Gulab Jamun Recipe

I first tasted this dessert at our favorite Indian restaurant after my husband insisted that it was very good. I immediately liked it since the taste reminds me of Turkish desserts like baklava, revani and Kemalpasa. Since then, I have tried to make Gulab Jamun multiple times at home. It is a very simple dessert, but I admit that it took me at least 6 tries to make it the way it is supposed to be! This is a step-by-step recipe, so please follow all of the steps carefully and look at the pictures as a reference.

Gulab Jamun Recipe

“The term Gulab Jamun comes from Persian, gulab, “rosewater” referring to the rosewater-scented syrup, and Hindi jamun, m., “Syzygium jambolanum” (also jāmaṇ, m., from Hindi), a South Asian fruit with a similar size and shape. A similar Arabic dessert is luqmat al-qadi (Arabic for judge’s bread). Like the South Asian gulab jamun, rosewater syrup is often used; however saffron syrup and honey are also common”.

Many recipes encourage the usage of rose water (that’s what gulab means right?) but I chose not to use it simply because I did not have any rose water at home. Driving out in snow just to get the rose water was not so very realistic for me :) Maybe one day when I become a gourmet chef, my kitchen will have all ingredients available right when I need them. Meanwhile, I managed with ground cardamom and whole cardamom buds (drop a couple of those whole cardamoms in your tea, mmm, heavenly!).

You can serve them cold with hot tea after keeping jamuns in the refrigerator overnight or you can serve them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Now, my own experience was somewhat interesting. Although my husband rarely sights our kitchen, it was very pleasant to see him involved in the process of making one of his favorite desserts. I kept on having problems with the deep frying process. So, Nasim gave me a hand testing the oil and giving me the ideas about the dough. At the end, it all worked out and I was grateful for the existence of this dessert for uniting both of our efforts.


  • 1 cup milk powder (I purchased mine in a local Indian market. If you do not have Indian markets try Nestle milk powder or Nido milk powder, which can be purchased in many other grocery stores)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 tsp room softened unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup room temperature milk
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 cloves of whole cardamom
  • rosewater (optional)
  • safron (optional)


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In a medium saucepan put sugar, water and cardamom. Mix it in medium heat until it starts boiling. As soon as you notice it boiling, put it on simmer (medium low) and let it stand there. Meanwhile, turn another burner on and place a pan with a thicker bottom to heat the frying oil. Note that gas and electric burners will function differently. If you are using a gas stove, keep it on very low while heating the oil and frying the jamuns. If you are using an electric stove, put it on 4 and let it the oil heat up until the jamuns are ready to be fried.


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In a medium bowl mix all the dry ingredients of Gulab Jamun. Add butter and carefully mix it with dry ingredients.

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When everything is mixed well, add milk and work the dough until smooth. Note that dough should be very, very soft and it should stick to your fingers. Milk powder will absorb a lot of moisture. So, you do not want your dough to be dry and crack later. From what I have noticed, having relatively moist dough is much more easier to cook than harder counterparts. Add a little more milk if you need to further shape the dough. When you are done, let the dough rest for a couple of minutes. This will make the dough soft and a little sticky to the touch. That’s what you need.

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Once the dough is well rested, kneed it well and break it down to equal amounts. From each of them make a small ball without any cracks whatsoever. They have to be smooth and soft (mine would still stick to my fingers) – otherwise they will break while getting deep fried. Also making the balls this small is essential. While frying they will plump up. After you add jamuns to the syrup, they tend to absorb a lot of it, too. Another advantage of making smaller balls is to ensure even cooking inside out.


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Drop one ball to test the oil. If the oil is ready, the first jamun will rise to the surface in about 15 seconds. PLEASE do not try to move the jamun from its place. After they rise from the bottom, then you can slightly navigate it with your spatula in order to cook them evenly. Try to fry 7-8 jamuns in one batch. This will aid even cooking and enough space for plumping gulab jamuns. It will take about 6 minutes for the each batch to get fully cooked. Be very patient and do not rush.

