Malai Ladoo or Paneer Ladoo is a creamy, delicious, and melt-in-mouth Indian sweet dish made with just a few basic ingredients. This requires only milk, sweetener, and flavoring, that’s it! Perfect for Diwali, Holi, or any other festive season.
Combine these handfuls of ingredients and your festive delicacies are ready to devour. Festivities or no festivities, this delicious ladoo would surely be a hit at any dinner party!
Make this classic malai ladoo to enjoy the festivities with friends and family! These bite-sized ladoos look so pretty, so festive, and are really addictive. Just take a bite, and you won’t be able to stop at one! :)
On this page, you will get step-by-step photos and video recipe with all the important tips, tricks, and variations.
About Malai Ladoo
Malai Laddo or Malai Laddu is a milk-based sweet or dessert which is generally created using milk and paneer (Indian cottage cheese). The creamy and rich texture of this delectable malai ladoo comes from the combination of evaporated sweetened milk and crumbled paneer.
In the Hindi language Malai = milk cream, and Laddo = sweet ball. So in literal words, these ladoos are sweetened milk balls.
This Malai ladoo recipe is also popular with other names such as malai laddu, milk ladoo, Dudh ladoo, or paneer ladoo.
Making this Indian mithai is quite simple and easy. It only takes about 35 minutes of your time.
Malai ladoo made only with milk requires a lot of patience. Since it is a milk-based sweet where milk solid is prepared in the pan, it requires lots of simmering and continuous stirring.
With my recipe, this malai laddu preparation takes less time. This is because, along with the milk I have also used milk powder, cream, and condensed milk in this recipe to quicken the thickening process. With these ingredients, you get the exact same halwai or confectionary shop style malai ladoo in less time. The taste and texture of this laddo would be somewhere between and . It is solid, yet moist enough to have a milky taste.
I just love all types of ladoos, and I also love milk and paneer-based Bengali sweets. — you just name it. I adore making and eating , , fruit rabri, and .
Sweets. and especially ladoo or laddu are an integral part of Indian festive food. The beauty of a simple ladoo is that it is auspicious enough to offer as a prasad to Gods and is also fancy enough to serve during festivals, parties, or other celebrations.
This malai ladoo
✓ is ideal for the festival season
✓ stays fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator
✓ is made from scratch
✓ easy and simple to prepare
✓ has a creamy & melt-in-mouth texture
✓ can be served on other occasions too
✓ is made with a handful of ingredients
✓ has a milky and rich taste
✓ is a great treat for parties and potlucks
Malai Ladoo Ingredients
As mentioned earlier, Malai Ladoo is a milk-based sweet dish, so it only requires dairy products and some flavorings. Below are what you will need to make malai ladoo at home:
Cream – Malai or cream is the main ingredient of this recipe. I have used store-bought cream with 15% fat. You can also use fresh malai here.
Milk – It is used for making curds, and also it is used as a base for making ladoo. Using whole or full-fat milk is recommended here.
Sweetener – I added sweetened condensed milk to this ladoo recipe because I just love the milky texture that comes from sweetened condensed milk. If you don’t prefer condensed milk, then swap it with powdered or granulated sugar.
Milk powder – Since my recipe is an instant and quick version of malai ladoo, I have added milk powder. This way, malai ladoo tastes milkier and tasty, and the milk gets thicker very fast. If you don’t want to add milk powder then add 2 cups of additional milk.
Cardamom powder – I have added about 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground cardamom powder here. Sweet-smelling cardamom complements the milky flavor. If you don’t want any flavor then feel free to omit it.
How to Make Malai Laddo
Making malai ladoo is straightforward. To make malai laddoos, follow these easy steps:
Step 1 – Add 1 liter of full-fat milk to a heavy bottom pan and bring it to a boil on medium heat. Add yogurt or vinegar and stir until the milk has been curdled. Drain it in a large bowl using a cheesecloth/tea towel line fine strainer. Reserve the whey for making bread or other recipes. Rinse chena with cold water to get rid of any leftover whey. Take all the ends of the cloth together and twist the cloth and squeeze it as much as possible. Set it aside for 5 minutes. Transfer the chena ball onto a plate and knead and rub it using the back of your palm until smooth. You can also process it in a food processor.
Step 2 – Add milk to a wide pan over medium heat. Also slowly add 1 cup of milk powder and stir until milk powder is dissolved. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add milk cream and let it come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat to medium-low. After that, add sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Also, add cardamom powder and mix it together. Add crumbled paneer and cook. Keep stirring & mashing it with the spatula so there are no lumps. When the mixture starts bubbling, add 1 tsp ghee and continue cooking & stirring until the mixture thickens completely.
Step 3 – Your mixture is ready when the mixture starts to separate from the pan & looks dry yet moist and smooth. Let it cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. After that, transfer it to a plate. When it is comfortable enough to touch, knead for a few seconds.
Step 4 – Take a small portion from the mixture and roll it between your palm to shape ladoos. Garnish with desired garnish and enjoy.
You can get detailed step-by-step photo instructions and a video recipe to make the best Malai Laddo in the recipe box on this page.
Since Malai ladoos are prepared with milk, they don’t have a long shelf life. These ladoos stay fresh for up to 5 days when kept in an airtight box in the refrigerator. They won’t keep well when stored at room temperature, so keep them refrigerated.
Malai Ladoo, similar to any other Indian mithai or sweet, can be served as a sweet snack or an after-meal dessert. This mithai would surely shine on your dinner table, you can also include it in your festive thali.
