Kulfi Recipe

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Denser and creamier than ice cream, Kulfi is a traditional Indian sweet that comes in myriad exotic flavors. This simple kulfi recipe is made with khoya (a.k.a. mawa which is evaporated milk solids, and only takes a few minutes to put together. Try this delightfully easy and delicious treat today!

sliced kulfi with a spoon on a white plate

About Kulfi

Kulfi (or Kulfi Ice Cream) is one of our family’s favorite desserts. Mom would make different types of kulfi, and Dad would get mixed kulfi from a shop on his way home from work. Preparing and serving kulfi reminds me of growing up, making it a very nostalgic treat.

In the hot summers in India, Kulfi is a much sought after dessert. I still remember the kulfi wallah (a vendor selling kulfi) carrying a large earthen pot on his head and selling kulfi door-to-door.

In the hot months of April and May, we would always ask him to stop and serve us kulfi. He would remove kulfi from the moulds and slice them on a large serving leaf – so eco-friendly! I also have fond memories of eating kulfi at the Chowpatty beach in Mumbai.

There the vendors would serve us kulfi with falooda (cornstarch vermicelli), sabja seeds (sweet basil seeds) and rose syrup. They had so many varieties of kulfi and I would always struggle to decide which one to order!

There are many ways kulfi ice cream can be made. Traditionally kulfi is made from thickening milk to the consistency of the delightful Indian sweet known as Rabdi. It can also be made with sweetened condensed milk.

In this recipe, I have added khoya (also known as mawa) to quicken the cooking time. Khoya is evaporated milk solids and imparts a lot of flavor and taste to the kulfi.

This kulfi recipe is very easy and does not take tons of time. I have added pistachios and almonds, but you can customize the flavoring to your own liking. So let’s make this wonderful cooling dessert together, shall we?

Step-by-Step Guide

How To Make Kulfi Recipe

Prep

1. In a heavy and wide pan or kadai (Indian wok), heat 3 cups milk on a low flame for at least 18 to 20 minutes. The milk will reduce and thicken in this period of time.

Do remember to stir the milk often so that it does not scorch or burn at the bottom of the pan.

heat milk in kadai

2. Dissolve 1.5 tablespoons of rice flour or 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of milk. Mix very well. Set aside.

I prefer rice flour instead of cornstarch for thickening kulfi as it gives a creamy texture.

add rice flour to milk for making kulfi

3. Grate 75 to 80 grams of khoya (mawa) or crumble it very well to a fine texture. There should be no large pieces or lumps.

Process the nuts (20 shelled unsalted pistachios and 20 almonds) to a semi-fine consistency in a dry grinder or in a mortar-pestle. Keep them aside.

crumbled khoya on a plate next to a grinder bowl full of ground nuts

Make Kulfi Base

4. After 18 to 20 minutes, add 3 tablespoons of sugar to the reduced milk and mix well. Keep scraping the milk solids from the sides and reincorporating them into the simmering milk.

adding sugar to thickened milk for making kulfi recipe

5. When the sugar has dissolved and after 3 to 4 minutes, add the rice flour or cornstarch paste. Keep stirring while adding the rice flour paste so that no lumps are formed.

Continue stirring for several minutes until the milk thickens. If any small lumps form, then break them with the spatula or spoon.

adding starch slurry to kulfi ice cream mixture

6. After 4 to 5 minutes, when the mixture has thickened, add the grated khoya (mawa), powdered almonds & pistachios, and ½ teaspoon cardamom powder (or about 4 green cardamoms crushed in a mortar-pestle).

add khoya and dry fruits to kulfi mixture

7. Stir very well and simmer for a minute or two on a low heat. Keep stirring so that the khoya (evaporated milk solids) is evenly distributed.

kulfi ice cream mixture after adding nuts and khoya

8. Switch off the heat. Add 1 teaspoon rose water or kewra water (pandanus water) and crushed saffron – about 25 to 30 saffron strands that have been crushed.

