Gulab Jamun
Gulab Jamun
5 from 9 votes
Indulge in the rich cultural delicacy of India with our gulab jamun recipe. This dessert is not just a treat to your taste buds but also a fun challenge for cooking enthusiasts. A perfect mix of sweetness, texture, and heritage awaits you.
Gulab Jamun New

I’ve spent many years exploring cuisines from all corners of the world, but the Indian subcontinent continues to captivate my culinary curiosity more than any other.  

Today, I am thrilled to share one of my favourite discoveries with you – Gulab Jamun. Yes, that sweet, succulent, melt-in-your-mouth dessert that holds an iconic status in India’s diverse dessert repertoire. 

Gulab Jamun traces its origins back to the Indian subcontinent, with historians pointing to medieval India as its birthplace. The term “Gulab Jamun” translates to “rose berries” – a nod to its rose water-infused syrup and berry-like size and shape.  

Like many Indian dishes, it bears a rich history, steeped in centuries-old traditions, carrying tales from royal kitchens, Mughal emperors, and the everyday people of India. 

In terms of difficulty, I won’t lie to you; this isn’t an instant 5-minute dessert recipe. But don’t let that daunt you. The journey to perfecting this delicacy is just as satisfying as savouring the final product.  

The process is indeed a bit involved, but not overly complicated. You’ll need patience, precision, and a zest for discovering new flavours and techniques. 

The Gulab Jamun’s journey from raw ingredients to succulent sweetness is like crafting a piece of art. It starts with a dough made from milk powder, flour, and a hint of baking powder.  

Add a spoonful of ghee, and you’ll have a smooth mixture ready to be rolled into tiny, bite-sized spheres. These tiny orbs of deliciousness are then carefully fried to a golden-brown colour, and here’s where the magic begins. 

Once they reach that perfect hue of gold, these fried balls are then soaked in specially prepared syrup. It’s a divine concoction of sugar, water, cardamom, and rose water, giving the Gulab Jamun its iconic sweetness and distinct, fragrant aroma.  

The fried balls absorb this syrup, turning them into spongy, syrupy delights, that quite literally melt in your mouth! 

To the uninitiated, this process might sound like a culinary marathon, but believe me when I say it’s worth every effort. There’s a beautiful sense of accomplishment when you see the golden spheres soaking up the syrup, swelling to perfection. And the first bite? Pure bliss! 

In the world of desserts, Gulab Jamun stands out – it’s not just a sweet treat, but a testament to the rich, cultural and culinary history of India. Its taste reflects the complexity and depth of flavours that Indian cuisine is celebrated for. So, here’s an invitation to step into my kitchen and embark on a journey to craft this Indian delicacy. Are you ready for the challenge?1 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

The art of making gulab jamun is one that brings together a beautiful collection of ingredients, each contributing its own unique touch to this delightful Indian dessert.  

This deep-fried sweet delicacy doesn’t just satisfy your sweet tooth; it takes you on a gastronomical journey. Let’s dive into the reason for each ingredient. 

Milk Powder: Milk powder is crucial to the texture and taste of gulab jamun. It helps create a soft, fluffy interior that is both rich and creamy.  

This dehydrated version of milk brings a condensed sweetness to the dough balls, an essential characteristic of the dessert. In its absence, full-fat milk reduced to a thick consistency can be used. 

Plain Flour: Also known as all-purpose flour, this ingredient helps bind the milk powder into a smooth dough. It gives the gulab jamun structure and ensures they hold their shape while frying. If you can’t find plain flour, you can use cake flour, which has a lower protein content, yielding a softer dessert. 

Baking Powder: The secret ingredient for a fluffy and light gulab jamun is baking powder. It acts as a leavening agent that helps the dough rise and become airy.  

However, be careful with the amount; too much can lead to a bitter taste. An alternative could be baking soda but it’s more potent so use half the amount. 

Ghee or Unsalted Butter: Ghee or melted unsalted butter adds richness to the gulab jamun dough. It also aids in the formation of a smooth, pliable dough. While ghee adds a traditional touch, unsalted butter can give a slightly different flavour. 

Milk: Liquid milk helps bring together the dough, and its natural sweetness enhances the overall flavour. If you wish to experiment, you could use plant-based milk like almond or oat milk. 

Vegetable Oil: This is used for frying the gulab jamuns to golden-brown perfection. Any neutral oil with a high smoke point can be used, such as sunflower or canola oil. 

Pistachios: Used for garnish, pistachios add a pop of colour and a contrasting texture to the soft gulab jamun. Other nuts like almonds or cashews can also be used for garnishing. 

