Shrikhand is cooling, refreshing, and perfect for someone who loves sweetened yogurt but with a gourmet makeover. This dreamy, creamy yogurt dessert always gives me the “summer has arrived” vibe. If you’re looking for an easy and scrumptious recipe that uses minimal ingredients and comes together in less than 15 minutes, you ought to make this delicious shrikhand at home.
This dessert has a massive fan following in the Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. It is an important item in traditional Gujarati and Maharashtrian thalis, especially when served at wedding and festivals. Many aren’t aware it’s quite popular in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka where it goes by its Sanskrit name – shikarni or shikharini.
What’s the history behind this dish? No one really knows, some culinary genius probably decided to combine a probiotic, cooling agent and a dessert into one dish.
This does make perfect sense in a tropical place like India where curd dishes are served in one form or another as a part of the main meal or as a snack.
Maybe, just an excuse to add another dessert to the menu!
What is shrikhand?
Shrikhand is a thick creamy and delicious Indian dessert made with strained yogurt, powdered sugar, cardamoms and sometimes saffron & nuts. Some would call it sweetened yogurt, but shrikhand is much more than that.
You strain curd aka Indian yogurt to remove liquids and whisk until creamy. Add in sugar, saffron (kesar) and green cardamon (elaichi) powder for flavor. The resulting dish is rich, creamy and thick – almost like a pie or cheesecake filling, or a chilled mousse.
This after lunch or after dinner dessert tastes great whether you use homemade yogurt (curd) or Greek yogurt. While the homemade curd version needs its beauty sleep in the fridge to make the hung curd or chakka as it is known in Marathi, use store bought Greek yogurt as a shortcut.
Of course, there are other options too which I have mentioned below.
You’ll find commercial versions of shrikhand at Indian food stores. While they make for a quick on-the-road snack, they lack the punch and texture of the freshly made variety. And when you make your own dessert, you have fewer, read zero, fillers and additives to worry about.
Now that you know what shrikhand is, let’s start with the ingredients and how to make it at home.
Ingredients & substitutions
You want to mold plain yogurt into something delectable and yet own the flavor and sweetness. So it’s important to use the right ingredients.
Curd – yogurt being the main ingredient, pay close attention to the flavor of yogurt you are using. Use full fat fresh yogurt that’s not gone too sour. I personally love making this the traditional way from scratch using this homemade yogurt.
Substitution: Are you short on time and prefer to skip the straining process? You may use store-bought plain Greek yogurt or labneh (Middle Eastern strained yogurt) so you can skip the straining part and whisk the ingredients directly. But I can’t guarantee that it will taste the same.
Sugar – Shrikhand is slightly tangier than mind numbing sweet. Control the level of sweetness by adding the right amount of powdered raw sugar. Don’t use icing sugar as it contains cornstarch and is better suited for frosting. Use powdered/castor sugar instead.
Substitution: If you prefer sugar alternates, powdered forms of coconut, palm jaggery, artificial sweeteners, stevia or monk fruit work better. But also remember the flavor changes depending on the sweetener.
Saffron – Saffron is what gives your yogurt the gorgeous color and flavor. A few saffron strands are added in 2-3 tablespoons of milk and left to infuse. Yes, saffron is an expensive natural flavoring agent, but takes your dessert to another level. You can easily skip it if you do not have.
Substitutions: If you can’t find saffron where you live, cardamom is all you need to provide flavor. To give it a fusion touch, add cinnamon or nutmeg instead.
Cardamom powder – cardamom is to Indian sweets what pure cinnamon is to western desserts. This spice adds a sweet tinge to any dessert you make. Use green cardamoms rather than the spicier black one.
Garnishing – Chopped almonds and pistachios. These are optional but add crunch and richness to your dessert.
How to make shrikhand
1. Choose a large bowl to collect the whey. Place a strainer over it.
2. Spread a thin muslin cloth or a cheese cloth. Then pour 2 cups yogurt or curd.
3. Bring all the 4 ends of the cloth together and squeeze off the excess whey. Wrap the curd in the cloth. Check video.
2 methods of straining yogurt
4. At this step you can choose one of the methods. The first method is to simply place an heavy object over the bundle of yogurt (placed over the colander), keeping the bowl beneath intact so it collects the whey. Move the whole thing to the refrigerator and keep it for 15 to 18 hours. Alternately, if you have a ‘S’ hook, you can make a knot of the cloth and hang the bundle in the fridge.
The other method I have been following these days is to place the entire pack of yogurt in between a large & thick absorbent cloth. Place the entire thing over a plate. Next place a heavy object or a cast iron pan over the pack of yogurt. Refrigerate for about 45 mins to 2 hours. After a while check to ensure there is no excess whey in the curd. If it has some more whey then simply use more absorbent clothes to pack it and rest in the fridge. Soak crushed saffron in little hot water or milk.
6. Make sure curd is properly drained and no whey remains in the chakka before you proceed to make shrikhand.
7. Pour the saffron milk or water.
8. Add powdered sugar and then ¼ to ½ teaspoon elaichi powder. Start with 3 tbsps of powdered sugar. Use more or less sugar to suit your taste. To make the powdered sugar grind ¼ cup sugar in a grinder. If you do not have cardamom powder you can add the cardamom pods to the grinder along with sugar and grind.
9. Mix it well with a spoon or whisk until smooth and creamy, without any grains. If you are making in large amount then a whisk or electric beater would be better.
Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with chopped nuts. Serve shrikhand with puri or chill and serve as a dessert.
Pipe it into glasses, chill and serve as a yogurt mousse.
