This Gulab Jamun recipe with milk powder is a quick and easy version of Pakistan’s National Dessert. Small fried dough balls, traditionally made with milk solids called Khoya are dipped in hot, infused sugar syrup. A garnish of pistachios and on occasion, rose petals and silver leaf, helps create one of the most popular desserts in all of South Asia.
Popular at religious holidays such as Eid in Pakistan and Holi in India, this gulab jamun also graces many a wedding dessert table in South Asia. This delightful version of Pakistani donuts is at par with other popular South Asian desserts such as Quick Kulfi, milk barfi, sooji ka halwa, mango kulfi, and vermicelli kheer.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Famous recipe - This recipe is so popular that there's actually an entire day devoted to it! October 10th is world gulab jamun day!
- Delicious dessert - You won't be able to stop eating these! The fried round balls of dough coated in the infused sugar syrup just melt in your mouth!
- Easy recipe - The 3 ingredients dough and the sugar syrup come together in very little time!
- It's a great make-ahead option - This is a super freezer-friendly dessert so you can make it ahead of time and then just warm it before serving.
- Bisquick mix - I've always made this recipe with Bisquick as that was the way this recipe was taught to me. While using a different brand of pancake mix is possible, it may lead to slightly different results.
- Heavy whipping cream - This is essential not only for binding the dry powders and creating a dough but the fat is essential in order to get the slightly dense texture gulab jamun call for.
- Nonfat milk powder - Nonfat milk powder takes the place of traditional milk solids in this recipe.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Substitutes & Variations
- Swap out the garnish - Garnish them with some chopped pistachios, silver leaf, or rose petals, depending on the occasion or your mood.
- Add some Rose Syrup - Gulab literally means rose water and this dessert traditionally has rose essence in them. I usually stick to saffron and cardamom but you can definitely add a few drops of the essence in later.
- Add a topping - Want to make your dessert truly decadent? Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
- Use ghee -Traditionally, all Pakistani sweets are cooked in Ghee, such as, pumpkin halwa and carrot halwa. Since you’ll need a lot of ghee for this recipe, this can get very expensive. For a truly traditional taste, however, you can mix some ghee with a high smoke point oil.
This recipe with Bisquick Pancake Mix is a simpler version of the authentic Milk Powder recipe! The pancake mix contains everything you would measure and add separately, such as the all-purpose flour, fat, leavening, and salt.
Step 1: Mix the water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Remove the cardamom seeds from the pods and slightly crush them to release their aroma. Add these, along with some saffron, to the sugar mixture.
Step 2: Add in the lemon juice next and cook on medium-high heat till a syrup forms. The acid in the lemon prevents the sugar from crystalizing as the syrup cools so is necessary!
Step 3: Divide the dough into equal portions and use the palms of your hands to make small balls. You’re looking for smooth dough, without any cracks. If needed, keep some heavy cream nearby and dip your fingers in it to smooth out any cracks. Make sure to make tiny balls, as the Gulab Jamun double in size when fried, due to the leavening agent.
Step 4: While you need to start off with hot oil, as soon as you drop the balls in, you need to reduce the temperature to medium heat, or even low heat if the oil seems too hot. Use a thermometer such as this chef alarm to maintain a frying temperature of 225-250 Fahrenheit for best results. The correct temperature is critical here.
Step 5: Make sure to leave enough space between the dough balls as you deep fry them. This will allow you to use a slotted spoon to move them around constantly so they get a nice and even brown color all over.
Step 6: Once they seem done, about 8-10 minutes per batch, remove them onto some paper towels to soak up the grease. Leave them there for about 30 seconds before placing them in the warm syrup.
Making the perfect Gulab Jamun takes patience and practice. The following tips may help you along the way!
- Don’t overwork the dough - it leads to gluten formation and results in hard jamun. If the dough seems too sticky don’t worry, it will smooth out as you shape the balls.
- Test the sugar syrup - If the syrup is too thick your tiny fried sweets won’t absorb it and if it’s too thin it can make them break. The way to test the consistency is to place a teaspoon of the hot syrup on a small plate. This allows it to cool a little so you don’t burn your fingers. After about 10 seconds dip your forefinger in the syrup. Press the finger against your thumb and test to see if the syrup is sticky. It does not need to form a thread but just be sticky!
- Make sure your syrup is warm - The syrup needs to be warm when the fried dough balls are added to it in order for the fried dough balls to absorb the sweet liquid properly. Soak for about 15-20 minutes before removing from the syrup.
One of 3 things can cause your gulab jamun to be hard. You may have added too much flour, not enough moisture, or too little of the leavening. Measuring accurately and making sure your ingredients are very fresh is key. To fix the dough, add a teaspoon or two of the heavy whipping cream.
In this instance, your dough probably has too much moisture, or you accidentally added too much leavening or the sugar syrup was too watery. Adding a few extra tablespoons of milk powder will help fix the dough. For the other issues, make sure to measure correctly, use fresh leavening, and test your sugar syrup before you add in the gulab jamun.
You either added too much leavening or the gulab jamun was too hot when you added it to the syrup. This can cause the syrup to burn and the Jamun to taste bitter. Cool the gulab jamun for at least 30 seconds before you add them to the syrup.
Gulab Jamun can stay out on the counter at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 days. After this refrigerate them for 7-10 days in an airtight container. If you want to freeze them, they will stay ok in your freezer for upto
3 months in an airtight container.
Gulab Jamun can be heated in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to warm them up. If they are in the freezer, then defrost them by placing them in the fridge overnight and then reheat them as directed.
Other Pakistani desserts you may enjoy
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Gulab Jamun recipe with milk powder
- 1 cup bisquick mix
- 2 cups dry low fat milk powder
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 5 pods cardamom
- ¼ tsp saffron strands
- 1 tsp rose water (optional)
- 4 tbsp chopped pistachios
- 2 tbsp rose petals (optional)
- 2 silver leafs (optional)
- Mix the water, sugar and lemon juice in a sauce pan and set it on a high flame to make the syrup.
- Break open the cardamom pods, discard the husk, slightly crush the seeds and add to the syrup.
- Take the saffron, slightly crush it between your fingers and add to the syrup.
- Cook just till the sugar is dissolved and the syrup starts to bubble around the edges.
- Take a teaspoon of the syrup and place it on a plate. After about 10 seconds or so, once it has slightly cooled, dip your forefinger and thumb in it and press together. if they feel sticky the syrup is ready and you can stop cooking it.
- If you want to add rose syrup, now is the time to do so.
The Gulab Jamun
- Mix together the Bisquick mix, flour, and heavy whipping cream just until the mixture comes together. (see notes)
- Divide the mix into 24 equal portions and shape into tiny balls. (see notes)
- Heat the cooking oil.
- Fry the dough balls on medium low heat for 8-10 minutes till they are a nice brown color. Use a slotted spoon to constantly move them around so they brown evenly on all sides.
- After they are cooked, remove them onto a paper towel for about 30 seconds.
- After the oil has drained and they've cooled slightly place them in the sugar syrup for 10 minutes.
- After the soaking period is over remove the Gulab Jamun and sprinkle with your garnishings.