Desiccated Coconut: This is another garnish option that adds texture and a slight tropical twist. It’s optional and can be substituted with more traditional garnishes like a silver leaf (varq). 

Sugar: The soul of the syrup that soaks into the gulab jamuns, providing the desired sweetness. While granulated sugar is commonly used, alternatives include brown sugar or jaggery for a more robust flavour. 

Cardamom Pods: These add a wonderful, warm, and slightly spicy flavour to the syrup. You can substitute it with ground cardamom, but remember that the flavour is stronger, so use it sparingly. 

Rose Water: The final flourish that brings an enticing floral aroma to the syrup. You can substitute this with a few strands of saffron to get a different, equally delightful flavour. 

When combined, these ingredients work harmoniously to produce a delicacy that’s as rich in flavour as it is in tradition. Each ingredient has its role, and together, they create the symphony that is gulab jamun. Enjoy the process and most importantly, the result! 

Choosing the Best Milk Powder for Gulab Jamun  

I often receive questions about the ingredients I use in my recipes, particularly when it comes to ethnic dishes like Gulab Jamun. One of the key components of this delicious Indian dessert is milk powder. Let me guide you in choosing the best type for making your own Gulab Jamun. 

The most important thing to remember is to choose full-fat milk powder for this recipe. This isn’t just a whimsical preference. Full-fat milk powder lends the gulab jamun a rich, creamy texture that’s hard to achieve with low-fat or non-fat alternatives.  

A popular choice among many cooks is Nido, a brand known for its high-quality full-fat milk powder. 

However, it’s not just about fat content. The flavour is equally important. Try to find a milk powder that boasts a natural, authentic milk taste, without any artificial flavourings. In my experience, products that are 100% dairy-based tend to yield the best results. 

A final note about milk powder for gulab jamun is about its consistency. It should be fine and powdery, not granulated. The smoother the powder, the smoother your dough will be, ensuring that your gulab jamun turns out perfectly round and smooth. 

So, the next time you’re in the grocery store, keep these pointers in mind. Look for full-fat, naturally flavoured milk powder with a fine texture. And remember, a successful dish starts with the best ingredients.

Substituting Butter for Ghee in Gulab Jamun  

I’ve been experimenting with different ingredients in my kitchen for years. Recently, I’ve received inquiries about swapping butter for ghee in the preparation of Gulab Jamun.  

So, I decided to shed some light on this topic based on my culinary adventures. Traditionally, ghee, which is clarified butter, is used in the recipe for Gulab Jamun.  

It adds a distinct, nutty flavour that enhances the overall taste of this sweet treat. However, I understand that ghee may not be readily available everywhere or may not suit everyone’s dietary preferences. 

In my trials, I’ve found that unsalted butter can be an effective substitute. While it may not provide the exact flavour that ghee lends, it does give the Gulab Jamun a delightful richness. However, it’s crucial to use unsalted butter. Salted butter can throw off the delicate balance of flavours in this dessert. 

Also, it’s important to melt the butter before adding it to the mixture. This mirrors the liquid state of ghee and helps maintain the texture of the dough. Be mindful of the quantity too; the same amount of melted butter can replace ghee in the recipe. 

One thing to note is that butter contains water and milk solids, unlike ghee which is pure fat. These components could potentially affect the texture of the final product, making it slightly less soft than when using ghee. So if you’re after the most authentic experience, ghee is your best bet. 

While ghee remains the classic choice for making Gulab Jamun, using melted unsalted butter is a feasible alternative. Remember, the art of cooking lies in adaptation and experimentation. 

Preventing Tough or Dense Gulab Jamun  

One of the things that I truly enjoy about cooking is finding solutions to common problems that arise while trying out different recipes. When it comes to making Gulab Jamun, a common issue is a final product becoming tough or dense. Based on my experiences, here are some tips to avoid that. 

Firstly, while mixing the ingredients, remember to be gentle and avoid overworking the dough. When the dough is overworked, it develops gluten which could result in tough Gulab Jamun. Ideally, the dough should be smooth and soft but not sticky. 

Secondly, the frying temperature is crucial in achieving the right texture. If the oil is too hot, the Gulab Jamun can become hard on the inside. 

 I usually maintain medium heat and keep checking if the temperature is right by dropping a small piece of dough into it. If it sizzles and rises immediately, it’s ready. 

The choice of ingredients also matters. I always use full-fat milk powder and pure ghee as they give the best results. Using low-quality ingredients or substitutes may affect the texture. 

