Gajar ka Halwa is an Indian Carrot Pudding that is made with carrots, milk, sugar, ghee, cardamom, and nuts. It's delicious with a cup of chai. This recipe is widely popular in Northern India and is made during the winter months, parties, and festivals.
Gajar ka Halwa also known as Gajrela in Punjabi is one of my all-time favorite Indian desserts. Although I'm not a big fan of carrots, Gajar ka Halwa is just something else. It has a mild sweetness and the combination of flavors is simply mindblowing.
My aunt in India makes the best Gajar ka Halwa, especially with those seasonal red carrots that you can easily find in New Delhi, but not as easily here in the United States. Since I tend to visit India during the winter months, that's usually the time most people make Gajar Halwa.
You'll also find Gajar Halwa served during weddings, parties, and festivals - specifically during Diwali.
What is Gajar ka Halwa?
Gajar ka Halwa is a famous Punjabi dessert that is widely popular in North India, especially during the winter months and Diwali season. This nutritious dessert from India can be enjoyed both hot and cold. I personally love my Gajrela Halwa warm.
Gajar ka Halwa in English translates to "Carrot Pudding". This sweet carrot pudding also known as Gajrela or Carrot Halwa is super easy to make, but you have to be patient with the cooking process.
This Indian carrot dessert is prepared with ghee, carrots, milk, sugar, cardamom, and nuts. Pretty simple, right?
6 Ingredients You'll Need for Gajar Halwa:
Carrots: Gajar in English is known as carrots. For this recipe, you need to grate the carrots or use a food processor. If you can get your hands on red carrots during the fall/winter season, make sure to use red carrots. In the United States, red carrots are hard to find, however in India, they are more easily available.
Ghee: This recipe uses a total of 2 tablespoons of ghee, divided. Please don't use butter for this recipe, the taste is simply not the same.
Milk: I recommend using whole milk for this recipe, however if you want to cut down on some fat, you may also use reduced-fat 2% milk.
Sugar: I don't like overly sweet desserts, so I used just the right amount of sugar in this recipe. Also remember, carrots are naturally sweet.
Cardamom Powder: A touch of cardamom powder goes a long way. You can make some in a coffee grinder, or you can easily find some at Whole Foods.
Cashews: Chop some cashews and this will be added towards the end of the recipe.
Why You'll Love this Gajar ka Halwa
- The BEST recipe for Gajar ka Halwa
- Delicious & Decadent
- Flavorful & Nutritious
- Perfect for Festivals - Diwali, Holi
- Has a Paleo version (replace sugar with coconut sugar, here is my Paleo Gajar ka Halwa recipe)
How to Make Gajar Halwa recipe
1. Peel the carrots. Grate the carrots - I used the smaller side of the shredder. You can do it by hand or use a food processor.
2. Heat a wok on medium heat, once hot, add 1 tablespoon of ghee.
3. Add the grated carrots and saute for about 8 minutes until the color of the carrots changes.
4. Keep stirring to avoid burning. This is a labor of love.
5. Add milk to the grated carrots. Cook the carrots and milk down for 6-7 minutes until all the milk is absorbed by the carrots.
6. Keep stirring to avoid sticking and burning.
7. Once all the milk is absorbed, this is what you should have.
8. Add the sugar.
9. Immediately after, add 1 more tablespoon of ghee.
10. Keep stirring. until all the water is absorbed which is left behind by the sugar. This process will take about 5-6 minutes.
11. Once done, add cardamom powder. Stir.
12. Add chopped cashews. You can also add almonds, pistachios, and raisins, however I just stick with cashews.
13. Mix well.
14. Dry roast the Carrot Pudding for a couple more minutes so the color of the carrots deepens slightly. Turn off the stove.
- Gajar ka Halwa can be served with some chopped nuts as garnish.
- You can serve warm Gajrela with a side of vanilla ice cream. You can certainly try it with pistachio ice cream too.
- Also, a side of whipped cream would be delicious too.
Tips on making Gajar ka Halwa
- Shred the carrots - you can even use a food processor.
- Cook the carrots for a while until they change color. The more carrots you have, the longer you will have to cook them.
- Add milk and cook down the carrots with the milk until all the milk is absorbed. The carrots will get mushier at this point.
