Bengali Sweets and Desserts

Indian desserts have an identity all their own--you won't see anything like them elsewhere--and confections from the eastern region of Bengali are some of the most unique. If the popularity of Bengali sweets--known as mishti--such as rasgulla, sandesh and mishti doi is anything to go by, the Bengalis from Eastern India sure know a great deal about sweet making. This seems only natural since they are, as a group, known for having a sweet tooth!

From simple puddings to slightly more complex confections, these favorite Eastern Indian sweets are sure to please and impress. So be like a Bengali and sweeten your life with some of these irresistible treats!

  • 01 of 05


    Sandesh. Image © Manubahuguna |

    Satisfy your sweet tooth with this recipe for sandesh, one of West Bengal's most popular desserts. It is very easy to make, but because of the milk included in the recipe, the confection has a short shelf life. Considering how quickly the sandesh will be gobbled up, however, that shouldn't be a concern! 

    This recipe calls for paneer, a type of curd cheese used in Indian cooking for both sweet and savory dishes. The almonds, pistachios, saffron and cardamom bring a truly ethnic flavor to this dessert.

  • 02 of 05


    Rasgulla. Image © PhotosIndia/ Getty Images

    There aren't too many Indians who haven't eaten a rasgulla, and those who have remember it fondly! That is just the kind of magical dessert it is. It does not sound like a typical sweet, as it is made of cottage cheese that is formed into balls and soaked in a chilled sweet syrup. But this unique treat melts in your mouth, leaving you wanting more.

  • 03 of 05

    Mishti Doi (Sweet Yogurt)

    Mishti doi.

    Mishti doi is synonymous with Bengal in East India and is one of their most ​well-known desserts. It tastes great and is amazingly simple to make. With just three ingredients--cream, yogurt and sugar--you can put this sweet treat together in no time.

  • 04 of 05


    Cham Cham. © Jehangir Hanafi |

    I've heard of them being called "pleasure boats" and know people who use the name "cham-cham" as a term of endearment for their loved ones. This is not surprising because cham-chams are truly delicious and very sweet indeed.

    Cham-chams are also interesting to make--first, you heat milk until the curds separate from the liquid. After hanging the curds in cheesecloth for an hour, you knead the cheese until the mixture is smooth, and then form into balls and cook. They are often presented in a boat-shaped dish, hence the nickname "pleasure boats."

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Kheer (Rice Pudding)

    Keer. Image © PhotosIndia/ Getty Images

    Kheer, known as payasam in the south and payesh in the east (Bengali), is a creamy rice pudding that is delicately flavored with cardamom and full of nuts. Kheer is often prepared for festivals and special occasions, but it is a great dessert for any time of the year.

    Simple to make, the rice is combined with milk, condensed milk, cardamom, sugar raisins, almonds, and saffron, cooked and then chilled to be served cold.