Lastly, soaking the Gulab Jamun in sugar syrup for the right amount of time is key. When soaked for at least 30 minutes, the syrup seeps in, making them soft and juicy. 

Remember, cooking is an art and like any art form, it requires patience and practice. Don’t get disheartened if your first few attempts don’t turn out perfect. Each try will take you a step closer to mastering the perfect Gulab Jamun. 

Recognising the Right Frying Temperature for Gulab Jamun  

I’ve learned that temperature control is one of the keys to great frying. And when it comes to making Gulab Jamun, getting the right frying temperature is crucial to achieving that perfect golden brown colour and texture. 

Over the years, I’ve found that maintaining medium heat is best for frying Gulab Jamun. If the oil is too hot, the balls will brown quickly on the outside before they’re cooked through, resulting in an uncooked centre.  

On the other hand, if the oil is not hot enough, the Gulab Jamun will absorb too much oil and become greasy. 

But how can you know if the oil has reached the right temperature? I usually follow a simple test: I take a small piece of dough and drop it into the oil. If it sizzles and comes to the surface quickly but not immediately, the oil is ready.  

If it stays at the bottom or browns instantly, the oil is not hot enough or too hot, respectively. 

Investing in a cooking thermometer can also help. For frying Gulab Jamun, the oil should ideally be around 180°C (350°F). However, even with a thermometer, I recommend doing the dough test to be sure. Remember to adjust the heat as necessary while frying, as the temperature can fluctuate. 

It’s important to note that the size of the Gulab Jamun balls also impacts the frying temperature. Smaller balls will cook faster than larger ones. So, consistency in size is important. 

Nailing the right frying temperature is a blend of observation, practice, and patience. But once mastered, it can make a world of difference in your cooking, especially for delectable desserts like Gulab Jamun. 

Rose Water Substitutes in Gulab Jamun Syrup  

Over the years of experimenting with the classic Gulab Jamun recipe, I’ve come to learn that the secret of its enchanting flavour lies in the sugar syrup. One key ingredient in the syrup that imparts a delightful aroma is rose water.  

However, there have been times when I ran out of it or couldn’t find it in my local grocery store. Through my culinary adventures, I’ve discovered some effective substitutes. 

One excellent replacement for rose water is vanilla extract. Its sweet, creamy flavour complements the richness of the Gulab Jamun. Although the flavour profile is different from rose water, the vanilla gives the syrup an added depth of flavour that is quite pleasing. 

Another substitute I’ve tried is orange blossom water. Like rose water, it has a floral fragrance, although the scent is distinctly citrusy. It imparts a refreshing twist to the traditional Gulab Jamun. 

If you’re looking for a non-floral substitute, lemon or lime zest can be a great alternative. The zest provides a tangy aroma that balances the sweetness of the syrup. 

In a pinch, you could even leave out the rose water entirely. The cardamom alone can give the syrup a delightful fragrance. 

Ultimately, the best substitute depends on your personal preference and the flavour profile you’re aiming for. Experiment with different options to find your favourite. After all, creating variations on traditional recipes is one of the joys of cooking. 

Importance of Soaking Gulab Jamun in Sugar Syrup  

Throughout my culinary journey, I’ve learned that each step in a recipe plays a critical role in shaping the final product. When making Gulab Jamun, one step that often raises questions is the soaking of the fried balls in sugar syrup. Is it necessary to let them soak for at least 30 minutes? The answer, from my experience, is a resounding yes. 

Soaking the Gulab Jamun in sugar syrup serves two main purposes. Firstly, it sweetens the dough balls. While the dough itself contains no sugar, the syrup infuses it with sweetness, creating the delectable taste we associate with Gulab Jamun. 

Secondly, soaking softens the Gulab Jamun. Once the dough balls are fried, they can be somewhat dry and dense. The sugar syrup moisturizes the balls, giving them a soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture. 

Through my experiments, I’ve found that a minimum of 30 minutes is needed to achieve the right level of sweetness and softness. However, for an even richer taste and softer texture, I sometimes let the Gulab Jamun soak for several hours or even overnight. 

While it might be tempting to speed up the process, especially if you’re eager to serve the dessert, it’s important not to rush this step. The soaking time directly impacts the texture and flavour of your Gulab Jamun. 

The art of making Gulab Jamun lies not only in the quality of the ingredients but also in following each step meticulously. So next time you’re making this delightful dessert, make sure to give your Gulab Jamun enough time to bathe in the sugar syrup. It’ll be worth the wait! 

