Known in India as Mithai, Indian desserts are often made to celebrate special occasions, festivals, and religious offerings.
There are many different types of mithai, though they are usually all made from similar ingredients, like sugar, nuts, milk, and cardamom.
Indian desserts are tasty and flavorful, but making these sweet treats often takes a lot of time. Though well-loved, desserts like kheer and Ras Malai can take hours to make in the kitchen.
Luckily, some Indian dessert recipes (see also ‘21 Mexican Dessert Recipes‘) are quick and easy to make at home!
We’ve listed tasty examples of quick and easy Indian dessert recipes below (see also ‘31 Easy And Delicious Potluck Dessert Recipes‘). If you’re used to the classic taste of Indian sweets, don’t worry.
These recipes are just as delicious as Indian sweets which take more time to prepare!
Badam Halwa is a rich and indulgent type of Indian dessert. It’s made with a mix of milk, sugar, and ground almonds. Badam Halwa is often served at weddings and in sweet shops in South India.
Almond halwa is usually made with whole almonds, but this recipe is an easier version that uses ground almonds instead.
These steps can give you tasty almond treats in under 15 minutes! Full-fat milk works best for this recipe, but you can use 2% milk if you prefer.
Gajar is the Hindi and Urdu word for carrots, while halwa is the word for pudding. If you don’t like carrots, you need to give this recipe a try. It’s unlike any carrot dessert you’ll ever try!
This recipe mixes carrots, cashews, sugar, and ghee to make a rich and decadent dessert. It’s perfect for serving others at occasions like festivals and get-togethers.
Serve yours with some chopped nuts, or if you’re feeling extra indulgent, a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Ladoos are a type of Indian sweet that is made by mixing coconut, sugar, and milk. The mix is cooked over a low flame to make small, sweet, and decadent balls.
This coconut laddoo recipe is an instant version that drastically reduces cooking time. You can enjoy sweet and nutty coconut treats in under 10 minutes!
These laddoos are great if you need a last-minute recipe. Just make sure that you use very fine desiccated coconut. If the pieces are thicker, grind or grate them until they turn thinner.
Thandai is a drink made with milk, spices, and nuts (if you want a delicious Thandai cocktail, read our guide to Indian cocktails). It’s perfect for cooling you down in warm weather, though the drink is known to aid digestion too.
This recipe is a variation of the drink that uses a Thandai-flavored mousse over Gulab Jamun sweets. Gulan Jamuns are like sweet balls of milk and sugar syrup, infused with saffron and cardamom flavors.
The sweet Gulab Jamun pieces at the core of the Thandai mousse help to balance some of the spicy notes from the thandai powder.
This dessert is an amazing blend of spicy and sweet flavors which are sure to brighten up any day!
Kheer is a classic Indian dessert that is made from basic ingredients, like milk, rice, and sugar. These ingredients might sound simple, but they combine to make an amazing pudding that’s full of flavor!
It’s always best to use whole or full-fat milk in this recipe. Lower fat or non-dairy milk won’t make the pudding creamy enough, so you’ll end up with a runnier mess.
Top your kheer off with rose water, cardamom, and flaked almonds for a beautiful finish!
Basundi is a traditional dessert that comes from the Indian state of Maharashtra, though it’s also a common sight in Karnataka and Gujarat.
Basundi is mixed with creamy full-fat milk, cardamom powder, saffron, and Buchanania Lanzan seeds. The result is a thick and decadent pudding that is packed with toasted nutty flavors.
If you don’t want to add too much sugar, you can substitute it for condensed milk. You can also customize the recipe and add fruits like figs, oranges, or mango puree.
Brittle is made all around the world, including in India! Peanut brittle is another popular sweet in Indian cuisine. This recipe makes chikki, a mix of jaggery and chopped peanuts which are then formed into crisp, brittle pieces.
Unlike other Indian dessert recipes, peanut chikki can be made in just 20 minutes, so it’s great to serve up to your loved ones when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.
8. Gulab Jamun
We couldn’t put together a list of Indian desserts without mentioning the Gulab Jamun!
These sticky balls are made with sugar, cardamom powder, and milk solids. The result is a sugary sweet treat infused with rose and spicy flavors.
This recipe uses milk powder instead of khoya which reduces the cooking time needed to make these classic treats.
A good tip to remember is to use a light touch when making the balls. Kneading and applying too much pressure will make them fall apart in your hands!
9. Bread Halwa
Bread halwa is bread pudding with a difference!
This recipe soaks fried bread in classic Indian sugar syrup. The halwa is then topped with nuts and spices to bring all the flavors out of the bread.
