Carrot Halwa or Gajar ka halwa, is a popular north Indian pudding, in which grated carrots are simmered with milk, flavored with sugar and cardamom, and garnished with chopped nuts. Here I share my easy pressure cooker version of this soul satisfying dessert!
Another popular name for Carrot Halwa is Gajrela, a carrot-based dessert, from the region of Punjab, in the Indian subcontinent. It's consistency is somewhere between a fudge and a pudding.
I make this popular dessert in the Instant Pot pressure cooker, and it's a breeze as compared to the constant stirring one has to do in the stove-top version.
How to Make Carrot Halwa in an Instant Pot
I start by pressure cooking grated carrots with milk, sugar, nuts, and saffron for 2 minutes. Then, I add dry milk, or almond flour, and saute till the milk turns into solids and coats the carrots.
I garnish the halwa with crushed cardamom, chopped almonds and cashews and serve it warm. This Carrot Halwa is a perfect comfort dessert for winters.
Why use Instant Pot for Gajar Halwa
I have so many fond memories of my mom's Carrot Halwa, it was simply AMAZING. My mom always made it on the stove-top, the traditional low-and-slow way. I was finally able to adapt her recipe to the Instant Pot, my electric pressure cooker.
It reduces the cooking time and eliminates the initial stirring time, which to me, is a huge plus. To learn more about the instant pot and it's usage, check out my Instant Pot FAQ post.
Some people think that carrots turn into mush if cooked in the pressure cooker. I don't agree with that. In this recipe, you'll see that with the right settings and cook time, you can get the perfect texture. I have tested this recipe several times and you can check out the video to see the texture for yourself!
Faster, Healthier and Easy Carrot Halwa Recipe
Traditionally, gajar ka halwa takes much longer on the stove-top, plus I have to baby-sit it the whole time. By using my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot, I cut my active cooking time in half, plus, I don’t have to stand by it for most of the cooking process.
The traditional recipe also calls for an equal amount of milk and carrots. You reduce the milk on slow heat, till it dries up, leaving behind the fudgy creamy milk solids, which add to the richness of the halwa. The end result is divine, but it does take a fair amount of time, babysitting and muscle power:-)
By substituting most of that milk with dried milk powder, I am able to cut down on that active cooking time, without losing the texture and taste. Dare I mention, I used non-fat milk powder, so I saved a few calories too!
To make this halwa healthier, sometimes, I substitute half of the dry milk powder with almond flour. It still tastes amazing and I manage to add more protein and reduce the carbs. You can substitute almond flour entirely to reduce the carbs even more.
How to Make Vegan Carrot Halwa | Vegan Gajar ka Halwa
Almond flour is available at most supermarkets, and on Amazon too. But, if you cannot find it, simply grind whole almonds into a powder, using a spice or Coffee Bean Grinder.
Variation: Carrot Burfi (Carrot Fudge)
I make another variation of the gajar ka halwa, which is gajar burfi (carrot fudge). This burfi is cut into small pieces that can be served as individual portions.
It works great for parties and get togethers. It is also a bit fudgier in consistency. Gajar burfi is ideal for big parties where guests can just grab and go.
Get the Carrot Burfi Recipe
More Indian desserts to enjoy
Here are some other Indian desserts that I love to make and my family really enjoys.
Sooji Sheera (Semolina Pudding)
Kesar Badam Halwa
10-Minute Coconut Laddoo
Easiest Besan Laddoo
Gajar Burfi (Carrot Fudge)
Deep Fried Gujiya
Kheer, Rice Pudding
Nankhatai (Almond Spice Cookies)
Instant Pot Carrot Halwa | Gajar ka Halwa
- Turn the instant pot on SAUTE mode, when it displays "hot", add ghee or butter. Add chopped nuts and carrots and saute for 2 minutes. This prevents the carrots from turning mushy later.
- Add milk, saffron and sugar, stir well. Wait till the milk comes to a simmer. It ensures that the milk won't curdle under pressure and it speeds up the pressure building time significantly. Close lid and cook on Manual/Pressure Cook for 2 minutes. Set the valve to Sealing position in DUO.
- After pressure cooking is done, manually release pressure (QR) and open the lid after the pin drops. Turn on SAUTE (high). Add milk powder and stir. Cook off the liquid, stirring every few minutes. This takes around 10-15 minutes. The actual time depends on the quantity of carrots as well as your personal preference. For this quantity, it took me 12-13 minutes to reach my desired consistency.
- Add cardamom powder and stir. Garnish with chopped almonds (optional) Serve warm!