No-cook kesar pista kulfi ( Saffron pistachio Indian ice cream)


Kulfi is basically a rich and creamy, traditional Indian ice cream. It is prepared by evaporating sweetened milk, with continuous stirring until the milk is reduced to almost half its quantity. During this laborious process, the sugars caramelize which give kulfi it’s distinct taste. The thickened milk is then poured into kulhars ( kulfi molds ) and placed in an ice + salt mixture, which facilitate the freezing of kulfi’s. Kulfi’s are available in all sorts of flavors – saffron, pistachios, rose, almond, custard apple, mango etc. Well, I love all of them 🙂


Kulfi is undoubtedly my favorite kind of ice cream! I have fond memories of enjoying this treat during my childhood . I still remember  hearing ‘kulfi walaaaaaa‘ which meant that the local kulfi wala ( Kulfi vendor) was nearby. He would carry his matka (earthern pot) covered with a red cloth containing kulfi’s in those metal kulfi molds, enticing us to buy some. I guess this is synonymous with the jingle of the ice cream truck in the US, that still elicits childhood memories.


It’s summer and one doesn’t really feel like spending hours in the kitchen to make this treat. But you can still enjoy it with this quick no cook method. Just blend the ingredients and freeze it. That simple! Nothing beats the way kulfi is made traditionally, but this is a decent substitute with all the ‘calorie’ rich  ingredients used here.

I was introduced to this concept of no cook kulfi a couple of years ago by my friend Malathi, who had made this dessert for her house warming party! I thought it was really good, so asked her for the recipe, and she was kind enough to share it with me. I thought it was a good time to make it now & enjoy a cool, yummy treat to beat this heat! On second thoughts, when I was making this I realized the combination of the three milk products used here are nothing but the same thing that’s used for drizzling the tres leches cake base! So that pretty much gives you an idea of how a kulfi taste like, if you haven’t had one yet!! The addition of cardamom and saffron add that ‘desi’ touch, along with the nuttiness from the pistachios which add a wonderful texture! And y’all know much I adore these ingredients 🙂


Ingredients :

1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy cream / whipping cream
14 oz (396 g) can condensed milk
12 oz (354 ml) can of evaporated milk ( check notes for how to make no cook evaporated milk)
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon green Cardamom powder
1/4 teaspoon saffron/ a fat pinch mixed in 1 tablespoon luke warm milk
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
2 Bread slices , edges trimmed
Few drops of green food color ( optional, I didn’t use )


  1. In a blender combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, saffron infused milk, cardamom powder.Blend well.
  2. Now add bread pieces, blend with the above mixture until smooth.
  3. Next  add heavy cream, blend to just mix well ( Do not over mix). Taste the mixture for sweetness , this was perfect for us , you can add more cream to reduce the sweetness. Finally just fold in the sliced pistachios. ( You can cut them small, I just prefer bigger pieces of pistas) Transfer to kulfi molds/ Popsicle’s or freezer safe container,cover the container with a cling wrap, close  it with the lid and freeze it at temperatures lower than zero degree Fahrenheit to prevent the formation of ice crystals. In case you are using the Popsicle mold, then cover with an aluminum foil, pierce the ice cream sticks through the foil. Freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight preferably. Run the popsicle mold under warm water for 10-15 seconds, or run a butter knife to unmold the kulfi.





  1. Evaporated milk is not easily available in stores , especially in India. You can make it at home using  a fuss free , no cook method. Follow this wonderful and easy recipe shared by Poonam Mongia, which you can find here.

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  1. Loretta says:

    Oh my absolute favorite Indian ice cream. I like your version of it. The different milks must greatly enhance the flavor. I imagine one could add mango to it too. Beautiful!

    • Freda @ Aromatic essence says:

      Thanks Loretta! Yes mango can be used, condensed milk will have to be reduced, half of condensed milk and mango! If I had some mango pulp left, this post would have been about mango kulfi!! 😀 May be next summer 🙂

  2. Shari says:

    Ice cream is one of my favorite things on earth! This is such an interesting version. It must be so creamy and wonderful and the spices would give such a unique flavor. I loved reading about the Indian version of the ice cream truck! Very beautiful pictures, too, Freda. Such a great post!

  3. curryandvanilla says:

    They look so perfect Freda!! With summer on our doorstep, these kulfis are a much needed treat 🙂 By the way, love these cute matkas; bread in these Indian favorites is a nice change, must be giving a good texture. Will try soon 🙂

  4. Princy Antony says:

    Freda, love your recipes. They are always so simple yet so delish. The pictures make it even more mouthwatering. Loved the kulfi pots. Where did you get these from? They look perfect!

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