Milk-Based Indian Sweets and Desserts

Most Indians will confess to having a sweet-tooth. Can you blame them? The delicious variety available is too much to resist! Indian desserts are made with ingredients ranging from fruits and vegetables to grains and legumes! Here are some made predominantly with milk and milk products.

  • 01 of 17
    Top view of rasgulla
    Madhurima Sil / Getty Images

    Soft, spongy balls of cottage cheese soaked in chilled sugar syrup.... Nicely made Rasgulla melts in your mouth and leaves you wanting more...always! The Bengalis (from eastern India) sure know their sweet making.

  • 02 of 17
    Ras Malai
    Uzma Alam / EyeEm/ Getty Images
    Probably my favorite dessert, Ras Malai is dumplings made from cottage or riccotta cheese soaked in sweetened, thickened milk delicately flavored with cardamom. Serve it chilled and garnished with slivers of dried fruit.
  • 03 of 17
    Gulab Jamun
    jayk7 / Getty Images

    This delicious dessert consists of dumplings traditionally made of thickened or reduced milk, soaked in rose flavored sugar syrup. It gets its name from two words: Gulab which means rose (for the rose flavored syrup) and Jamun which is a kind of deep purple colored Indian berry (the cooked dumplings are dark brown in colour). Serve Gulab Jamun warm or at room temprature; by itself or topped with ice cream!

  • 04 of 17
    Image © PhotosIndia/ Getty Images

    This creamy rice pudding is delicately flavored with cardamom and full of nuts. It's a great dessert for anytime of the year. In south and east India versions of it are made for certain festivals. In the South, Kheer is called Payasam and in the east it is known as Payesh.

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  • 05 of 17
    Close-up of cham cham a traditional Indian sweet made from chhena (cottage cheese) and khoya (solid milk)
    uniquely india / Getty Images
    I've heard of them being called "Pleasure Boats" and know people who use the name as a term of endearment for their loved ones! Not surprising because Cham-Chams are truly delicious and very sweet indeed! Cham-Cham is a typically Bengali (east Indian) sweet.
  • 06 of 17
    Mishti Doi
    Kirti Poddar/Wikimedia Commons
    Mishti Doi is synonymous with Bengal in East India. The Bengalis are famous for their sweet preparations and Mishti Doi is among their most well known desserts. Mishti Doi tastes great but is amazingly simple to make!
  • 07 of 17


    Shrikhand with Poori
    Shrikhand with Poori. Image © Peter Williams/ Getty Images
    Ideally Shrikhand should be made with whole or full cream milk yogurt but you can also make it with low-fat or diet yogurt. The nuts are optional but add that extra special touch to this simple but delicious dessert.
  • 08 of 17
    Sandesh Mishti,

    No Bengali meal is complete without mishti or sweets and none is more loved by the Bengalis than Sandesh. It is surprisingly easy to make. Being a milk-based sweet, Sandesh doesn’t last long so consume it as soon as possible. Given how tasty it is, that shouldn’t be a problem.

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  • 09 of 17
    Kulfi - Indian ice cream with pistachios
    Joff Lee / Getty Images
    This recipe for this delicious dessert is so simple, kids can make it! I got it from my good friend Charlene and it's perfect for when you want a luxurious dessert but don't want to spend hours cooking.
  • 10 of 17
    Rava Laddoo. Image © VKBhat/ Getty Images
    Though quick and easy to cook, this Indian dessert is very tasty and also hugely popular. It's perfect to make when time is short but you still want a special dessert.
  • 11 of 17
    Truly a royal dessert, as its name suggests, Shahi Tukra is a rich bread pudding with dry fruits, flavored with cardamom. It's simple to make and a great dessert for times when you're in a hurry.
  • 12 of 17
    Coconut Barfi
    Image © Divya Kudua/
    You will love this sweet if you like coconut. It is most often made on occassions like Diwali (the Hindu festival of lights) and Christmas.
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  • 13 of 17
    Ice Cream
    Emilie Duchesne / Getty Images
    I love the slightly grainy texture of Sitaphal Ice Cream! This recipe is so simple to make, my brother and I would often treat ourselves to it as kids. My Mom would come into the kitchen and see us hard at work, making our own dessert!
  • 14 of 17
    Sitaphal Cream
    Sitaphal Cream. Image © Singlag/ Wikimedia Commons
    Sitaphal Cream is the kind of dessert that makes you feel you've died and gone straight to heaven!! I feel like I need not say more on the subject. Try it!
  • 15 of 17
    Royal Falooda
    Royal Falooda. Image © FotoSanjay/ Getty Images
    Falooda is a popular dessert not just in Mumbai (Bombay) where it is thought to have originated but also in the rest of the country. This chilled drink-dessert is the perfect way to cool off in the summer heat.
  • 16 of 17
    Creme caramel served on a plate together with a spoon
    Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

    This easy-to-make pudding is popular all over India but made especially well by the Parsis, Mangaloreans (both from Western India) and the Anglo-Indians. It can be steamed in a pressure cooker or baked in the oven.

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  • 17 of 17
    Quick and Easy Microwave Milk Barfi
    Quick and Easy Microwave Milk Barfi. Image © PhotosIndia/ Getty Images
    When I first learned how to cook this delicious dessert, I was so taken up by how easy it was, I made it every excuse I could find! You'll see why if you try it.