A Delicious Collection of 20 Authentic Traditional Indian Sweets and Desserts

Are you looking to make traditional Indian sweets at home? Searching for a list of authentic traitional Indian sweets from each of the states in India? Want to know some of the traditional Indian desserts beyond the rasgulla and besan ki barfi ? Checking out options to prepare Deepavali sweets, or for a casual celebration at home?

Fret not! We have you all covered with our collection of 20 traditional Indian sweets.

Authentic traditional Indian sweets and desserts make Indian festivals brim with happiness and celebrations.

For example, during Deepavali, doesn’t matter how much ever we shop for the festival, decorate our homes, invite family and friends, it is ultimately food that adds festivity to these Indian festivals! Don’t you think so?

Precisely for this reason, a handful of blogger friends and I, have put together this compilation of Indian traditional sweets— managing to draw in Indian sweets and desserts, from every direction and region of this culturally vibrant country.

After all, India is one big sugar bowl of celebrations!


Content in this article

A peek into an ensemble of Indian Sweets

Many of the Indian dessert names mentioned in this write-up are easy to prepare traditional Indian sweets, with bare minimum in one’s own kitchen.

On the other hand, some in this collection are best relished when store-bought.

I often procure my box of delectable traditional sweets through online stores.

Should you wish to buy sweets and savouries online, then do check out Sweet Karam Coffee by availing my discount code. No, I don’t earn a commission from the store. It’s just a loyalty discount code provided to me that I wish to share with my readers:))

Nevertheless, it’s always a delight to prepare these desserts and sweets at one’s convenience. Also, it’s an immersive experience to go food-tours in culturally vibrant cities.

A reason why, we have also added food tour links in various associated cities, and provided with links to recipe videos and posts wherever possible, through the course of this write-up.

Some of the sweets in this post are popular Indian desserts, while others are traditional sweets and desserts prepared in Indian homes on special occasions like deepavali and navaratri.

This write-up also is a nice mix of healthy vegan Indian sweets, as well as gluten-friendly sweets, thus catering to a wide range of our readers.


Beyond the cliche of Jamuns and Jalebis

With deepavali around the corner, why don’t you look beyond the usual jamuns and jalebis as part the Diwali sweets ensemble? Of course, undoubtedly, we Indians love Gulab Jamuns and Jalebis.

For that matter, we love sweets in every shape and size. Isn’t it?

However, these Jamuns and Jalebis have gained so much prominence over the years, that sometimes I feel that the traditional sweets of India have slipped into oblivion. The good old deepavali sweets like adhirasam, boondi ladoo et al. Yum Yum…

Exactly, why these two notorious sweets[ jamun and jalebi] have been excluded from this list of Indian sweets and desserts.

Just to compensate for this omission are the below sumptuous captures of them from the lanes of the Sarafa Bazar in Indore. Sorry dudes!

Gulab Jamun at Indore
Gulab Jamun being sold at Sarafa Bazar, Indore
Meet the Jalebi’s cousin -The Jaleba of Indore

So, without much ado further, let us take you on a delicious journey from one corner of India to the other, this festive season to give you ideas for the deepavali sweets.

Traditional Sweets and Desserts of India

For the sake of convenience, let me start this list of Indian sweets and desserts, with the region of Tamil Nadu.

Considered one of the oldest regions of India with a rich history, but one that’s been unfortunately forgotten and requires a revival, Tamil Nadu requires a dedicated post for its savouries and sweets.

And, so does the states of eastern and northeast India.

Moreover, on this sweet journey, I shall also highlight the lesser-known aspects of a region or state, with focus on traditions, architecture, people, and heritage.

However, the contributions around the traditional sweet and dessert are by other blogger friends.

1. Adhirasam – A Traditional Chettinad delicacy

Probably one of the oldest of Tamizh traditional sweets, Adhirasam finds a mention in inscriptions from the Chola era.

Also mentioned in the literary texts written during the reign of Krishnadevaraya, the Tamizh Adhirasam is known as Ariselu in Andhra and Kajjaya in Karnataka.

However, it is the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu that has dutifully perfected the art of making an Adhirasam.

This south-Indian sweet is specially prepared to coincide with the Deepavali preparations in Tamil Nadu. While, in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, it is prepared during the Sankranthi celebrations.