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While taking out the jamuns, make sure that their surface is hard (looking at my picture you can tell that they are dark brown). Put them on a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil. Once that is done, emerge gulab jamuns into the syrup. As I have said above, you can either keep Gulab Jamun overnight in the refrigerator or you can serve it in 10-15 minutes. As simple as that 😀

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Gulab Jamun


    • Lola Mansurov says

      Katie, how are you honey! Did you try to make these? If you did, I would really love to find out if they turned out well :)

      • Maria says

        I tried these a week ago just coz i was bored, but they turned out so well that today i made them again for my family… my mom is proud of me coz of u :)

  1. francoise says

    ur explaination bout making gulab jamuns was realy good,u xplaind it very briefly,thanku so much,all the best

  2. Melinda says

    I would love to try this – can you please clarify about the milk powder. In the ingredients you say 1 cup powder, but the recipe talks about adding liquid milk. So do I make one cup of milk out of milk powder or do I use 1 cup dry powder and follow the instructions on the pack to turn it into milk, or do I add the dry powder with the other dry ingredients and add water rather than milk into the mix?????

    • Lola Mansurov says

      Hi Melinda!!

      The recipe calls for 1 cup of dry (powder) milk additional to some liquid milk :)

      The liquid milk is needed to make a dough from the dry ingredients needed to form the gulab jamuns.

      Let me know if you have other questions and I hope your gulab jamun turns out well!!

      • melinda says

        Well it has been almost a year, but tonight I finally made them! A new baby in July was a bit of a distraction – at least that is my excuse. Fabulous!!! I went the whole hog and used saffron and rosewater in the syrup, but halved the sugar to suit my family. They were a big hit with my husband and our 3yo. I wasn’t sure whether to put the powdered cardamon in the dough or the syrup – I put it in the syrup along with the cardamon pods. I served it with homemade coconut ice-cream. YUM! Thank you for this recipe. I think it will become a regular dish in our house.

  3. Gianni says

    Hey, this is a great recipe! I tried to cook these but my first two batches were a major fail. Thanks so much! I was wondering though, my indian friend told me to add honey to the syrup, should I do that? My other syrup mixes weren’t as viscous as I’d have liked or as sweet… could it just be that i didnt reach boiling point for the syrup or should I go the extra mile and add honey for the right consistency?

    • Lola Mansurov says

      Thank you for trying the recipe out :) Honey will drastically change the taste of the gulab jamuns. If you want it sweeter, just ump up the amount of sugar in the syrup. That should take care of it for you :)

  4. nikki says

    I had once tried the canned version of these and loved them. i just tried your recipe and they turned out fantastic! I used a taplespoon of rose water in the syrup and it definately adds a wonderful flavour. Thanks!

  5. simi says

    i jsut tried the recipe and it came out awesome i substituted rose water for kewra which is another flower water because thats what i had at home and it worked out fine. thanks for the recipe

  6. Rose says

    Hi … Goin to try n make them , ive been told i can use condensed milk , instead of the dry milk powder ?? What brand is the dry milk powder u purchase … Thank u

    • Lola Mansurov says

      Dear Rose, condensed milk is not going to work at all. The one I purchase in the Indian Market does not have a brand. It just says Milk Powder. You can also use Nestle or Nido brand milk powders for this recipe.

  7. Pooja says

    Splendid recipe. Amazing Pictures. Back in India, we rely on the Gulab Jamun Mix for these and so i couldn’t imagine such a well written recipe for these. Dying to have gulab jamuns this Diwali all thanks to you

  8. Rachel says

    Hi im from Trinidad West Indies. I tried the receipe and it came out great. My only problem was that it came out really dark even though I had the oil on a low fire. I’ll definitely try it again. In Trinidad we spice things up a little so I added a LITTLE rum to the syrup hmmmm. delicious.

    • Lola Mansurov says

      Yum, Yum!!!!!!! :) The darkness is not a problem, Rachel. I always have a hard time making them darker! Mine turn out lighter, lol.

  9. Priya says

    Hey! I am a novice at cooking and I find your recipe really easily to follow and well explained. Thank you so much! I just love gulab jamuns! However, I have a question about the type of flour you used. Could you please let me know? This recipe looks so scrumptious and I am really eager to try it out. :)

  10. Sarita says

    Lola thanks for a great detailed recipe! I made these for Diwali and they were a hit! I’m used to a thicker syrup but I actually preferred the syrup this way. Next time perhaps I’ll try saffron in the syrup. Thank you! This recipe will make my indian family very proud :)

  11. ami martin says

    hi….i’ve tried these gullab jamun and i don’t know why when i fry them they crack , i’ve put liquid milk but when i fry them they crack..wat cn i do to be able to fry them without that they crack??

