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14 Indian Desserts You’ve Never Made Before

Full of aromatic spices, topped with pistachios or soaked in rose syrup, these traditional Indian dessert recipes will light up your tastebuds with the wonderful flavors of India.

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Probably one of the simplest Indian desserts, aka mishti, out there, sandesh is made of only three ingredients! All you need is milk, lemon juice and sugar to make these Bengali sweets. Pistachios are optional, but definitely recommended, for a pretty presentation and a little bite. Sandesh are the perfect addition to any holiday (especially on a Diwali sweets platter!) or celebratory food platter.

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Gulabjamun Hero 1 SquareSrividhya Gopalakrishnan For Taste of Home

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun is high on the list of the most popular Indian desserts! I mean, who doesn’t love donuts dunked in rose sugar coating? That sounds right up my alley. You can find gulab jamun at festivals and celebrations—it’s a common food to serve during Diwali.

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Spice Craving’s modified rasmalai recipe makes it easier for you to make this popular dessert—her recipe shaves off about half the time it would take you to make the traditional dish. But no worries, her take is just as delicious with all the traditional rasmalai ingredients like rasgulla (chenna or paneer soaked in sugar), milk and spices like saffron and cardamom.

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Think of Jalebi as the equivalent to American funnel cakes: fried, crispy and sugar-coated. They’re a common street food in India, typically sold in the Northern and Western regions. To much surprise, it’s also a popular breakfast food served with a glass of warm milk on the side. We bet you’ll love these air-fryer Indian recipes.

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How to make kheer Indian Rice Pudding Kheer in a bowlAnvita Bhatnagar Mistry for Taste of Home


Grab your spoons for this Indian pudding. Served warm or cold, creamy rice kheer is a staple in many Indian homes. It’s easy to make, too—you can cook it in an Instant Pot!

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This spiced, nutty custard is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Kulfi is very similar to ice cream, but just a tad thicker and creamier. You can even find other versions of kulfi on the market like mango and strawberry. Before you dive into the crazy stuff, you’ve got to try this classic kulfi recipe first.

Looking for some spice between all these sweets? Learn how to make biryani.

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Rasgulla, a common East Indian delicacy, are bite-sized cheese balls soaked in floral sugar syrup. The secret to perfecting rasgulla is ice! Throwing a handful of ice cubes into your saucepan before straining will help get the perfect rasgulla texture. If you have extra rasgulla on hand, use them to make rasmalai.

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A popular Indian sweet for Hindu festivals like Diwali, Holi and Rakshabandhan, peda are made of milk solids and fragrant, aromatic seasonings like saffron and cardamom. It’s another fairly easy Indian dessert you can whip together in under an hour. Neha Mathur from Whisk Affair claims she hasn’t bought peda from the store ever since she first tried this recipe.

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Besan LadduCourtesy Eat More Art By Sonal


Ladoo, also known as laddu, are soft dessert balls commonly served for Diwali. This besan ladoo recipe gets its golden color from roasting ghee (clarified butter) and besan (chickpea flour) over heat.

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Soan Papdi

Flaky, light soan papdi first originated from the Northern region of India. Nowadays, it can be found in Indian sweet shops across the country. Traditionally, it was sold loose in paper cones, but you’ll find it more commonly cut into squares like in this soan papdi recipe.

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Gajar Ka Halwa

If you’re gluten-free or paleo, you’ll have to give this gajar ka halwa recipe a try. This decadent Indian carrot pudding is super flavorful. In India, you’ll often see gajar ka halwa served in the North regions during the winter and Diwali seasons.

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Mysore Pak

Melt-in-your-mouth Mysore pak is often made one of two ways. The first (and most popular) version is crumbly with a stiffer texture; the other being a bit softer and creamier. This Mysore pak recipe marries the best of both: it’s buttery smooth while still keeping its shape.

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Filled with jaggery, cardamom and poppy seeds, modak is a small, sweet dumpling typically served at Ganesh Chaturthi. They’re typically shaped using a special modak mold, but if you don’t have a mold on hand, Piping Pot Curry has the best method on how to create that classic modak shape by using your hands and a toothpick.

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The best way to describe malpua? Fried pancakes dunked in sugary, sweet syrup. And just like American pancakes, malpua tastes its best hot off the stove.

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Christina Herbst
Christina is a Social Media Editor for Taste of Home. She enjoys trying out local restaurants and coffeehouses and adding copious amounts of garlic and cheese to any recipe she can get her hands on. In her free time, you can find her hunting down one-of-a-kind furniture pieces at thrift and vintage stores and DIYing trendy home decor crafts.