How to prepare Adhirasam

Basically, Adhirasam is a deep-fried sweet dish that resembles a small disc.

It gains its delicious texture and taste, when the dough made out of rice flour and jaggery syrup is rolled out into small discs and deep-fried until golden brown in ghee or refined oil. Sesame seeds are often added to balance out the heaviness of the Adhirasam.

A perfect Adhirasam is one which isn’t chewy, but slightly crispy around the edges and soft and fluffy from the inside<span class="su-quote-cite">Meenakshi (it's meee)</span>
By Nithyasrm – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40912242
Additional Reading
Any sweet in Tamil Nadu is accompanied by a savoury to make the snack time complete. One such easily made savoury is the Thattai. Read my recipe of making the Thattai

2. Paal Payasam — a must taste Tamizh sweet dish

Contributed by Ramya Abhinand of Me Otherwise

Paal Payasam is a classic favourite in most Tamil homes during festivities.

In comparison to other payasams ( a sort of kheer), this is considered to be a step above and thus is reserved for special festivals and occasions such as the last day of Navaratri, Talai Diwali (first Diwali of a newly-wed), or when the Mappillai (Son-in-law) comes visiting.

Mapillais are given a special status in a family, culturally, and thus are pampered by the girl’s parents.

The Pal Payasam could either be relished from a bowl or slurped away in a traditional elai sapadu.

Ambalapuzha pal payasam is a favourite payasam of many Kerala households.

The Krishna temple in Ambalapuzha serves the payasam to thousands of devotees every day at 12.00 after the ritual naivedyam to the deity.

And, made with the Kerala matta rice it indeed tastes divine.

How to make Paal Payasam

Paal Payasam is a simple delicacy made with broken rice fried in ghee and boiled along with sugar, and milk until a thick creamy consistency.

It is inevitably flavoured with cardamom and ghee and garnished with cashew nuts.

My Patti (grandmom) whom I consider a culinary expert of sorts was very particular about the consistency of the pal payasam. She would sit down in the kitchen next to a low lying stove and prepare it in an Uruli (a traditional heavy bottom vessel), painstakingly stirring it on low flame until it reached the desired consistency. She wouldn’t use the entire milk required at one go but rather would save half of it and add it along with the sugar.<span class="su-quote-cite">Ramya Abhinand </span>

The delicious home-made Paal Payasam
Additional Reading
Read about the Maargazhi and Madras Music Season, when the Paal Payasam literally flows everywhere in the state of Tamil Nadu. From households to temples and concerts to sabhas, it is during this festival that you will find the Paal Payasam in all its glory!

3. Pootharekulu (Putharekulu) – a traditional Andhra sweet

Contributed by Hrish Thota of Dhempe

One of the most fascinating and unique traditional sweets from Andhra is the Pootharekulu or Putharekulu, also popularly known as Paper Sweet.

Pootharekulu is specific to the Godavari delta region of Andhra Pradesh and is most famously made in a village called Atreyapuram.

And this delicacy is generally not made at home, as it involves a very unique technique, which only a handful are specialised in.

The traditional Putharekhulu basically is a set of folded layers of wafer-thin rice-starch, which resembles a paper, and is stuffed with powdered sugar, powdered jaggery, or dry fruits.

This traditional Andhra sweet of Putharekulu is often procured from cottage industries for consumption, during festivals and weddings.

In hindsight, the taste of a Pootharekulu is very unique and melts in your mouth as it melts in your mouth. The health conscious people often prefer the jaggery version to the sugar one.

The Jaggery version of the Pootharekulu could generally be stored for a month, but the dry-fruit version should be consumed within 10 days.<span class="su-quote-cite">Hrish</span>

Putharekulu – a traditional Andhra sweet
Additional Reading
The state of Telangana shares cultural ties since ancient times with Andhra Pradesh. After all, they both were part of erstwhile Indian state of Andhra Pradesh before their bifurcation. You may want to read more about Hyderabad, once the capital of a united Andhra Pradesh.

4. Chenna Poda – fresh from the kitchens of Odissa

Contributed by Vaisakhi Mishra of The Word Pool

Chenna aka cottage cheese is an integral part of Odia cuisine.

For that matter, most of the traditional sweets of the Odissa state are made out of Chenna. And, one such invention of an Odia Kitchen with chenna is the Chenna Poda.

