Coconut Burfi is a traditional Indian Sweet made with coconut, sugar/jaggery, milk, cardamoms and sometimes nuts. Known by different names such as Kobbari burfi, Nariyal burfi, Copra pak & Tengai burfi, it a popular festive delight that’s delicious and addictive too. In this post I share 3 easy recipes to make Coconut Barfi. It is a delightful dessert you can make for any celebrations or simply gift someone you love.
About Coconut Burfi
Coconut is considered to be a fruit in its purest form so it is extensively used by Indians not only for religious offerings but also for preparing a lot of foods. Coconut Burfi & Coconut Ladoo are 2 most commonly prepared sweets, especially in South India.
You will find coconut burfi tasting so different in every home and you are likely to come across countless versions. Over the years, I have perfectioned 3 recipes to make coconut burfi.
- One the traditional way with coconut, milk and sugar.
- The second one with coconut & condensed milk.
- The third one with coconut, mawa and sugar.
If you are an Indian, you surely known that each one of these taste so different.
Traditionally coconut burfi is made either with fresh coconut or with dried coconut (copra, not desiccated coconut) as they were the most commonly available forms of coconut.
Desiccated coconut actually does not have the same flavor as the fresh and dried coconut, so it is best to use it with condensed milk or with Mawa (Khoya) for a richer taste.
About the Recipes
Though you can use fresh/frozen coconut or desiccated coconut in all of my 3 recipes, the cook time changes considerably if you use one for the other. These recipes have not been tested with other kinds of coconut like copra, shredded coconut, coconut flakes etc.
Each of these vary in their sweetness levels so you need to adjust the sweetness. If you are a newbie & want to try the recipe, scroll down to “kinds of coconut” section, to know what these different kinds of coconut mean.
Here are the best combos that work well to make a coconut burfi:
Fresh/frozen coconut with whole milk is best. To use desiccated coconut with whole milk, use more milk than you would use for fresh/frozen coconut, as desiccated coconut has no moisture of its own.
Desiccated coconut with condensed milk or with whole milk and mawa (any kind of mawa) works best. If you use fresh/frozen coconut with condensed milk, you will need lesser condensed milk and the cook time is slightly longer due to the excess moisture in the coconut.
You may also like to check these Coconut Recipes.
How to Make Coconut Burfi (Stepwise photos)
1. Heat a pan, preferably a wide one to help cook the ingredients faster. Pour 1 tablespoon ghee and fry tablespoons chopped or broken cashews until lightly golden. Remove them to a plate & keep aside.
2. Add 4¼ cups coconut (400 grams) fresh or frozen coconut and pour 2 cups full fat milk. You can use raw milk or any kind of milk.
3. Stir well until combined and bring the mixture to a boil on a medium high heat. Reduce the flame and cook until the milk evaporates. This takes about 12 to 15 mins on a medium low heat. You don’t need to stir it constantly. Stir it every 2 to 3 mins.
4. Once the milk has almost evaporated, add 1½ cups sugar and mix. If using refined sugar, use lesser as it is sweeter than the raw cane sugar.
5. The sugar melts and the entire mixture turns gooey. Again cook it stirring every few mins until the moisture evaporates. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons ghee and stir it continuously nonstop to dry up the moisture. If you stop at this stage the mixture can burn so keep the flame low and do it.
6. To check if the coconut burfi mixture is ready to set, press down with a spatula. There should be no excess moisture in the coconut burfi mixture. If you find there is more moisture cook a little longer. (Check my video in the recipe card to know the exact consistency)
Set the Barfi
7. Add ½ teaspoon cardamom powder and cook stirring until aromatic. When it is done, the mixture turns dense, sticky, dry, heavy and very very aromatic. You can smell like the khoya cooked with sugar. The mixture will also leave the pan. For a completely soft set burfi, you can take off little early.
8. Transfer this to the greased pan and press down with a spatula. Sprinkle fried cashews and pistachios if you want. Press down again.