- Next, add the sugar, you'll notice the sugar will release some liquid so you'll need to cook the hallway until all the moisture is absorbed.
- Finally, add your garnishes - I like adding ground cardamom and cashews. You can also add almonds and raisins - but I'm not a fan of raisins in my Gajar Halwa.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Gajar ka Halwa healthy?
Well, not totally, but rather it's nutritious. Something that is nutritious isn't necessarily healthy. This Carrot Halwa recipe is made with lots of carrots which are an excellent source of Vitamin A.
My recipe also calls for 2 tablespoons of ghee which has its benefits. but should be eaten in moderation since it does contain saturated fats.
Furthermore, for my recipe, I used a minimal amount of sugar to make the BEST Gajar ka Halwa. My recipe calls for 5 tablespoon of sugar total and sugar offers no nutrition or health benefits.
With that said, you can make Gajar Halwa a little healthier. I have a healthy Gajar ka Halwa recipe - my Paleo Gajar ka Halwa version on the blog which turned out really good using cashew milk. Additionally, I did use ghee since ghee is paleo-approved. For the paleo version, I replaced sugar with coconut sugar. The results were fantastic, but expect the color of your hallway to be slightly orange-brown.
2. What are some variations of Gajar ka Halwa?
There are many different ways of preparing Gajar ka Halwa, some make it with evaporated milk while others use condensed milk. Some people add khoya (milk powder) which makes it richer, however I love my halwa without khoya. My mom has been making this Indian Halwa with whole milk for as long as I can remember.
3. Can I make Gajrela Vegan?
I know many of you are going to ask. 🙂 My response - is yes and no.
You can certainly replace whole milk with cashew milk. Gajrela is delicious with cashew milk as seen in my Paleo Gajar ka Halwa.
With that said, you need ghee for that richness and nutty flavor you can't possibly get with oil. My response to this question is that you can go partially vegan with this recipe.
4. How to make Gajar ka Halwa without Ghee?
You can use butter in place of ghee, but it won't have the richness you need for this recipe. I've even tested a recipe here - I wasn't too happy with the result - this is an old post.
Since my recipe only uses about two tablespoons of ghee, I highly recommend using ghee. You can cut it down to one tablespoon of ghee if you wish. Ghee just adds a certain richness and nuttiness that butter just can't compete.
Additionally, oil won't give you good results, you will need butter at the very least.
5. Can I make Gajar ka Halwa gluten-free?
Yes. This recipe is already gluten-free.
6. Can I make Gajar ka Halwa nutfree?
Absolutely. There is no rule that you must add nuts. You can absolutely skip the nuts in this recipe.
7. Can I add raisins to this Carrot Pudding recipe?
Yes. Growing up my mom would add raisins, I personally don't love Gajar ka Halwa with raisins, but you can certainly add some. Keep in mind, you may want to lower the sugar quantity by 1 tablespoon.
More Indian Desserts
- Ras Malai Mousse
- Rice Kheer | Indian Rice Pudding
- Rose Water Cake with Almonds and Rose Buttercream
- Healthy Almond Date Ladoo
- Milk Peda
Pin & Enjoy!
Gajar ka Halwa - Indian Carrot PuddingGluten-Free, Vegetarian, Eggless
for Gajar ka Halwa
- 2 tablespoon ghee, divided (1 tablespoon and 1 tbsp)
- 4 cups organic carrots, peeled & grated
- 1 ½ cups organic whole milk
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 5 tablespoon sugar
- ½ cup cashews unsalted, chopped
- 1 tablespoon pistachios, chopped
- Peel the carrots. Grate the carrots using the smaller side of the shredder. You can do it by hand or use a food processor.
- Heat a wok on medium heat, once hot, add 1 tablespoon of ghee.
- Add the grated carrots and saute for about 8 minutes until the color of the carrots changes.
- Keep stirring to avoid burning. This is a labor of love.
- Add milk to the grated carrots. Cook the carrots and milk down for 6-7 minutes until all the milk is absorbed by the carrots.
- Keep stirring to avoid sticking and burning.
- Once all the milk is absorbed, this is what you should have.
- Add the sugar.
- Immediately after, add 1 more tablespoon of ghee.
- Keep stirring. until all the water is absorbed which is left behind by the sugar. This process will take about 5-6 minutes.
- Once done, add cardamom powder. Stir.