As this dessert is so rich, it will satisfy your sweet craving in just a few mouthfuls!
The bread pieces are traditionally deep fried before soaking them in syrup, but you can just pan-fry them lightly if you prefer.
Yogurt is often used in Indian recipes, including dessert ones! Shrikhand is a sweet yogurt that is mixed with cardamom, saffron, and sugar.
It only needs a few ingredients and is very easy to prepare, all you need is 15 minutes!
This recipe strains the yogurt to make it creamy and thick. You will need muslin (see also ‘5 Of The Best Substitutes For Cheesecloth You Need To Try!‘) to do this, but if you don’t have any, you can use labneh or Greek yogurt instead.
Also known as badam burfi, badam katli is a sweet made with sugar and almonds.
Katli is traditionally made with whole almonds, but this recipe makes it easier by using ground almonds instead.
Now that almond flour is readily available in most grocery stores, you can make these classic sweets whenever you want!
This recipe can easily be made in an instant pot, but if you don’t have one, you can use the stove instead, though this will take slightly longer.
Most Indian dessert recipes are made with traditional sweet ingredients, like sugar syrup, condensed milk, and rosewater.
This laddoo recipe is slightly different, as it swaps these ingredients for savory lentils instead!
Also known as dal, the lentils are dried and ground into a powder, mixed with jaggery, then shaped into laddoo balls. The result is a hearty treat full of sweet and earthy notes.
Try and use the darkest lentils you can find to make each laddoo as colorful as possible.
13. Mango Halwa
Mangos are a classic Indian fruit, and these sweets are full of mango flavors! Milk, pistachios, cardamom, and saffron add to the juicy mango flavors, giving the halwa nutty and sweet flavors.
Thanks to the copious amounts of sugar, Indian sweets can be full of calories, but each portion of this halwa is just 450 calories. You’ll get a good amount of dessert in each serving too!
Top your halwa with cardamom pieces or sliced almonds for some flair!
Kalakand is a type of Indian milky fudge. Each piece is crumbly and creamy at the same time. You’ll love how each moist portion pleasantly melts in your mouth!
Kalakand sweets can fall apart without care, but this recipe blends the ingredients with milk powder to solve this.
The powder helps the condensed milk (see also ‘33 Simple Condensed Milk Desserts‘) and ricotta cheese stick to each other better, which also helps you separate the mixture into well-shaped portions.
Add some rose petals and pistachio pieces on top to bring out all of the sweet flavors!
Suji is the Hindi word for granulated wheat, also known as semolina. This halwa recipe mixes suji, cardamom, nuts, and powdered jaggery for a nutty, earthy dessert.
You’ll only need a few ingredients and 20 minutes to make it!
A good tip is to make sure the rava is well roasted, and that you add the heated jaggery water when the rava is hot, not cold. This will prevent the halwa from binding together and turning it into a large lump.
Rasmalai is another creamy and sweet dessert that has a milk and sugar base. The dessert infuses small chenna (Indian cheese) portions with milk, sugar, cardamom, and nuts.
If you’re worried about the cheese, don’t be, as chenna’s light flavor goes well with all of the extra ingredients.
This recipe has two methods, one of which can be made in ten minutes. You’ll need to buy rasgullas for this one and squeeze the syrup out of them.
Don’t press too hard as they will collapse from the pressure!
This classic South Indian dessert is loved in the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states. It is thought that the Mysore Pak was first made in the royal Mysore Maharaja palace.
You’ll only need a few ingredients for this, but the key ingredient is besan, also known as gram flour. This will be mixed with sugar syrup and oil, then cooled to make a sweet, yet nutty treat.
It’s best to use peanut oil for this recipe, as this will ensure each piece has a toasted peanut flavor.
Kulfi is a thick and hearty Indian form of ice cream. It can be made in many flavors, but a popular variety is pistachio, known as pista in Hindi.
A key way of identifying kulfi is its cone shape around the stick. You can purchase specific molds that are designed to make kulfi at home.
Don’t use skimmed milk for this recipe, as kulfi tastes best when you use cream or full-fat milk. If your mixture is looking a little runny, try adding khoya (evaporated milk) to thicken it up.
This popular type of laddoo is made by mixing sugar-coated and fried batter pieces with spices and seeds.
Boond is the Hindi word for droplets, which points to the method used to create each piece. Gram flour batter is poured through a sieve over hot oil.
These batter droplets will turn into crisp pieces once they hit the oil, and are then soaked with sweet sugar syrup.
You’ll end up with small, rich, and soft sweets that melt in the mouth easily – the perfect treat!
20. Shahi Tukra
A popular North Indian dessert, this dish has royal roots, as it was a strong feature on the royal Nawabi menu.
