Phirni (Firni)

4.38 from 8 votes

Phirni (Firni, Indian Rice Pudding) is a traditional Indian dessert made using milk and rice. This Mughlai sweet is a treat to eat and is very easy to make. Here is how to make it.

Here are some more Indian dessert recipes you may like: Seviyan Kheer, Atta Halwa, Carrot Kheer, Makhana Kheer, Sabudana Kheer, and Badam Kheer.

Phirni served in clay bowls.
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For one of our first dinners as a married couple, I decided to make Phirni. The recipe I had memorized from a magazine was a hit among our guests.

We also managed to get Shakore to serve the dessert. It became the highlight of the dinner, and everyone went for the second helping.

I couldn’t wait to share this recipe gem with you when I started blogging. I made it again with precise measurements, and here it is, ready for you to recreate the magic in your kitchen!

About Phirni

Phirni (Firni, Indian Rice Pudding) is a rich and creamy traditional Indian dessert made with slow-cooking ground rice and whole milk. It is flavored with saffron and cardamom, and slivered nuts are added for a lovely crunch.

Phirni, a recipe that originated in the Mughal era and was brought to Kashmir, has become a beloved dessert across India and Pakistan, showcasing its cultural significance and widespread popularity.

Since this was made in the times of kings, some people also call it shahi phirni.

Firni was traditionally served in earthenware pots known as mitti ke kulhad or shakore. In ancient times, before the invention of refrigerators, it was customary to serve Phirni in clay pots for a reason. This was because it remained chilled for extended periods, giving it a unique and delightful taste.

This rich, creamy, and indulgent dessert is perfect for special celebrations or festive occasions like Diwali, Raksha Bandhan, Karwa Chauth, etc.

Ingredients

You will find all the ingredients to make this recipe in any Indian grocery store.

RiceUse any flavorful white rice to make this dessert. I use basmati rice, but Gobindo Bhog, Indrayani, Ambemohar, etc., can be used too.

Milk – Whole milk (full-fat milk) is best for making phirni. I do not recommend using skim or low-fat milk for this dessert.

Ghee – A little ghee gives a nice earthy flavor to this dessert.

Saffron and Rose Water – Flavor the pudding with saffron and rosewater for a traditional taste.

Nuts – Garnish the rice phirni with slivered almonds and pistachios for a lovely crunch.

Sugar – Adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste and preference. I do not suggest using jaggery or any other sweetener to make this dessert, as it will diminish the authentic taste.

If saffron is unavailable, you can make firni recipe without it.

You can add a little cardamom powder or kewra water to flavor the feerni.

How To Make Phirni

Rinse 3 tablespoon white rice with water and soak it in 1 cup of water for an hour.

Rice soaked in water.

Drain the water. Add the soaked rice to the small jar of a blender or a small food processor with 1 tablespoon water, and blend to make a coarse paste.

Make sure to make a fine paste; otherwise, the texture of firni will not be great.

Scrape the sides of the jar a few times while blending.

Coarsely ground rice.

Heat 1 teaspoon ghee in a non-stick heavy bottom medium-sized pan over medium heat.

Ghee added to a pan.

When the ghee is hot, add 32 fl oz (1 liter) of whole milk to the pan and bring it to a boil.

Stir frequently while heating to avoid scorching the milk at the bottom of the pan.

Whole milk added to the pan.

Add the ground rice paste and 15-20 saffron strands to the milk and stir well.

Ground rice and saffron added to the pan.

Reduce the heat to low and cook for 40-50 minutes until the phirni has thickened, stirring at regular intervals to avoid the formation of lumps.

The consistency of cooked phirni should be like that of a thick custard.

Scrape the sides of the pan regularly and add the thickened milk back to the pan.

Keep in mind that the phirni will further thicken upon cooling.

Add ½ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon rose water to the pan and mix well. Adjust the sugar according to your taste.

Cook for another minute until the sugar is dissolved.

Sugar and rose water added to the pan.

Transfer the phirni into individual serving small earthen bowls. You can use glass or ceramic bowls, too. You can also serve the phini in one large bowl instead of individually.

Garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios. Dried rose petals can also be used for garnishing.

Cover the bowls with plastic wrap so the phirni doesn’t absorb the smell from the fridge, and refrigerate it for 4-5 hours before serving.

Ready phirni served in a clay bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between rice kheer and phirni?

This dessert is made with milk and rice, similar to rice kheer (another Indian rice pudding). The difference between kheer and phirni is that kheer is made using whole rice grains, while rice is ground coarsely to make phirni. Phirni is also thicker and creamier in consistency than kheer. Kheer can be served hot or cold, but phirni is always served chilled.

Why is my kesar phirni not setting?

Phirni doesn’t set if it is made using low-fat milk or if it is not cooked well. Always use whole milk to make this dessert and cook it until the consistency is like a thick custard or porridge.

Can I make phirni using rice powder?

Yes, you can grind the dry rice to make a coarse powder instead of soaking it and making a paste. Then, use the powder to make the dessert. Do not make a fine powder; otherwise, the firni will turn out gooey.

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Phirni (Firni, Indian Rice Pudding) is a traditional Indian dessert made using milk and rice. This Mughlai sweet is a treat to eat and is very easy to make. Here is how to make it.
4.38 from 8 votes

Phirni Recipe (Firni)

Phirni (Firni, Indian Rice Pudding) is a traditional Indian dessert that is made using milk and rice. This Mughlai sweet is a treat to eat and is very easy to make. Here is how to make it.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Soaking Time: 1 hour
Total: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons raw white rice
  • 4 cups whole milk (full-fat milk)
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 15-20 strands saffron (optional)
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon rose water
  • almond and pistachio slivers for garnishing
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Instructions 

  • Rinse rice with water and soak it in 1 cup of water for an hour.
  • Drain the water and add the rice to a small blender jar along with 1 tablespoon water. Blend to make a coarse paste. Scrape the sides of the jar a few times while blending.
  • Heat ghee in a non-stick heavy bottom medium-sized pan over medium heat.
  • When the ghee is hot, add milk to the pan and bring it to a boil. Stir frequently while heating to avoid scorching the milk at the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the ground rice and saffron strands to the milk and stir well.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook for 40-50 minutes until the phirni has thickened, stirring at regular intervals to avoid the formation of lumps.
  • The consistency of phirni should be like that of a thick custard.
  • Scrape the sides of the pan regularly and add the thickened milk back to the pan.
  • Keep in mind that the phirni will further thicken upon cooling.
  • Add sugar and rose water to the pan and mix well. You can adjust the sugar according to your taste. Cook for another minute until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Transfer the phirni into individual serving earthen bowls. You can use glass or ceramic bowls too. You can also serve the phini in one large serving bowl instead of serving it individually.
  • Garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios. Dried rose petals can also be used for garnishing. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap so that the phirni doesn’t absorb the smell from the fridge, and refrigerate it for 4-5 hours before serving.

Notes

Use any flavorful white rice to make this dessert. I use basmati rice, but Gobindo Bhog, Indrayani, Ambemohar, etc., can be used too. 
If saffron is unavailable, you can make firni recipe without it.
You can add a little cardamom powder or kewra water to flavor the phirni.

Nutrition

Calories: 207kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 68mg, Potassium: 303mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 25g, Vitamin A: 285IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 211mg, Iron: 0.3mg
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