Learn how to make kulfi, the popular Indian ice cream at home with simple and easy ingredients: creamy, flavorful and made with just 6 ingredients.
Warm weather demands a chilled, creamy and sweet dessert. Swap out your usual ice cream choices for something a little fancy and make this kulfi ice cream instead!
What is kulfi?
Kulfi is a popular dairy based frozen dessert that originated in India. Often referred to as Indian ice cream or Pista Kulfi, it’s like a creamy popsicle studded with chopped pistachios.
We first tried Kulfi at an Indian restaurant as one of their dessert options and honestly, it was such a delicious dessert. And since you can only really find it at specialty Indian grocery stores or restaurants, this kulfi ice cream recipe lets you enjoy it in the comfort of your own home.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- 6 Ingredients. Standard dairy ingredients along with some spices and you are good to go.
- Just 5 minutes prep. Seriously, this recipe could not be any easier and the freezer takes care of all the hard work.
- Easy to customize. You can enjoy this with it’s subtle rosewater flavor or jazz it up with mango, berries, or other fruit.
What we love about this recipe is just how incredible the texture is- extra creamy without all the heaviness. Oh, and you can also enjoy it as scoopable ice cream or popsicles.
You’ll love the short and simple ingredient list. Like any good ice cream recipe, it focuses on cream and vanilla. Everything else you’ll easily find at any grocery store. Here is what you’ll need:
- Condensed milk. Adds sweetness and thickness to the ice cream.
- Evaporated milk. Balances out the condensed milk by keeping the thickness but without the sugar.
- Heavy cream. If possible, choose heavy whipping cream.
- Cardamon. A must for traditional kulfi.
- Vanilla essence. Adds a subtle vanilla flavor.
- Pistachios. Roughly chopped for some added texture.
How to make kulfi?
Simple is an understatement for this recipe. It literally has two steps and the hard part is waiting for the kulfi ice cream to freeze.
Step 1– Boil the milk
Start by adding the condensed and evaporated milk to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let the milks simmer for 15 minutes with regular stirring. Mix cardamom and vanilla essence, then remove it from heat and let it cool completely.
Step 2-Add pistachios and freeze
Next, once the milk has chilled, mix through the chopped pistachios until combined. Distribute the mixture into ice cream molds and freeze for 4-6 hours.
How is kulfi different from ice cream?
While kulfi is considered to be an ice cream, it is a little different than your standard chocolate or vanilla. Here are the key differences:
- Method of preparation: Unlike traditional ice cream, there is no use of an ice cream maker or blending process.
- Taste: Kulfi has a richer taste and a more flavorful base.
- Texture: Compared to ice cream, kulfi can be a little more dense.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Unlike other ice cream recipes, you don’t need to chill your dairy ingredients first. If possible, bring your cream to room temperature before simmering it.
- While pistachios are more authentic, you can use chopped pecans, almonds, or walnuts.
- Allow at least 6 hours for the ice cream to freeze properly.
- If you’d like a dairy free option, use plant-based cream and coconut condensed milk.
The beauty of this kulfi ice cream recipe is that you can customize it in a plethora of ways. Here are some of our favorites-
- Mango– Fold through 1/2 cup of pureed mango the mix before freezing.
- Rose– Add 1/2 tablespoon of rose water extract.
- Malai– Add a pinch of saffron to the mixture and more when serving.
- Strawberry– Fold through 1/2 cup of pureed strawberries or strawberry preserves.
- Roasted almond– Swap out the pistachios for roasted almonds.
You can store kulfi in the freezer for up to two months.
More frozen dessert recipes to try
- Rolled ice cream
- Avocado ice cream
- Peanut butter ice cream
- Cashew milk ice cream
- Peanut butter ice cream
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, kulfi is considered to be an Indian ice cream. While it can be served scoop-style, it’s most often enjoyed as a popsicle.
Kulfi has a similar nutritional profile to ice cream so should be enjoyed in moderation.
Kulfi Recipe | Authentic Indian Ice Cream
- In a small saucepan, add the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream and place it over medium heat. Let it simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, whisk in the cardamom and vanilla extract and let it cool to room temperature.
- Once cool, fold through the pistachios, reserving a handful to sprinkle on the outside.
- Distribute the filling amongst 8 ice cream or popsicle molds. Place it in the freezer for at least 4 hours.