Diwali Sweets to Eat during India’s Biggest Holiday of the Year
The month of November has fallen upon us. That means it’s time to celebrate Diwali, India’s biggest and brightest holiday of the year. Light up and decorate your house with diyas (oil lamps that are usually made from clay) and rangoli (decoration drawn on the floor or the entrances of homes and meant to bring good luck, prosperity, and to welcome guests), and dress in your finest clothing. Celebrate with your loved ones and indulge in various Diwali sweets during the festival of lights. Curious to know which desserts made our top ten? Keep on reading!
Diwali celebration with various Indian sweets
What is Diwali?
Diwali is India’s most important holiday of the year. It is a festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists, notably Newar Buddhists. Its name originates from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that they illuminate at the exterior of their homes. This signifies the light that protects them from spiritual darkness. Diwali usually lasts for five days. On the third day, families gather for Lakshmi puja, a ritual to send prayers to Goddess Laskhimi for prosperity and wealth. They end the night with fireworks and delicious feasts.
In Canada, Diwali is celebrated among South Asians, businesses and organizations each year. Being a multicultural society, there are companies that host corporate Diwali dinners, whereas some communities organize festivals featuring a beautiful display of fireworks.
Lightshow during the third day of Diwali
What are the special sweets that are associated with the holiday?
Let’s look into the list of Diwali sweets.
- Gulab Jamun: This is a small sized sweet made out of milk solids and flour shaped into a ball. They are soaked in a sugary syrup that is based off of rose and cardamom. This soft dessert instantly melts in your mouth. Once you take a bite, you’ll never think of sweets the same ever again! If you’re curious to learn more, read our article: Gulab Jamun: The Indian Street Dessert with a Travel Passport!. Craving for Gulab Jamun dessert?
- Jalebi: Next up on this roster, we have this Indian deep-fried sweet. It is made out of Maida flour, then shaped into a circle or a pretzel. You can enjoy this dessert while it is freshly made, or cold. Just like the Gulab Jamun, it is coated in a sugar syrup. It’s the perfect sweet snack to watch the lightshow during Diwali! Look out for Jalebi dessert!
- Kheer: This is similar to a wet pudding cooked in boiling milk and sugar or jaggery (Southeastern Asian sweetener). It is usually made with rice, but can have alternative options such as lentils, wheat, sweet corn, tapioca or bulgur wheat. The taste of milk is intensified with ingredients like saffron and cardamom. Similar to Jalebi, this is served either chilled or warm. It is totally up to you! Can’t manage to prepare it at home? Check out for Kheer here!
- Laddu: Laddu, or ladoo, is a delicious and nutty sweet snack enjoyed during Diwali. They are made by forming the wheat semolina flour into a ball. Most of the time, ghee (a type of fat) and a flavored sugar syrup adds sweetness to dessert. However, this varies depending on which type of laddu is being created. If you’re interested in more semolina-based desserts, read our blog on Semolina Cakes: An Eastern-flavoured voyage. Celebrate the festival of lights by choosing your Laddu dessert!
- Ras Malai: Ras Malai, or Rassomalai, is an Indian dessert that originates from the Eastern parts of India. Like most Indian sweets, Ras Malai is shaped into a ball made with chhenna dough. It is coated with sweet and thick milk, enhanced with saffron and cardamom. Every bite melts in your mouth! Enjoy this sweet snack with your loved ones as you celebrate Diwali. Look for Ras Malai dessert!
- Barfi: Barfi, or Burfi, is a milk-based dessert. This treat is common in Northern India. Just like most Indian sweets, it is made out of thick milk, sugar and ghee. The texture is comparable to a fudge, but it’s not made out of chocolate! There are different types of barfi, all with different toppings. Nariyal Barfi, for example, is made out of coconut and is topped with almonds. Share a Barfi dessert during the night of Lakshmi puja and indulge!
- Kulfi: This is a frozen dessert made with milk, sugar and nuts. It is creamy, nutty and full of fragrances. As most Indian desserts, ingredients like cardamom and saffron. Unlike most common ice creams, Kulfi is much more dense. The milk is boiled in a low heat over a long period of time. Perfect for hot summer days, and of course, during the festival of lights. After a night of festivities, Kulfi is great to enjoy among your loved ones.
- Halwa: This is a dessert typically based on semolina and cream of wheat. Ingredients of Halwa are most common in Indian desserts: milk, ghee, sugar and saffron. The toppings range from fruits, lentils, veggies and grains. Gajar Ka Halwa, for example, is cooked with carrots, milk and dried fruits. Enjoy it freshly made while it’s warm, and satisfy your taste buds. Craving Halwa dessert during Diwali?
- Kalakand: Kalakand is a delicious Indian dessert made with khoya, a solidified sweetened milk. There are two types of Kalakand: milky white Kalakand and Ajmeri Kalakand (roasted). The texture is reminiscent of a cake and a fudge. The white Kalakand is cooked with three parts chhana and one part khoya simmered with white sugar. On the other hand, Ajmeri Kalakand uses turbinado (red sugar) as its primary ingredient. Make sure to refrigerate and thoroughly thaw to serve at room temperature on the night of Diwali. Where can you get a hold of Kalakand dessert?
- Rasgulla: Rasgulla, or Rosogolla, is a semolina and chhena based dough. It is shaped into a ball shaped snack and cooked in sugar syrup until they double in size. This may be similar to Ras Malai, but what is the difference? As opposed to Ras Malai, Rosogolla is coated with saffron and cardamom sweetened thick milk until they soften. Pair it up with Kashmiri green tea after a night of festivities. Curious where you can find this delicious Rasgulla sweet?
Now that you’ve taken a look at the various and delicious Indian desserts, it’s time to get ready for Diwali! Go ahead and search for some local Indian sweets. Diwali is a time for celebration as it is a symbol of hope and happiness. Enjoy the festival of lights and Happy Diwali!