Basundi

5 from 4 votes

Basundi is a traditional Indian dessert famous in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and some parts of Karnataka. It is thickened and sweetened milk flavored with nutmeg, cardamom, and saffron. Serve it alone or with poori for a delicious treat (vegetarian, gluten-free).

I have shared the traditional method that takes almost 1.5 hours to make along with an instant method to make this creamy dessert in under 30 minutes. Choose the one that you like.

Basundi served in a glass.
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About Basundi

Basundi is a traditional milk-based Indian sweet made using milk, nutmeg, cardamom, and sugar.

It is made by cooking milk and saffron on low heat until it is reduced and thickened. The reduced milk is then flavored with nutmeg and cardamom.

Basundi is rich and creamy and has a lovely crunch in each bite from the nuts added to it.

It is popular in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka and is perfect to make for festivals or special occasions.

Be it Holi, Diwali, Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh Chaturthi, Gudi Padwa, or Eid, this creamy milk dessert will make it special for you.

It is also a perfect dessert for Hindu fasting days (vrat), like Navratri, Shivratri, or Ekadashi.

Although it is categorized as a dessert, basundi sweet can also be served as a warm drink. It is also served as a part of thali meals along with puri at weddings.

Making this dessert is a super easy process; it is just that it is a little time-consuming. So I have a trick for it.

I cook it when I am cooking my meals. Before starting to cook the other dishes, I put a pot on simmer, and by the time I am done with my cooking, my dessert is ready, too.

Apart from the traditional basundi recipe, I am also sharing an instant method to make this dessert in under 30 minutes.

The basundi made using these methods differ in taste and texture.

The one made using the traditional method is earthy and has deep complex flavors. The one made using the instant method greatly cuts the cooking time, but the flavor is not that complex. Choose the method that suits you the best.

My recipe serves 4 people. If making it for a party or a get-together, scale the recipe as required.

Here are some more delicious Indian dessert recipes you must try

Ingredients

Basundi ingredients

Milk – Always use whole milk (full-fat milk) to make basundi. If you have access to water buffalo milk, it is the best as it has high-fat content, making the basundi super creamy.

Saffron – Saffron is optional but highly recommended. It gives a lovely color, flavor, and aroma to this dessert.

Sugar – I use granulated white sugar to make this sweet. Adjust the sugar as per your taste. You can also use sugar-free substitutes like stevia or monk fruit.

Ground Cardamom & Nutmeg – Flavor the basundi with a little nutmeg powder and green cardamom powder.

Others – Chironji (Chiroli) is traditionally added to basundi, giving it a nice crunch and an earthy and nutty flavor.

Check the freshness of chironji; it gets rancid very quickly. If chironji is not easily available, you can skip it too.

Add slivered or chopped nuts like almonds, cashew nuts, and pistachios for a lovely crunch.

How To Make Basundi (Traditional Method)

Add 50 oz (1 and ½ liters) of whole milk (full-fat milk) and a pinch of saffron strands to a non-stick wide and heavy bottom pan.

Note – Choosing a wide pan makes the cooking process a little faster.

Milk and saffron added to a pan.

Heat on medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Stir frequently to prevent the milk from scorching at the bottom of the pan.

Boiling milk.

Once the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low.

Cook for 1 to 1 and ½ hours until it is reduced to more than half and is thickened and creamy.

Stir very frequently while cooking. Don’t let the cream (malai) layer form on top of the milk for a creamy basundi.

Keep scraping the sides of the pan regularly and stir the milk solids back into the pan.

The consistency of basundi is like a thin custard.

Tip – I suggest making it while you are doing other cooking. It will cook on the side and you will not have to stand to stir it separately.

Reduced milk.

Once the milk is thick and creamy, add

  • 3 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder

to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.

Sugar, nutmeg and cardamom added to the pan.

Check for sugar and add more if required. Cook for another minute.

Stir in 2 tablespoon chironji and 2 tablespoon slivered nuts (I used a mix of almonds, cashew nuts, and pistachios).

Tip – If you like your basundi very creamy and smooth, pass it through a fine-mesh strainer before adding chironji and nuts.

Chironji and slivered nuts added to the pan.

Remove the pan from heat and cover it with a lid to avoid the formation of cream on top.

Transfer the basundi to the serving bowls or cups and garnish with more slivered nuts and dry rose petals.

Serve hot, warm, or chilled.

Ready basundi.

How To Make Instant Basundi

Add 7 oz (200 g) of sweetened condensed milk and 32 oz (4 cups) of whole milk (full-fat milk) to a non-stick heavy-bottom and wide pan.

Milk and condensed milk added to a pan.

Mix well until the condensed milk is combined well with the milk.

Stirred well.

Heat on medium heat until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Stir frequently to avoid the mixture from scorching.

Now reduce the heat to low and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Stir very frequently while cooking. Don’t let the cream (malai) layer form on top of the milk for a creamy basundi.

Keep scraping the sides of the pan regularly and stir the solids back into the pan.

Stir in ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg and ½ teaspoon ground cardamom and mix well.

Check for sweetness and add some sugar if needed.

Ground nutmeg and cardamom added to the reduced milk.

