Step into the Tantalizing World of Indian Desserts! Discover Lip Smacking Flavours from Across the Country with 10 Delicious Desserts You Absolutely Must Try (2019)

Step into the Tantalizing World of Indian Desserts! Discover Lip Smacking Flavours from Across the Country with 10 Delicious Desserts You Absolutely Must Try (2019)

Indian desserts are everyone's favourites and would beat the overpriced cheesecakes any day! In this article, we have provided you with all that you need to know about Indian desserts and have also listed down 10 delicious Indian desserts that you should definitely try once.

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What Makes Indian Desserts So Special

The Sheer Variety

When it comes to food, India has a diversity that can challenge the rest of the world combined. Therefore, when it comes to Indian desserts, the sheer variety is enough to send your taste buds on an adventure. Indian desserts vary in taste, texture and flavour. We have the soft, the spongy, the crunchy and the gooey. The taste can vary from syrupy sweet to mildly sweet to even a bit tart. For example, we have the Rasgulla, which is sweet and spongy and syrupy at the same time. Then there is the Jalebi which is crunchy, sticky, sweet with a little tanginess at the same time. Kheer is a semi-liquid rice pudding, fragrant and creamy, and then there is the Gajar or Carrot ka Halwa which has a mushy texture, is sweet and loaded with nuts. These are just four that we have mentioned. But there are so many others, each with a taste and texture that is diversely different from another, but all delicious on their own account.

The Cultural Factor

Each region in India has its own special set of sweets and desserts. Desserts in each part of the country are quite different from each other. This is because they are prepared using locally sourced ingredients and also due to the climatic difference. Then there is also the cultural factor which again is dependent on the factors previously mentioned. Therefore in Northern and Western India desserts are richer, prepared using grains, dry fruits, whole milk and of course oodles of ghee or clarified butter. Saffron is added for flavour and colouring. In eastern India, desserts are made mainly with milk and its by-products. Flour is used in some and some use spices like fennel and cardamom. Rice is also used in a lot of dessert preparations as it’s the food staple in the region. In the South, coconut, fruits like banana and of course milk are the common ingredients along with rice. Places with Islamic settlements like Hyderabad and Mysore have desserts which are richer because of the influence of Mughal cuisine.

The Different Techniques of Preparation

Desserts in India are prepared using varied methods. There are deep fried desserts like Jalebi, Gulab Jamun, Shahi Tukda, Balushahi, Ghevar, etc. There are pan-fried ones like Malpua and the Bengali Patishapta. Rasgulla is boiled, and Barfi and Laddoos are first mixed, overheated and then cut into pieces or rolled into balls. The same is done with the Bengali Sandesh. There are steamed sweets as well, like the sweet dumpling known as Pithe in Bengal and Assam. Sometimes jaggery is used as a sweetener or sugar syrup. Firni, Kheer and Pongal are made by boiling all the ingredients over low heat and reducing them to a creamy consistency. The flavourings used can vary from fennel, cardamom, rose water, saffron, vanilla, coconut and various essences. Poppy seeds, sesame, various nuts like almonds, pistachios, cashews and dried fruits like sultanas are used to add texture and crunch.

10 Delicious Indian Desserts That You Must Taste

Gulab Jamun

The Gulab Jamun is an Indian sweet which has become a favourite amongst people from all across the globe. We can arguably say that it’s probably one of the most popular Indian desserts ever made. This round ball of deliciousness is made by mixing Khoya, which is milk solids, along with Maida or all-purpose flour and a little milk. Cardamom powder is added for flavouring and some people also add rose water. The resultant dough is divided into little balls, deep fried and soaked in sugar syrup. The result is a melt in the mouth, sweet, fragrant ball of goodness that is bound to satisfy the most intense sweet cravings. Most sweet shops in India sell Gulab Jamun. You can buy a tin of delicious Gulab Jamuns from Haldiram’s online store. A 1 kg tin costs around Rs. 210 and contains 12 pieces of sweets.



The Rasgulla which has now got a GI tag, which is a geographical indicator, was born in Bengal. This humble sweet is simple enough to prepare and utilises only three ingredients. To make Rasgullas, or Roshogollas as the Bengalis call it, you have to knead together Chhena which is a kind of cottage cheese and Maida or all-purpose flour. The dough is then rolled into little balls or ‘Gollas’ and simmered in sugar syrup. There is no other ingredient used. But the simplicity of this sweet is what makes it a crowd pleaser. It’s the perfect dessert after a heavy meal. Not too rich, just sweet enough and spongy to boot. You can buy Rasgullas at all Bengali Sweet shops. The best one is K.C. Das, the now world-famous sweet shop based in Kolkata. Buy their Rasgulla Tin from Amazon. A 900gm tin containing 20 pieces of delectable sweets will cost you around Rs. 556 for two tins.



The Kulfi is the Indian equivalent of ice cream. This dessert came into popularity during the Mughal era and consists of frozen flavoured cream. Kulfi can be of a variety of flavours. But the traditional ones are kesar pista, rose, mango, cardamom, etc. To make Kulfi, full cream milk is evaporated and thickened in a thick bottomed vessel. The flavourings are added and the milk is cooled. Unlike ice-cream, kulfi requires no whipping. The flavoured evaporated milk is poured into moulds and left to set in the fridge. In the Mughal era when there was no refrigeration system, Kulfi was made using saltpetre, slurry ice and natural ice found in the Himalayan regions. Kulfi can now be prepared very easily using a packaged kulfi mixture. Buy Gits Instant Kesar Kulfi Dessert Mix from Amazon. A 100gm pack costs Rs. 80 only.



