Rava laddu is a South Indian Sweet made with semolina, sugar, ghee, cashews and raisins. Rava is the Indian term for semolina & laddu are sweet balls. Also known as suji ladoo in other parts of India, these are usually made during festivals & are great to gift. These rava ladoo are delicious, aromatic and have a melt in the mouth texture with a slight crunch.
About Rava Laddu
Rava laddu are sweet balls made primarily with semolina (rava, suji) as the main ingredient. Various ingredients like ghee, coconut, sugar, jaggery, cardamoms, cashews and raisins are also used. These are traditionally made during Indian festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Navaratri, Diwali and Sankranti.
Ladoos are Indian traditional ball shaped sweets made with flour, sugar, cardamom powder and pure ghee. In rava laddu recipe, flour is replaced with fine semolina which is the star ingredient.
While rava laddu are immensely popular in the Telugu speaking state of Andhra Pradesh, these are also made in other South Indian states of Tamil nadu, Karnataka and even in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
There are a few different ways of making these rava ladoos. In Maharashtrian cuisine it is made with sugar syrup. In this post I share my Mom’s recipe, made in Andhra style.
However if you do not prefer ghee at all you can still make these with milk. But the texture of the ladoos made with milk is different.
So if you want to make rava ladoo with milk, make the mixture & store it in a jar for up to a month. When needed just take a portion of this to a bowl and bind it with some milk. It only takes 5 to 6 mins to bind 4 to 5 ladoos.
These rava ladoos can also be made vegan by using thin coconut milk.
How to make rava laddu (stepwise photos)
1. To a heavy bottom pan, add 1 cup semolina and ¼ cup desiccated coconut. Begin to dry roast on a medium heat stirring continuously for even roasting.
2. After 6 to 7 minutes you will begin to smell it good. Turn off the stove. Rava should be crunchy& light at this stage. It should get an even light golden color & do not brown it. Keep this aside to cool.
3. Meanwhile add ¾ cup + 1 tablespoons sugar (165 grams) to a grinder jar. If you prefer less sweetness, you can reduce it. I use as mentioned. Also add cardamom powder or 3 whole cardamoms.
4. Grind it to a fine powder. Let the sugar rest in the jar for 3 to 4 mins.
5. Then add roasted semolina and coconut. Grind it again well. Take a generous pinch of this powdered semolina and taste test it. It should be slightly coarse and not too coarse. You should feel the slight crunch in the semolina. If it is too coarse then grind it further for a little longer.
6. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and keep aside. If you prefer to use milk, then transfer this to a clean air tight jar and store it. When needed, add some roasted nuts and pour little warm milk and bind it.
7. Pour 4 tbsps + ¾ tablespoon ghee to a hot pan. Add cashews and fry them until light golden. Then add raisins and give a good stir. Turn off.
8. The residual heat will fry the raisins further.
Shaping rava ladoo
9. Then pour this hot ghee along with nuts & raisins to the rava ladoo mix. Ensure you don’t use your hand immediately as the ghee is very hot. Use a spoon and mix it well to incorporate with the mix.
10. Then use your clean dry hand and mix everything well.
11. While the mixture is still slightly hot, take small portions of this to your palm and press down well to bind it. You will need to press down each rava ladoo at least for 60 to 90 seconds. (Check video). If the mixture does not bind well to ladoo, heat a few tablespoons of ghee and pour the hot ghee & mix. You can also use milk. I did not use more ghee or milk but this may vary depending on the temperature or weather conditions.
11.Cool them completely. Store in an air tight jar and keep in a dry place free from moisture. They will last for a minimum of 1 month.
Ingredients & Substitutes
Coconut (fresh vs copra vs desiccated coconut): My mom always made these with copra (dried coconut) as it is more nutritious. You can use desiccated coconut or copra.
If you want to use fresh coconut, then dry roast it separately on a very low heat until all the moisture evaporates. Ladoos may not keep good for more than 7 days. So refrigerate them.
Ghee (ghee vs milk): Please use good quality ghee. I prefer this homemade ghee. Do not use overcooked ghee as it alters the flavor of ladoos & the taste of ghee will be overpowering.
For a low fat ladoos, you may use half ghee and half milk for binding or only milk but that alters the texture and flavor. In this case use up the ladoos on the same day.
Semolina (fine suji vs broken wheat): To make these most commonly, Bombay rava (upma rava) is used. But they can also be made with chiroti rava.
If you do not have Bombay rava and want to use broken wheat or daliya then simply grind the rava first in a blender until coarse and then roast it. You have to roast the rava a little longer. With broken wheat you have more of a nutty aroma due to the bran.
