Saffron Milk (Indian Kesar Doodh)

5 from 1 vote

Saffron Milk (Indian Kesar Doodh) is a traditional Indian beverage where milk is flavored with saffron. Lots of dried nuts and fruits are added to give it a crunch and make it healthier.

Here are more milk-based drinks – Thandai, Badam Milk, Carrot Milk, and Haldi Doodh.

Saffron milk served in a glass.
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About Saffron Milk

Saffron Milk (Indian Kesar Doodh) is milk flavored with strands of saffron. Dried fruits and nuts are added for a nice crunch.

It has a delicious taste, and this nutritious drink comes together in under 20 minutes using simple ingredients.

Not only is this milk delicious, but it also has many health benefits. It is considered great for pregnant women and growing children. You can read more about the health benefits here.

Indian Kesar Milk can be served piping hot in winter or chilled in summer. It is a great drink to make for special occasions and festivals like Diwali and Holi.

Kesar Wala Doodh is gluten-free, vegetarian, and can easily be made vegan.

Just like saffron tea, this saffron milk recipe is a classic. The goodness of saffron keeps your overall health in check, so make a batch of this healthy drink and sip on it now!

Ingredients

Saffron milk ingredients.

Saffron is also called kesar, kungumapoo (Tamil), zaafran, or jafron. To make this drink, use the best-quality saffron threads.

Saffron is the most expensive spice, and it is often adulterated. So make sure to buy it from a trusted source only.

If you live in the US, Trader Joe’s saffron is good. I buy baby brand saffron in India.

Tip: I sometimes lightly roast saffron strands before adding them to milk for a more profound flavor.

Milk – I like to use whole milk (full-fat milk) as it makes my drink rich and creamy. But you can choose to use skim or low-fat milk, too.

To make vegan saffron milk, replace dairy milk with plant-based milk, such as almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, or coconut milk.

Sugar – You can replace sugar with honey or any other sweetener. You can also use sugar-free substitutes like stevia or monk fruit.

Dried Nuts and Fruits – Adding dried nuts and fruits to this recipe is optional. They add a nice crunch to the drink and make it healthier. Instead of slivering, you can also powder the nuts.

I have used almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios, chironji, and dates. You can also use hazelnuts, pinenuts, or other nuts and fruits.

White Poppy Seeds (Khus Khus) have many health benefits and taste great in this drink. However, if you can’t access them, skip them.

You can add a little cardamom powder or crushed green cardamom pods for added flavor.

How To Make Kesar Milk

Soak 25-30 saffron strands in 2-3 tablespoon of milk for 2 hours. Refrigerate the bowl while the saffron is soaking.

Saffron soaked in milk.

Heat 1 liter of whole milk (full-fat milk) in a pan over medium flame. Stir frequently to avoid scorching the milk at the bottom of the pan.

Milk heating in a pan.

Add the following ingredients once the milk comes to a boil. Stir well.

  • saffron soaked in milk
  • 10-12 almonds (slivered)
  • 10-12 cashew nuts (slivered)
  • 10-12 pistachios (slivered)
  • 1 teaspoon white poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chironji
  • 2-3 seedless dates (chopped)
Saffron soaked in milk, nuts, fruits and seeds added to the pan.
Milk stirred well.

Reduce the heat to low.

Cook the milk for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 4 teaspoon sugar and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Check for sugar and add more if needed.

Remove the pan from the heat. Serve the milk hot or chill it for 3-4 hours before serving. Garnish with slivered nuts and dried rose petals.

Ready saffron milk.

Pro Tips By Neha

Adding grated khoya (reduced milk solids, mawa) to this kesar milk can make it richer.

Adding a little bit of ginger powder, black pepper powder, and clove powder also makes this milk more nutritious and is good to drink in winter as it keeps the body even warmer.

This recipe is very adaptable. You can adapt it to your liking and preferences. Add the nuts and fruits you like and skip the ones you don’t. Choose the sweetener and its quantity as per your liking.

If you’re using vegan milk to make it, heat it only on low heat until it comes to a gentle simmer. Overheating vegan milk over high heat might curdle it.

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Saffron Milk (Indian Kesar Doodh) is a traditional Indian beverage where milk is flavored with saffron. Lots of dried nuts and fruits are added to give it a crunch and make it healthier.
5 from 1 vote

Saffron Milk Recipe (Indian Kesar Doodh)

Saffron Milk (Indian Kesar Doodh) is a traditional Indian beverage where milk is flavored with saffron. Lots of dried nuts and fruits are added to give it a crunch and make it healthier.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Soaking Time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

  • 1 litre whole milk (full-fat milk)
  • 25-30 strands saffron
  • 10-12 almonds (slivered)
  • 10-12 cashew nuts (slivered)
  • 10-12 pistachios (slivered)
  • 1 teaspoon white poppy seeds (skip if they are not available)
  • 1 teaspoon chironji
  • 2-3 seedless dates (chopped)
  • 4 teaspoons sugar (or to taste)
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Instructions 

  • Soak saffron strands in 2-3 tablespoons of milk for 2 hours. Refrigerate the bowl while the saffron is soaking.
  • Heat milk in a pan over medium heat. Stir frequently to avoid scorching the milk at the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the milk comes to a boil, add the saffron soaked in milk, almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios, poppy seeds, chironji, and dates, and stir well.
  • Reduce the heat to low.
  • Cook the milk for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add sugar and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Check for sugar and add more if needed.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Serve the milk hot or chill it for 3-4 hours before serving. Garnish with slivered nuts and dried rose petals.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Adding dried nuts and fruits to this recipe is optional. I love adding them as they add a nice crunch to the drink and make it healthier. Instead of slivering, you can also powder the nuts.
You can replace sugar with honey or any other sweetener of your choice. You can also use sugar-free substitutes like stevia or monk fruit.
This recipe is very adaptable. You can adapt it to your liking and preferences. Add the nuts and fruits you like and skip the ones you don’t. Choose the sweetener and its quantity as per your liking.

Nutrition

Calories: 88kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 10mg, Potassium: 182mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 44IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 1mg
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3 Comments

  1. Hello! I’m looking forward to trying this recipe! Is it an issue if you soak the saffron strands longer? Or is it ok to soak them over night to make the saffron milk in the morning?

    1. Yes, it’s perfectly fine to soak them longer. Make sure to keep it in the refrigerator while soaking.