Holi Sweets, Snacks, Drinks






Holi is everyone’s favorite while celebrating this festival of colors. I share sweets, drinks and snacks in this collection of Holi recipes. This year Holi festival is on 29 March, 2021. Choti Holi or Holika Dahan is on 28 March and the rangwali Holi (color celebration) is on March 29.

What is Holi

Holi is an Indian festival of colors and spring that we celebrate in different ways but with plenty of joyfulness, togetherness and love. The Hindu Holi festival marks the victory of good over evil, of light over darkness, of positive over negative.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe Holi this time. As much as I love colors, I also like the festival of Holi with everyone celebrating and sharing the warmth, joy, love and happiness.

Here in this post, I am sharing 92 Holi recipes that are made during this spring festival. These recipes can be easily scaled to feed a crowd.

Wishing happy Holi to all our readers.

Note: While playing Holi, it is better to avoid chemical based colors and play with plant-based colors or eco-friendly colors. Chemical based colors can be toxic and is difficult to clean later or irritates or harms the skin.

A common trick which people use to minimize the effect of the colors is to spread some mustard oil on their skin before they go out to play Holi. This thin layer of oil on the skin make sure that the color leaves off from the skin easily without much rubbing.

If possible use eco-friendly or plant-based colors that are easily available in the market. Enjoy this festival of colors and spread love and peace around you.

There are some snacks and sweets made for Holi, that are a must and traditionally made in North India. Can you imagine Holi without Thandai or Gujiya?

You will find these essential Holi recipes in the below list. They are not only popular but a must have during Holi Festival. These popular holi recipes include a varied list of sweets, snacks and drinks.

Some preplanning is great to make things easy and time-saving for you. Like with a samosa or kachori, you can make the filling or dough a day prior and refrigerate. Or the Thandai paste can be made a few days earlier before the festival and refrigerated or frozen.

Do what works best for you and adapt the recipes with the ingredients available in your city or town.


This crisp and flaky gujiya is made with khoya or mawa. Gujiya is a popular North Indian sweet of a crisp, flaky pastry filled with a sweet khoya and dry fruits stuffing. Khoya or mawa is evaporated milk solids. 

Guijiya has a stuffing of khoya with dry fruits. in some variations desiccated coconut is also added. But I do not add coconut to the khoya stuffing.

Usually the outer pastry is made of all purpose flour. But you can even make from whole wheat flour. In this recipe, I have added half-half of both the flours.

I baked some gujiya and fried the rest and have illustrated both the baking and fried methods in the step by step pics. texture and taste wise the fried gujiya are definitely much better. However for health reasons and to cut down on the fat you can easily bake them.

Mawa gujiya is served plain. once they are cooled, then keep them in air-tight box and they stay well for some days.

Thandai (Flavored Spiced Drink)

Thandai is a traditional drink, popular in the northern parts of India. It is made with a mix of nuts, seeds and a few spices.

The word “thandai” means that which is cooling or cools and is derived from the word “thanda” which means “cool”or “cold” in Hindi language. It is also known as ‘shardai‘ or ‘sardai‘.

So as the name is, this beverage is cooling for the body. Some of the nuts, seeds, spices that make the thandai or shardai are cooling in nature like water-soaked almonds, poppy seeds, rose petals or gulkand (rose preserve) and fennel seeds.

Thandai has a nutty milky taste. It has a heady aroma and sweet scented flavors of the rose, cardamom and saffron coupled together with a some hits of pungency from the black pepper.

Thandai is one of those drinks that is made during Holi Festival and Mahashivratri. Bhang (cannabis) thandai is also consumed during both these festivals.

We have had bhaang thandai during one Mahashivratri festival while on a spiritual tour in Banaras and Rishikesh.


Malpua is a traditional North Indian sweet of soft, fluffy and yet crisp pancakes coated with sugar syrup and served with rabri or thickened sweetened milk.

So this recipe is indeed a Fluffy version of malpua. the inner texture is fluffy and the outside edges are crisp. I have stayed true to the way this recipe is traditionally made except for the deep frying and allowing the batter to ferment overnight. So this is an instant version. Well no so instant too as I did keep the batter to rest for some minutes.

Ghee is traditionally used for frying malpura and they are also deep fried. I did use ghee for frying but shallow fried the malpua instead of deep-frying.

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun is a very popular Indian sweet. There are some versions of making it with khoya, milk powder, bread or sweet potatoes.

