Mango Kulfi

Mango Kulfi -The Ultimate frozen summer dessert!

Mango Kulfi, the ultimate frozen summer dessert ! Thickened coconut milk is flavored with fresh Mango puree to which sweetened canned condensed milk is added. This instant, rich and creamy dessert is then topped with pistachios and served on hot summer days.

Mango Kulfi
Mango Kulfi – The Ultimate Frozen summer dessert

Summer is just around the corner. Are you dreaming of frozen summer treats? Look no further, this Mango Kulfi is the ultimate frozen summer dessert, which will have you coming back for more!

What is Kulfi?

Kulfi or Qulfi, is a frozen dairy dessert of India, often described as the“traditional Indian ice cream.Unlike ice cream, kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert similar to a traditional custard-based ice cream.

Travelogue of kulfi

Kulfi or Qulfi is a Hindustani word derived from the Persian Qufli  meaning “covered cup” 

History has it that the dessert likely originated during the period of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century. The use of thick dense evaporated milk was already popular in making sweets dishes in India then.The influence of the Mughal rule lead to the flavoring of this thick evaporated milk with pistachios and saffron.This was then packed into metal cones and immersed in slurry ice, resulting in the invention of Kulfi

Ain-i-Akbari, a detailed record of the Mughal emperor Akbar‘s administration, mentions use of saltpeter for refrigeration as well as transportation of Himalayan ice to warmer areas.

In present times, kulfi is sold by vendors called kulfiwalas in India, who keep the kulfi frozen by placing the moulds inside a large earthenware pot called a matka, which is filled with ice and salt. Hence the name “Matka Kulfi”.

Kulfi is a popular dessert available anywhere in India and is a favorite dessert among tourists and locals alike.

What is the difference between ice cream and kulfi?

Both the ice cream and Kulfi come in various flavors. However the main difference between ice cream and kulfi lies in the texture and taste.

 Kulfi is richer and creamier than ice cream.

Is kulfi healthier than ice cream?

Kulfi is believed to be a healthier version of ice cream, since its preparation involves forgoing eggs and preservatives in favor of simply milk, sugar and natural flavors. Skipping out the additive of air also makes kulfi richer and creamier, prolonging its frozen goodness.

What are the ingredients in Kulfi?

Kulfi is an Indian dessert made by boiling milk till it thickens and then adding sugar and other flavors to it. The most common ingredients added to the kulfi are saffron, cardamom, pistachios, almonds and rose water.

What is the traditional way of preparing kulfi ?

Kulfi is traditionally prepared by evaporating sweetened and flavored milk via slow cooking. Milk is continuously stirred to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the vessel to prevent burning. This stirring is done until its volume is reduced by a half, thus thickening the milk and hence increasing its fat, protein, and lactose density.

The thick milk then has a distinctive taste due to caramelization of lactose and sugar during the lengthy cooking process. The semi-condensed mix is then frozen in tight sealed moulds (often kulhars with their mouths sealed) that are then submerged in ice mixed with salt to speed up the freezing process.

The ice/salt mix, along with its submerged kulfi moulds, is placed in a matka or an earthen pot that provides insulation from the external heat and slows down the melting of ice. Kulfi prepared in this manner is hence called Matka Kulfi.

Kulfi, thus prepared by fast freezing, also renders a unique soft and smooth texture which is devoid of ice crystals.

The Backstory

Summer is just around the corner. Needless, to say the mango season is on. Anywhere you turn around these days, you see mangoes and so I brought my share home too.

Mango Kulfi
Mango Kulfi – The Ultimate Frozen summer dessert

There are so many stories associated with this fruit, the mango, I don’t know where to begin.If you have grown up in India and haven’t felled a mango with a stone in a stranger’s farm, you haven’t had a happy childhood. It’s almost an unspoken rule to graduate childhood!

That said, the first time I tasted Kulfi was in Mumbai with friends.We were touring all the tourists spots in the big city.When we arrived at the Gateway of India, our friend, the Mumbaikar said,”If you haven’t tasted a kulfi after arriving in Mumbai, your trip is not complete”. We did not need more encouragement than that. Needless to say we did not stop with one.

When I got home the box of mangoes yesterday and decided to make mango kulfi at home, the challenge was in resisting the urge to eat the mangoes, before they went into the blender to be pureed. Long story short, here is the creamy rich homemade mango kulfi of the season.

The modern short cut way of making kulfi

People adopt short cut ways to make kulfi at home these days . Adding milk powder, corn starch to the milk thickens the milk quickly. The traditional way of making kulfi employs the addition of malai or thick cream.

Since, I did not have malai/thick cream handy, I substituted it with the addition of thick tinned coconut milk. The result ended up the same, rich, creamy and delicious mango kulfi, saving me time & energy.

The addition of sweetened condensed milk along with fresh mango puree, sweetened the kulfi.The flavor was further enhanced by the addition of saffron water to the mix .Garnishing it with pistachios, almonds and nuts makes for a delightful presentation and adds to the health quotient.

Does Kulfi have egg?

Kulfi  does not contain egg. It is made with milk/cream, sugar, flavorings, and nuts.

What flavor is Kulfi?

Kulfi is similar to ice cream in appearance and taste but denser and creamier. It comes in various flavors.

