Instant pot gajar halwa! Yes gajar halwa made in the instant pot in about 15 minutes. So obviously a very quick method to make a delicious gajar halwa in the IP. It makes for a delicious after-meal sweet dish and is quite often made during winters in North India.
Earlier I used to make gajar halwa in a stovetop pressure cooker and have now moved on to making it in the instant pot. I have to admit that instant pot is one of my favorite gadgets to cook with. Indian food adapts very well in the instant pot and gives great results.
- Cooking and time: traditionally this Indian carrot pudding is slow-cooked and simmered for hours with frequent stirrings. With the instant pot, it just takes 15 minutes to make the halwa with the same taste and texture as the traditionally made one. If you don’t believe me, you have to try it yourself.
- Less handwork: cooking the halwa in the IP requires less handwork and stirrings as compared to the traditional slow-cooked method. If you want to make a big batch of halwa then you can easily double or triple this recipe.
- Three ingredients: usually in the pressure cooker method of making carrot halwa, condensed milk or milk powder or khoya (milk solids) are added, but I do not add them as these ingredients are not there in one’s kitchen all the time. The recipe uses three main ingredients for halwa – Fresh juicy carrots, milk and sugar. some nuts & dry fruits and a bit of cardamom powder is added for more taste and aroma.
- Two cooking techniques: First is to pressure cook the halwa mixture for 3 minutes in the IP. Then with a QPR (quick pressure release), the halwa is sauteed for 5 to 10 minutes till it thickens. This second part of sauteing is also easy.
Earlier, I have also shared the traditional slow-cooked stove-top version – Carrot halwa.
How to make Instant Pot Gajar Halwa
1. First thinly slice or chop 1 tablespoon of cashews, 1 tablespoon of almonds and 1 tablespoon of pistachios. Also, powder 4 to 5 green cardamoms and keep them aside or you can use ½ teaspoon premade ground cardamom powder.
2. Rinse and then peel 500 grams carrots OR 4 to 5 juicy red carrots.
Make sure to buy tender, fresh and juicy carrots as they are easy to grate and also the halwa tastes good.
3. Grate the carrots using a handheld grater or food processor. You will need about 4 to 4.5 cups of grated carrots. Use a fine grater.
Pressure cooking in the IP
4. Take the grated carrots in the steel insert.
5. Add 1.5 cups full-fat milk or whole milk and ½ cup sugar.
6. Add 4 tablespoons of ghee.
7. Mix very well.
8. Switch on the IP. Cover with the instant pot lid and position the valve to sealing position. Press the pressure cook button on high for 3 minutes on high pressure.
9. After 3 minutes of pressure cooking, once the beep sound is heard, do a quick pressure release (QPR) by lifting the pressure valve. Let all the steam get released. Remove the IP lid. Stir and mix very well.
Sautéing in the IP
10. Press cancel and then press the sauté button for 5 to 10 minutes or 12 minutes on normal mode.
11. The halwa mixture will begin to simmer and bubble.
12. Continue to stir often.
13. When the halwa mixture has almost thickened, add the sliced or chopped dry fruits along with 1 tablespoon raisins. Also add ½ teaspoon cardamom powder.
14. Keep on stirring and simmering till the liquids have evaporated. When you move a spoon in the halwa, the space created by the spoon should not be filled with any liquids. This implies that the halwa is done.
15. When you reach step 14 (above) the halwa will become glossy and ghee will be released from the sides and all the moisture will be evaporated and the mixture will be thickened, then press the cancel button. If the mixture has not thickened well, then continue to stir and sauté for few more minutes.
Serve instant pot gajar halwa hot or warm in the winters. You can also have it chilled if you prefer. But we like to serve it hot during the winter season. Leftovers can be refrigerated.
Tips and suggestions
Vegan option – use almond milk and follow the same method for cooking in the IP. Use vegan butter or a neutral-tasting oil instead of ghee.
Carrots – both the red and orange variety of carrots work well in the recipe. Just make sure that the carrots are juicy, tender and not fibrous.
Scaling– you can halve or double or triple the recipe.
Sweeteners – though traditionally sugar is used to make this halwa. But you can use other sweeteners like jaggery, palm sugar, coconut sugar or maple syrup. For palm sugar, coconut sugar and jaggery – add these after the halwa has thickened and is done. Then using the saute option, mix very well till the jaggery or coconut sugar is melted. If jaggery or coconut sugar is added earlier while pressure cooking, then the milk will get curdled.
Make ahead option – the recipe can be easily made a day or two before and then refrigerated. While serving warm the halwa in the IP or in a pan before serving. The halwa stays good for about a week in the refrigerator.
More instant pot recipes
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instant pot gajar halwa
- 500 grams carrots or 4 to 4.5 cups grated carrot
- 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
- First thinly slice or chop 1 tablespoon cashews, 1 tablespoon almonds and 1 tablespoon pistachios.
- Also, powder 4 to 5 green cardamoms and keep aside.
- Rinse, peel and grate carrots using a fine grater. you will need about 4 to 4.5 cups grated carrot (gajar).
making gajar halwa in the instant pot
- Take the grated carrots, milk, sugar, ghee in the steel insert.
- Switch on the ip. Cover with the instant pot lid and position the valve to sealing position. Press the pressure cook button on high for 3 minutes on high pressure.
- After 3 minutes of pressure cooking, once the beep sound is heard, 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.
- Press cancel and then press the sauté button for 5 to 10 or 12 minutes on normal mode.
- The halwa mixture will begin to simmer and bubble. Continue to stir often till the mixture thickens.
- When the halwa mixture has almost thickened, add the sliced or chopped nuts and dry fruits. Also, add ½ teaspoon cardamom powder.