Sweetener (Sugar vs jaggery): Sugar is the best sweetener for these rava laddu. But you can use jaggery if you want. It won’t taste the same and in fact none at home liked these with jaggery.
If you taste the sugar version you may not like the jaggery suji ladoos. Store bought jaggery powder is the best and avoid using ball jaggery.
Nut powder: For a more nutty rava ladoos, substitute coconut with almond or cashew meal. For this you can use toasted nuts, blend them in your blender first and set aside. Then powder the sugar.
Frying rava: The key to making good rava laddu is to fry the rava well on a low to medium flame. It should begin to smell good, aromatic & not have a raw flavour. Do not brown it as the aroma completely changes. Also use a heavy bottom pan.
Texture of rava ladoo mixture: Rava ladoo is not made with fine powder. The main taste comes from the slightly crunchy rava in the ladoos. So always powder the roasted rava to a slight coarse powder and not super fine.
If you make it fine like flour, the ladoos will stick to the mouth while you eat.
Yes you can use whole wheat rava or daliya which is the broken wheat. To use this, grind the rava to a coarse texture in a small grinder and then roast it as mentioned in the recipe. But note that this takes a little longer than roasting the semolina. Since it has more bran the ladoos will taste nutty and has more aroma of the bran/ wheat.
I won’t suggest using oil for these ladoos. Instead use milk for binding the ladoos, dry roast the semolina and nuts. But you will miss the aroma of ghee.
Dry roast semolina and nuts and avoid ghee. For binding use coconut milk. You can also grind half cup coconut with ¼ cup water until smooth. Extract the coconut milk by strain it through a muslin cloth. Start with only 3 tbsps and add more if required. Note these ladoos are good to consume immediately or within a few hours.
Yes you can use but the taste will be completely different. You can simply blend powdered jaggery with powdered rava. Then add hot ghee and mix well to form ladoos.
Ghee is the only binding ingredient used here. If your ladoos does not set well it means enough ghee has not been used. Melt more ghee and add only a tbsp. at one time and try to bind them. The other reason can be that you did not put enough pressure to bind the mixture. This mixture requires little pressure from your hands to bind well.
Store them in an air tight jar at room temperature for a month. If you use fresh coconut, jaggery or milk in the recipe then the shelf life will be lesser. So refrigerate them.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 cup rava (160 grams, semolina or suji) (refer notes)
- ¾ cup sugar + 1 tablespoon (165 grams, for less sweet reduce by 1 to 2 tbps)
- ¼ cup desiccated coconut or copra (25 grams, optional)
- ¼ cup ghee + (¾ tablespoon) (refer notes)
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder (or 5 cardamom pods)
- 10 raisins
- 10 cashews (broken)
- Add semolina & desiccated coconut to a pan and dry roast it on a medium to low flame stirring constantly for 6 to 7 mins.
- It has to be evenly light golden without browning or burning. When it turns aromatic, light and crunchy, turn off the stove. Transfer this to a plate & cool down.
- To a grinder jar, add sugar and cardamoms. Grind it to a fine powder and rest it in the jar itself for 2 to 3 mins.
- When the semolina cools down, add it to the same grinder jar.
- Grind to a slightly coarse powder. Taste test this. It has to be slightly coarse and not very coarse. If it is too coarse the ladoos will not bind.Transfer this to a mixing bowl.
- Pour ghee in a hot pan. Add cashews & fry on a medium flame until light golden.
- Then add the raisins and stir for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.
- Pour this hot ghee along with nuts and raisins to the rava laddu mixture.
- Stir it with a spoon and not use your hand yet as it is too hot.
How to make rava laddu
- Once the ghee incorporates well, use your hand and mix everything well.
- Take small portions of this mixture to your palm and press down hard with your finger to form a ball. (Check video).
- Form the ladoos while the mixture is still hot. You will be able to make 10 to 11 rava laddus. If the mixture does not bind well, heat more ghee or milk in the same pan and add it to the mixture, 1 tablespoon at one time until you are able to do it. I did not use any more.
- Store them in an air tight jar at room temperature and use up within a month.
- Use fine semolina also known as Bombay rava or upma rava.
- If you prefer to use only milk and avoid ghee completely, then read my tips in the post.
- If you use copra you may not need the extra 3/4 tablespoon ghee as copra releases some oil when powdered.
- This recipe is not forgiving, so stick to the measurements. If you change the quantities the mixture may not bind to ladoos.
- Bind the mixture to ladoos when the mixture is slightly hot. It won’t bind if the mixture cools down as the ghee hardens.
- I use the same quantity of ghee mentioned in the recipe. But it may vary slightly depending on the temperature or weather conditions.
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
Rava Ladoo Recipe first published in September 2015. Updated and republished in October 2021.