The more traditional ones are cream (malai), rose, mangocardamom  (elaichi), saffron (kesar or zafran), and pistachio. The newer variations have fruits such as apple, orange, strawberry and avocado.

To help you with eating healthy and to make your grocery shopping a breeze by budgeting smart with the right seasonal produce for the month, presenting you with my E-Book :The 12 Monthly Seasonal Produce Guide, here.

How long does kulfi take to set?

First pour the blended mix into the kulfi moulds or glass cups (like I did) Then place the kulfi moulds in the freezer overnight or for 6-8 hours, to allow to set.

How do you un-mold Kulfi?

Fill a container that is as tall as your mould/glass with lukewarm water, briefly dip your mould for 20- 30 seconds to loosen the mould.Remove the mould from the lukewarm water and place it on a sturdy surface.

If you prefer insert ice cream sticks or kebab sticks at this point and serve kulfi. You can always add more pistachios or nuts for garnishing.

How do you prevent ice crystals in kulfi?

The milk should be really thick before you pour it into the molds for freezing. This will make sure that the kulfi’s has no ice crystals in them upon freezing.

Covering them tightly with cling wrap, before you place them in the freezer also helps prevent ice crystals from forming.

Homemade Mango Kulfi recipe

Mango Kulfi -The Ultimate frozen summer dessert!

Mango Kulfi -The Ultimate frozen summer dessert!

Recipe by Maya Shetty
5.0 from 1 vote

Prep time


Cooking time



Total time




  • 1/2 tin Coconut milk

  • 1/2 tin Sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 big Ripe Mango pureed to 3/4 cup

  • A pinch Saffron strands soaked in 3 tbsp of water

  • 5 Pistachios chopped

  • 1/2 cup Whole fat milk this makes it creamier


  • In a blender, add the tinned coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, whole fat milk and mango puree , along with the saffron water and blend it to a smooth milkshake like consistency.
  • Pour the prepared smooth mix into kulfi moulds, matkas or glass cups.
  • Garnish on top with chopped pistachios, cover with cling wrap and place in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight. Cling wrap helps prevent ice crystals from forming.
  • Remove and serve mango kulfi chilled.


  • Malai or thick cream is what the original recipe calls for, since I did not have Malai/Thick cream handy, I substituted with coconut milk. The flavors still as good and my mango kulfi turned out rich and creamy!
  • Some use corn starch or milk powder to thicken the milk and make it creamier, I did not add either to this recipe, it was thick enough for me. It’s totally one’s preference.

Nutrition Facts

  • Amount Per ServingCalories665
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 20g 31%
    • Saturated Fat 11g 56%
  • Cholesterol 67mg 23%
  • Sodium 252mg 11%
  • Potassium 786mg 23%
  • Total Carbohydrate 109g 37%
    • Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
    • Sugars 108g
  • Protein 17g 34%

  • Vitamin A 11%
  • Vitamin C 6%
  • Calcium 56%
  • Iron 6%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

The Bottom Line

When all is said and done, and when you take the first bite of your first kulfi, let me tell you…..there is no turning back! What’s more, now you can do it at home.

Mango Kulfi
Mango Kulfi – The Ultimate Frozen summer dessert

Willing to give this mango kulfi, the ultimate frozen summer dessert a try? It is so easy to make with so less ingredients, healthier and creamier too. What are you waiting for? Go on, try it & share your feedback in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed the recipe, help us spread the word by sharing it with friends on your social media feed with #stirringmyspicysoul

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4 years ago

I have never heard of this and it looks so great! Saving this recipe for later.

4 years ago

It looks and sounds so good! Loved reading about the history of this dish. I can’t do dairy products though.

4 years ago

This is really interesting! I love your background information on the traditional foods of India.

4 years ago

Yum! This sounds incredible!

4 years ago

I love this idea! I pinned it so I can try it later. I also love you added the history of the recipe.

heather J jandrue
4 years ago

A perfect recipe for a hot summer day.

4 years ago

I never knew about this dessert. Thank you for explaining it in such detail. Very cool!

Lisa Manderino
Lisa Manderino
4 years ago

This is a unique dessert, I have not heard of it but it sounds delicious!

4 years ago

I’ve never heard of Kulfi before either. I’m not sure if I could get my kids to go for the mango flavor. What other fruits would you suggest I try instead?

4 years ago

That was interesting, I had never heard of Kulfi. Thanks for sharing.

Eva Keller
4 years ago

5 stars
This looks yummy! All the flavors you mentioned sound like they would be good too.

4 years ago

Wow, this sounds delicious! I would want to try a rose one, in addition to the mango.

4 years ago

Will be trying later this week!! I’ll keep you posted!

4 years ago

5 stars
This recipe sounds exotic and delicious. I love saffron and cream. Can’t wait to try it.

4 years ago

I don’t do much experimenting in the kitchen but I have a friend that makes yummy recipes for me to try. Already sent this one to her. Yum!

Holly Bird
4 years ago

Wow! What a great recipe!! I can’t wait to try it!! Sounds so refreshing!

4 years ago

Mangos are my favorite, this looks amazing!

Tricia Snow
Tricia Snow
4 years ago

5 stars
This looks amazing! I like mango but hate working with it. I bet I could use the frozen mango instead of fresh.