Kulfi (Creamy Indian Ice Cream)

Kulfi (Creamy Indian Ice Cream)

For those of you who grew up in India in the 80s and 90s, I dont have to try hard to revive memories of this exquisite ice cream. This was a time when a plethora of different flavours of ice cream was not yet available in the Indian markets and since the economy was not yet liberalized, there was no chance of savouring the taste of the many foreign brands of ice cream that are now available.

To me, kulfi meant summer holidays, playing in the garden and taking a walk alongside the lush green fields in my paternal hometown only to get back and relish this marvel with my cousins. I still remember how I had to face my cousins ire when I interrupted an intense game of cricket saying the kulfi that my aunt was making was ready, only for them to be back and discover that the moulds had just gone into the freezer and they had to wait a few more hours to enjoy it.

Cut to the present, when I looked for kulfi in the many hotels and stores, I was met with extreme disappointment with the watery and overtly sweet hard pieces of rock like ice cream that were being passed off as kulfi. It was nothing reminiscent of the soft, creamy wonder which was delicately spiced and moderately sweetened (so that it doesnt overpower the subtle aromas of the spices) that I remembered growing up with. It was further dejection when the kulfi served in the best Indian restaurant in town did not have the taste nor the flavours of yore.

So, when I had a group of friends over to watch Hari’s birthday video, I decided to treat them with this marvel. And it was just right for the searing Mumbai heat and humidity! I resorted to an old recipe which was tried and tested and had tasted marvelous when I had made “kulfi” years ago.

The secret to making good kulfi is using good quality ingredients and the right amount of caramelization of milk. This kulfi is soft and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness to it. The cardamom and nutmeg add exotic highlights and the finely chopped pistachios add colour and texture while balancing the flavours (kids might like it without the nuts though). My friends enjoyed the kulfi and as expected so did my husband! But, what came as a surprise was my little Hari! The way he relished it made all my efforts of my midnight kulfi mixture seem worthwhile.

Watch how to make Kulfi here-


Kulfi (Creamy Indian Ice Cream) Recipe



2 liters (8 cups) milk (preferably full cream

1 can condensed milk

1 cup milk powder

4 tbsp sugar (optional-use only if you want it a little more sweet)

1/4 nutmeg powdered

10 to 12 cardamom pods, powdered

saffron (optional)

pistachios, crushed (for garnishing)


In a heavy bottomed pot or pan, mix in the milk, condensed milk and milk powder and cook on medium heat until the milk comes to a rolling boil, about 15 minutes. Once the milk comes to a boil cook on low heat for about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring in between to prevent sticking, until the mixture thickens and caramelizes and gets that lovely kulfi flavour.

In a small bowl pour a ladle of the mixture and mix in the cardamom and nutmeg and make a smooth paste. Sir in the paste into the kulfi mixture. If used directly the cardamom forms lumps which makes it difficult to disintegrate into a homogenous mixture.

Allow to cool and pour into kulfi moulds. If you do not have kulfi moulds, pour into shot glasses and when the mixture is half frozen, about 30 minutes, insert a stick into it. Chill overnight or for 6 to 8 hours.

This quantity gave me 12 medium sized kulfis and 5 small ones with little bowls.

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50 thoughts on “Kulfi (Creamy Indian Ice Cream)

  1. How delicious Anu..and so good that Hari liked it..I had to make it with chocolates to get my kids eat this..:)..pictures are tempting..

  2. Anu, Can't resist a home made kulfi!
    Those (aluminium?) kulfi moulds are really adorable. May I ask where you bought them from?
    Dislike buying plastic moulds and those are the only ones that are generally found everywhere..

  3. Lovely !!!
    Such simple recipe and we hardly think of making it…Appreciate your efforts of making it in midnight and such a pleasure to see everyone relish the Kulfi in this hot weather 🙂

    Btw you should try bowring kulfi @ Bangalore and they are the best with right taste and flavors..

    Thanks for posting such wonderful recipes..

    Also I must say that I have been preparing the sambar recipe you have posted and its become a hit in my family 🙂 Thanks a lot..


  4. I remember my mother making mango kulfi during the summer holidays. Gone are those days. Your post brought back those memories 🙂 Lovely.

  5. Irresistible! Will try this soon! You are so true about kulfis that you get these days in stores and restaurants.. They are no way close to what we used to get during those summers some years back. But now, you have given the recipe here, I need not worry 🙂

  6. As always a great recipe with super visual treat. Gonna try it out soon. One question, milk whitener (the ones we normally get in stores) & milk powder are same thing? I was looking for milk powder for quite some time in Bangalore but couldn't get it. Which brand milk powder are you using?

  7. hey.. what is the measurement of the condensed milk in cups? as cans can vary in measurement!

  8. Amazing collection of recipes! You might be interested to know how I came here! I was browsing my photostream on flickr today, and came across your comment on one of my photos clicked, 5 years ago. I could not recollect who you are and so I clicked on your profile and was happy to see that you are a food blogger! Have bookmarked your blog!

