Kalakand is one of the most popular Indian desserts enjoyed during festivals. It is a delectable soft milk fudge flavored with cardamom and saffron and decorated with slivered pistachios. You will love my easy Instant Kalakand recipe to make this melt-in-the-mouth sweet in less than 30 minutes!

Kalakand pieces cut on a parchment paper
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Let’s get this out there – Typically, most people in India would buy kalakand from sweet shops (also called mithaiwala or halwai). We did not usually have to venture into making sweets at home, as they were so easily available everywhere.

Now, move to the USA – Firstly, it is hard to find sweet shops, and even if you do find one, it is hard to get the authentic taste of the sweets we enjoyed back in India.

So then we venture into making the sweets at home. Now you know the back story of why I am making all these sweet recipes for the festive season 😊😊

Another bonus is that you can totally impress my friends, even if these sweets are so easy to make with all the shortcuts in place of traditional elaborate methods.

For this kalakand recipe, I am using the shortcut of using ricotta cheese, condensed milk, and milk powder. These are the 3 main ingredients I use, which are easily available.

The homemade Kalakand is so good and very similar to its traditional counterpart in taste, flavor, and texture.

Watch How to Make Kalakand

What is Kalakand?

Kalakand is a delicious Indian sweet made by curdling milk (making paneer/chenna) and then cooking it along with sugar for a long time till all the moisture evaporates. It is flavored with cardamom and nuts.

Kalakand is said to have been invented in Alwar, in the state of Rajasthan, by Baba Thakur Das accidentally. The milk was curdled, and he still cooked and set it as a sweet, which turned out delicious and then became popular as kalakand!

It is a very delicate, melt-in-the-mouth kind of sweet which needs time and patience to make.

However, you can take the shortcut of using ricotta cheese to make kalakand. The taste and flavor of kalakand made with ricotta cheese is very close to the original one.

You can also make kalakand with chenna/paneer as a shortcut for a more grainy and crumbly texture.

I tried both, and my family preferred the kalakand made with ricotta cheese more. But really, they are both delicious; hence, I have included details of making the kalakand with chenna too.

Kalakand served in a plate

Kalakand v/s Milk Cake

While both sweets are made by cooking and reducing milk, sugar, and cardamom, Milk cake is cooked a little differently and has a much grainier, drier texture than kalakand.

Kalakand is made with chenna/paneer, while Milk cake is made by adding alum (phitkari) to milk to curdle it, which gives a more grainy texture to it.

Milk cake is also typically brownish in color, while kalakand is white. The brown color is achieved by cooling the kalakand slowly in a cloth to retain the heat for longer.

What I am sharing here is more like a smoother burfi. It is not as grainy but can be depending on the ricotta cheese used.

This easy Kalakand is:

  • Soft, creamy, moist, and just melts in the mouth.
  • You just need three main ingredients.
  • Easy to make and ready in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

This recipe uses only 3 main ingredients and a few optional flavoring and garnishing ingredients:

  1. Ricotta cheese – I used full-fat ricotta cheese in this recipe. It is light and creamy and just perfect for this recipe.
  2. Condensed milk – Condensed milk has the right thick texture required to speed up the process and also the right amount of sweetness.
  3. Milk Powder – This is not a required ingredient, but it helps to bind the soft, delicate kalakand together. You can make the recipe without milk powder, and it will still work well. You will have to saute for a little longer, and the kalakand will be just a little sweeter.
  4. Ghee – Adds the extra richness to this sweet. Ghee is always a great addition to Indian sweets.
  5. Ground cardamom – You can use 3-4 fresh green cardamom pods, remove the seeds, and crush them using a mortar and pestle. Or, during the festive season, I make a little batch of cardamom powder using my spice grinder.
  6. Rose Water (optional) – I like to add a teaspoon of rose water for the wonderful fresh flavor and aroma.
  7. Saffron (optional) –  saffron adds a delicate floral aroma to the sweet.
  8. Pistachios (optional for nut-free) – I used slivered pistachios to garnish the kalakand, as they give a wonderful bright green color to sweet. You can use other nuts or skip to make this recipe nut-free.
ingredients to make kalakand with ricotta cheese

How to Make Kalakand with Ricotta Cheese?

The recipe steps are really simple. The important part is to be patient and stir the ingredients continuously until the perfect consistency is reached.

  • In a large pan (preferably non-stick), add the 3 main ingredients – ricotta cheese, condensed milk, and milk powder. 
  • Turn on the stove on medium heat and mix well. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes smooth. It will have a thin consistency at this time. 
  • Now switch to low-medium flame and keep stirring frequently. After about 10 minutes, the mixture will start to thicken (bottom right pic in collage below).
steps to make kalakand with ricotta cheese, condensed milk and milk powder
  • Keep mixing and cook till the mixture thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan. This will take about 18 minutes. 
  • Now add the ghee and mix well. You can skip ghee, but I like to add it to get the richness.
  • Then, add the cardamom powder and rose water (optional). Mix well for 1-2 minutes. 
  • Overall, it will take about 20-25 minutes to get the perfect consistency for the mixture. It should leave the sides of the pan as you stir.
Steps to make kalakand with condensed milk, milk powder and ricotta cheese

Grease a square tray with ghee or place a parchment paper (you can also apply a little ghee over the paper).