- Add chopped cashews. You can also add almonds, pistachios, and raisins, however I just stick with cashews.
- Mix well.
- Dry roast the Gajar ka Halwa for a couple more minutes so the color of the carrots deepens slightly.
- Enjoy with a cup of my Kadak Masala Chai.
This looks delicious!!! I love recipes that highlight the sweet side of carrots.
delicious yummy dessert
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Mehnaz Kapadia says
Aww! This is yummmmm!! Gona def try it!!
i just had about 2 tbls of this at an indian restaurant today. i wanted to go back and gobble down the whole tray at the buffet. NEVER new carrots could be this incredibly delicious. i'm saving your recipe. thx!!!
@Maharet - Yes, carrots are actually sweet and make great desserts (carrot cake, too). Glad you enjoyed the dish, it's pretty rich, my version is probably a lot more toned down in fat, but still somewhat fatty. 🙂
I tried making this and it came out excellent. it tasted really good!! the only problem i had was that the milk took toooooo long to evaporate (longer than what it looked like in your pictures) and my halwa turned into mush. I know that usually we would still be able to feel bites of carrot in the halwa, like in ur end result picture, but mine was totally mush (still tasted amazing though)! i followed your recipe to the T. where did i go wrong? maybe add in a lil more carrots?? oh, and instead of using 2% milk, i used full fat, as I had run out of 2%..
@rainz - honestly, that sounds right. It should sort of look like mush, the carrots soften up, but you shouldn't have a real bite to the carrots. By step #10 - is that how yours looked? If so, then it sounds okay to me. 🙂
How long in advance can you make this? I'm cooking for an Indian friend (the pressure!!!) and would like to maybe do this in the morning (so about 8 hours before the meal)
Hi Mirjam, Awww I feel the pressure. 🙂 You can make this in the morning, but I would refrigerate it once cools since it contains dairy. You can serve Gajar Halwa hot or cold. Hope that helps.
I guess it did look the same. Yours just looks so much more glam! 🙂 And your color turned out much darker than mine, but i guess that depends on the carrots used.
Nonetheless, it tastes amazing! 🙂 Thnx!
@rainz - well, I also plated my halwa in a nice bowl and took a picture of it under broad daylight which helps. 🙂 You're being too hard on yourself. Yes, the color of carrots is different. I know in India the carrots are dark orange.
I tried it with butter as I did not have ghee and it turned out amazing! My husband love gajar ka halwa but unfortunately I dont have a food processor yet and hand grating them is a pain(quite literally)-shireen
Thanks.. so glad you liked it. Yes, grating can be pretty time consuming. 🙂
So on point and delicious!!
I made your Gajar ka halwa today. It was Yummm ??
Just made this today! It was delicious! My husband can’t stop eating it! Thank you for sharing!
This tasted so good! It doesn’t need much ghee either. Can’t stop eating.
I have been preparing Gajar ka halwa in a cooker all My life and it was never satisfying. Now I know wat was wrong ?. I exactly copied ur recipe. Nd oh my my it was a hit. Perfection??
Shefali Patel says
This is my go to website for everything. This recipe is delightfully flavorful . My whole family enjoyed it since it was creamy and didn’t feel heavy. Delicious !
Definitely the best gajar ka halwa I have ever made and tasted. This was an absolute hit with my family. Thanks Nisha!
Followed the recipe and halwa was on point, so delicious &hearty! My family loved it, cant wait to make it during Diwali this year! 🧡🧡🧡 Thank you Nisha.
Diane Chehab says
I suddenly realized I hadn't eaten this in ages - maybe a decade. And started craving it! Found your recipe, I made my own ghee as I forgot to buy some. The issue I had was, also, that the milk never got soaked up by the carrots. I wasn't sure how much longer I could keep on cooking it (it was going on 15 mn) so I quickly added about a tsp of cornstarch that I had diluted in a bit of water. It helped the mixture solidify a little bit.
End result tastes good, and it's not too sweet. I added some raisins, as the cashews (IMHO) don't add much flavor... just extra calories! I also added a tsp or so of orange blossom water as the cardamom tasted rather bitter.
Hmm.. sorry about that. Did you grate the carrots or did you buy shredded carrots? The milk should have been absorbed by the carrots. Thank you for your input. Glad it still tasted good.