Stir in 2 tablespoon chironji and 2 tablespoon slivered nuts (I used a mix of almonds, cashew nuts, and pistachios).

Tip – If you like your basundi very creamy and smooth, pass it through a fine-mesh strainer before adding chironji and nuts.

Remove the pan from heat and cover it with a lid to avoid the formation of cream on top.

Transfer the basundi to serving cups or bowls and garnish with more slivered nuts and dry rose petals.

Serve hot, warm, or chilled.

Chironji and slivered nuts added to ready instant basundi.
YouTube video

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between basundi and rabdi?

While both these desserts are made using the same ingredients, they are different in texture. Basundi is thinner than Rabdi. The consistency of basundi is like a thin flowing custard, while rabdi is thick and spoonable.
While making rabdi, the milk is left undisturbed while cooking for 5-6 minutes. This helps in the formation of a cream (malai) layer on top. The cream is mixed with the milk and eventually, the milk is thickened and loaded with cream. This process makes the rabdi chunky. Whereas, while making basundi, the milk is constantly stirred so that it thickens but remains smooth in texture. Rabdi is mostly flavored using saffron, cardamom, and rose water, while basundi is flavored with saffron, nutmeg, and cardamom.

How to make vegan basundi?

To make a vegan version, replace regular milk with any plant-based milk. I like to use almond milk as it gives a lovely nutty flavor to the dessert. Coconut milk is also a great option.

Variations

Although the classic version of Basundi tastes great, you can flavor it with various other ingredients for a taste change.

Add some mango puree to make Mango Basundi or Custard Apple Pulp to make Custard Apple Basundi. Other fruit pulps like Apples, Strawberries, Orange, Pineapple Grapes, etc can also be added to it for a flavor change.

You can add pureed betel nut leaves (paan) and gulkand (rose jam) for a paan flavor.

One of my favorite variations is Thandai Basundi. Make it by adding some Thandai Powder to the classic dessert.

Serving Suggestions

Serve basundi in bowls as a dessert or in small glasses as a drink. It can be served at room temperature, hot, warm, or chilled.

Basundi Puri is a popular and traditional combination where hot and puffed Poori is served with it. Serve it hot or warm with fluffy poories.

Storage Suggestions

Basundi will last in the fridge for 3 to 4 days when stored in an airtight container. You can serve it chilled or heat it until it is nice and warm in a pan or the microwave.

It freezes well, too. Cool it completely and transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3-4 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

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Basundi is a traditional Indian dessert famous in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and some parts of Karnataka. It is basically thickened and sweetened milk flavored with nutmeg, cardamom, and saffron. Serve it on its own or with poori for a delicious treat (vegetarian, gluten-free).
5 from 4 votes

Easy Basundi Sweet Recipe

Basundi is a traditional Indian dessert famous in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and some parts of Karnataka. It is basically thickened and sweetened milk flavored with nutmeg, cardamom, and saffron. Serve it on its own or with poori for a delicious treat.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

  • 50 ounces whole (full-fat) milk (1 and ½ liters)
  • 1 pinch saffron strands
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar (adjust according to your taste)
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons chironji (charoli)
  • 2 tablespoons slivered nuts (I used a mix of almonds, cashew nuts and pistachios) (plus more for garnishing)
  • ½ teaspoon dried rose petals (for garnishing)
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Instructions 

  • Add milk and a pinch of saffron strands to a non-stick heavy-bottomed and wide pan.
  • Note – Choosing a wide pan makes the cooking process a little faster.
  • Heat on medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Stir frequently to prevent the milk from scorching at the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 1 to 1 and ½ hours until it is reduced to more than half and is thickened and creamy.
  • Stir very frequently while cooking. Don’t let cream (malai) layer form on top of the milk for a creamy basundi.
  • Keep scraping the sides of the pan regularly and stir the milk solids back into the pan.
  • The consistency of basundi is like a thin custard.
  • Tip – I suggest making it while you are doing other cooking. It will cook on the side and you will not have to stand to stir it separately.
  • Once the milk is thick and creamy, add sugar, nutmeg, and cardamom to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Check for sugar and add more if required. Cook for another minute.
  • Stir in chironji and slivered nuts (I used a mix of almonds, cashew nuts, and pistachios).
  • Tip – If you like your basundi very creamy and smooth, just pass it through a fine-mesh strainer before adding chironji and nuts.
  • Remove the pan from heat and cover it with a lid to avoid the formation of cream on top.
  • Transfer the basundi in serving cups or bowls and garnish with more slivered nuts and dry rose petals.
  • Serve hot, warm, or chilled.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Keep in consideration that basundi with thicken a little more while cooling. So keep the consistency accordingly.
If making it for a party or a get-together, scale the recipe as per your requirement.
If chironji is not easily available, you can skip it too.

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 108mg, Potassium: 330mg, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 405IU, Calcium: 283mg, Iron: 1mg
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6 Comments

  1. Simply stunning – Would love to see this submitted at Food Foto Gallery . com so I can share with all my foodie friends 🙂

  2. such an good indian dessert, nicely done with the decoration and must be very delicious. hellosweetdessert.wordpress,com

  3. my favorite dessert. we gujju have to put charoli in basundi, chirongi u might call it. love the dry fruits picture.