Indeed it is a favorite Indian sweet for many of us. In parties, weddings and even in an Indian dinner meal, gulab jamun happens to be one of the sweets served after the meals.

These soft sugar syrup soaked balls are a treat always. Sometimes to satisfy our sweet cravings, I make gulab jamun.

The word “gulab jamun” means rose berries. In Hindi language, the word “gulab” means rose and “jamun” is a darkish purple berry (java plum, black plum) available in India.

The sugar syrup for gulab jamun is flavoured with rose water and the fried dough balls have a size similar to jamun berries – hence the term Gulab Jamun.

It is made traditionally with dried milk solids. These dried milk solids are also called as khoya or mawa in Hindi. An easy version is also made with milk powder.

In this recipe post I am sharing both the versions.

  • Gulab Jamun made with Khoya – Traditional method for the best taste and a soft melt in the mouth texture.
  • Gulab Jamun made with Milk Powder – Easy and handy recipe if you don’t have khoya.

Both the recipes are easy and even beginners can make these tried and tested delicious melt in the mouth gulab jamun. You can choose the method depending on the ingredients you have.

Dahi Bhalla

The method to make dahi bhalla is same as preparing Dahi vada. in dahi bhalle, papdis (fried flour crispies), boiled potato cubes & cooked chickpeas are added which are not added in dahi vada.

I make dahi vada or dahi bhalla usually during festive occasions like Diwali or Holi or when we have a get together at home. This recipe serves 20 to 22 people, if each person is served two vadas. This recipe can be halved also.

In the recipe I have used both urad dal and moong dal to make the vadas. Use fresh thick curd. I used homemade curd. This recipe is also a no onion no garlic version, as in the green chutney, I have not used any onions or garlic.

Making dahi bhalle takes time. you can make the sweet imli ki chutney and green chutney a day before. You can also prepare the vadas a day before. Soak them in water, squeeze out the water from the vadas and refrigerate. The papdis can be made at home or brought from outside. The chickpeas also can be cooked a day before and refrigerated.

Serve dahi bhalla chilled as a snack or a starter with any North Indian meal.

Papdi Chaat 

Papdi chaat is a popular North Indian street food made with papdi (fried flour crispies), boiled chickpeas, potatoes, pakoris (fried black gram fritters) and curd.

In Papdi chaatBesides the papdi (fried flour crispies), a melt in the mouth fusion of boiled chickpeas, potatoes and pakoris (fried black gram fritters) and yogurt is added.

In this recipe I have used all the ingredients except the Urad dal pakoris. the pakoris are made exactly like the Bhallas made for Dahi bhalla. I did not have time to make the urad dal pakoris. If you decide to make the pakoris, then after deep frying them, let them cool and then soak them in water for some time. Squeeze the water from the pakoris and add it to the papdi chaat before you top it with the curd and the chutneys.

As a substitute for pakoris, you can also use boondi. Soak the boondis in water and then squeeze the water from the boondis. Add these to the papdi chaat and you papdi chaat is ready to eat.

Paneer Pakora

Indian cuisine has a variety of pakora that is made with different vegetables or with paneer or cheese.

Pakora‘ or ‘pakoda‘ is the Hindi term for fried fritters. In Indian cooking, the flour that we always include to make fritters is gram flour.

Skinned small black chickpeas are ground finely or coarsely to make gram flour also known as besan.

Paneer is fresh non-melting Indian cottage cheese made by curdling milk with a food acid. So no prizes for guessing that paneer pakora is a deep fried fritter made with paneer and gram flour.

By the way paneer is a firm cheese and can be easily cut or sliced in various shapes. The texture of Paneer is totally different from the American cottage cheese.

Paneer pakoda is a popular pakora variety that you will also find in many Indian restaurants.

In our home, we have a ritual once in a month to make assorted pakora with different vegetables and paneer.

Mostly potato, cauliflower, onion, spinach and paneer pakoda are on this list. We usually make this for dinner and serve with roti and coriander chutney.


Amongst the array of Indian sweets, jalebi holds a prime position.

It is a popular sweet from Indian cuisine. It is sold in all miThai shops or sweet shops and is also an Indian street food. One can see cart vendors selling it in western & North Indian cities and towns.

It can be made with two methods.

1. One is an instant method where the batter is made instantly and then fried. The batter is not allowed to ferment. so in this method, the mellow fermented sour taste is not felt in the jalebis.

