How to Make Besan Ladoo

Besan ladoo is a simple, but delicious, Indian dessert made with just a handful of ingredients.

Besan ladoo is more than a dessert. It’s a treat packed with nostalgia. The recipe for this Indian sweet is often handed down across generations from grandmothers to mothers to children. Diwali—the Indian festival of lights—is incomplete without besan ladoos and other Diwali sweets.

Thanks to the simplicity of the process and the forgiving nature of the recipe (it’s easy to adjust!), besan ladoo is very popular in India.

What Is Besan Ladoo?

Eat More Art besan laddooCourtesy Eat More Art by Sonal

The recipe for besan ladoo (also spelled laddoo or laddu in English) is one of the easiest and simplest when it comes to Indian desserts. Basically, there are three key ingredients—besan, ghee and sugar—and three steps to the recipe. You roast the besan in ghee, add sugar after taking it off the heat and shape into balls.

Anything else is just icing on the cake—or rather, garnish on the ladoo!

How to Make Besan Ladoo

Ingredients

Besan Laddu Process Shotimg 6577 Version 2Courtesy Eat More Art by Sonal

Generally, besan ladoo is made and consumed in its simplest form. That means all the ingredients listed after sugar are completely optional. To dress up your dessert, you can add chopped nuts like pistachios, almonds and cashews, as well as crushed cardamom seeds and dried rose petals for additional flavor and garnishing.

  • 2 cups besan (gram flour, which is a type of chickpea flour)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon almonds, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rose petals

Instead of granulated sugar, you can use boora or tagar, a kind of sugar that gives sweets like besan ladoo a certain grainy texture.

Directions

Step 1: Roast the besan

Besan Laddu Process Shotimg 6579Courtesy Eat More Art by Sonal

Sift the besan and set it aside.

Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan, preferably nonstick. Add the sifted besan. Keep the heat on medium and stir continuously for about 11 to 12 minutes. You know the besan is roasted enough when it has a nutty aroma and golden brown color. If the mixture looks too dry, add a tablespoon or two of ghee while sauteing.

The whole house will be filled with the aroma of flour being roasted—it smells of festivities!

Step 2: Sprinkle with water

Besan Laddu Process Shotimg 6580Courtesy Eat More Art by Sonal

The secret to this recipe’s grainier texture is to sprinke a tablespoon of water at this stage, and then stir continuously for 1 to 2 minutes. You don’t want to undercook or overcook the besan (overcooked is the worst!). The key is to stir continuously.

Step 3: Take the roasted besan off the heat

Once the mixture is ready, turn off the heat and transfer the besan to a large plate or platter. Don’t keep it in the pan, since the heat will cause the besan to keep cooking.

Step 4: Add the sugar

Once the mixture cools down (not completely cool, but lukewarm), add the sugar, cardamom powder and 1/2 tablespoon of chopped pistachios. Mix well with both hands. If it looks too dry, add a bit more ghee.

Step 5: Form into ladoos

Eat More Art besan laddooCourtesy Eat More Art by Sonal

Form the mixture into golf ball–sized ladoos using the palm of your hands. If it feels too soft to form into balls, refrigerate it for 5 to 10 minutes first. As the mixture cools, the ghee will help solidify it.

Garnish the ladoos with the remaining chopped pistachios, almonds and dried rose petals, and enjoy!

Tips for Making Besan Ladoo

What if the besan ladoo mixture is too hard or too soft?

If the mixture is too hard, add a few teaspoons of ghee and warm it up a bit. If the mixture is too soft, let it cool a moment longer before beginning to form the balls. Remember that the ghee will help solidify it. But if it’s much too soft, you can even put the mixture in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. This is a very forgiving recipe!

How do I store besan ladoo?

Besan ladoo has a long shelf life. It’ll stay fresh for two to three weeks, even without refrigerating.

Is besan ladoo considered a healthy dessert?

Yes! Besan, a type of chickpea flour, is gluten-free and rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and soluble fibers. Ghee, or clarified butter, is a good source of vitamins, antioxidants and healthy fats.

To find more Indian recipe inspiration, consult our collection of the best Indian cookbooks for beginners.

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Eat More Art by Sonal
Sonal is the founder of the award-winning, vegetarian food blog Eat More Art. Eat More Art is ambrosia celebrating love, beauty, and wholesomeness on a platter.