Transform it into an icebox pie by spooning over a graham cracker or pastry crust.
Serve it like a parfait or falooda. Add layers to the dish with cookie or cake crumbs, shrikhand, fruit purees/slices, whipped cream and crunchy toppings.
- Straining curd properly is the key step to a thick and creamy shrikhand. Any unstrained whey left in the hung curd can easily make your shrikhand runny after adding sugar.
- The easiest way I have been following to strain the curd quickly is to pour the curd to a clean thin cloth. Bring the sides together and then squeeze off the excess whey from it.
- Then flatten the entire pack and place it in between layers of a thick absorbent cloth or towel.
- Then place a heavy pot or a heavy object or a cast iron pan. After 45 mins if there is still whey then remove and place it on the drier side on the cloth and leave it for some more time.
- This way the whey drains up super quickly from the curd within 45 mins to 1 hour. If it is too hot in your kitchen then you can also refrigerate while you do this.
Sweetening: If you’re seeking alternative sugars, some ingredients are good while others don’t work. Liquid sugars like honey, molasses or maple syrup make for a runny dessert. So avoid them.
Freshness matters: Use fresh ingredients, especially your yogurt and spices. Whole spices retain essential oils and flavor better than pre ground spices. Make your own powdered cardamoms or nutmeg you are going to use here.
Store the hung curd in the fridge if you’re not using it right way. You don’t want a weird tasting dessert.
Whisking: After adding sugar whisk the yogurt very well using a hand whisk until smooth. If you are doing in large quantities then you can also use an electric beater/whisk or a food processor.
Bored of the same old shrikand version? Try these flavor variations for a change. Kesar shrikhand is an all-time favorite, but the possibilities are endless. Along with time tested versions, you can create new flavors every time you use my recipe.
- Mango shrikhand (amrakhand) is best enjoyed in summer which happens to be the mango season. Canned fruits work too! Drain the liquids/juices well adding the slices to a blender and puree. Stir together ½ cup thick mango puree with 1½ cups hung curd or greek yogurt. Add powdered sugar as needed.
- Rose shrikhand is another favorite made with thick rose syrup or Rooh Afza. Stir together 1 ½ tbsps. Rose syrup and 1 ½ to 2 tbsps gulkand with 1 ½ cups hung curd.
- Fruit shrikhand – Use seasonal fruits or berries to make a fruit flavored versions. But avoid citrus and fruits with high water content.
- Get your creative juices flowing and make a coffee or melted chocolate-based recipe.
This dessert is usually served with poori (deep fried flatbread). Enjoy it straight from the bowl with or without additions like fruit purees and nuts.
Store the dessert in an airtight container or box in the fridge for a week. Want a make ahead option? Whisk up a large batch and freeze it for 1 or 2 months.
Of course! Double or triple the recipe. Make single or double serves. Reduce or increase the amount of hung curd or Greek yogurt and sugar. Adjust flavorings and other add ins.
Why not! Plant milks and yogurts serves as an effective dairy substitute in cooking and baking.
Start with homemade almond yogurt, coconut yogurt or non-dairy Greek yogurt.
What are the good substitutes for refined sugar?
Coconut and brown sugar, pureed dates (not date syrup) and sugar-free options would work nicely.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 3 cups curd / yogurt or 1½ cups greek yogurt
- 1 pinch saffron strands / kesar
- ¼ to ½ tsp green cardamom powder (3 to 4 cardamom pods)
- ¼ cup sugar – powdered (use as needed)
- 2 tbsps almonds , chopped
- 1 tbsps pista , chopped
- Place a colander or strainer over a large tall bowl to collect the whey. Spread a clean muslin or cheese cloth over the strainer.
- Add curd to the cloth. Bring all the edges together. Squeeze out the excess whey from the curd.
- Wrap the curd in the cloth and tie it with one of the edges to make a knot.
- Method 1: Place the bundle of yogurt over the strainer/ colander with the tall bowl beneath. Place an heavy object over the yogurt so all of the whey drains to the bowl beneath. Ensure the colander does not touch the drained whey in the bowl.
- Method 2: Place the bundle of curd in between a thick large absorbent towel or cloth. Transfer this to a plate and place a heavy object over the curd. I use my cast iron pan.
- Transfer this to the refrigerator. For the first method you have to leave it in the fridge 15 to 18 hours. For the second method, leave it for 1 hour.
How to make shrikhand
- Drained super thick hung curd or chakka will be ready after the whey has been drained completely.
- Soak saffron in 1 tbsp hot water or hot milk.
- Powder the sugar and set aside. If you do not have cardamom powder, add the cardamom pods to the grinder along with sugar and grind to a fine powder.
- Remove strained yogurt/ chakka from the cloth and transfer to a mixing bowl. Most of the whey would have been drained. Save this for later use, you can use it to make roti dough, bread dough or pancake batter.
- Add saffron infused milk, powdered sugar and cardamom powder.
- Whisk it well with a metal whisk until really smooth. If you are making in smaller quantities, then a tablespoon works too. If you are making this in large quantity then you can use a electric beater/ whisk.
- Serve shrikhand with puri or chill and enjoy as a dessert.
- Garnish shrikhand with chopped nuts.
- Method 2 straining using cloth: For the absorbent cloth I use a very thick towel which is good enough to absorb all of the whey. Straining for 45 mins works well for me as I use thick curd. If the curd is not strained well & chakka is not thick then keep it for longer moving the pack of curd to the drier side of the towel.
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
Shrikhand recipe first published in May 2017, Updated and republished in May 2021.