Try our gulab jamun, then check out our mango shrikhand, spiced coffee kulfi, mango and cardamom shrikhand and more Indian recipes.

Monica Sawhney Haldar has been teaching Indian cookery for more than 10 years after founding The Spice Club to showcase home-style, regional, Indian cookery via her own cookery schools and pop-up supper clubs. During lockdown in 2020, she founded, an online Indian cookery school where she teaches her members from all over the world how to master Indian cookery. Instagram @thespiceclub

What is gulab jamun?

Gulab jamun is one of the most popular Indian sweets or desserts. If you have never had them before, think soft round moist cake-like doughnuts which are deep-fried and then steeped in a sweet rose and cardamom-infused syrup. They’re delightful chilled, at room temperature with a cup of tea or served warm with ice cream for a luxurious dessert. This recipe uses milk powder, which can now often be found in the world food aisle of most major supermarkets.

How to make the perfect gulab jamun: cook's tips

  • If you have any left-over syrup, use it to sweeten home-made cocktails or mocktails

How to store gulab jamun: These keep for up to two weeks in the fridge. Store along with their syrup in an airtight container. Enjoy cold or hot. They can also be frozen (but remove from syrup before freezing).

Gulab jamun recipe


Gulab jamun

  • 110g milk powder (full fat and unsweetened)
  • 60g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 heaped tbsp ghee
  • 85-90ml milk, room temperature
  • sunflower oil, for deep-frying


  • 440g sugar
  • 3 green cardamoms pods, coarsley ground with a pestle and mortar
  • pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 1 tsp rose water


  • STEP 1

    Put the milk powder, flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Use a whisk to mix together, then add the ghee.

  • STEP 2

    Rub the ghee into the dry ingredients using your fingers, making sure the ghee is well incorporated.

  • STEP 3

    Pour in three-quarters of the milk and, using your hand, combine the ingredients to make a dough. Add a little more milk and continue to bring everything together until you have a slightly sticky dough – the amount of milk you require to get to this consistency may vary depending on the milk powder. Once you have a soft, tacky dough, put a lid on the bowl and set aside. Note: try not to knead the dough, as this can result in hard gulab jamuns.

  • STEP 4

    To make the syrup, put a wide pan on the stove. Add the sugar, cardamoms, saffron and 440ml of water, and bring to a boil. Allow the syrup to boil for 4-5 mins, mixing every couple of minutes. Turn off the heat, add the rose water and mix. Put a lid on the pan to keep the syrup hot.

  • STEP 5

    Grease your palms with a little ghee and divide the dough into 12 portions. Roll each one into a smooth ball. It’s important they have no creases otherwise they can break apart while being fried.

  • STEP 6

    Heat 7-8 cm depth of oil in a pan over a low-medium temperature. A karahi or wok is ideal but a wide, deep pan can be used alternatively.

  • STEP 7

    Test the temperature of the oil by adding a small piece of dough to it. It should take 10-15 seconds to rise to the top but should not turn golden. Carefully add six gulab jamuns to the oil. Once they rise to the top, fry on a low heat and use a spoon to continuously and gently stir to keep the gulab jamuns rolling in the oil.

  • STEP 8

    The more the gulab jamuns turn and roll, the more even the colouring will be. Fry on a low heat (approximately 130c). It should take about 7-10 mins for them to cook and turn completely golden brown. If the gulab jamuns are browning quicker than this, reduce the temperature.

  • STEP 9

    Once brown, use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to drain the gulab jamuns. Once completely drained, put on kitchen paper and transfer into the hot syrup. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

  • STEP 10

    Put a lid on the pan containing the gulab jamuns and allow them to soak in the syrup for at least 1 hr 30 mins. You can spoon the syrup over the gulab jamuns from time to time if they’re not completely submerged.

  • STEP 11

    Once ready, the gulab jamuns will be bigger in size and should be nice and soft. Enjoy immediately!

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