Taste test the mixture and add more sugar if needed according to your taste preferences.

adding saffron

Freeze

9. Let the mixture cool at room temperature, then pour the mixture in kulfi moulds, serving bowls, a tray or in shot glasses. Be sure to scrape the milk solids from the sides of the pan and add them to the mixture.

cool the kulfi ice cream mixture before adding it to moulds

10. Cover with lids or aluminum foil and freeze overnight or for a day until the kulfi is frozen and set.

covered kulfi containers

Unmould and Enjoy!

11. Once the kulfi is frozen solid, unmould it by sliding a butter knife at the edges, rubbing the mould between your palms or dipping the mould in warm water to loosen it.

Remove from the mould, slice and serve immediately. You can also serve kulfi directly in the serving bowls or glasses, or add it to falooda.

kulfi ice cream with khoya on a white plate and sliced

FAQs

Can I make this vegan?

Sure! Use coconut cream in place of the khoya (mawa) and use full-fat coconut milk or almond milk in place of dairy. But do make sure not to boil the coconut milk or almond milk and only gently heat them. There is no need to reduce and cook the coconut milk or almond milk for 15 to 20 minutes. Note that coconut milk or almond milk will give a different consistency, texture and flavor to the kulfi.

Why did my kulfi ice cream end up icy?

Sounds like you might not have reduced the milk quite enough. Also, be sure to use full fat milk (whole milk) and to stir the milk solids back into the mixture. Finally, be sure that you cover the kulfi while it freezes.

What is the best thickener to use?

I personally prefer the texture of rice flour for thickening, but you can also use cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot powder if you prefer.

Can I use different nuts?

Of course! Use whichever nuts you prefer.

How long does kulfi last?

For the best flavor and texture, I recommend you eat the frozen kulfi within 3 to 4 days.

Can I use condensed milk instead of khoya?

Yep! Swap in ¼ to ⅓ cup condensed milk if you prefer and skip adding sugar.

More Indian Desserts To Try!

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sliced kulfi with a spoon on a white plate

Kulfi Recipe (Kulfi Ice Cream)

Denser and creamier than ice cream, Kulfi is a traditional Indian sweet that comes in myriad exotic flavors. This simple kulfi recipe is made with khoya, and only takes a few minutes to put together.
4.87 from 43 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Cuisine Indian
Course Desserts
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 75 to 80 grams Mawa (khoya or evaporated milk) – about 3.5 to 4 tablespoon mawa
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar or white sugar – adjust as required.
  • 1.5 tablespoons Rice Flour or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons milk – to dissolve the rice flour or cornstarch
  • 20 pistachios – shelled and unsalted
  • 20 almonds
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder or 4 green cardamoms powdered in a mortar-pestle and husks removed
  • 1 teaspoon rose water or kewra water (pandanus water) or a drop of kewra essence or rose essence
  • 25 to 30 saffron strands – crushed

Instructions
 

Reducing milk and preparation for kulfi

  • In a wide pan or kadai, heat milk on a sim or low flame for at least about 18 to 20 mins. The milk will reduce and thicken in this period of time. Keep on stirring the milk often as it simmers so that it does not burn from the bottom in the pan.
  • Grate the khoya or crumble it very well to a fine texture. Set aside. Crush the pistachios and almonds to a semi fine consistency in a dry grinder or in a mortar-pestle. Keep both of them aside.
  • Crush the green cardamom pods in a mortar-pestle and powder finely. Discard the husks.
  • Dissolve the rice flour or cornstarch in 3 tablespoons of milk. Mix very well. Set aside.

Making kulfi

  • After 18 to 20 minutes of the milk simmering, add the sugar and stir.
  • Let the sugar dissolve and after 3 to 4 mins, add the rice flour paste or cornstarch paste.
  • Keep on stirring after adding the paste, so that no lumps are formed.
  • The whole mixture has to be lump free, so keep on stirring.
  • After 4 to 5 mins, when the mixture has thickened, add the khoya (mawa), powdered almonds and pistachios together with the cardamom powder.
  • Stir very well and just simmer for a minute or two on a low heat. Keep on stirring so that the khoya (mawa) is distributed evenly.
  • Switch off the heat.
  • Add rose water or kewra water and crushed saffron. Do a taste test of the mixture and add more sugar if needed.
  • Let the mixture cool at room temperature.
  • Then pour the mixture in kulfi moulds or in serving bowls or small glasses or in popsicle moulds.
  • Freeze the kulfi overnight or for a day. Once the kulfi is well set and frozen, remove it by sliding a butter knife at the edges.
  • Remove on a glass plate or wooden tray. Slice the kulfi and serve immediately. If frozen in a popsicle mold or tray serve as kulfi popsicles.