I used an 8×8 dish, as that is what I had. However, 7×7 will work best.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish. Then, using a spatula, flatten it. (Tip: applying a little ghee on the spatula will make it easier).

Sprinkle slivered pistachios and crushed saffron on the kalakand. Press gently with a spatula.

pressing slivered pistachios on kalakand

Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Then, take out and cut with a sharp knife into squares. (Tip: Apply a little ghee on the knife and clean the knife between each cut)

Kalakand mixture set in a tray

I cut the kalakand into 1.5-inch pieces. You can cut into smaller sizes about 1 inch too, based on your preference. Then, you will get 6×6 or 36 pieces. To serve, you can also place each piece in a paper mini-muffin cup.

Pro-tip: Wipe the knife with a tissue between each cut. You can also apply a little ghee to make the cutting smoother.

Kalakand pieces cut on a parchment paper

And the Kalakand is ready to serve.

I shared this kalakand with my friends twice as I was testing this recipe, and they wholeheartedly approved the recipe!

Kalakand pieces served in a beautiful plate with diyas in the back

Tips

Ricotta: Use full-fat ricotta for best results. This gives a wonderful creamy texture to the kalakand.

Do not overcook: If you overcook milk-based sweets, they get a bit chewy. Cook till the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan. I like to use a non-stick pan for such sweets where there is a lot of stirring involved, and the mixture gets thick.

Cutting: I highly recommend wiping the knife clean between each cut. You can also apply a little ghee to make it easier to get a clean cut.

How to store? You can store kalakand in the refrigerator for up to a week. Take it out 10-15 minutes before to get it to room temperature before serving.

Can you freeze Kalakand? You can also freeze kalakand. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, then serve at room temperature. 

I hope you enjoy this delicious & easy Kalakand recipe.

kalakand with ricotta cheese

Here are some more Indian sweets you will enjoy:

4.93 from 14 votes

Kalakand (Easy 30-Minute Recipe)

Kalakand is one of the most popular Indian desserts enjoyed during festivals. It is a delectable soft milk fudge flavored with cardamom and saffron, and decorated with slivered pistachios. You will love my easy Instant Kalakand recipe to make this melt-in-the-mouth sweet in less than 30 minutes!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 25 pieces

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Grease a square tray with ghee or place a parchment paper (can also apply a little ghee over the paper).
  • In a large pan (preferably non-stick), add ricotta cheese, condensed milk, and milk powder.
  • Turn on the stove on medium heat and mix well. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes smooth. It will have a thin consistency at this time.
  • Now switch to low-medium flame and keep stirring frequently. After about 10 minutes, the mixture will start to thicken.
  • Keep mixing and cook till the mixture thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan. This will take about 18 minutes.
  • Now add the ghee and mix well.
  • Add the cardamom powder and rose water. Mix well for 1-2 minutes.
  • Overall it will take about 20-25 minutes to get the perfect consistency for the mixture. It should leave the sides of the pan as you stir.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared tray. Then using a spatula flatten it. (tip: applying a little ghee on the spatula will make it easier).
  • Sprinkle slivered pistachios and crushed saffron on the kalakand. Press gently with a spatula.
  • Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Then take out and cut with a sharp knife into squares. (Tip: Apply a little ghee on the knife and clean the knife between each cut)
  • Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Video

Notes

Sugar: Adjust sugar to taste by reducing the amount of condensed milk in the recipe. You can also add more granulated sugar if you prefer it sweeter. 
Make it with chenna/paneer: You can also make this same recipe with paneer for a crumbly texture (preferably homemade paneer/chenna). This will be closer in texture to milk cake or chenna burfi. 
Use 400 grams of paneer, and the exact same recipe works. If using store-bought paneer, then use brands that have good quality soft paneer, such as Haldirams. You can also soak the paneer in warm water for 30 minutes before using it and saute it with a little milk before using it in the recipe. Saute time for paneer will be 10-15 minutes. 
How to store? You can store kalakand in the refrigerator for up to a week. Take it out 10-15 minutes before to get it to room temperature before serving. You can also freeze kalakand. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, then serve at room temperature. 

Nutrition

Calories: 98kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 4gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 42mgPotassium: 107mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 141IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 99mgIron: 1mg

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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4.93 from 14 votes (13 ratings without comment)

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8 Comments

  1. What can I substitute Condensed milk with for a sugar free kalakand. Can I use Splenda? Also please make & post some sugar free sweets

    1. Hi Shail – I have not tried, but you can use unsweetened evaporated milk in place of the sweetened condensed milk. Then add sweetener of choice.

    1. Hi Malti – Sorry, I have not tested kalakand in the instant pot, so cannot say for sure it will work well.

    1. Hi NC – Sorry, I have not tested kalakand in the microwave. But there are other recipes I see to make it in the microwave.