Kulkuls (Indian Christmas Sweet Curls)

Kulkuls Indian sweet curls recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 85 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Yield: 6 dozen
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
224 Calories
12g Fat
26g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 224
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 17mg 6%
Sodium 46mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 13mg 1%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 49mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Kulkuls, a great sweet to prepare with the family, are made all over India at Christmastime. They are most popular in the Goan region and may have come from the Portuguese community as a variation of Filhoses Enroladas, a rose-like rolled pastry. Kulkuls are often called kidyo in the Konkani language, which means worms. That's not very appetizing, so it's more appealing to think of them as shells or curls.

These Indian sweets are fun to make with the family; it takes time to roll each one with a fork, so you might want to enlist older kids or teens to join in. That way you'll be able to make a larger batch! They keep very well if stored in an airtight container, so you can make them ahead to enjoy for the holidays. Kulkuls are a traditional part of a sweets plate and ideal to give to friends and neighbors. You can also make them part of your Christmas cookie exchange.

"The kulkuls were terrific. The fried cookies are finished with a sugar syrup that dries into a crunchy coating. These are fantastic treats for Christmas or any special occasion. Drizzling the sugar syrup over the kulkuls worked better for me than adding them all to the pan, but either way is acceptable." —Diana Rattray

Kulkuls (Indian Christmas Cookies)/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 4 cups (495 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cubed

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • Neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable, for frying

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water, as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for kulkuls
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour and baking powder until well combined.

    Mix flour and baking powder
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Add butter a little at a time, rubbing it into the flour until butter is pea-sized.

    Add butter
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. In a small bowl, beat the eggs. Add the eggs to the flour-butter mixture.

    Beat the eggs
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Add confectioners' sugar and coconut milk and mix into a soft dough.

    Add powdered sugar
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Form dough into small sized balls, about 1-inch in diameter.

    Form the dough into balls
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Grease the back of a fork with some oil. Flatten a ball of dough and press it onto back of the fork forming a rectangle the length of the fork tines.

    Grease fork
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Starting at bottom end of the fork, roll the dough up the tines and off fork and into a tight curl. The end result will be a tube-like curl with ridges from fork. Place the curl on a plate and work remaining dough balls similarly.

    Add divets
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  9. Heat about 1-inch of oil in a deep, straight-sided medium skillet or heavy-duty saucepan on medium heat until it reaches 350 F.

    Heat oil
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  10. Fry the kulkuls in batches to not crowd the pan (about 6 or 7), making sure to adjust the heat as needed to maintain the temperature, turning them often until light golden brown color, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes total. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet with a slotted spoon as they become done.

    Fry kulkuls
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  11. Put granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is syrupy, 4 to 6 minutes.

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  12. Add cooled kulkuls to sugar syrup and coat well.

    Add kulkuls
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  13. Remove from the syrup with a slotted spoon. Let the curls sit on a serving platter until the sugar dries and forms a coating on the kulkuls.

    Let cool
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga


  • To ensure even browning, move and turn the kulkuls frequently as the fry.
  • Pinch the undersides of the rolled kulkuls to keep them from opening up when frying.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of the sugar syrup coating, roll the kulkuls in powdered sugar while they are still warm.
  • Instead of rolling the kulkuls on a fork, you may use a gnocchi board. Some people use an unused fine-tooth comb to shape their kulkuls.
  • For a more festive look, divide the dough into 4 portions and mix a different gel food color into each portion.

How to Store Kulkuls

Store kulkuls in an airtight container or zip-close bag at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.