    • sophie says

      you can get cardamom at most supermarkets in the spice section. if they don’t have whole green pods, the seeds work too. put in about 12…? just make sure you don’t eat the seeds when you serve the gulab jumun!! :)

  12. maria says

    hi, your recipe is v uselful, i tried making them, rest was all great but my julab jamuns cracked during frying..i have heard that we can replace liquid milk with an egg, as it helps more in keeping the stuff together.. what do u say ? anxiously waiting for your reply

    • sophie says

      try adding a little more liquid milk (or even thickened cream) to the dough
      you can even put a couple drops of water in your hands as you roll the dumplings to help make them smooth
      if the dough is a bit more moist it shouldn’t crack :)

  13. Kendra says

    Hello! I think you’re recipe was very helpful! However, because I’m not familiar with this food, I’m not completely sure if all went well. Are the insides of the small balls supposed to stay hard? Or should the syrup completely soak through? I guess what I’m asking is just how the texture ought to be, inside and out. I would appreciate an answer! Thank you so much for the recipe though!

    • sophie says

      when you pull the gulab jamun out of the oil they’ll be crispy and should be dark brown.
      once you submerge them in the syrup the outsides will go soft, and when you cut them open it should be a soft texture throughout, the closest thing i can think of to compare it to is… a pudding….?
      if they are still uncooked in the middle, try making smaller balls, or reducing the heat of the oil so they cook all the way through without burning :)

  14. sophie says

    hi, i just used your gulab jamun recipe!! i had to modify it slightly. but they taste absolutely delicious, possibly even better than any i’ve had in a restaurant!!! thankyou :) i am entering them in the indian cook off competition at my work tomorrow….fingers crossed

  15. Rajshree says

    I like Gulab Jamuns freshly fried and without any syrup. I haven’t been able to get them like this for years now (I have to be at the restaurant or at someone’s house who is making them to get them before the syrup). Finally, I tried a mix – AWFUL. Last week I tried your recipe and it was fantastic!!! This week I did it again, but added more milk… The “dough” was like a sticky cheese in the bowl and I had to pull pieces, and scrape the bowl, but it turned out even better like this! Now… I’m wondering about nutrition information… It can’t be good to be eating these all the time, haha!! Dry milk, wet milk, a bit of flour and butter, and baking soda… fried… Is this the nutritional equivalent of a nonfat cheese??

  16. rajan says

    i have to make this sweet dish in my practical exam n idea has help me …i only want to say thanks a lot..

  17. Kalin says

    FANTASTIC recipe and so increcibly easy! I used nearly double the amount of milk though. Are you able to get a recipe and steps to make Gol Gappa’s / Pani Puri? Thanks!

  18. smitha says

    only one issue, when I tried, the inner part of the gulab jamun comes harder. Any idea, how can i make the inner part of the gulab jamun softer. Also, after putting into the syrup, it gets smaller. I saw in one of the Punjabi restaurant, the gulab jaumn is so soft and it in the orginal shape even in the gyrup ….any idea?…

  19. somayeh says

    hi dear friend. i should say thank you for your recipe i tried it it is really nice the same as those ready made packages but i prefer this recipe since i can prepare at home the i know what type of ingredients are being used. thanks any way. i like to learn other Indian sweets also.

  20. sana says

    i tried gulab jamuns….but they become hard although i havent cooked them on high heat…i think my dough was abit harder…
    how to make the softer dough??

  21. Marcella McDonald says

    Loved this recipe! Used melted butter instead of room temp. Also needed an extra couple of tablespoons of milk after setting the dough to restore moisture. Turned out beautifully! Thanks!

  22. says

    Dear Lola,
    Thankyou so much for these lovely Gulab jamun recipe, i was searching for the right recipe since months.I tried it and it turned out well.Finally i got it.I will be posting the same in my blog very soon.


  23. somaya says

    Love your recipe collection and presentation. No offence, I will take liberty and direct you to a better source for Gulab Jamun recipe. My asian maid is using very simmilar one. SOOJI is semolina, it is very important to use soaked semolina while preparing Gulab Jamun. It is not doughnuts, the texture will change compleately. Orange flowers water can be used instead of rose water. Both could be found in Lebanese or Iranian shops. But the main ingredient here is semolina.

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