The name Chenna Poda literally translates to slow baked cottage cheese or roasted cottage cheese in Oriya.

And, it is a delicacy that you would see in every small and big sweet stall of Odisha.

It is popularly believed that somewhere around the beginning of the twentieth century, a confectioner named Sudarshana Sahoo from Nayagarh mistakenly left his leftover mixture of chenna and jaggery wrapped in Saal leaves in an oven, which was still warm from the day’s use.

And to his surprise, the next day, he was greeted with this delicious dish that he had created.

Though this new sweet was created in a small village near Balugaon in Odisha, the lure of Chenna Poda was so strong that in no time it became the most recognized and sought-after dessert throughout the state!

And now Chenna Poda is rightly called the cheesecake of India, since it tastes like a smoked cheesecake, but has the texture which is close to the rasagola.

Hence, when in Odisha, one must not pass the opportunity to grab a bite of this simple yet scrumptious traditional dessert of Odisha.

Given the popularity of the Chenna Poda in Orissa, you have infinite shops to try it out at. But if you are pressed for time and want to try out the absolute best of the lot, head to Pahala, Cuttack Sweets, or Nimapada sweets. <span class="su-quote-cite">Vaisakhi</span>
Chehhna Poda
Additional Reading
The state of Odissa shares cultural heritage since ancient times with Bali in Indonesia. The Kecak fire dance has been inspired by the Ramayana whose stories were carried by the traders of ancient Orissa to Indonesia.

Recommended Food Tours to Sample Bengali delicacies

5. Rosogolla – the delicious roundels from Bengal

Contributed by Tanayesh Talukdar of ShoeString Travel

Rosogolla is a white round shaped spongy ball made with cottage cheese and sugar syrup.

The Indian state of West Bengal is famous for this sweet dish and Nobin Chandra Das is attributed towards inventing this spongy Indian sweet. He is often termed the ‘Columbus of Rosogolla’, for having created this delicacy in the year 1868, from the confines of his shop at Bagbazar in Kolkata.

Rosogolla is akin to love for Bengalis, and its presence is mandatory during all festivals, parties, and occasions. There is no Bengali sweet as famous as the Rosogolla.

A Rosogolla variant by name ‘Rokom‘ is made from cow’s milk and is of pure cottage cheese. These days you can find various versions of the white Rosogolla.

Another famous seasonal variant is Notun Gurer Rosogolla, made during the Indian winters with the addition of Notun Gur or Palm Jaggery thereby producing beige-colored Roshogollas.

The taste of Notun Gurer Rosogolla is a little different from the normal white Rosogolla with the unmissable flavor of the date palm jaggery.

Rosogolla is the pride of Bengalis and is a must-have sweet dish when you are visiting Kolkata. You can find this dish in various Heritage sweet shops in Kolkata.

Once you pop a Rosogolla in the mouth ( it is supposed to be put whole and not cut with a spoon) you would feel a burst of sweet syrup and upon chewing, it melts.<span class="su-quote-cite">Tanayesh</span>
Fluffy and spongy Rosogulla

Recommended Food Tours in Kolkata

Additional Reading
Did you know that there is a Himachal connect to Bengal? That Rabindranath Tagore and Subash Chandra Bose stayed at Dalhousie for some time. Do read about this Bengal connect to Himachal in my write-up.

6. Malpoa – a sweet with varied forms, names, and shapes!

Contributed by Debjani Lahiri of The Vagabong

Malpoa is one of the most traditional and popular Indian sweets, commonly found in states of West Bengal, Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharastra. It supposedly is one of the oldest known Indian sweets with a history as far back as 8000 years.

Malpua or Malpoa could be well described as small deep-fried sweet pancakes made of wheat/flour/suji soaked in sugar syrup.

In Bengal, it is known as Malpoa, whereas in Orissa, the same is known as Amalu, where it is also one of the key offerings to Lord Jagganath as part of Bhog Prasad. In Nepal, Malpoa is known as Marpa and is prepared with maida, bananas, fennel seeds, peppercorns, milk, and sugar.

It is part of Pithey’s preparation in Bengal, which usually is relished during winters alongside other desserts made of milk, semolina, maida, sugar, jaggery.

