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.
From the sweet and creamy base to the subtle cardamom hit throughout, these might be the best ice cream recipe you’ll make that needs just 6 ingredients.
And this recipe takes less than 5 minutes to make.
Plus, it’s so easy to customize with a plethora of flavors- mango, rosewater, and even roasted almond.
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.
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.
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?
Both kulfi and ice cream frozen dairy desserts, however, they have some key differences like:
- Method of preparation: Unlike ice cream, there is no use of an ice cream maker or blending process.
- Taste: Kulfi has a richer taste than ice cream and a more flavorful base.
- Texture: Kulfi has a denser and creamier.
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
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.
- 14 ounces condensed milk
- 14 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 cup pistachios crushed
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.
STORAGE TIPS: You can store kulfi in the freezer for up to two months.
Serving: 1kulfi | Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 126mg | Potassium: 411mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 814IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 299mg | Iron: 0.4mg | NET CARBS: 17g