Instant Pot Carrot Halwa | Gajar Ka Halwa

January 22, 2018 (Updated: April 18, 2019) By Aneesha |

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Carrot Halwa or Gajar ka halwa, also known as Gajrela, is 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.   

Delicious Indian dessert, Carrot halwa,made in the Instant Pot, garnished with slivered almonds.

How to Make Carrot Halwa in 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. 

How to Make Carrot Halwa in an Instant Pot

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.

Grated carrots cooked with milk to make Carrot Halwa, served with slivered almonds

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 6qt, my programmable 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!

Four bowls with Carrot halwa, on a wooden table

Faster, Easier & Healthier Gajar ka Halwa

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.

A spoonful of delicious Carrot Halwa made using the Instant Pot pressure cooker

How to Make Vegan Carrot Halwa | Vegan Gajar ka Halwa

If you are looking to make this halwa vegan, you can substitute the ghee with coconut oil, and the dried milk powder with almond flour.  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.

Instant Pot Carrot Burfi or Gajar Burfi or Fudge


Gajar Burfi (Carrot Fudge)

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, Saffron Almond Pudding by Spice Cravings . #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie #saffron #almond #fudge #halwa #indiancuisine #desserts

Kesar Badam Halwa
Coconut Ladoos

10-Minute Coconut Laddoo
Besan ladoos

Easiest Besan Laddoo
Instant Pot Carrot Burfi or Gajar Burfi or Fudge

Gajar Burfi (Carrot Fudge)
Deep Fried Gujiya, by Spice Cravings. Deep Fried Gujiya, or Milk Fudge Turnovers, are a popular dessert made in the northern part of India around the festivals of Holi and Diwali. It is a deep-fried sweet dumpling that is made by stuffing pastry dough with sweetened milk fudge (khoya), chopped nuts and coconut flakes and is glazed with a thick sugar syrup. #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie

Deep Fried Gujiya 
Rice Pudding- Kheer in Instant Pot

Kheer, Rice Pudding
Baked Gujiya by Spice Cravings. Gujiya, or Milk Fudge Turnovers, are a popular dessert made in the northern part of India around the festivals of Holi and Diwali. This recipe is an oven baked version of the traditional deep fried gujiya, which is a sweet dumpling that is made by stuffing pastry dough with sweetened milk fudge (khoya), chopped nuts and coconut flakes and is glazed with a thick sugar syrup. #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie

Baked Gujiya
Almond spice cookies- eggless almond spice cookies, Almond Nankhatai by Spice Cravings. This healthy version of Nankhatai or Almond Spice Cookies uses mixes in whole wheat flour, and almond flour with the all purpose flour & a bunch of spices. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #indian

Nankhatai (Almond Spice Cookies)
 

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Instant Pot Carrot Halwa Gajar ka Halwa by Spice Cravings. Carrot Halwa or Gajar ka halwa is a dessert from Punjab, in the Indian subcontinent. It's consistency is between a fudge and a pudding. It is made by slow cooking grated carrots with milk and sugar, flavored with cardamom and saffron and garnished with chopped almonds and cashews. A perfect comfort dessert for winters. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty

Instant Pot Carrot Halwa | Gajar ka Halwa

An easy Instant Pot recipe for Carrot Halwa, or Gajar ka Halwa, a traditional Indian dessert made with grated carrots, milk, sugar, nuts and cardamom! Includes vegan and dairy-free instructions.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 301kcal
Author: Spice Cravings

Ingredients

Pressure Cook

  • 4 tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter (use coconut oil for vegan/dairy-free)
  • 1/4 cup cashews and almonds chopped
  • 6 cups carrots grated (about 5-6 large or 10-12 medium)
  • 1 cup milk (I use 2%, can use whole milk too, no fat-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron optional, but recommended
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Add after Pressure Cooking

Instructions

  • Prep: Wash, peel and grate carrots. If using a Box Grater, use the large side. I use my Food Processor to shred the carrots.  Chop cashews and almonds and keep aside.
  • 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!

Video

Notes

This recipe was developed and tested in Instant Pot 6qt and 3qt.  Cook time refers to Pressure Cook time. 
If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
Recipe has been updated with a new cook time of 2 mins. 
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 186mg | Potassium: 746mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 16525IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 333mg | Iron: 0.6mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Carrot halwa, Halwa, Indian desserts, vegetarian dessert
Did you try this recipe?Mention @SpiceCravings or tag #spicecravings!
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Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Sam G
    October 26, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Terrific recipe – thank you

    • Reply
      aneeshasg
      February 8, 2019 at 6:05 pm

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Mona
    January 27, 2018 at 7:53 am

    This is so unbelievably delicious! I made a different recipe a few weeks ago and while that one was very easy (dump and go), it didn’t have the flavor or texture I was hoping for. The milk powder addition is brilliant. Thanks for a great recipe – it’s definitely a keeper!

    • Reply
      aneeshasg
      January 27, 2018 at 8:39 am

      Thank you Mona! The sautéing does take a little effort, but the result is totally worth it. So glad you enjoyed this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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