Preparing Gulab Jamun in Advance and Storing Methods 

As a lover of desserts, there’s nothing more gratifying than having my favourite treats readily available. And if you’re a fan of Gulab Jamun like me, you might be wondering if it can be made in advance and how to store it. Let me share my findings from my numerous baking sessions. 

One of the reasons why Gulab Jamun is a crowd-pleaser is its flexibility. You can indeed make this dessert in advance, which is particularly handy when planning for parties or festive events.  

I’ve found that preparing Gulab Jamun a day before serving allows the syrup to penetrate thoroughly, enriching the flavours. 

When it comes to storage, proper techniques are crucial to preserving the taste and texture of Gulab Jamun. After soaking in the syrup and cooling down, the Gulab Jamun should be stored in an airtight container. 

I usually keep the container in the refrigerator, as it prolongs the shelf life and keeps the Gulab Jamun fresh. 

If you’re planning to keep the Gulab Jamun for more than a week, freezing is a viable option. Place the cooled, syrup-soaked balls in a freezer-safe container or zip-lock bag and freeze.  

When you’re ready to enjoy them, let them defrost in the fridge before serving. You may want to heat them slightly to regain the softness. 

One essential point to remember is to always store the Gulab Jamun in syrup. The syrup keeps the balls moist and flavourful. 

The versatility of Gulab Jamun makes it a perfect dessert to prepare in advance. With the right storage methods, you can relish this delectable treat any time your sweet tooth calls! 

Creating a Low-Sugar Version of Gulab Jamun  

I often find myself modifying recipes to make them healthier. Gulab Jamun, while delicious, is notorious for its high sugar content. That’s why I have spent time perfecting a lower-sugar version of this popular dessert. 

To start, I reduce the sugar in the syrup by half. While this may seem drastic, remember that the syrup’s role is not just to sweeten the Gulab Jamun but also to moisten them. Even with less sugar, the syrup will still fulfil this purpose. 

I also add a sugar substitute to make up for the reduction. I’ve found that natural sweeteners like Stevia or Erythritol work well, but they don’t dissolve as readily as regular sugar. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure the sweetener is completely dissolved before adding the Gulab Jamun balls. 

Another trick I use is to infuse the syrup with spices like cardamom or saffron. These enhance the flavour, making up for the reduced sweetness. Don’t be afraid to experiment with other spices or flavourings you enjoy! 

I also add a little lemon juice to the syrup. The tanginess offsets the sweetness and adds an interesting flavour profile to the Gulab Jamun. 

Remember, creating a low-sugar version of any dessert is about balance. The goal is to reduce sugar while maintaining taste and texture. It may take some trial and error, but the result can be a delicious and healthier version of a classic dessert. 

Making a low-sugar Gulab Jamun is not only possible but can also result in a delightful dessert that you can enjoy without guilt. 

The Role of Baking Powder in Gulab Jamun  

I love understanding the science behind every ingredient in a recipe. In Gulab Jamun, one ingredient that’s vital yet sometimes overlooked is baking powder. Let’s delve into its role in making this delicious dessert. 

Baking powder is a leavening agent that helps the Gulab Jamun dough to rise. It does so by producing carbon dioxide gas when mixed with liquid and heated, which creates tiny bubbles in the dough. These bubbles make the dough expand, resulting in the soft and spongy texture characteristic of Gulab Jamun. 

Getting the right amount of baking powder is crucial. Too much of it can make the dough rise excessively, causing it to fall apart when fried. On the other hand, too little can result in dense and hard Gulab Jamun. 

Generally, I’ve found that a teaspoon of baking powder works well for a recipe with 200 grams of milk powder and 75 grams of plain flour. However, the exact amount can vary depending on the brand of baking powder and other factors. 

When adding baking powder to the dough, ensure to mix it well with the dry ingredients before adding the liquid. This ensures even distribution and a consistent texture in the final product. 

Baking powder is an essential component of the Gulab Jamun recipe. Its role in ensuring the perfect texture cannot be overstated. So, the next time you’re preparing this delightful dessert, remember to give this key ingredient the attention it deserves. 

Adding a Twist to Gulab Jamun with Unique Garnishes  

I’m always on the hunt for ways to add a creative spin to traditional recipes. With Gulab Jamun, experimenting with unique garnishes has led me to delightful discoveries. 

The classic garnish for Gulab Jamun includes chopped pistachios and desiccated coconut. These add a touch of colour and a slight crunch that contrasts beautifully with the soft, juicy Gulab Jamun. However, these are not the only options. 

