The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Freeze: 24 hrs
Total: 24 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 8 popsicles

Kulfi is a popular North Indian dessert recipe. This creamy and flavorful frozen treat is the perfect ending to a meal on a hot summer day.

Saffron is infused into heavy cream and then whipped to soft peaks. Sweetened condensed milk is added before the kulfi is flavored in a variety of ways. This version uses fragrant ground cardamom and elegant rose water. Finally, chopped pistachios are folded in for texture and flavor. Other versions of kulfi use ground almonds or even mango puree.

The dessert can be frozen in silicone popsicle molds or paper cups with wooden popsicle sticks. Either way, be careful unmolding the kulfi before serving since they have a delicate texture.


  • 2 cups heavy cream (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon rose water
  • 1/3 cup chopped raw pistachios (divided)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Kulfi ingredients
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  2. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of the heavy cream and the saffron threads. Heat over low heat until it reaches a gentle boil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

    Heavy cream and saffron in a pan
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  3. Transfer to an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

    Saffron infused cream in a measuring cup
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  4. In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the chilled saffron-infused cream with the remaining 1 cup of cream beat until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually add the sugar.

    Beat heavy cream in a mixing bowl
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  5. Add the sweetened condensed milk, cardamom, rose water, and 3 tablespoons of the chopped pistachios. Whip to combine.

    Kulfi ingredients in a mixing bowl
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  6. Transfer the mixture into flexible silicone popsicle molds or paper cups. (Because of the delicate texture of kulfi, they can be difficult to remove from firm plastic popsicle molds.)

    Kulfi in cups
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  7. Sprinkle the remaining chopped pistachios on top. Insert the popsicle sticks into the molds and place in the freezer overnight.

    Kulfi sprinkled with pistachios
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  8. If you are using paper cups, wrap the top of the cup in aluminum foil and then insert the popsicle sticks. This allows the popsicle sticks to remain upright and straight while in the freezer.

    Kulfi in cups topped with aluminum foil and sticks inserted
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  9. When ready to eat, gently unmold the kulfi from the silicone popsicle molds or peel away the paper cups.

    Unmolding kulfi
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  10. Enjoy!

What Is Rose Water?

Sophisticated and fragrant rose water is a steam distillate of pure rose petals. The floral notes are strong and only a small amount is needed to add luxurious flavor to recipes. It pairs perfectly with fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, lychee, and mango. It also has an affinity for vanilla, dark chocolate, and white chocolate. The combination used here of pistachio, cardamom, and rose water is particularly elegant.

If the floral notes of rose water are too strong for your palate, it is certainly an optional ingredient in this recipe. The cardamom and pistachio along with the saffron-infused cream are still absolutely wonderful as well.


  • If you're having trouble removing the frozen kulfi from their molds, run the mold under warm water for a moment and gently pull. Kulfi are more delicate than most popsicles so be gentle.