9. Let it cool down and set for 3 to 4 hours. Cut the burfi to squares. At this stage top portion will be totally dry and slightly crisp. If you don’t feel the crisp texture while cutting, it means you took it off early and need to cook for a little longer.
Leave it at room temperature overnight for the coconut burf to set completely and become firm.
After 12 hours, a well done coconut burfi should be dry & crisp on the top and slightly juicy inside. It should not be sticky at all on top.
Coconut Burfi with Condensed Milk
Condensed milk imparts a magical flavor and a soft melt-in-the-mouth texture to this coconut barfi. It’s juicy, rich, addictive and tastes similar to this 10 mins Kalakand. The key here is to use fine desiccated coconut as it helps in binding and achieving the perfect soft texture.
If your desiccated coconut is too coarse, process it in a grinder/ processer or blender until fine. To use unsweetened shredded coconut, reduce the condensed milk slightly and use more plain milk.
1.Dry roast 15 to 20 pistachios or almonds or cashews until crunchy. Set aside to cool. Chop them or crush in a grinder. I did the later.
2. Add 1¾ cup desiccated coconut to a heavy bottom pan. Pour ½ cup + 2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk ( ½ tin). Also pour ½ cup milk. Mix everything well. Break the lumps if any. You may taste test and add more milk, condensed milk or coconut as required.
3. Begin to cook on a low to medium heat until the coconut mixture thickens and turns to a mass. This just takes about 3 to 5 mins. Add a generous pinch of cardamom powder. Mix well.
4. Transfer this to a greased tray. Grease your spatula/fingers with ghee and press the burfi gently. Add chopped or ground cashews or pistachios. Press down a bit with a spatula. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Cut to desired sizes. Refrigerate coconut burfi and consume within 3 to 4 days.
This is how the texture looks.
Coconut Mawa Burfi
Mawa are milk solids often used in Indian sweets to add richness and delicious taste. Mawa is also known as khoya and is easily available in the Indian stores. This recipe is quick, fast and makes for a special festive treat. It has a crisp texture on the outside with a melt in the mouth texture inside.
During festive occasions we are mostly left with some mawa and don’t know what to do with it. I make this coconut burfi with mawa to use up the excess stocks I have. This tastes exactly like a sweet from a special sweet shop.
To a greased pan or a non-stick add 1½ cups grated mawa, 1 cup sugar and ½ cup milk. Begin to heat on a low flame until the sugar and mawa dissolves. Keep stirring and add coconut. Mix well and cook until the mixture turns to a mass. It begins to leave the pan too.
At this stage turn off and stir in half teaspoon cardamom powder. Do not overcook as it becomes dry & breaks down. Transfer to a greased plate, level with a spatula and press down some chopped nuts. Let cool to warm (not cool) and cut coconut burfi to desired sizes.
Coconut: Fresh or frozen coconut tastes best in a burfi as it is more flavorful. However if you are not accessible to it then you can use desiccated coconut. I have used fresh grated coconut from the frozen section. You can also use home made hand grated coconut or the one from wet grinder attachment.
Process the coconut: If using large coconut gratings, process it in a food processor or blender until slightly fine. This helps the coconut burfi to set well. Do not over blend to the extent the coconut begins to release the milk and fats.
Milk: I have made the first recipe using full fat milk. You can also substitute it with vegan milk like coconut milk or almond milk. If using homemade Almond milk you don’t need to strain the milk to remove the pulp. You can simply soak the almonds, peel the skin and blend with water. Use it up here.
Flavorings: The flavor of cardamom powder goes well in this burfi. On various occasions I have also tried coconut burfi with different flavorings like rose water & kewra water.
Overcooking: Overcooking the burfi mixture is likely to harden the burfi or dry up the mixture and won’t let it set. It is very important to remove it from the heat when it reaches the right stage.