Whereas, in Bihar, the same is a bit on a dry side with less syrup but again with the same rice flour/wheat flour.

In North India, particularly in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, they do not prefer using fruits but traditionally make Malpoa with maida (refined flour), semolina, milk, and yogurt.

It is also a popular dessert during the festival of Holi and also during Ramadan as a part of the Iftaari meal. In various parts of North India, Malpoa is also served and topped with Rabri (thickened milk) and dry fruits.

So, why don’t you consider the Malpoa a part of your Diwali sweets list, this year?

As I have a sweet tooth, whenever I travel to different places in India, I do like to try out different versions of this popular Indian Sweet Malpoa’. And the best part is that it can be easily made at home.<span class="su-quote-cite">Debjani</span>

The irresistible Malpoa
Additional Reading
The Malpoa decorated with these fresh roses reminded me of the Daulat Ki Chaat that I had tasted in the lanes of Old Delhi. Read about my food exploration in the bylanes of Chandni Chowk.

7.Patishapta – a Bengal delicacy

Contributed by Fuad Omar of A Walk in the World

If you are not familiar with Patishapta, you might think of it as crepes or doner kebab by the outlook of it. The initial bite will tell you, it’s different, the second bite will offer you a divine bliss when the inner core will melt inside your mouth.

Unlike the round shape of the majority of the Indian sweets, a Patishapta has a narrow shape.

There are two parts of Patishapta – an outer thin shell prepared of rice flour and a delicate inner core made of jaggery/sugar, grated coconut, concentrated milk, and semolina. Both, the outer and inner layers require to be processed independently and assembled later.

There is no strict recipe for preparing the inner core of a Patishapta, and one is at liberty to experiment according to their taste buds keeping the basic concept.

One noteworthy aspect of Patishapta is, it’s not excessively sweet, and thus suitable for most people. 

This delicious traditional Indian sweet is quite familiar to the state of West Bengal and is associated with the harvest festival of Poush Sankranti or Patishapta Pitha.

Almost every house of Bengal makes Patishapta at home at least once during winter. You can buy it from local sweet shops, but it is advisable to visit an acquaintance in Bengal and let them know your wish of having Patishapta beforehand. Bengalis are famous for their hospitality, they will embrace you as part of their family in their home.<span class="su-quote-cite">Fuad</span>
Patishapta – a traditional Bengali sweet

Food Tour in Kolkata

Additional Reading
A Russian dessert called the Bliny, looks very similar to the Patishapta of Bengal. You may want to read more about our family trip to Russia

8. Naap Naang – an authentic rice pudding from Nagaland

Contributed by Avantika Chaturvedi of Wayward Wayfarer 

The Naga cuisine is especially known for its extremely spicy chilli called Naga mircha and smoked bamboo flavours.

But what many don’t know is that Nagaland also has a number of traditional desserts, mainly involving rice.

The Naap Naang or black rice pudding is a dessert typically made by the Rongmei tribe of Nagaland found in the Dimapur, Kohima, and Jalukie regions of Nagaland.

The pudding can be seen as a Naga rendition of the north Indian “kheer” – only the Naap Naang uses black rice which is a deep purple in colour and naturally has a faint nutty taste.

The preparation of this pudding is fairly simple, using only four ingredients – black rice, sugar, milk, and water.

Variations of the Naap Naang are also found in Manipur and even in Thailand, where coconut milk is used instead.

The Naap Naang could very well be termed as the hidden gem of traditional Indian sweets.

Not only is this pudding, Naap Naang, extremely delicious, but the purple colour is also so visually pleasing, making it for an all-round sweet treat!<span class="su-quote-cite">Avantika</span>

Black-rice-nagalandBlack rice !

Additional Reading
Nagaland is part of the Northeast Indian states that has a rich past. You may want to read this wonderful book by name ‘People Called Shillong’ that talks about the capital city of Meghalaya and its people. Read my review of the book ‘People Called Shillong‘.

9. Khurma — a traditional sweet from the Dogra region of Jammu

Contributed by Vishal Sharma, a Jammu resident with Insta handle Musaafir Hun Yaaro

Khurma is a piece of fried flour coated with sugar. It’s highly addictive!

In fact, it’s almost the same as the popular Shakarpara. The only difference is that in the Dogri language it is called khurma and is slightly different in its looks. In Khurma, a colouring substance is added to make it look attractive, whereas in Shakarpara there is no added colour.