Video

Notes

  • To make a vegan kulfi use coconut cream instead of khoya (mawa) and full-fat coconut milk or almond milk in place of dairy. But make sure not to boil the coconut milk or almond milk and only gently heat it. There is no need to reduce and cook the coconut milk or or almond milk for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • You can add your choice of nuts and flavorings. Skip the saffron if you do not have them. 
  • Simply scale the batch up to make a larger serving for small parties. 

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Kulfi Recipe (Kulfi Ice Cream)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 382 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 36mg12%
Sodium 168mg7%
Potassium 545mg16%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 21g23%
Protein 16g32%
Vitamin A 552IU11%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Vitamin D 3µg20%
Vitamin E 2mg13%
Vitamin K 2µg2%
Calcium 526mg53%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 7µg2%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 65mg16%
Phosphorus 334mg33%
Zinc 2mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Kulfi recipe post from the blog archives first published in May 2014 has been republished and updated on 28 April 2022.

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Meet Dassana

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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123 Comments

  1. I am a big follower of your recipe styles the way you share it and presented it on site is amazing. I have tried few of them they all tastes yummy ???? . Keep sharing such tips for beginners like us it helps to preserve the taste and flavours of Indians.????????????????????5 stars

    1. thank you very much deepika. so glad to read your feedback. i try to add tips wherever possible so that a beginner can make the recipe easily. thanks again.

  2. Just made this – vegan style – dipped my finger in while its cooling off – yum! I used coconut cream/ a little coconut milk/a little soya (as didnt have a lot in villa and going to the shops is a major trek!)
    Everything else the same I just increased the cardamon/almond/pistachio part by a little!
    I was surprised as it actually doesn’t taste of coconut (hence my increasing the other tastes!) thankfully – as my big grind in using coconut cream/milk you usually have the underlying taste coconut…I shall try this out on my husband tomorrow – though he loves all the things i cook!! Thank you will post to Insta too! Namaste5 stars

    1. namaste. thanks for sharing these variations. the kulfi should of taste of coconut. both coconut milk and coconut cream always give a coconut taste to any recipe they are added. so wondering why and how ? my only guess is the addition of soy milk and the increased cardamom and nuts. sure i will check on insta. thanks again.

    1. it depends on the quality of glass. if the quality is good and then glass does not break.

  3. Hi, i tried your recipe. But mine didn’t come out so well. It tasted more like frozen rabdi than kulfi. One thing I did different was I added condensed milk. And I froze rabdi in paper cups. So it became dry, not like the one shown in your final pic, dripping milk out of the kulfi.
    What could have made my kulfi dry?4 stars

    1. looks like the rabdi mixture has become too dry. this could be the reason. also avoid using paper cups. reason being they will absorb the liquids and thus the kulfi mixture will become dry.

  4. Hi
    Just love your recipes. Thankyou for making cooking delightful.
    I have a lot of khoya barfi at home. Can i use that instead of evaporated milk? And how much should i use?5 stars

    1. Welcome Ambica. Yes you can use but add less sugar as khoya barfi will already be sweet.

  5. Hello, Thank you for such a lovely recipe. I tried making it came out very nice but it was little icy could you please tell me where did I go wrong(ASAP) as I want to make it again for my lunch party.
    Thank you5 stars

    1. first of all try to use full fat milk. also let the milk reduce till it reaches 1/3rd of its volume. then add the khoya and proceed with the recipe. keep on adding the cream or malai that is formed back in the milk. also scrape of the milk solids from the sides and add in the milk.