  9. Very Yummy recipe Anushruti. I just want to share my Kulfi experience which I tried couple of days back. Instead of heating milk I substituted it with evaporated milk and I used 1 can of each condensed milk, evaporated milk and added 1 cup heavy cream, elaichi powder and saffron strands. Next I run this mixture in the blender couple of seconds and pour it in a pan and freeze for 6-7 hrs. It came out very nicely and very yummy.

  10. Radhika: My kulfi moulds are very old but I remember seeing aluminium kulfi moulds in Arife, Mumbai.

    Deepa: Thanks for the feedback. Will definitely check out bowring kulfi the next time I'm in Blore.

    Pallavi: Yes, they are one and the same. I like using Britannia but since the store was out of stock with it, I had to settle for Nestle.

    Anu: Condensed milk usually comes in 398/400 gm cans all around the world. You neednt worry about the cups here.

  11. Dear Anushruti, Absolutely thrilled to read your recipe for Kulfi. Will definitely try it in the USA when I visit my grandsons and give them a taste of Indian delights! Can't imagine Hari all grown up and enjoying Kulfi !!! It seems just yesterday when I delvered him at Lilavati!! Lots of love!! Kiran Coelho

  12. What volume of milk is left after those 35-40 minutes? I'm thinking of taking a shortcut and just using that amount of heavy cream (a farm in my area sells the most fabulous thick rich heavy cream I've ever had).


  13. Hey, my lil brother missed kulfis and i hsve decided to make them, however am in bit of a deliemma. Its hard to find milk powder, can whip cream be used instead? Its even harder to find kulfi mould in Canada so i hope he doesnt mind the different shape. You mentioned sugar is optional, is it sweet without that added? Its been a decade since we had kulfi. I can barely recall how it used to be like. Thanks for your hard work and posting this. 😀

  14. hi,how to make kulfi in dry powder full creem material,i am facing ice problems in kulfi.sometime i put in corn flour,medda,but i faild.

  15. Paige: Sorry for the late response. Even if you use cream you will have to cook it. We are looking at a caramel like taste and texture here which is only acquired after cooking milk for a long time.

  16. Richa: 🙂

    Nami: Sorry for the delay in responding. Milk powder is easily available around the world. You shouldnt find a problem sourcing it of you look for it. Since condensed milk already has a lot of sugar in it, additional sugar is optional and go for it if you like your desserts very sweet.

  17. Hi Anu, Cooked milk, condense milk, milk powder on low heat for 40 minutes, but didn't thicken?

  18. Annie: That's very surprising. I hope you were not looking at a solid consistency. After thickening too, the mixture would still be liquid in consistency and will harden once frozen to a smooth and creamy kulfi.

  19. Its midnight and i am just done making the kulfi! Yes it has its charm, to cook without any distraction. Loved making them. This is my second attempt and the first one turned out to be just awesome. I love your recipes and the way you present them, cant help but say that you are a perfectionist and it reflects in each of your recipe. I have tried many of them by now, and cant recollect even one not to have reached the expectation.Great work,being a beginner feeling blessed to have gone through your site 🙂

  20. […] Any sort of hydrating or cooling preparation is welcome during the scorching summer season. A common recipe made everywhere from homes to fancy restaurants to roadside stalls is Kulfi. What makes it so popular is the ease in making it and that it can be made in different flavours. Many Indian homes have freezers packed with such kulfis. For people who grew up before the advent of fancy ice cream brands, this exquisite milk based dessert and its demand at home is quite familiar. Caramelization of milk, adding the right proportion of sugar, nutmeg, dry fruits and placing the mixture in moulds in freezer are the basic steps to making yummy Kulfi. […]

  21. I dont want to make alot of Kulfi. Can u give me the recipe for about 3-4 kulfis? as we are only afew family members.

  22. Anushruti, Thanks for this recipe, I will try this and let you know how this turned out. One thing that's a bit funny is – one of my NRI friends who wanted to make kulfi for a party in London used salted pistachios to this As you can imagine, it took a lot of whatsapp messages for me to figure out what was wrong.

  23. Thank you for the story and the recipe. This recipe is so good that I do not wish to try any other. Kids love home made ice cream and keep on asking for more.

  24. Thank you Anushruti for this awesome recipe. I made it as a surprise for my husband today and he ate 3 one after the other. He called it the best kulfi as well as the best dessert he has ever had in his life. High praise indeed from a person who doesn’t even like sweets much. It made me so so happy to see him go back to the fridge for second and third helpings, i had to stop him after that else he would have had more, lol. Thank you so so much, the video was very helpful.

  25. Thanks For Such Amazing Recipe Anshruti. I missed my childhood day as well where kulfi wala used to come and all of my friends used by and eat. You kind of gave me nostalgia wit this recipe.

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