For Shakarpara, the flour is sweetened while kneading, while for preparing the Khurma, flour is fried first and then added to the thick sugar syrup. The sugar crystallizes and coats all the pieces of khurma, thus making it sweet. In Dogra culture, Khurma is prepared for many festivals and occasions, yet it remains one of the main dishes in a Dogri wedding.

Post-wedding the prepared Khurmas are distributed among friends and relatives Paaji).  Dogri weddings are incomplete without the Khurma, the delicious of traditional Indian sweets.

How to make Khurma

A dough is prepared by adding oil and water, rolled, and cut into pieces. These dough pieces are deep-fried and then added to the thick sugar syrup. The sugar dries up and crystallizes in a few minutes, thus coat the khurma pieces.
During a Dogra wedding, Khurmas are served with tea to the bridegroom’s family and relatives. It is also gifted to the bridegroom’s family by the bride’s family as a token of love.<span class="su-quote-cite">Vishal</span>

Khurma- From the kitchens of Dogra cuisine
Additional Reading
You may want to read about my experience of attending the Jammu Mahotsav

10. Khajoor — a traditional sweet snack of the Dogra cuisine

Contributed by Vishal Sharma, a Jammu resident with Insta handle Musaafir Hun Yaaro

Dogra cuisine has a distinct identity and brings diversity and uniqueness to the Indian culinary scene. These traditional cuisines are good from the health point of view and the beauty of these cuisines is in the procedure that is followed in the preparation of sweets and various dishes.

Khajoor is another Dogri sweet-dish prepared especially in the far-flung areas. It was a popular delicacy before the advent of the Western toffees and chocolate bars.

However, in recent years, Khajoor is prepared at home very rarely although it is pretty easy to make and is one of the most delectable of traditional Indian sweets.

How to make Khajoor

Wheat flour is mixed with jaggery syrup to make the dough, to which fennel seeds are also added. This dough is then flattened and rolled into different shapes and deep-fried to make Khajoor.

Khajoor, a Dogra sweet
Additional Reading
Jammu is a much less-explored region than Kashmir. It has some wonderful sightseeing places and ancient sites to visit. Do read my write-up about Jammu for Architectural Digest India.

11. Kada(Karah) Prasad from the verdant land of Punjab

Contributed by Yukti Agarwal of TravelWithMe247

Originally, the Kada Prasad is from the Indian state of Punjab and is one of the authentic traditional Indian sweets.

This divine sweet has an amazing taste, though made from very simple ingredients.  The recipe for making the Kada Prasad has been supposedly given by Guru Gobind Singh and hence it is considered sacred by the Sikhs.

In modern times, this sweet-dish / food symbolizes the blessing of saint Guru Gobind Singh, so this Indian sweet food is offered by Sewadars in Gurudwaras (Sikh Temple) in a surrounding that brims with melodious chants of Gurbani.

This, after placing it near Guru Granth Sahib, and worshipped. And, the right way to accept this prasad is with cupped hands, as divine food is a very significant part of Indian culture and traditions.

Many Sikh households around the world prepare this sacred Indian sweet of Kada Prasad on special occasions and festivals, to seek the blessings of their Guru.

How to make Kada Prasad

The aromatic Kada Prasad is made with roasted wheat flour, ghee, and jaggery, and cooking this in an iron Kadhai(Wok) imparts a flavour to the sweet.

I do make the Kada Prasad weekly, as it also has high nutritional value. A mixture of Ghee and wheat flour is said to be beneficial for kids. <span class="su-quote-cite">Yukti</span>
Kada Prasad – a delicacy from Punjab

Food Tour to try in Amritsar

Additional Reading
An unexplored hill station situated nearby the plains of Punjab is Dalhousie. Read about this colonial destination named after one of the Viceroys of India, Dalhousie.

12. Petha — the famous sweet from Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Contributed by Samantha Shea of ‘Intentional Detours Travel’ 

Petha is an off white, translucent Indian sweet that has been eaten for centuries, and this popular Indian mithai has its origins in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.

The hard treat is made from a combination of the ash gourd vegetable and sugar and can be sold in pieces or large quantities.