  6. Hello mam,after freeze it will get soft I want some extra soft kulfi help me

    1. after freezing, the kulfi won’t be soft. kulfis are denser than ice creams. if you keep at room temp for some time before serving, then the kulfi will melt a bit and some softness will be there.

  7. Hi Ma’am,Can i skip adding rose water? will it make a huge difference in the taste?

    1. some aroma from the rose water is lost. but you can skip it. the flavor and aroma of cardamom and kesar also is fine.

    1. Meghana, khoya is required. you can use condensed milk instead of khoya. in that case, skip or add very less sugar.

  8. Hi,
    While making kulfi I dropped half bottle of vanilla essence in kulfi mix….what shud I do plz help…shud I throw away the content or is it edible

    1. you cannot use it anyways. the taste will be bitter. you will have to discard the mixture.

  9. Hi Dassanna.
    Your blog has been my best friend since I got married two years back!!! Tried this recipe yesterday. Tastes good, just that there are a lot of water crystals in the kulfi. Is it because I had used 3.5% fat milk? That’s the max fat percentage I get in milk where I stay. Should I have boiled it more than 18-20 mins? Can we used Amul cream to add to increase its creaminess?5 stars

    1. Thanks Renee. Could be because of 3.5% milk. You could have boiled it more. You can add amul cream. from your queries, looks like you are a experienced chef.

  10. How can one grate evaporated milk because it’s sold in a can here and is liquid form.

    1. chamila, the evaporated milk that we call in india is basically dried evaporated milk solids and is in solid form. we call it as khoya or mawa. you can use the liquid evaporated milk instead of khoya.

  11. Hi. I have lot of sweetened roasted khoya with me, 700 gms. Can I make this kulfi using all khoya and just little milk. I have to consume khoya fast and we are just 3 people at home

    1. you can use arrow root flour. if planning to make sweets like kulfi etc, then arrow root flour works as a good thickening agent.

  12. Could not wait for ur reply. skipped Khoya or condensed milk.boiled 1 litre milk n reduced it to 250 ml.it was mind blowing.thank u

  13. I have tried lots of ur recipe n each one was perfect.wanted to no can I make kulfi with 2 litre milk to get thick texture and skip Khoya or condensed milk?

  14. I have not got reply yet I have posted my comment earlier. My question is:
    Milkmaid can be used instead of khoya in the kulfi. If yes then what will be the quantity of milkmaid. The quantity of sugar will be less, as the milkmaid is sweet.

    1. smriti, we did not receive your comment. yes you can use milkmaid, but then don’t use sugar or add very little sugar. you can add 1/2 cup of condensed milk.

  15. Hi,
    I love your recipes and have tried many. Could you kindly post Punjabi kari with pakoras? There is a very distinct taste that I can’t seem to find. I use kari pata but I am not sure why I can’t seem to make it. thanks dear.5 stars

    1. thankyou so much tina 🙂 have taken your request for punjabi kari with pakoras recipes on our file. allow us some time to post.

  16. taste mein best….mam,plz share the recipe of making butterscotch ice cream..i really want to make it.

  17. Just love your recipes Dasanna ……I have tried quite a few of them n every one in the family loves them ……thanks tons?

  18. Tried this and the kulfi was yummy… I added a little vanilla essence and a little rose essence… Never thot I could make such things at home.. But with your detailed instructions.. everything is as easy as it can get.. thanks a lot for putting so much time in this blog and making all of us home chefs…

  19. Have been following ur work for about a year now…absolutwly fabulous..especially the way u make those recepies so simple to make…truly u r one of the best recepi writer i have ever read…keep up with it.

  20. Hi,

    I also make kulfi with the same recipe but i never feel the requirement to add rice flour or cornflour. It always come so soft and smooth even without it.

    1. rubina, good to know this. rice flour or corn flour helps in thickening the kulfi.

  21. looks like an easy recipe.. will try soon! just one question.. how would the flavor be if i replace rose essence with vanilla essence?

        1. you can skip any essence. the cardamom powder and saffron is enough to give a good aroma and flavor to the kulfi.

    1. Wow, this turned out to be a real professional kulfi:-)
      Everyone at home loved it.
      This was my first visit to this website n now am sure I’ll come here v frequently.5 stars

      1. thanks for the positive review shahnaz and for sharing your experience. glad to know.

