Coconut ladoo (nariyal ladoo) is a traditional Indian dessert prepared for festive occasions. Learn how to make the best coconut ladoo recipe using simple ingredients. These delicious nariyal ladoos are soft, moist, creamy, and melt-in-your-mouth!
I have a weakness for coconut-based sweets because I’ve been enjoying them ever since I was a kid. These coconut ladoos are no exception! They are pretty easy, quick to prepare, and taste equally delicious. Soft, coconutty, and melt-in-your-mouth!
Coconut is also known as nariyal in Hindi, narkel in Bengali, and naral in Marathi.
There are numerous ways to make coconut laddu (nariyal ladoo);
- With milk and sugar
- With condensed milk
- Sugar syrup
- With jaggery
I will be showing you the first version, i.e. using milk and sugar as I personally prefer this way of preparing ladoos.
They taste insanely delicious and everyone really enjoys them way better than the ones made with condensed milk or sugar syrup.
My husband even suggested I should start selling them, so that definitely says something, now, doesn’t it?
I have also shared a quick recipe for versions using condensed milk and jaggery as well. Do check out the FAQs and variations for the same.
The one made with jaggery is another favorite as coconut and jaggery is a very classic pairing for most desserts in Goa.
Table of Contents
You will love this nariyal ladoo recipe because it is
✔ A really simple recipe that uses few ingredients and yet yields delicious ladoos
✔ Great for sharing with friends and family
✔ Easily adaptable to make it vegan using either coconut milk or the jaggery version
✔ Perfect for preparing in advance.
✔ An awesome dessert to be served for a large gathering, potlucks, or parties
To make this super simple yet delicious coconut laddu, you will need the following ingredients;
- Coconut: I’ve used the fine variety of unsweetened desiccated coconut. It works the best to make these ladoos. However, freshly grated coconut will work equally well in this recipe.
- Milk: Use full-fat milk for best results. For those in the US, you can substitute milk with half and half or evaporated milk.
- Sugar: I’ve used regular granulated sugar. I’ve listed an alternative below to make coconut ladoo with jaggery if you refrain from sweets containing refined sugar.
- Ghee: To roast the desiccated coconut. You can also use an equal amount of coconut oil.
- Cream and milk powder: To increase the richness and creaminess.
- Cardamom powder: To flavor these ladoos. Though it is optional, I highly recommend you include it. Even grated nutmeg would be great. If you don’t like these spices, add vanilla extract.
- Pistachios and dried rose petals: These are optional as I’ve used them just to garnish the ladoos.
Don’t forget to bookmark this recipe to try in the coming weeks. Before you know it Raksha Bandhan will be here followed by all the other festivities. I hope you will give this coconut malai ladoo recipe a go, I’m so sure you will love it 🙂
How to make coconut ladoo at home – Step by step
Step 1: Roast the desiccated coconut
Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a heavy-bottomed kadai over low heat. (Photo 1)
Add 175 grams (2 cups) of desiccated coconut. (Photo 2)
Roast over low heat for 2-3 minutes or until it gives out a nutty aroma. (Photos 3 and 4)
Step 2: Add milk and cream
Add 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup cream. (Photos 5 and 6 )
Cook, stirring continuously until the milk is absorbed by the coconut. (Photos 7 and 8)
Step 3: Add sugar
Add 160 grams (2/3 cup) sugar. (Photo 9)
Mix well, the sugar will melt and release moisture. (Photo 10)
Cook, stirring continuously until the mixture releases most of the moisture. (Photo 11)
Step 4: Add the remaining ingredients
Add 3 to 4 tablespoons milk powder and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder. (Photos 12 and 13)
Mix and cook until the mixture comes together, forms a dough-like consistency, and starts leaving the sides of the kadai. (Photos 14 and 15)
Step 5: Cool down the mixture and form ladoos
Switch off the heat, and transfer the mixture to a plate or bowl. Allow it to cool down slightly, just warm enough to handle, about 10 minutes. (Photos 16 and 17)
Grease your palms with little ghee, take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture, form a ball by rolling between your palms. (Photos 18 to 20)
Coat it with desiccated coconut and transfer it to a plate. (Photo 21)
Repeat with the rest of the mixture to form more ladoos. Garnish with slivered pistachios or other nuts of choice and dried rose petals. (Photos 22 and 23)
These coconut laddus will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Let it sit out for 5-10 minutes to take the chill off before serving.
You can also freeze them. To do that, place the ladoos in a single layer in a freezer-safe container.
If you have more ladoos to freeze, first refrigerate them until they firm up a bit and then stack them in single layers between parchment papers.
Coconut ladoo made with milk and sugar are a lot more delicate than the ones made with condensed milk, so refrigerating them for a little while before freezing will help hold their shape and prevent them from getting squished when stacked in the container.
Label the contents and freeze for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the fridge and let sit out for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Coconut: Use finely desiccated coconut for best results. You may also use fresh or frozen coconut. If using frozen, thaw and use in the recipe. Also, since fresh coconut already has a lot of moisture, your can cut back on the quantity of milk by half.
Avoid over roasting the coconut: Over roasting will alter the taste of the laddoos, it may even taste bitter. Always roast on low heat.
Avoid overcooking the coconut mixture: Do not dry up the mixture completely. It needs to have some amount of moisture. If it is too dry, it will be difficult to shape the ladoos. They will turn dry, crumbly, and fall apart.
Scaling: You can easily halve, double or scale up the recipe depending on the number of ladoos you need. This recipe as such makes about 15 to 16 nariyal ladoos.
Variations of these Indian coconut fudge balls
This is one such recipe that gives you so many options to experiment with. While the plain ‘ol coconut laddus are delicious in their own way, you can always play around with things. Here are a few options to get you started.