Considering that a Petha is made from what’s also known as winter melon, it’s no surprise that its taste does resemble a melon somewhat, though it is far sweeter and much chewier.

While petha is not quite as chewy as gummy candy, but is definitely, for example, softer than Patisa Soan.

A Petha (in its original form) is made from only sugar, ash gourd, and water; and is also known to be one of the purest desserts in the world.

Though Agra is where this delicacy has its origins, one can find it in sweet shops from Amritsar to Delhi. And for those looking to spice up the original recipe, you’ll be pleased to know that multiple flavor variations exist including coconut, saffron, grape chocolate, and more!

The Petha is said to have been created by the chefs of Emperor Shah Jahan, who apparently wanted a dessert that resembled the Taj Mahal.<span class="su-quote-cite">Samantha</span>

petha-indian-sweet-agraPetha – the pride of Agra

Food Tours in Agra

Additional Reading
Uttar Pradesh is also home to heritage and archtectural gems beyond the Taj Mahal. One such is the Bada Imambara in Lucknow. Read about this Imambara and its puzzling labyrinth

13. Mohanthal — a traditional sweet dish of Gujarat

Contributed by Mayuri Patel of Fernwerahee

Mohanthal is basically a gram flour fudge and an ancient sweet from Gujarat. Typically, in a Gujarati household, it is known as ‘Mohanthar’, especially in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. This region is well known for its typical Besan(chickpea flour) based items like Ganthiya, Fafda, and Thepla!

The sweet dish-Mohanthal is very close to the Mysore Pak of south-India but differs a bit in its taste and texture.

The Name ‘Mohan thal’ derives its name from one of Lord Krishna’s name-Mohan, and it is said to be a sweet dish loved by Lord Krishna. ‘Mohan’ means charming and ‘Thal’ means ‘dish’. so it translates to ‘Mohan’s dish’.

The Gujarat winters and festivals like Diwali and Navratri are incomplete without having Mohanthal.

Mohanthal is often had with tonnes of Ghee at all traditional religious events held in Gujarat. And, it is also distributed as Prasadam at major Krishna temples called ‘Havelis‘.

Mohanthal melts in your mouth and you will always feel like eating more. But since it involves sugar too, take a good walk after having it!!<span class="su-quote-cite">Mayuri</span>
Mohanthal – A Gujarati traditional sweet
Additional Reading
Similar to what Mohanthal is to Gujarat, the Milk Cake is to Alwar. Read about this ancient Indian region of Alwar, located in the fold mountains of the Aravallis.

14. Kulfi — a traditional Indian dessert from Mumbai

Contributed by Soumya Gayatri of ‘Stories by Soumya’

Kulfi, the delectable Indian ice cream, is one of the most popular desserts in the country. Traditionally prepared by evaporating sweetened milk to almost half its volume, kulfi is rich and dense in taste. It would not be wrong to say that kulfi is much creamier and tastier than regular ice creams.

It is believed that kulfi originated in the Indian subcontinent in the 16th century under the Mughal reign. Evaporated milk which had been used in Indian sweets since time memorial began to be filled into metal cones and frozen in ice slurries. And that is how the famous Indian kulfi was born.

Kulfis are available throughout the year in India and you do not need a special occasion to eat them. Plus, they are available across the country. However, the kulfis of Mumbai have a unique taste. Apart from the usual kulfi cones, you can find disc-shaped kulfis in Mumbai and a delicious concoction called Kulfi Falooda that is literally something to die for.

You will easily get kulfi in every restaurant in Mumbai, but I would highly recommend trying it at these places for the most authentic taste: New Kulfi Centre – Chowpatty, Baba Falooda – Mahim, Sanjay’s Kulfi – Malad, and Parsi Dairy Farm – Kalbadevi.<span class="su-quote-cite">Soumya</span>
The cool Mumbai Kulfi
Additional Reading
Mumbai is home to one of the largest and unique airport museum in the world. Read about this Jaya He GVK Museum.

15. Modak — a quintessential sweet of Maharashtra

Contributed by Vrushali of Mumbaikar Mom 

Modak is a popular and traditional Indian sweet from Maharashtra. However, unlike other sweets, you will rarely find it being sold in sweet shops. Making a Modak is an art and the recipe is traditionally passed down from one generation to another.