Nuts – I have made store-style malai ladoos so I didn’t add any nuts. Adding some chopped nuts to Indian sweets is always welcome, so feel free to add chopped cashews, almonds, and pistachios. Or, just add any of your favorite nuts.
Flavor – I have only added cardamom flavor to this ladoo. You can add other flavors such as saffron, rose water, or kewra water.
Dry fruits malai ladoo – For making a dry fruit version of this ladoo, swap paneer with 2 cups of powdered nuts. You can use a mix of nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and cashews for making nut powder.
Tips & tricks to make the Best Tasting Malai Ladoo
Paneer/Chena – I have prepared curdled milk or chena at home. But you can also use a store-bought paneer for this recipe. Just make sure to buy the fresh paneer.
I kneaded the crumbled paneer with my hands. To make things faster, you can also process the paneer in a food processor.
Remember to cook the mixture until it is dry and comes together like a smooth dough. You won’t be able to shape smooth ladoos if you don’t cook the milk mixture to this consistency.
Cooking temperature – Cook the milk mixture on medium-low heat. Also, stir continuously to avoid burning and sticking it to the pan. With low heat, milk would take some time in reducing and reaching to the perfect consistency. So be patient, just keep stirring, and your mixture will reach the desired stage! :)
Check the doneness – Take a tiny portion of the cooked milk mixture and roll it between palms. If it forms a smooth non-sticky ball, your mixture is well cooked. If not, then continue cooking further.
Use a non-stick pan – It is best to use a non-stick pan for making malai ladoo. The non-stick layer of the pan would prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom.
This ladoo recipe yields about 17 ladoos. If you are preparing them for a party, then you can surely double or triple this recipe.
Saffron – If adding saffron strands to make Kesar Malai Ladoo, then add about 10-12 crushed saffron to the pan along with milk powder. The rest of the recipe will be the same.
Garnish – I decorated this white ladoo with saffron strands, pistachios, dried rose petals, and edible silver leaves. Garnishing ladoo is entirely optional here.
Malai ladoos stay fresh for up to 5 days when refrigerated in an airtight container.
Rose-malai ladoo – To make rose malai ladoo, add a splash of rose water to the milk mixture at the end.
How to make Vegan Malai Ladoo
To make Vegan Malai Ladoo, substitute paneer with vegan ricotta. Swap dairy milk with coconut milk, and cream with coconut cream. And substitute ghee with coconut oil or vegan ghee.
Can I make Malai Ladoo without sweetened condensed milk?
Certainly, this malai ladoo recipe can be made without sweetened condensed milk. You can replace condensed milk with powdered or granulated sugar.
Is Malai Ladoo gluten free?
Yes, these malai ladoos are completely gluten-free because it has only milk and other dairy products as a base.
Can I freeze Malai Ladoo?
Malai ladoos are absolutely freezable. To freeze, arrange the malai ladoos on a freezer-safe tray and freeze for about 3-4 hours or until frozen. Once ladoos are frozen, transfer them to a Ziploc bag or a freezer-safe container and freeze. Frozen malai ladoos stay fresh for up to 2 months. Whenever you want to eat malai ladoos, thaw them in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
Malai Ladoo (Step-by-step photo instructions)
How to Make Malai Ladoo
- Add 1 liter of milk to a thick pan. Stir and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it has come to a boil, turn the heat to medium and add the yogurt or vinegar. Stir until the milk is fully curdled. The whole curdling process would take about 1 minute. If the milk doesn't curdle, you can add some more yogurt/vinegar and curdle.
- Remove the milk from the heat when it is fully curdled and completely separate the curds and greenish whey. Place a fine strainer over a large bowl and then line a tea towel/cheesecloth over the strainer. Now, pour the mixture into the strainer to collect the curds. TIP: Don't throw the whey, you can use the whey in roti, bread, or other recipes.
- Wash the chena with ice-cold water to get rid of any leftover whey. After that, Squeeze out the excess liquid. Set it aside for 5 minutes and then transfer chena onto a plate.
- Break the chena bowl and crumble it. Then knead it for about 5 minutes or until smooth. The best way to knead the chena is by rubbing it with the end of your palm. Chena is ready when it holds the and does not fall apart when you break it. Keep it aside.
- To a wide non-stick pan, add 1/2 liter whole or full-fat milk. Slowly add 1 cup milk powder and stir until milk powder is dissolved. Cook the milk for 2 minutes over medium heat. Now, add 1 cup the milk cream or fresh malai. Stir & cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Keep stirring continuously to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Once the milk and cream mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat to medium-low.
- Add 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk and stir well to combine. Alternatively, you can also add 1/2-3/4 cup sugar. Next, add 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom powder. At this point, you can also add other flavorings such as saffron or rose/kewra water. Continue cooking & stirring.
- Add crumbled paneer and keep stirring & mashing it with the spatula so there are no lumps. When the mixture starts to bubble, add 1 teaspoon of ghee and continue cooking & stirring until the mixture thickens completely.
- The mixture is ready when it starts to separate from the pan & looks dry yet moist and smooth. After adding paneer it took me about 15 minutes to reach this stage. Let it cool for 5 minutes & then transfer it to a plate.
- When it is comfortable enough to touch, press the mixture and then knead it for a few seconds. After that, take a small portion of the mixture and roll it between your palm to form a round shape. Your malai ladoo is ready. Make more ladoos with the remaining mixture. I got about 17 medium-sized ladoos.
- Decorate the malai ladoos with saffron strands, pistachios, dried rose petals & edible silver leaves. Store Malai Ladoo in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.