  22. Hello Dassana
    Tried kulfi and the outcome is awesome….myself nd my family simply loved it…u inspire many of us to try these recipes with so much ease.
    I even tried homemade paneer it came out really well. ..now I have stopped buying outside…thank you

    1. welcome jyothi. thats good to know. thanks for sharing your positive feedback.

  23. All your recipies are just awesome.when ever I have to make any dish I refer to ur site. U have made me master in cooking. Thank u so much for such tasty n easy recipies.5 stars

  24. I tried the kulfi and it came out really well. My family enjoyed this tasty dessert. Thanks for sharing this nice recipe5 stars

  25. Dear friend, all your recepies rock!!!!. Thanks for making cooking a pleasure.

  26. Hi Amit
    It turned out great! I didn’t have khoya so skipped it and added condensed milk. The kulfi texture came awesome. Just a little flaw… while taking a bit I could feel a little ice in it. How to fix this.
    Appreciate your suggestions.

    1. thanks maneka for the feedback. if the kulfi mixture is really cooked well and thickened, then there is no chance of ice crystals in it. another thing that can be done is instead of freezing in individual moulds, freeze in a box or container. when the kulfi is half set. remove and just whip again in a blender or mixer. pour the contents back in the box and freeze. this way too there won’t be ice crystals.

  27. Kulfi is one. Favourite! Can I try bread slice as one recipe suggested ? Your recipe is great
    Will try strait awa! Thanks

  28. Hi dassana,

    While making kulfi can I use substitute of saffron…..??????

    Its hardly found in my area….!!!4 stars

    1. ali, either cover with foil or lid. otherwise ice will form on top of kulfi.

    1. for thickening corn starch is used. in india corn starch is called as corn flour. hence i mention both the names. if its american visitor, they know its corn starch. and an indian visitor, then they know is corn flour.

  29. Dassana,

    I’ve been looking for this recipe since I had kulfi that tasted of saffron and rose water in a restaurant a few months ago. I will certainly try it.

    By the way, I very much like your blog, every recipe I tried has been a success. Thank you.

    Rosa

    1. welcome rosa. nice to know that you found the recipe you were looking for. sometimes its a delight to find the things suddenly which we are looking for a long time.

  30. Hi dassana

    Wonderful recipe!! Thanks for sharing. I’ll try this very soon
    How many days can we refrigerate these kulfi’s after it is set?

    1. evaporated milk and khoya is same. its milk solids where most of the moisture has been evaporated due to slow cooking of the milk.

    1. roshan and sajra – you can use condensed milk instead of khoya. just reduce the sugar if using sweetened condensed milk. about 1/4 or 1/3 cup of condensed milk would suffice.

    1. evaporated milk is khoya. but i assume abroad you get evaporated milk cans. yes you can use it.

  31. This seems to be a more easy recipe instead of buying condensed milk at store .Thanks so much for sharing dassana.I shared wholewheatbread in my blog .Whenever you find time check it out.4 stars

  32. This looks so yum. Will surely try it this summer.

    Dassana, can you tell me how to make ice lollies? We get them in shops in different flavours like orange, pineapple etc. but I am always worried about the type of water they use and also preservatives and high sugar content. So I want to try at home once.

    1. to make ice popsicles are very easy. just freeze the fruit juice. add sugar as required in the fruit juice and then freeze them.

    1. rice flour is chawal ka atta. no need to grind rice for such a small amount. use corn flour instead.

      1. Hi dasanna amit,
        tried this kulfi recipe. Turns out the mixture i ended up with didnt get set, i kept it in freezer for two days. I think my mixture got a big thick. Where do you think i made the mistake., i added the right amount f rice flour as u suggested Looking forward for a feedback. But the kulfi was very delicious. 🙂4 stars

        1. the mixture has got too thick and thats why the kulfi did not set. perhaps the cooking was more and thats why the mixture thickened. the mixture should have a flowing consistency and not a thick porridge like consistency. may be next time you can cook less. only the milk has to be thickened after adding the rice flour.