Desserts of the Indian Subcontinent: Sweet Treats to Tantalize Your Taste Buds

If you’re a fan of sweet Indian cuisines for dinner, the Indian subcontinent has all sorts of delectable treats just waiting to be devoured. From gulab jamun (dough balls soaked in syrup) to jalebi (a deep-fried, flour-coated pretzel-like treat dipped in sugar syrup), there are plenty of scrumptious desserts from this part of the world worth trying. So if you love sweet things, here are some recommendations on desserts to try when you travel to India and Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

Gulab Jamun

A Persian-inspired dessert, Gulab Jamun is a ball-shaped treat made from dough soaked in rose water, fried, and then dipped in sugar syrup. The dish is named after its resemblance to roses and is found throughout India as well as Pakistan. Eaten cold or hot with a cup of masala chai; it’s guaranteed to give you a blissful sugar rush that will lift your spirits.


Halwa is a must-try for those traveling in North India. For centuries, halwa has been one of India’s most beloved sweets, renowned throughout South Asia. In Hindi, halwa means sweet or candy, and depending on its consistency and flavor profile, it can range from a hot mess of sticky goo to a solid sliceable treat.


Barfi is traditionally a dish from North India during Diwali. The sweet dessert melts in your mouth and leaves a delicate flavor. It’s commonly made with almonds or pistachios, but chefs can also make it with cashews, saffron, and cardamom.

Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

According to ChefOnline, “Kheer is a classic Indian dessert made with rice, milk, and sugar.” It’s often served at special occasions like weddings and birthdays.


Kulfi (also spelled kulFI or qulfi) is a frozen treat made with milk and sugar, often flavored with cardamom and pistachios. Served in round metal bowls known as dundis, these confections are often described as the Indian equivalent of ice cream. However, they are denser than their American counterparts.


This sweet is for all you cheese lovers out there. It’s a popular dessert in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh made from cottage cheese that has been cooked with cream, paneer, and sugar. The concoction is then left to cool down, after which it’s put into balls served with a slice of mango or tamarind chutney.


Sandesh is a milk-based sweet popular in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Cooks usually combine paneer with sugar and whip it until it becomes malleable enough to be rolled into small balls or squares. Sandesh can be found in different flavors depending on the region, including rosewater, cardamom, and saffron.

Mango Saffron Lassi

The Hindi word lassi refers to a yogurt-based beverage. Like smoothies in Western culture, a lassi can consist of yogurt with fruits and spices or just pureed fruits and/or nuts. The most common type is mango lassi, made from strained yogurt, water or milk, salt, and sugar.


This signature Bengali sweet is a favorite across India. It’s a spongy ball made from cottage cheese soaked in a sugary syrup flavored with rose water and garnished with pistachios.

Kashmiri Pulao and Kulfi Falooda

Kashmiri Pulao is made with saffron, and it’s probably one of my favorite desserts in India. It’s a rice dish cooked with lots of nuts, raisins, and dried fruits.

Dessert in India is not just about cakes, puddings, and ice creams. There are many other desserts that you can try out when you visit India. And these desserts are equally delicious as well as healthy too.






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