Modaks are best enjoyed hot with a generous dose of ghee on top of it. The sweet filling when steamed enhances the flavour of the filling inside. Modak is loved by people across all age-groups for its unique shape, taste, and texture.

In fact, Modak is also considered to be Lord Ganesha’s favourite food and therefore every Maharashtrian family makes Modaks during Ganeshotsav.

How to make Modak

The filling of the Modak is made from grated coconut and jaggery which must be neatly filled into a cover made of rice flour.  Once the filling is placed inside the Modaks, the Modaks must be steamed for about 15 minutes in a Modak-specific steaming vessel.

Making a perfectly shaped Modak requires a lot of skill and practice.<span class="su-quote-cite">Vrushali</span>
The divine Modak of Maharashtra
Additional Reading
Tamil Nadu has its own version of the Modak called the Kozhakattai. One giant Kozhakattai is prepared for the Ganesh Chaturthi at the 1600-year-old Pillayarpatti temple in the Chettinad region. Read about this ancient Karpaga Vinayagar temple and its Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.

16. Churmundo from the ghats and coasts of Konkan

Contributed by Shantala Shenoy Nayak of The Love of Spice

Churmundo (pronounced as Choorm-oon-dau) is a Konkani Style Ladoo made out of wheat flour and all-purpose flour and is one of the gems of Konkani cuisine.

A Diwali staple for most Konkani households, Churmundo can be made in several ways, so there are some versions of this ladoo that only use wheat flour, and some rarer versions that only use all-purpose flour.

But incorporating both atta and maida flours will give you the taste and the melt in the mouth texture that is associated with this much loved Konkani ladoo.

How to make Churmundo

Churmundo is made by first roasting wheat flour (atta) and all-purpose flour (maida), and mixing in powdered sugar, cardamom powder (elaichi), raisins & nuts, and then shaping the mix into round ladoos.

And while this Churmundo recipe of mine requires time and patience, to roast the flours well, there is a relatively low margin for error, because it is pretty straightforward, and easily duplicated.<span class="su-quote-cite">Shantala</span>

Churmundo- a home-made Konkani sweet
Additional Reading
These nutritious ladoos are excellent to beat the Indian Winters. Read more such tips and tricks to beat the Indian winter.

17. Maaladu from the homes of Kerala and Tamil Nadu

Contributed by Shalini R Nair of Something’s Cooking

Maladu or Maa laddu is one of the easiest traditional Indian sweets from South India, especially Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is also a healthy, kid-friendly snack, apart from being one of the most sought after Deepavali sweets1

Maladu is often compared to Besan Ladoo, a similar Laddoo dish from the northern parts of India.

However, the significant difference lies in the amount of ghee used in the recipe.

While Besan Ladoo is gummier because the gram flour is roasted along with ghee, Maladu has a more powdery texture since ghee is used in minimal quantity, only for binding.

Often made during celebrations and festivals like Diwali and Navratri, its simplicity in terms of the recipe procedure makes it an easy fix and quick-to-make evening snack as well.

How to make Maladu

Maladu could be made with only a handful of ingredients like roasted gram (also known as Pottukadalai), sugar, cardamom, and ghee.

Maladu can be made in under 15 minutes and can be even stored in an airtight container until up to five days. <span class="su-quote-cite">Shalini</span>
Maladu, a delicacy from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Additional Reading
Kerala is home to unique art forms. One such ancient dance drama is the classical dance of Kathakali. Read about this flamboyant Kathakali dance

18. Mysore Pak — the great divider between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka

Contributed by PolkaJunction

Mysore Pak is a traditional south-Indian sweet that has its origins in Karnataka. Yet, it is equally popular in the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. It one of those sweets that require oodles of patience in its preparation.

A softer version called the Mysurpa has been created by the sweet-makers of Tamil Nadu, which more or less resembles a richer version of the besan barfi!

How to make Mysore Pak

A detailed Mysore Pak recipe has been given on my blog, which results in a not-so-hard-not-so-soft Mysore Pak, yet with its honeycomb texture intact.


