Instant coconut ladoos (or nariyal ladoos) are a traditional Indian dessert made with coconut and condensed milk. Think of it as cardamom coconut fudge rolled into a ball. Ready in less than 15 minutes, this instant dessert is super easy to make. Just mix, shape into balls, and roll with your favorite toppings.Jump to Recipe
What are ladoos?
Ladoo or laddu is a traditional spherical shaped dessert from the Indian subcontinental. Different types of flour such as flour, chickpea flour (gram flour or besan), semolina or coconut are combined with ghee (clarified butter), sugar, and nuts to form a dough. The ladoos are then molded into a ball shape. Sometimes different types of nuts are stuffed into the ladoos. The recipe I am sharing today is of an instant coconut ladoo or nariyal ladoo (nariyal means coconut in Hindi / Urdu) made using desiccated coconut and condensed milk.
Coconut ladoos – ingredients:
Made using staple pantry ingredients, this delicious Indian dessert is perfect for when unexpected guests show up at your place for dinner, or chai.
- Coconut: The type of coconut used in this recipe is shredded, desiccated unsweetened coconut. It’s usually available in the baking aisle in most supermarkets. I like to toast the coconut as it enhances the flavour of the coconut, and adds a subtle nuttiness to the ladoos.
- Condensed Milk: The sweet element of this dessert comes from the use of condensed milk. This recipe uses about ½ a can. The remainder can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and used in other desserts or added in tea as an alternate to sugar. Don’t add all the condensed milk at once as sometimes you may need a tablespoon more or less depending on how sticky the dough is looking.
- Cardamom: Either ground cardamom seeds, or cardamom powder can be used in this recipe. If you don’t like cardamom, you can flavor the ladoos with vanilla, orange blossom water, rose water, saffron (dissolved in milk) or any other flavoring of choice.
- Toppings: The easiest topping for the coconut ladoos is shredded desiccated coconut only. However, there are many options for toppings available, for instance nuts. Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, even peanuts can all be used. Sliced, crushed, ground into powder or even added whole to the ladoos on top. Freeze dried fruit such as freeze-dried strawberries and freeze-dried raspberries add a lovely color, however, they need to be ground into powder.
Tips on making coconut ladoos:
- Don’t add all the condensed milk right away. It’s best to add ¼ of a can first, mix the ingredients, and then add the rest little by little.
- Grease your hands with oil, and then shape the coconut mixture into balls. The dough mixture is sticky, and this will make it easier to roll into balls.
- Wash or wipe your hands after making a couple of coconut ladoos. As you keep making the coconut ladoos, the coconut granules will stick to your hands making it difficult to make a smooth coconut ladoo ball. Washing your hands after rolling a couple of coconut balls will help with that.
Jazz up these cardamom coconut fudge balls:
Here are some tips on how you can further jazz up your coconut ladoos (or cardamom coconut fudge balls):
- Add food coloring: Use gel food coloring to add a festive color to the coconut ladoos. You can do one color, or a variety of colors, and even do a color transition from let’s say dark pink to light pink.
- Add a touch of gold and silver: Use edible silver or gold leaf to add a touch of fancy to the coconut ladoos. In Australia, edible gold and silver leaf can be found from Coles and Woolworths in the baking aisle. You can also roll the coconut ladoos in edible glitter, or edible silver or gold dust.
- Stuff the ladoos: To add another flavor profile, you can stuff the coconut ladoos as well with your favorite filling. Rose petal jam, date paste, crushed nuts or nut butter. Even biscoff spread, dulche de leche caramel or chocolate. If you are stuffing with something like chocolate or caramel, freeze the filling into small mini balls and then use as stuffing.
Can the ladoos be made vegan?
Yes, it can! Just use sweet condensed coconut milk instead of regular condensed milk. Add the condensed coconut milk a little at a time so you can adjust the consistency and sugar in the dough.
If you are looking for other biscuit / cookie recipes, do try out the following:
- Nan Khatai (Pakistani cardamom flavored shortbread biscuits)
- Lemon and Cardamom Shortbread
- Caramel Chocolate Brownies
- Puff Pastry Palmiers
- Salted Caramel Melting Moments
- Coconut Macaroon
- and if you want to learn how to make a cookie box for Eid (or any other holiday), check out my post here
Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below!
3 ingredient instant coconut ladoos | Cardamom coconut fudge balls
- 2 cups / 100g desiccated coconut
- ½ can / 7 oz condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- Oil for greasing hands (or butter, or ghee)
- Pistachio powder Pistachios, crushed into powder
- Desiccated coconut
- Crushed rose petals
- Freeze dried strawberries
Dry roast the desiccated coconut in a medium sized frying pan till it is pale golden, and you can smell the nuttiness of the coconut. Make sure to stir the coconut as it can burn very quickly.
Take the coconut off the heat, and place in a medium sized bowl.
Let it cool for a few minutes and then add the cardamom powder, along with half of the condensed milk. Stir through, and then add the rest of the condensed milk little by little.
The dough should be thick, and it should be easy to form balls out of the dough. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more coconut. If the dough is too dry, add another tablespoon of condensed milk.
Add oil / butter / ghee to your hands, and then scoop a little of the coconut mixture to make a ball out of it. Do the same for all the coconut mixture.
Roll the coconut ladoo in your preferred toppings. I have used desiccated coconut, pistachio powder, freeze dried strawberries, and rose petals.
The coconut ladoos can be stored in an airtight container for about a week. Make sure they are kept in a cool place. If the weather is warm, keep them in the fridge. This recipe makes about 18 - 20 coconut ladoos. The serving size keeps into account 1 coconut ladoo per serving.