make the milk and carrots burn or brown at the bottom of the pan. So stirring regularly and keeping attention on the halwa while its simmering is a must.
  • Grating vs. shredding: You can either grate or shred the carrots. The carrots can be grated using a hand-held box grater or a food processor. Obviously, a food processor makes grating of the carrots easier, but it is not necessary.
  • Best pan to make carrot halwa: I suggest using a heavy iron skillet or kadai (wok) to make the halwa. You can also use any thick-bottomed pan or skillet.
  • Scaling: You can easily halve, double or triple this carrot halwa recipe depending on how many servings you’d like to make.

FAQs

How many days carrot halwa last?

Store carrot halwa in the refrigerator for 10 to 12 days. Do not keep it at room temperature as it will get spoiled. You can even freeze carrot halwa for about a month.

Can I make this vegan?

Sure! Simply swap in your favorite non-dairy milk and use coconut oil in place of ghee. But note that coconut oil will give its aroma and flavor to the halwa.

Can I make it without nuts?

Absolutely! Feel free to use the toasted seeds of your choice instead, or omit them altogether.

More Halwa Recipes!

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overhead shot of gajar halwa or carrot halwa filled in a bronze bowl placed on a bronze plate

Gajar ka Halwa | Carrot Halwa

A carrot halwa recipe made in the traditional way and slow-cooked – with just carrots, whole milk, ghee, sugar and some nuts. You will love this evergreen and popular gajar ka halwa recipe.
4.87 from 138 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Cuisine North Indian, Punjabi
Course Desserts, Sweets
Diet Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 6
Units

Ingredients

  • 8 to 9 carrots medium, juicy, tender – 650 grams or about 4 to 4.5 cups grated carrots
  • 4 cups whole milk or full fat organic milk
  • 4 tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter)
  • 10 to 12 tablespoons sugar or raw sugar – 180 to 190 grams – add as required
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cardamom powder or 5 to 6 green cardamoms powdered finely in a mortar-pestle
  • 10 to 12 cashews – chopped
  • 10 to 12 almonds – sliced or chopped
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1 pinch saffron strands – optional

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • First rinse, peel and then grate the carrots (8-9 medium sized tender juicy carrots), either with a hand held grater or in a food processor.
  • You need approx 4 to 4.5 cups grated carrots.

Making carrot halwa

  • In a kadai or deep thick bottomed pan combine milk and grated carrots.
  • On a low to medium flame, bring the whole mixture to a boil and then simmer.
  • While the mixture is simmering on a low flame, keep on stirring in between.
  • The grated carrots will cook in the milk and the milk will start to reduce and evaporate.
  • When the milk has 75% reduced, add the ghee, sugar and powdered cardamom to the mixture.
  • Stir well and continue to simmer and cook on a low flame.
  • Do keep on stirring the halwa in between.
  • Towards the end, add the cashews, almonds, saffron and raisins. Simmer the halwa till all the milk is evaporated. Switch off the burner.
  • Serve gajar halwa hot, warm or you can also serve it cold. garnish with some chopped dry fruits while serving.

Video

Notes

  • Use fresh, juicy and tender carrots for the best texture and taste.
  • The recipe can be halved or doubled or tripled according to your needs. Note that if you increase the proportions, it will need a lot of simmering and take more time to cook
  • The halwa stays good in the fridge for almost about 10 to 12 days. 
  • Use full-fat milk or whole milk.
  • Do not leave the halwa mixture unattended while its simmering and cooking as the ingredients can burn or brown at the bottom of the pan. The carrot halwa mixture has to be stirred often.
  • Add nuts and dry fruits of your choice.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Gajar ka Halwa | Carrot Halwa
Amount Per Serving
Calories 328 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 38mg13%
Sodium 128mg6%
Potassium 560mg16%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 35g39%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 13856IU277%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Vitamin D 2µg13%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 12µg11%
Calcium 224mg22%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 24µg6%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 43mg11%
Phosphorus 197mg20%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This carrot halwa post from the archives, first published on Feb 2014 has been republished and updated on 28 November 2021.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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282 Comments

    1. Happy to know that Nitisha. Thanks for the feedback and the rating as well.

  1. I tried using the recipe but my halwa turned brown in color rather than red. Any reasons. I cooked on medium low heat.

    1. If the carrot stick to the pan or get browned while cooking, the halwa will become brown. A traditionally made gajar halwa requires plenty of stirrings. If you leave it unattended for some minutes, depending on the thickness or quality of pan, the carrots and milk might start getting scorched at the bottom, resulting in a brown color to the halwa. I hope this helps.

  2. Thank you for this recipe. Followed the instructions and cooked it. It turned out very well And everyone likes it..5 stars

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