One garnish I’ve fallen in love with is an edible silver leaf, also known as ‘varak.’ This thin foil of silver applied to the Gulab Jamun not only makes it look festive and elegant but also adds a bit of novelty. 

Another garnish to consider is edible flowers. They add a splash of colour and a subtle floral note. Make sure the flowers are clean and safe for consumption. 

I’ve also tried garnishing Gulab Jamun with grated dark chocolate or a drizzle of white chocolate sauce. The bitter-sweet chocolate pairs surprisingly well with the sweet Gulab Jamun. 

For a spicy twist, a sprinkle of finely chopped chilli can be a thrilling addition. The heat of the chilli cuts through the sweetness and creates a unique fusion of flavours. 

Remember, the purpose of a garnish is not just to enhance the visual appeal but also to complement or contrast the flavours of the dish. When selecting garnishes, consider their texture, flavour, and appearance. 

Garnishing is an opportunity to get creative with your Gulab Jamun. By experimenting with different garnishes, you can personalize this classic dessert and impress your guests with your culinary creativity. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

One of the charms of my culinary journey has always been the blissful delight of Indian desserts. If Gulab Jamun makes you swoon, then you will find the heavenly sweetness of Rice Kheer absolutely irresistible.  

Made with milk, rice, and sugar, garnished with a generous helping of chopped nuts, it’s a dessert that takes me back to those festive gatherings back home. 

Another recipe that always makes my taste buds dance is the Milk Seviyan. It’s a beautiful combination of roasted vermicelli, simmered in sweetened milk and garnished with dried fruits and nuts.  

Just like Gulab Jamun, it is a common fixture in many Indian festivities and is sure to leave a sweet note on your palate. 

In the mood for something lighter after the richness of Gulab Jamun? Why not try my Falooda recipe?  

A refreshing blend of rose syrup, vermicelli, basil seeds, and chilled milk, topped with a scoop of ice cream and a sprinkling of nuts, it’s a dessert drink that is the perfect palate cleanser. 

Lastly, if you love the syrupy sweetness of Gulab Jamun, you are going to fall head over heels for my Rasmalai recipe. Imagine soft, spongy cheese balls soaked in a creamy milk sauce, flavoured with cardamom and adorned with a generous helping of pistachios and almonds. Is your mouth watering yet? 

Remember, I always love hearing about your culinary adventures, so don’t forget to drop your feedback in the comments section! Each of these recipes has a story to tell, and I cannot wait for you to be a part of it. 

Gulab Jamun New

Gulab Jamun

by Nabeela Kauser
Indulge in the rich cultural delicacy of India with our gulab jamun recipe. This dessert is not just a treat to your taste buds but also a fun challenge for cooking enthusiasts. A perfect mix of sweetness, texture, and heritage awaits you. 
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 14
Calories 296 kcal


For the Gulab Jamun

  • 200 g Milk Powder
  • 75 g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tbsp Ghee Or Unsalted Butter Melted
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • Vegetable Oil For frying
  • Pistachios Garnish
  • Coconut Dessicated, garnish

For The Syrup

  • 500 g Sugar Granulated
  • 750 ml Water
  • 2 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 Tsp Rose Water


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the powdered milk, plain flour, and baking powder.
  • Pour in the melted ghee or butter and 2 tablespoons of milk into the dry ingredients. Mix the dough thoroughly until it becomes smooth and free of any lumps. If the dough is too dry, add a small amount of milk to adjust the consistency.
  • Roll the dough into small balls, approximately the size of a cherry. Be careful not to overwork the dough to prevent the gulab jamuns from becoming tough.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan or fryer over medium heat until it reaches 180°C. Test the temperature of the oil by dropping a small piece of dough into it. The dough should sizzle and rise to the surface immediately.
  • Carefully add the dough balls to the hot oil, a few at a time, and fry until all sides turn golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried gulab jamuns from the oil and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • In a separate saucepan, bring the granulated sugar and water to a boil, stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the ground cardamom and rose water to the sugar syrup and stir well.
  • Place the fried gulab jamuns into the sugar syrup and let them soak for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with chopped pistachios or desiccated coconut (optional). Serve the gulab jamun warm.


Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 296kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 4gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 92mgPotassium: 203mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 41gVitamin A: 137IUVitamin C: 1mgVitamin D: 2µgCalcium: 154mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword Dessert, Food, Indian Desserts, Indian Sweets, Mithai, Party Food, Ramadan, Recipe
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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