Traditionally, shahi tukra involves pouring creamy sweet milk over deep-fried bread. The dessert is then topped with pistachio pieces and served straight out of the dish.
This recipe is slightly different, as it cuts the dessert into pieces. This makes it slightly easier to dish out to others, so it’s a wonderful addition to any occasion or get-together.
Top each piece with slivered almonds, pistachios, and rose petals for a fabulous presentation!
21. Seviyan Kheer
This variation on kheer uses seviyan instead of rice. It usually takes a long time to prepare kheer, but this recipe cooks it in an instant pot, leaving you with tasty kheer in under half an hour!
Seviyan is known in English as vermicelli. It looks like thin spaghetti pieces which have a nice sweet flavor.
You’ll need to roast the vermicelli before adding it to the mixture, but you can do this right in the same instant pot.
Seviyan kheer tastes amazing with raisins and mixed nuts running through the mixture, giving you a creamy crunch with every mouthful!
Paan is a common delicacy in India that’s often enjoyed after meals. Paan usually has a mix of ingredients, like herbs and spices, as well as tobacco wrapped in betel leaves.
Don’t worry, there’s no tobacco in this recipe!
These laddoos are inspired by paan, using a mix of betel leaves, nuts, seeds, and coconut. Each paan-flavored ball has nutty notes and juicy rose petal jam flavors in each bite.
You can find betel leaves and rose petal jam online and in most Indian grocery stores.
23. Phirni Recipe
Phirni is another Indian pudding that’s made with rice, but unlike kheer, this uses ground basmati rice instead of whole grains.
It normally takes a long time to prepare phirni, but this recipe means you can prepare a creamy rice pudding in just half an hour!
You can also customize your phirni by adding fresh fruits. Grated apples, lychees (see also ‘What Does Lychee Fruit Actually Taste Like?‘), and strawberries all work well with the milky mixture.
Swapping the sugar for gulkand, known in English as rose petal jam, also works. This has rose aromas and flavors that taste amazing alongside cardamom powder and saffron.
Serve your phirni in individual chilled glasses and top with chopped pistachios for a beautiful finish!
Puran Poli is like a wrap filled with savory, spicy, and sweet notes. It involves adding tasty ingredients, like brown sugar, lentils, saffron, and nutmeg into a whole wheat dough.
The dough is then cooked to transform into a golden, crisp dessert with a soft, flavorful middle.
You can also customize the filling to represent different Indian states. For instance, a Kerala Puran Poli often makes their outer dough with turmeric and rice flour.
The Tamil version adds coconut to the filling, while the Andhra Bobbatlu style adds nuts to it.
Puran Poli tastes amazing alongside other Indian savory dishes, like rice and aloo chaat (potatoes and chickpeas).
25. Doodh Peda
Doodh is the Hindi word for milk. Doodh peda is a fudge-like sweet that’s made with dried milk, nuts, spices, and sugar.
You’ll often find pieces on offer at Indian sweet shops, but it’s easy to make your doodh peda yourself!
Make sure that you use a heavy pan to make this recipe, as this will prevent the mixture from browning at the bottom.
This version uses cardamom powder, but feel free to add any classic Indian flavorings, like rosewater, saffron, or a mix of different spices.
26. Jalebi Recipe
Lastly, we have the classic Jalebi sweet. These bright and interestingly shaped treats are crisp, sweet, and truly decadent.
These sweets may look impressive, but making them doesn’t take much time at all! You’ll make these by preparing a batter, then frying this in hot oil to make spirals which are then soaked in sugar syrup.
You can eat jalebi by themselves, but they taste great alongside a glass of milk too.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Mithai Sweets?
Mithai is a Hindi and Urdu word for sweets that are popular throughout South Asian countries.
These sweets are usually made from sugar, nuts, milk, and flour, then flavored later with saffron, cardamom, and rose water. Some types of mithai can be made with lentils and vegetables too.
What Are Indian Desserts Made From?
Indian desserts are usually made with staple ingredients, including flour, milk, sugar, and nuts.
Even though the ingredients may be the same, Indian sweets can vary widely in flavor, thanks to the different spices in each dessert. Examples include cardamom, saffron, and rose water.
Which Is The Sweetest Sweet In India?
Gulab Jamun and Jalebi are examples of the sweetest Indian sweets. Gulab Jamuns are saccharine balls made from sugar syrup and powdered milk.
Each sweet has a sticky coating with a soft interior, which makes them melt in the mouth easily. Jalebi also has a sticky coating, but these are made from flour and sugar syrup batter.
This is fried in concentric circles in oil to make crisp, sweet, and delicious treats.