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Bowl full of rasmalai on a wooden board with blue cloth on side

Rasmalai Recipe

Shweta Arora
Rasmalai is a popular Indian dessert made from soft melt in mouth flattened paneer balls soaked in a thickened sweetened milk flavored with cardamom and saffron and garnished with nuts.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 10 rasmalai


For Rasmalai balls

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2-3 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1-2 cups ice

For sugar syrup

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar

For thickened milk (ras)

  • 4 cups milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
 or condensed milk
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • pinch saffron
  • 10 pistachios sliced
  • 10 almonds sliced


Stove top Method

    For Rasmalai balls

    • In a thick bottom vessel, bring the milk to a boil stirring in between to avoid it sticking to the pan.
    • Lower the heat, add vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until you see all the milk has curdled (you see a clean greenish liquid, whey remaining). I used 3 tablespoon vinegar.
    • Immediately add the ice cubes to stop any further cooking and line a muslin cloth to a strainer. Filter the whey out collecting the curdled milk in the muslin cloth.
    • Run some fresh water over it and rinse for a couple of times to get rid of the sour taste from the vinegar/lemon juice.
    • Now gather the ends of cloth together and squeeze the liquid out as much as possible and hang it for 20-30 mins to drain the liquid further.
      Note: chenna should be soft with no dripping water. It should not be completely dry but not too wet either.
    • Open the knot and transfer the block of paneer to a plate or bowl.
    • Crumble and knead with your palms for about 5-7 mins until it forms a smooth dough. Do not over-knead.
      Alternately you can also knead it in a food processor, pulse for a minute or less. It will turn from crumby grainy to smooth and lump up on one side. Remove on to a clean plate.
    • The paneer is ready when it is smooth and soft and does not stick to your hand.
    • Divide into 10 portions, roll into ball apply some pressure to knead into a smooth ball, and flatten them slightly to shape.
    • Make all the balls in a similar manner. They should be smooth without cracks. Fill in any cracks you may see.

    Soaking in sugar syrup

    • In another pan get the water and sugar mixture to a rolling boil.
    • Add these chenna balls gently in it and close the lid. Add only as much the pan can hold since the balls will expand. Do it in batches if required.
    • Let these boil on high for 10 mins and you will see they absorb the liquid and expand in size (almost dpuble).
    • Turn off the heat and allow them to rest in the syrup for 30 mins.

    For making thickened milk (ras)

    • In a thick bottom nonstick vessel, get milk to a boil stirring in between to avoid sticking to the pan.
    • Take 2 tablespoons of boiled milk and add it to another bowl with saffron threads, mix well and allow the saffron to soak.
    • Lower the heat and simmer milk, stirring intermittently. Keep scraping the sides and layer of cream (malai) that is formed over the milk.
    • Mix it back into the milk and repeat this process until the milk has reduced and thickened (almost half). The scraped cream (malai) mixed in milk adds a lot of texture to the milk so dont miss that.
    • Add saffron mixed in warm milk along with sugar cardamom powder and nuts and simmer for another 5 mins. The milk will turn yellow due to the saffron addition. Turn the heat off at this point.
    • Squeeze the balls gently between your palms or use the spatula as shown to drain the liquid without breaking them
    • Add them to this warm thickened milk and allow the balls to soak up.
    • Cool completely, garnished with more nuts and dry rose petals, and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
    • Delicious, soft melt in mouth Rasmalai is ready!! Allow to cool and store refrigerated.

    Instant Pot Method

    • In the Instant Pot (switched off), add in the given order ¼ cup of water, one 12oz can of evaporated milk, ½ cup of whole milk (so a total of 2 cups), cardamom powder, saffron, and 2 tablespoon sugar. Mix well until combined.
    • Gently place the paneer balls equidistantly making sure they have space to expand. 6 QT can easily fit 9-11 balls.
    • The balls should not be completely immersed in fact you should peeping on the top as shown in step 27 pic.
    • Close the lid and cook on manual high for 10 minutes followed by natural release. Don't do quick release the milk will splatter all around. The balls will puff up and almost double in size.
    • Open the lid and add 2 more tablespoons of condensed milk (skip this if you are using all sugar) and nuts and mix gently.
    • I leave it open switched off. As it cools, the milk forms a layer of cream, mix gently to incorporate in milk and then let another layer form.
    • Repeat this a few times. This process gives the same texture as you get on a stovetop by cooking milk for hours.
    • This step is optional only needed if using whole milk instead of evaporated milk.
      To thicken the milk, remove the balls in a bowl and then start IP on saute mode. Reduce the milk to your liking stirring intermittently to prevent burning and spilling over.
    • Delicious, soft Instant pot rasmalai is ready!! Allow to cool completely and store refrigerated.


    Shortcuts :
    • Use store-bought paneer instead of making chenna (paneer) from scratch. 200gms should give 10-11 balls. 
    • To make it even quicker, use store-bought rasgulla, squeeze them, and add to the warm thickened milk (ras). 
    • Use evaporated milk in place of whole milk to achieve quicker results for thickened milk. 
    • Use condensed milk for richer flavor and thickening the milk. 
    • Use full-fat whole milk for the best results. 
    • Add ice cubes or cold water to stop the cooking process. This is important to keep the chenna soft. Overcooking will result in hard chenna.
    • Squeeze the liquid out until there is no water dripping. We don't want chenna to dry out completely but not too wet either.
    • Dry paneer will not result in soft rasmalai and too wet will cause the balls to break while boiling.
    • Knead the drained chenna till it turns smooth and crumb-free (not grainy). Don't over knead that results in hard chenna balls. I prefer using a food processor to knead as it quicker and less effort.
    • Squeeze the sugar syrup out as much as possible without breaking the balls. That creates spaces or vacuum in these spongy balls which when immersed in warm liquid absord the ras and become soft and delicious!!
    • if the chenna has turned hard, it will not absord that much ras.
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