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Mysore Pak : The best edible souvenir of south-India ! . Yes, this is the most often suggested ‘food and edible’ souvenir by me, to friends and colleagues visiting TamilNadu / Karnataka in India. . So, I thought why not I upload the procedure of making this delicious and one-of-a-kind dessert on my youtube channel. ♦️ Link in the bio @polkajunction !♦️ ♦️Also, penned a blog-post that also contains a printable recipe of Mysore-Pak. The link of this is in the description box of the YouTube channel♦️ . And, for the first time, I tried doing a voice-over for this video with basic earphones. I have never ever spoken so softly and slowly ever in my life. Uffff…. so much of stress! . Do check out the video and let me know your thoughts ! . #agameoftones #foodart #veganrecipe #vegetarianrecipes #souvenir

A post shared by meenakshi j iyer (@polkajunction) on

Mysore Pak recipe video

19. Seven Cups Barfi — a south-Indian home chef’s rescue mission

Contributed by Kala Ravi Sarathy of Relax n Rave

Many home chefs claim the Seven Cups Barfi as the sweet that equals or betters the taste of the famous Mysore Pak and has a simpler recipe with less chance of failure than the Mysore Pak.

One of the traditional Indian sweets, especially of South India (Tamilnadu and Karnataka), the Seven Cups Barfi is prepared during Deepavali or any other occasion that calls for jhatpat or an instant sweet treat.

Basically, the Seven cups barfi has 7 measures of ingredients but is unique in the fact that its taste can vary according to the change you add to the ingredients. And, judging the right time to stop stirring and pouring is the trick to make a perfect Seven Cups Barfi.

How to prepare the Seven Cups Barfi

3 measure sugar, 1 measure ghee, 1 measure milk while the remaining two measures are dynamic – you could use 1 measure gram flour or besan/maida/whole wheat/ragi, and the last 1 measure can be – grated coconut/peanut powder/almond powder/cashew nut powder.

All this is mixed and stirred at low heat until it thickens.

Once the Seven Cups Barfi is ready, it is poured into a greased plate and cut into pieces. In addition, you can add cardamom powder or saffron for flavor.

I have shared this recipe with so many North-Indian friends too and they all swear by it. This tried and tested recipe of mine will give all the Mysore Pak fans a run for their money, time, and effort!<span class="su-quote-cite">Kala</span>
The resourceful Seven Cups Barfi
Additional Reading
There are beautiful ancient temples belonging to the Chola era. One such architectural space is in Darasuram. You may want to read about this Airavatesvara temple at Darsuram.

20. Peda or Paalkova — one of the popular traditional Indian sweets

Peda is one of the most popular milk-based traditional Indian sweets with its origins in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. Hence, it is rightfully also known as Mathura Peda.

However, the traditional Peda is prepared and devoured across many states in India with varied names and forms. For example, in Andhra Pradesh, it is known as Paalakova, whereas across Tamil Nadu, it is known as Paalgova.

Also, the colour of peda varies from light cream to dark brown, based on the ingredients used in its preparations.

The peda has a close cousin in Karnataka by the name Dharwad Peda, which is a delicacy in itself.

From making it to the dinner tables during festivals to the interiors of famous temples like Shirdi, the Peda is a humble traditional Indian sweet, which is also often offered to deities in temples, and consumed as prasad!

The delicious Dhoodh Peda

Hope you enjoyed reading about all these traditional Indian sweets, as much as we enjoyed putting together this ‘Sweet collection’ of Indianness.

Of course, we are aware that this list of sweet names and traditional Indian sweets isn’t complete and would never be.

For the reason, that India has too many hidden culinary gems to be boxed inside this space.

Yet, it would be my continuous attempt to add some more traditional sweets of India to this list in the coming months.

Meanwhile, do share your thoughts and names of other unique traditional sweets of India in the comment section below.

Season’s Greetings!


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9 thoughts on “A Delicious Collection of 20 Authentic Traditional Indian Sweets and Desserts”

  1. The list is truly amazing and you have listed everything so nicely. I am looking forward for more of such articles in future too.

  2. Lovely post Meenu and the pictures are indeed drool worthy. Not sure how successfully I would make any of these, however it is interesting to note that we are loaded with so many traditional sweets in our country.

    1. Absolutely, Ramya. And, many of these sweets are pretty easy to make, only that we need some patience.Which, I definitely lack..haha
      Thank you again for your contribution:)

  3. Thank you for the opportunity to contribute on this brilliant post. What a sinful compilation, Meenakshi. It makes me want to try out all thedelicious sweets from all over the country.

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