If there is one dessert that goes great with any Indian breakfast then it is the ever-popular Jalebi. This yummy deep fried spiral sweet is made with fermented rice batter and sugar syrup. Making Jalebis is sort of an acquired skill. The spirals are a bit hard to make. But once you get the hang of it, it gets easier. The fried batter is then left to soak in the sugar syrup for a few minutes and then drained. This dessert is crunchy, porous and sweet with a bit of tanginess. You can make the batter from scratch using ground rice powder, but you can also get ready-made Jalebi mixes online. Buy the NBK Jalebi Mix from Amazon. A 200gm pack costs Rs. 80. This dessert is vegan and has no added preservatives. 

Gajar Halwa


Gajar Halwa is a North Indian dessert made from grated carrots and is a wintertime favourite. Though made with vegetables, it’s not as healthy as it should be because of the addition of generous amounts of ghee or clarified butter, Khoya or full-fat milk solids and oodles of sugar. But who cares about health when you have something as delicious as this in front of you? The added nuts do add a touch of wholesome goodness to it. This dessert is prepared using cooking grated carrots in ghee till all the liquid evaporates and adding the rest of the ingredients along with cardamom powder for flavouring. Chopped nuts like pistachios, almonds and cashews are added for texture and added taste. The result is a delicious mixture which is mushy but also with a bit of crunch. This dessert can turn carrot haters into a fan of the vegetable. If you are too lazy to go through the effort of making carrot halwa at home then buy the Ready to Eat version from Naivedya available on Amazon. A 120gm pack costs Rs. 210.



Kheer is the Indian version of the rice pudding, but far more delicious due to the addition of spices and flavourings. Kheer is prepared by boiling short grained rice in milk. Sugar or jaggery is added for sweetness. Cardamom powder is added for flavour and rose or kewra water is also used sometimes. You can add dry fruits and nuts to your kheer. Commonly used dry fruits are sultanas, raisins, dried figs. Cashews, pistachios and almonds are also used. The beauty of this dessert is that it can be simple or elaborate depending on your taste or budget. You can choose to add just one variety of dry fruit or nuts or load up. You can add essences or just cardamom. Kheer can also be made using vermicelli or Sevaiyyan instead of rice or just thickened milk. Condensed milk is a good alternative to jaggery or sugar, as it’s a thickener and also adds sweetness. You can buy ready-made Triguni Eze Rice Kheer from Amazon for Rs. 65. 

Mysore Pak

Mysore Pak is a sweet dish originating from the state of Karnataka in the South. It’s a rich dessert made by cooking together besan or gram flour, ghee and sugar syrup, slowly over a low flame till everything mixes together and forms a thick consistency. Cardamom powder is added sometimes for added flavour and saffron too. The trick to getting the perfect consistency and texture is using just the right amounts of every ingredient. After the mixture is perfectly thickened, spread it out onto a tray and make it at least a few inches thick. Let it cool and solidify further before cutting into pieces. You can buy this delectable sweet online from the website Flavours of My City. A pack of 250gm costs around Rs. 255.


Rabri is arguably one of the most loved Indian sweets, adored and devoured by people from North, South, East and West with equal gusto. Rabri is nothing but thickened sweet milk with layers of milk fat or Malai, sometimes flavoured with cardamom, saffron and garnished with finely chopped pistachios. Preparing Rabri at home requires time, patience and good full fat milk. You also need a heavy bottomed utensil to stop the milk from burning, because all you need to do to make this delicious dessert is to stir and reduce the milk till there are layers of fat on the surface. It’s best served chilled from the fridge, with or without chopped nuts.


Laddoos are the general term for a large variety of round spherical shaped sweets found in various places in India. They can be made with besan or gram flour, Atta or whole wheat flour, coconut, Ragi, Sesame or Til, semolina and even puffed rice. Each one uses different ingredients and some are healthier than the other. Ghee is used for flour based Laddoos, and for others, jaggery, sugar syrup and sometimes milk solids or Khoya are used. The good thing about Laddoos is their sheer variety. There are Laddoos for everyone, even the health freaks! They also have a longer shelf life than most sweets and are readily available in the market. For the health conscious we have these delicious Black Til Laddoos. A pack of two 100gm packets will cost you Rs. 120. Buy it from Place of Origin.

For those cheat days, they also have a pack of 500gm Boondi Laddoo. Buy it from Place of Origin.

Puran Poli

Puran Poli may not look like a dessert, but one bite will be proof to the contrary. This sweet, stuffed flatbread, popular in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, is rich, sweet and delicious. The stuffing of the bread is made using Ground Split Bengal Gram or Chana Dal in Maharashtra and in Gujarat Pigeon Peas or Toovar Dal is preferred. The preparation process is pretty simple, almost like a traditional Paratha. The dough is made using Maida or all-purpose flour, salt and ghee. The filling is made by cooking together the ground pulses, ghee, sugar or jaggery. Nutmeg, cardamom and fennel powder are added to the filling for flavouring. The filling is then cooled and stuffed into the dough, rolled out and roasted on a tawa or griddle with dollops of ghee. This can be eaten as a dessert, as a breakfast food, a snack or even as lunch or dinner when served with Amti, which is a traditional Marathi lentil soup and Kakdi Chi Koshimbir, which is a kind of cucumber salad.

The Indian Dessert Trail

The Indian dessert trail is a journey worth taking because almost every place worth visiting in India has its own famous sweets and desserts. If you are planning a tour of the country then don't forget to sample the famous dessert that is native to that region. Your taste buds deserve to go on a journey as much as you do.

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From our editorial team

Let Your Taste Buds Feast

Desserts are a place where Indians have left no stone unturned. The variety and other aspects of Indian desserts is so huge that one has a hard time deciding which one to choose! Choose your pick, or picks, and give your taste buds a feast.