Basundi is a traditional Western Indian dessert of thickened & sweetened milk that is flavored with fragrant spices & garnished with sliced nuts. Make this delicious, aromatic and creamy dessert, this Diwali in one of the 2 ways I share in this post. The method of making Basundi is much similar to the North Indian Rabri but the texture of Basundi is not as thick as rabri.
Basundi is a popular milk based dessert from the western Indian states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and some parts of the Southern Indian state Karnataka. Made with the most basic kitchen staples, milk, sugar, spices and nuts, this sweet basundi is served with poori or as an after meal dessert.
Basundi is traditionally made by simmering full fat milk until it reduces to a slightly thicker consistency. It is then sweetened with sugar and further simmered. Lastly flavoured with ground aromatic spices like cardamoms and nutmeg. Sometimes even saffron is added.
Basundi is garnished with chopped nuts and served warm or chilled.
In this post I share 2 ways to make Basundi. The traditional way with fresh full fat milk, the instant method with condensed milk and fresh milk. If you have some khoya or milk powder to use up you may use that as well.
Both the methods shared in this post yield you basundi that has almost the same flavour and taste. But the texture of the traditional basundi is slightly grainy and not smooth like the other method.
Traditionally basundi is made by simmering full fat milk for a long time until the milk reduces to almost half the original quantity. This method takes time also requires attention & has to stirred often.
A lot of people prefer water buffalo milk to make this as it is higher in fats and the milk thickens faster than the cow milk. It also tastes much creamier and delicious.
Condensed milk and fresh milk basundi
Similar to my easy Rasmalai and Kalakand recipes, this method of making basundi comes together under 20 to 25 mins. You will just simmer the boiling milk for 5 to 7 minutes and then add the sweetened condensed milk as per taste. Condensed milk helps us to get the same flavour as the fresh milk basundi.
If you are particular about sweetening your basundi with organic sugar, then simply replace condensed milk with evaporated milk like carnation and add organic sugar as desired.
Milk powder or khoya basundi
I have made this a few times when I need to use up khoya or milk powder. For this method you will simply bring the milk to a boil and simmer with khoya or milk powder until slightly thick. Then add the sugar as required.
With this method your basundi won’t thicken any faster than the traditional method but you will achieve the same flavor faster.
You can flavour your basundi either with only cardamoms or with all the three cardamoms, nutmeg and saffron.
Instant method 1 with condensed milk
How To Make Quick Basundi (Stepwise Photos)
1. Rinse a heavy bottom pot with little water. This prevents the milk from getting scorched. Then pour 2 cups full fat milk to the pot.
2. When the milk turns hot, take 2 tbsps of it to a small bowl and soak the saffron. Keep stirring the milk to prevent the milk solids sticking at the bottom.
3. Bring the milk to a boil on a medium heat & then continue to boil for 5 to 7 mins, stirring often.
4. Then add ½ cup + 2 tbsps condensed milk and stir well. For less sweeter basundi you can use only half cup.
5. Scrape off the cream that sticks on the sides and add back to the pot. Boil until the milk reaches a thick consistency. I boiled for another 8 minutes.
You may boil it for longer if you want it to be slightly more thick. The consistency of basundi is not as thick as rabri but must be runny yet slightly on the thicker side of pouring consistency.
6. Add ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder, 1 pinch nutmeg powder and saffron infused milk. Stir well and cook for a minute. Taste test and add more condensed milk for sweeter basundi.
Transfer Basundi to a serving bowl and cool completely. Then chill it for at least 2 hours if you prefer to serve as a chilled dessert. You can also serve it warm with poori.
How to Make Traditional Basundi (Stepwise Photos)
1. Pour 4 cups full fat milk to a heavy bottom pot and begin to heat it on a medium heat.
2. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat. You will see layer of cream at this stage.
3. I use a whisk to break up the cream and continue to simmer until the quantity reduces to 2 cups approximately.
4. Crush 1 pinch of saffron in your fingers and add it here. Also add ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder, 1 pinch nutmeg and 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar.
5. Mix well and let it simmer for 5 mins, until you begin to smell it fragrant. It turns slightly thick and creamy.
Cool this and transfer to a serving bowl. Chill in the fridge. Add chopped nuts and serve basundi with poori or as a dessert.
- Consistent stirring is key while boiling the milk. This prevents the milk solids getting scorched at the bottom. Scorched milk will alter the taste of your basundi.
- Use full fat milk as it is the key ingredient to thick and delicious dessert. Avoid low fat or diluted milk to make this.
- Adjust the amount of sugar or condensed milk to suit your taste.
- You can skip condensed milk in the recipe and use real ingredients like full fat milk and sugar.
- Evaporated milk with sugar can also be used as a substitute to condensed milk.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
For Instant method -1
- 2 cups milk (full fat)
- ½ tin condensed milk (milkmaid) (200 grams) (½ cup + 2 tbsps)
- 1 pinch nutmeg powder (jaiphal, optional)
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder (elaichi powder)
- 1 pinch saffron strands (kesar)
- ¼ cup mixed nuts – chopped almonds, cashews & pistachios
For traditional method – 2
- 4 cups full fat milk
- ¼ cup sugar (adjust to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 10 saffron strands
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg powder
- 4 tablespoons nuts (8 cashews, 8 almonds, 8 pistachios)
How To Make Basundi – Method 1
- Rinse a heavy bottom pot or pan. Then pour milk. On a medium heat bring it to a boil.
- When the milk turns hot, take 2 tablespoons of the milk from the pot and soak saffron.
- Reduce the heat to medium and boil the milk for 5 to 7 minutes scraping off the cream from the sides and adding it back to the pot.
- As it boils, keep stirring often to prevent burning.
- Pour condensed milk and continue to boil on a medium heat for 8 to 10 mins.
- Keep stirring to prevent the milk from getting scorched. If you like slightly thicker consistency then you can simmer for a little longer.
- Add saffron milk, nutmeg, cardamom powder and chopped nuts.
- Simmer for a minute and switch off. Taste test and add more condensed milk if you like it sweeter.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Cool completely and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Garnish chilled or warm basundi with nuts. Serve as a chilled dessert or with poori.
Traditional Basundi – Method 2
- Pour milk to a heavy bottom pan and bring it to a boil on a medium heat.
- Scrape the cream from the sides and add back to the milk.
- Reduce the heat slightly and continue to boil stirring every few minutes until the milk reduces approximately to 2 cups. Do not let the milk fats burn at the bottom.
- While the milk boils slice the nuts and set aside.
- Crush saffron in your fingers and add to the milk.
- Add sugar and continue to simmer for a little longer until you smell the basundi good. Taste test and add more sugar if required.
- Now add ground cardamom and nutmeg. Mix well and cool down basundi.
- Garnish with nuts and serve warm with poori or chill it in the fridge for 2 hours an serve.
- Adjust the amount of sweetness as required by increasing or decreasing the quantity of condensed milk or sugar to suit your taste.
- If you do not have ground nutmeg or cardamom, simply powder a small piece of nutmeg and cardamoms with little sugar in a grinder and use only as required.
- Do not use a lot of nutmeg or saffron as they can impart too strong flavors.
- Keep stirring the milk often once it comes to a boil to prevent the milk fats from burning at the bottom
- If you have khoya or milk powder to use up, add it to the boiling milk and mix well. Reduce sugar as milk powder is sweetened.
- If using evaporated milk, use 3 to 4 tbsps sugar.
- If you want you may blanch the nuts, wipe dry with a cloth and chop.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Basundi recipe first published in September 2017. Updated and republished in October 2021.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me
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