Nariyal ladoo with khoya (milk solids): Instead of milk powder add about 1/4 cup of grated mawa or khoya and cook until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
Mango coconut ladoo: Include 1 cup of fresh or canned mango pulp for a delicious tropical flavored ladoo. After the milk has been absorbed by the roasted coconut, add the mango pulp, and cook until that is absorbed as well. Then follow the rest of the recipe as mentioned from thereon.
With condensed milk: For instant coconut ladoo, you can use condensed milk. But the texture will vary to a great extent. Expect it to be dense and chewy.
The proportions are 1:1 (by weight). So simply take equal quantities of desiccated coconut and condensed milk. You can go about this version in two ways;
- No-cook version: Simply mix everything in a bowl and make laddoos.
- Quick cooked version: Heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed kadai over medium-low heat. Add the coconut, roast well for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the condensed milk, cook stirring continuously, until the mixture comes together, leaving the sides of the kadai. Add cardamom powder, and mix well. Avoid overcooking the laddoo mixture or else it will turn hard. Switch off the heat, and transfer the mixture to a plate or bowl. Make ladoos as stated above.
Caramel: Use dulce de leche to add a delicious caramel flavor. Follow the same process as that mentioned with condensed milk above. Both the no-cook and cooked versions will work well with dulce de leche.
Rose flavored: Add 2 tablespoons of rose syrup along with the milk powder, and cardamom powder. Proceed with the recipe from thereon. The addition of rose syrup adds a pretty pink color and a lovely floral flavor to this nariyal ladoo. You can reduce the sugar by a few tablespoons as rose syrup is quite sweet.
Saffron-flavored: Dissolve a pinch of saffron in 1 tablespoon of hot milk and set aside for 10 minutes. Add this saffron-infused milk along with the milk and proceed with the recipe.
Chocolate coated: After shaping the ladoos, dip them in melted chocolate. Place them on a rack over a tray to dry completely. If you wish, you can sprinkle some desiccated coconut on top, but do so immediately before the chocolate sets.
Nuts: You can also throw in some ghee-roasted nuts along with the cardamom powder to add some crunch to these ladoos.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Why am I having a difficult time shaping the ladoos?
If you take the mixture off the heat earlier, the mixture will be too soft to roll or shape the ladoos. Have a look at the video to get a visual reference of the consistency. It should form a dough-like mass and leave the sides of the pan. You can test by pinching a small portion of the mixture to see if it can be rolled.
Let the mixture cool down a little (not completely cool, it should be slightly warm), and then try to make the ladoos. If it is still soft and you cannot make ladoos at this stage, then put the mixture back on the pan, and cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring continuously. Then allow to cool for some time and try making the laddoos again.
Can I substitute desiccated coconut with freshly grated coconut in this recipe?
Yes, you can! Use the same amount of fresh coconut. You will just need to saute it longer until the moisture dries out. Be sure to do it over low heat to avoid browning the coconut too much.
Can I make coconut ladoo recipe with jaggery?
Yes, you can! Kobbari louz is a delicious version of coconut jaggery ladoo made in Andhra Pradesh. A similar recipe is made in Bengal, known as narkel naru.
The only thing is the color of these ladoos, they will be light to dark brown, depending upon the type of jaggery you use. You can use either sugarcane or palm jaggery.
For this version, skip the milk. Also, it’s best to use freshly grated coconut for this recipe.
Follow the same process of roasting 2 cups of fresh coconut, then add 1 cup of grated jaggery or jaggery powder. The jaggery will melt as it heats up and release moisture. Continue cooking on medium-low heat until the mixture thickens and leaves the sides of the pan, about 5-6 minutes. Then follow the same procedure as shown to make the ladoos.
Can I make this recipe vegan?
Yes, you definitely can. You can swap the dairy with coconut milk, ghee with coconut oil, and cream with coconut cream. Skip the milk powder.
Or simply make the jaggery version as jaggery is vegan and that recipe doesn’t need milk.
You may also enjoy these coconut recipes
- Eggless Coconut cookies
- Goan baath cake
- No-cook coconut ice
- 2 ingredient coconut macaroons
- Coconut toffee
★ Did you enjoy this super easy and delicious coconut laddu recipe? If you happen to try it out, I would love to hear from you! I’d appreciate it if you could rate and leave a review below in the comments. Your reviews help others know the recipe better too. You can also send your suggestions and feedback to me via the contact form! Thanks so much 🙂
Coconut Ladoo Recipe | Nariyal Ladoo
- 1 tablespoon ghee, 1/2 tablespoon more to grease your palms
- 175 grams desiccated coconut, 2 cups, plus 1/4 cup more for coating
- 1 cup full-fat milk
- 160 grams sugar, 2/3 cup
- 60 grams heavy cream or fresh malai, 1/4 cup
- 3 to 4 tablespoons milk powder, optional but recommended
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
- Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed kadai over low heat.
- Add desiccated coconut and roast over low heat for 2-3 minutes or until it gives out a nutty aroma.
- Add milk and cream, cook, stirring continuously, until the milk is absorbed by the coconut.
- Add sugar and mix well. The sugar will melt and release moisture. Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture releases most of the moisture.
- Add the milk powder and cardamom powder.
- Mix and cook until the mixture comes together, forms a dough-like consistency, and starts leaving the sides of the kadai.
- Switch off the heat, and transfer the mixture to a plate or bowl. Allow it to cool down slightly, just warm enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
- Grease your palms with little ghee, take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture, form a ball by rolling between your palms.
- Coat it with desiccated coconut and transfer it to a plate.
- Repeat with the rest of the mixture to form more ladoos. Garnish with slivered pistachios or other nuts of choice and dried rose petals.