- Keep on stirring and simmering till the liquids have evaporated. When you move a spoon in the halwa, the space created by the spoon should not be filled with any liquids.
- The halwa will become glossy and ghee will release from the sides and all the moisture will be evaporated and the mixture will be thickened, then press the cancel button.
- Serve instant pot gajar halwa hot or warm. Garnish with some chopped almonds or cashews while serving. Leftover halwa can be refrigerated and warmed before serving.
- Vegan option: almond milk can be used instead of dairy milk.
- Choice of nuts: you can add less or more nuts and dry fruits as per your requirements. Also your choice of nuts and dry fruits can be added.
- Scaling: the recipe can be halved or doubled or tripled.
- Sweeteners: sugar can be added as per your requirements. Traditionally sugar is used to make the halwa. But you can use other sweeteners like jaggery, palm sugar, coconut sugar or maple syrup. For palm sugar, coconut sugar and jaggery – add these after the halwa has thickened and is done. Then using the saute option, mix very well till the jaggery or coconut sugar is melted. If jaggery or coconut sugar is added earlier while pressure cooking, then the milk will get curdled.
- Carrots – both the red and orange variety of carrots work well in the recipe. Just make sure that the carrots are juicy, tender and not fibrous.
- Make ahead option – the recipe can be easily made a day or two before and then refrigerated. While serving warm the halwa in the ip or in a pan before serving. This instant pot gajar halwa stays good for about a week in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Instant Pot Carrot Halwa post from the archives first published in Jan 2017 has been republished and updated on January 2023.
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First time im making gajar halwa.milk got curdled
What can be the reason?
Can you give me some tips
while making any halwa with milk, always use whole milk or full-fat milk. do not use toned milk or skimmed milk. the milk will curdle. another option is to saute the carrots in some ghee and then add milk and sugar. also, pressure cook on low to medium-low flame. hope these tips help.
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe I and my kids love this so much thank you thank you thank you
most welcome baseera and thanks a lot for sharing this sweet comment.
Tried this today. Turned out to be really great and quick. Thanks a lot for sharing such recipes
I tried this for a Diwali get together at my place this year. Turned out Great ! I followed the recipe as is for the most part. I added about 1-1.5 cups of condensed milk after pressure cooking and adjusted sugar according to our tastes. It was rich but not too rich 🙂
Thanks Ashta for sharing this positive feedback on halwa. glad to know that you liked it.
Hi..this recipe looks great n easy gonna prepare tommorrow just a question..the carrots I bought are not sweet will it affect the recipe??
yes it will affect the recipe. so you can just add some more sugar.
I prepared thus in cooker mistook 2cups of milk for 4 .. added all other ingredients in the right quantities. It just turned out to be really awesome
Thanks Jaya. Glad to know this. It would have made the gajar halwa more rich.
omg this is so easy, just add everything in cooker like making pongal?!
I gotta try this. Thank you!!
Can I add milkmaid to this mixture before cooking?
Welcome Mathangi. Don’t know. milkmaid should not get stuck to the pressure cooker.
I tried this with 1 tin of milkmaid and reduced the sugar that has to be added. It turned out awesome and didn’t stick to the bottom. Thank you for such an easy delicious recipe Dassana.
thanks sumeet for letting me know. it will help the readers too. glad that the gajar halwa turned out delicious with milkmaid.
I tried this recipe and it turned out awesome ?
u have taken 4 cups grated gajar which equals to 1kg. but u have also dsaid 500g gajar. how much we have to take?
pooja, i have used 500 grams carrots. and when i measured the grated carrots in cups, i got about 4.5 cups grated carrots. use 500 grams carrots. i guess the cup measure is different due to the size of the grated sticks which depends on the kind of grater used. i used a fine grater.
Can this recipe be made with Ooty carrots. I know it is traditionally made with Delhi carrots but they are not available in TN. Look forward to your response..and can powdered jaggery or country sugar be used as substitutes to white sugar.
Anusha, yes you can make halwa with Ooty carrots. Yes you can substitute with country sugar. But with jaggery the milk can curdle.
Thank you for recipes it’s very great source for me……..
welcome kajal. thanks for your kind words.
A Quick question. Should it be pressure cooked with the whistle or no?
lalita, pressure cooked with the whistle. without the whistle, there will be no pressure created in the cooker. you just need to pressure cook till the cooker whistle starts with the hissing sound and is just about to whistle or for 1 whistle.
This looks great. I love gajar halwa but hated having to spend so much time cooking it… This is perfect!
Welcome Maria. Good to know that you liked the method.
Wow!!! What a short cut u found!!! ?Thumbs up!!!
I’m making it today. Just need ur advice on this. Can i use a combination of Amul milk cream and Cows milk, instead of full fat milk. Thanks for the new invention 🙂
Welcome Manasi. Don’t use cream as it will become very heavy. Just use cow’s milk. you can also use skimmed or low fat milk or buffalo milk or any milk.
Thank you for the reply. U’re right it would become heavy if I used milk cream totally. I also felt d same. Therefore I used only two table spoons of milk cream with one cup of cows milk since there was little milk. It turned out well.
Also, this method did save a lot of my time. But when everything was cooked, I felt there was a slight raw smell of carrot into d halwa. Just wanted to know if I missed out on something. So I can improve next time. Thanks for all ur hardwork, once again.
welcome manasi and thanks. there should be not any raw smell of carrot as pressure cooking for such a long time will get rid of the raw aroma. i feel its not the raw smell but the proportion of carrots being more as compared to milk. a suggestion would be that the next time you prepare, add ghee first in the cooker and sauté the carrots for a few minutes. then add the remaining ingredients.