Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa) is an Indian sweet dessert made with fresh red carrots, milk, khoya, and sugar. It’s a winter delicacy popular at festivals, weddings, and special occasions. Learn the traditional method to make this Indian dessert (vegetarian, gluten-free).
About Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa)
Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa, Indian Carrot Pudding) is a popular North Indian and Pakistani dessert made using red winter carrots. It is also called gajrela, gajar pak, or gajorer halwa in different Indian languages.
This dessert is made only in winter when red carrots are in season.
Every house has its own recipe to make this dessert, but if you take my word, my mom’s carrot halwa recipe is one of the best I have ever tasted. I and anyone who has tasted it have said the same.
She takes no shortcuts and does not skimp on ghee and khoya when making this delicious sweet. I am glad I learned her recipe and now sharing it with you all to try.
You will need just 6 basic ingredients, some time at hand, and a lot of muscle work to make the best gajar ka halwa.
Serve it as a dessert after everyday meals or for festivals, weddings, and other special occasions.
This recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free. You can double or triple it as per your requirement. The cooking time will increase as the milk will take more time to reduce.
Here are a few more halwa recipes that you may like
- Bread Halwa
- Atta Halwa
- Besan Halwa
- Lauki Halwa
- Moong Dal Halwa
- Beetroot Halwa
- Rajgira Sheera
- Sooji Halwa
- Aloo Halwa
Carrots – This halwa is made using red carrots, which are available only in winter months. They are sweet and give halwa a nice red color.
Choose carrots that are red and free of bruises or any black patches.
Check your nearby Indian grocery stores to source them.
You can replace the red carrots with black carrots too. Black carrots are available in some parts of India during winter and lend a great taste to this halwa.
Note – Do not try it with orange carrots; they taste bitter, and your halwa will not turn out well.
Granulated White Sugar – I like my carrot halwa mildly sweet, but you can definitely adjust the sugar as per your taste. You can also replace the granulated white sugar with brown sugar or powdered jaggery.
Milk & Khoya – Use whole milk (full-fat milk) only.
Khoya (Khava, Milk Solids) is traditionally used to make this halwa recipe. It is readily available in any Indian grocery store’s refrigerator or freezer section.
If khoya is unavailable, mix milk powder with some milk and make a thick dough. You can use it in place of khoya.
Ghee – Ghee adds richness and makes the halwa more delicious.
Nuts – I added slivered almonds and pistachios. You can also add cashews, raisins, etc. to make it richer.
Cardamom Powder – Adding freshly ground cardamom powder gives the halwa a delicious flavor and aroma.
Add a pinch of saffron while cooking to make this popular Indian dessert even more indulgent.
How To Make Gajar Ka Halwa
Wash 1 lb (500 g) of red carrots with water and peel them using a vegetable peeler.
Now grate the carrots using the medium hole of a box grater.
You can also use a food processor to grate the carrots.
Grate 4 oz (120 g) of khoya using the medium hole of a box grater.
Gather the remaining ingredients.
Make The Halwa
Add 1 lb (500 g) of grated red carrots and ½ liter whole milk to a heavy bottom pan and mix well.
Cook on medium-low heat until all the milk is absorbed (20-25 minutes), stirring frequently.
Once the milk is absorbed and the carrot mixture looks thick, add 2 oz (60 g) of ghee to the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.
Now add 4 oz (120 g) of sugar and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
Note – You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar to your liking. I like very lightly sweet halwa, and this measurement is perfect for that.
Once the sugar is dissolved well, add 4 oz (120 g) of grated khoya to the pan and cook for 25-30 minutes or until ghee leaves on the sides, stirring at regular intervals.
Add 1 teaspoon cardamom powder and 4 tablespoon of slivered almonds and pistachios and mix well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Never fry the carrots in ghee. It might turn their color and make the halwa black.
Always add carrots and milk to the pan together and cook until the milk is absorbed. Add the ghee later.
Yes, you can.
Replace regular dairy milk with any plant-based milk like almond milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk.
Ghee can be replaced with coconut oil.
Skip adding khoya to the recipe or replace it with vegan condensed milk or vegan evaporated milk.
Pro Tips By Neha
Making gajar halwa in traditional style is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process but the final result is totally worth the effort. However, if you want to take a shortcut, do check out this Instant Pot recipe.
Gajar Halwa is best served hot on its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It can be served at room temperature too.
Make sure to top it with loads of slivered nuts for extra crunch. To make it extra indulgent, top it with some grated khoya.
Make this classic Indian dessert for festivals and special occasions, or enjoy it as a dessert after your indulgent meal.
You can also use the ready halwa to make gajar halwa wontons. Check out my Kalakand Wonton recipe and replace kalakand with halwa.
This halwa can also be eaten on vrat days (Hindu fasting).
Gajar halwa will last for 2-3 weeks when stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Make sure to use a clean and dry spoon for every use.
Reheat the halwa in a microwave or a pan until warm before serving.
You can freeze the halwa for up to 3 months. Just transfer it to a freezer-safe box and freeze it. Thaw, heat and serve.
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Best Indian Gajar Ka Halwa Recipe (Carrot Halwa)
- 1 pound red carrots (500 g)
- 18 fluid ounces whole milk (full-fat milk) (½ liter)
- 2 ounces ghee (60 g)
- 4 ounces sugar (120 g)
- 4 ounces khoya (mawa) (120 g, grated)
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 4 tablespoons slivered nuts (I used almonds and pistachios)
- Wash the carrots with water and peel them using a vegetable peeler.
- Now grate the carrots using the medium hole of a box grater.
- You can also use a food processor to grate the carrots.
- Add grated carrots and milk to a heavy bottom pan and mix well.
- Cook on medium-low heat until all the milk is absorbed (20-25 minutes), stirring frequently.
- Once the milk is absorbed and the carrot mixture looks thick, add ghee to the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Now add sugar and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
- Note – You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar as per your liking. I like very lightly sweet halwa and this measurement is perfect for that.
- Once the sugar is dissolved well, add khoya to the pan and cook for 25-30 minutes or until ghee starts to leave on the sides, stirring at regular intervals.
- Add cardamom powder and slivered almonds and pistachios and mix well.
- Serve hot.