Kinds of Coconut
For the newbies here is what the terms fresh, frozen & desiccated coconut mean. If you don’t get these right you may not achieve good results.
Fresh Coconut is raw coconut grated freshly from a coconut. You get this by breaking a coconut & grating or blending it at home or at the vendor’s place. If you are in Asian countries you will also find this in the chiller section near to the dairy section (milk/cheese/butter).
Frozen Coconut is raw coconut grated and frozen immediately. This is available in the frozen sections of the groceries/ supermarket. It works similar to the fresh coconut and you can achieve the same results without having to adjust the recipe.
Desiccated Coconut is dehydrated coconut from which milk and most of the moisture is extracted. So it is low in flavor, sweetness and nutrients. It is different from dried coconut (copra), coconut flakes & shredded coconut. You cannot make a 1:1 substitution of these for the desiccated coconut. However you can use any of these but you need to adjust the quantity of sweetener.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
1 – Traditional Coconut Burfi
- 4¼ cups coconut (400 grams fresh or 180 grams desiccated)
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons ghee
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder (elaichi)
- 2 tablespoons cashews chopped or pistachios
- 2 cups milk (3 cups if using desiccated coconut)
2 – Coconut Condensed Milk Burfi
- 1¾ cup desiccated coconut (fine)
- ½ tin condensed milk or milkmaid (about ½ cup + 2 tbsp)
- ½ cup milk
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder or elaichi powder
3 – Nariyal Mawa Burfi
- 2 cups desiccated coconut
- 1½ cups mawa (150 grams)
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder (elaichi powder)
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- 2 tablespoons pistachios or almonds (finely chopped for topping)
- Grease a pan and optionally line it with a parchment paper.
- Heat a pan with 1 tbsp ghee. Fry cashews until golden and remove to a plate.
Recipe – 1 – How to make Coconut Burfi
- Stir together coconut and milk. Bring it to a boil on a medium high flame.
- Reduce the heat and cook until the milk evaporates. Stir in the sugar and cook until all of the moisture has completely evaporated.
- Add ghee and continue to cook stirring constantly until the mixture turns dry & leaves the pan.
- Press down the mixture with a spatula to check if there is any excess moisture. If it still has moisture then cook further to dry it. (check video)
- Keep stirring continuously at this stage and cook until the mixture turns dense, thick and sticky. It also turns very aromatic and leaves the pan. If you prefer a very soft set burfi then take it off a bit early.
- Stir in cardamom powder and Transfer the mixture to the greased pan. Press down with a spatula.
- Sprinkle nuts and keep aside at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours to set. Slice the coconut burfi. Leave it at room temperature for 8 to 10 hours to set completely. Cool and store coconut barfi in a air tight jar.
Recipe – 2 – Coconut Condensed Milk Barfi
- To a pan, add coconut, desiccated coconut and milk.
- Mix and cook on a medium flame until the entire mixture turns thick and to a mass. Add cardamom powder and mix. Transfer this to a tray.
- Press down with a spatula. Sprinkle some nuts. Refrigerate for an hour. Cut coconut barfi to squares and enjoy.
Recipe 3 – Coconut Mawa Burfi
- Add mawa, sugar and milk to a heavy bottom pan. Heat until the mawa and sugar dissolves completely.
- Stir in the coconut and cook until the coconut burfi mixture turns thick to a mass and begins to leave the sides of the pan.
- Stir in cardamom powder and transfer to a greased pan. Level with a spatula and press down the nuts with spatula.
- When the mixture cools down to warm, cut the coconut burfi to desired shapes. Do not wait to cool completely as it turns to powder.
- Remove from the tray only after cooling completely.
- It is good to process the coconut in a processor or blender until the coconut turns slightly finer. This helps the burfi to set well.
- If you are a beginner then read the step by step photo instructions below for detailed guide.
- Nutrition values for the first recipe only.
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
Coconut Burfi Recipe first published in November 2015. Updated & republished in July 2022.
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.
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