2. In the second method, the batter is kept for fermentation for 12 to 14 hours or for even 24 hours (depends on the temperature). Fermentation makes the batter slightly sour and hence the jalebi have that typical sour tinge to it, which we get when we buy them from the miThai shops.

Some jalebi recipes also add curd while fermenting the batter. I felt curd is not required to make the batter as the batter gets beautifully fermented on its own and becomes sour. Though you can add a few teaspoons of curd if you want.

Instant vs traditional method:

Instant method is helpful when you do not have enough time to make it. For an authentic taste, its always better to ferment the jalebi batter. I have made jalebis with both the methods and according to me, jalebi made from fermented batter has a better taste and texture.

Shahi Tukda

Shahi tukda is a rich, royal Mughlai dessert of fried sugar syrup coated bread topped and soaked with fragrant creamy sweet thickened milk or rabri and garnished with dry fruits.

The word ‘shahi’ means royal and tukra/tukda (singular) means  ‘a piece’. Tukray/tukday (plural) means “pieces”. So shahi tukra literally gets translated to royal piece. One piece of a traditionally made shahi tukda will give you a feeling of royalty. its a royal piece of a dessert that is fit for a king or queen or for you :-).  rich in taste, aroma, flavor and calories. 🙂

Both shahi tukra and Double ka meetha have been requested by few readers. I learnt to make shahi tukra in my home science college. We had learnt to make this rich royal Mughlai dessert in the traditional way. Of course now even quick and easy versions of shahi tukra are made.

Since I wanted to share an authentic shahi tukda recipe, I have remained 90% true to the traditional method. The remaining 10% is for a step which I have altered for my own benefit. That is deep frying the bread in ghee. To make the dish, less in calories, I have just pan fried all the bread with 2 tbsp ghee. But if you pan fry or toast the bread really well, you won’t miss the deep fried bread. Just remember that the bread slices have to be toasted evenly till crisp and golden. Also I used whole wheat bread instead of white bread or milk bread.

I have made rabri By reducing the milk. Now this process of reducing milk on a low flame takes time. So do it when you are also doing some other cooking in your kitchen. You have to stir the milk pretty often while its gets reduced. The consistency of rabdi for shahi tukda is a bit thinner than, when it is served plain or when added to kulfi. Of course you can make the rabri with condensed milk or make a vanilla custard instead of rabri. But nothing beats the original.


Falooda or faluda is a popular Indian summer dessert drink consisting of various elements like milk, ice cream, rose syrup etc.

It is served both in restaurants and even on the streets in many Indian cities like Delhi, gurgaon, Mumbai or Pune. So you can gauge its popularity in India. It can be made with or without ice cream.

Falooda is one dessert beverage which is our favorite. I often make falooda during the summers. Sabja or sweet basil seeds are always at home. Since I add them often to various beverages like Rose milk or Jigarthanda.

I call falooda as a dessert drink. It is just not simply a drink that you can sip away. You have to eat some edibles too. You have to have this dessert drink with a spoon. Falooda can be defined as a layered summer dessert drink made of various edible ingredients.

Elements in a falooda are

It is layered with many edibles like:

  1. Rose syrup – both homemade rose syrup and store brought rose syrup work well. In the absence of rose syrup, rose water can be used. You can even use rooh afza instead of rose syrup. It is the rose fragrance and the pink color that makes falooda refreshing as well as appealing.
  2. Sabja seeds – sabja seeds are sweet basil seeds. These tiny black seeds are also known as tukmaria seeds. They are similar to chia seeds, but not the same. In the absence of sabja seeds, you can use chia seeds.
  3. Falooda sev – sev means vermicelli and in an authentic falooda vermicelli made from corn starch or arrowroot flour are added. That being said, for healthier options you can use whole wheat vermicelli or rice vermicelli.
  4. Jelly – strawberry, raspberry or rose flavored jelly is another optional ingredient. In fact, you can use any fruit-based jelly.
  5. Milk – the milk is always chilled and cold. For a vegan version use almond milk.
  6. Dry fruits and nuts – cherries, tutti frutti, cashews, almonds, pistachios. Add any dry fruits or nuts that you or your family likes.
  7. Ice cream – vanilla ice cream is the commonly added ice cream in a faluda. But even other ice cream types like mango ice cream, pistachio ice cream, butterscotch ice cream, chocolate ice cream work well. Even kulfi like malai kulfi or mango kulfi can be added. 

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