Carrot Halwa – Sweet Indian Carrots

Carrot Halwa, cooked and garnished with dried cranberries and pistachios

For most of America, the only way carrots end up in dessert is in carrot cake, and that’s not wrong. A good carrot cake is a thing of beauty.

This recipe is a little different – it’s all carrots and no cake.

You can skip the sugar, reduce the butter, throw in a little pepper or some savory spices and end up with a healthy side dish instead of a dessert. But if you’ve never thought of a root vegetable as dessert fare, then follow the recipe as is, and open yourself up to a whole new world – and throw a nod of gratitude to India for showing the world how to do vegetarian food right.

Carrot Halwa, cooked and garnished with dried cranberries and pistachios

Carrot Halwa

Grate carrots, cook them in milk until most of the milk evaporates, add the sugar, butter, spices, dried fruit and nuts. Enjoy as a side dish or a dessert.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert, Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian


  • 4 – 4 1/2 c grated carrots About 5 large carrots
  • 4 c full fat organic milk or any type of milk, I used a mixture of whole milk and macadamia nut milk
  • 4 T ghee or butter use less or none if you want
  • 1/4 c sugar optional, makes it sweeter
  • 5 – 6 whole green cardamom split open and crushed, or 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 10 – 12 whole cashews or almonds, pistachios, whatever nuts you have on hand
  • 2 T golden raisins or dried cranberries, whatever sweet dried fruit you have on hand
  • 1 pinch saffron optional


  • Peel and grate carrots until you have about 4 1/2 cups grated carrots.
    Grated carrots
  • In a medium pot with a thick bottom, add the grated carrots and milk. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat.
    Grated carrots cooking in milk
  • Simmer until the milk is reduced by 75%. Stir at regular intervals.
  • When the milk is reduced by 75%, add the sugar, ghee or butter, and cardamom.
  • Stir well and continue to cook until the rest of the milk is evaporated.
  • Add the dried fruit, nuts, and saffron and stir. Keep on the heat until everything is heated through. (About 3 minutes.)
    Carrot Halwa garnished with pistachios, dried cranberries and saffron
  • Serve hot or cold, garnish with additional nuts and dried fruit as you like.

You’ll need a decent grater for this recipe. Cardamom Pods and a mortar and pestle will make you fee more authentic. 😀

My two favorite Indian cookbooks are Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook and Rasika: Flavors of India.

If you click any of those links and make a purchase, Amazon will send a few cents my way. My goal is to hit $25.00 by the end of the year. LOL!

And my favorite Indian food blogger is Manjula’s Kitchen. Check her out – and take her word for good Indian food over mine every time!!

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