Kesar Badam Halwa | Saffron Almond Pudding

June 3, 2018 (Updated: December 12, 2019) By Aneesha |

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Kesar Badam halwa, or Saffron Almond Pudding, is the undisputed “king” of Indian desserts. Made using just six simple ingredients, it is one of the most delicious and decadent desserts. I make it using almond flour , milk, butter or ghee (clarified butter), sugar, cardamom and saffron.

Naturally sweet and nutty almond flour, or almond meal,  forms the foundation of this rich dessert.

I add milk for a creamy and silky smooth texture. Saffron provides a beautiful floral aroma and vibrant yellow color to this halwa.  I add a pinch of freshly crushed cardamom since that enhances and compliments the flavors of saffron.

Traditional Stove-Top Recipe for Badam Ka Halwa

Up until I came up with this recipe, I had been making Almond Halwa following my mother-in-law’s super delicious recipe.

I would start by soaking the almonds in warm water for 3-4 hours, peel off their skin, then puree them into a paste using about a quarter cup of milk. I would then saute the almond paste and sugar mix in ghee. Saffron soaked in warm milk would go in and I’d continue to saute till it reached a pudding like consistency.

That process took anywhere from 30 -45 minutes depending on the quantity.  During the entire process, I would have to stir almost continuously to prevent the almond paste and sugar from sticking at the bottom and burning.

The result was always finger-licking good, but, it was a labor of love!

Spoonful of Kesar Badam Halwa

How to make Kesar Badam Halwa with Almond Flour

Ever since I got my electric pressure cooker (Instant pot), I have been experimenting with our cherished family recipes and making them simpler, quicker and healthier to make.

It took me a couple of attempts to perfect this one. I’ve made this recipe simpler and quicker by replacing raw almonds paste with almond flour, or almond meal. That cut down the total time considerably.  No more soaking, peeling and grinding.

The original recipe uses about 3-4 tablespoons of ghee or butter, to provide that rich and creamy texture.

I’ve made this recipe healthier by cutting ghee or butter down to a tablespoon, and, increasing the quantity of milk.  I feel that almonds have natural oils that release during the process of cooking, so I don’t feel the need to add more than a tablespoon of ghee.

But that’s a personal preference.  If you enjoy your halwa with more ghee, you can always add more. Cutting down ghee reduces the saturated fat content, hence reducing calories.

Increasing the quantity of milk adds a rich flavor and gives a silky smooth finish to Kesar Almond Halwa .

I make this kesar badam halwa in my programmable pressure cooker, Instant Pot 6 Qt.   To learn more about the instant pot, check out my Instant Pot FAQ and Accessories blog.

Side view of Kesar Badam Halwa, with almond slivers on top of the Saffron Almond Pudding in a blue bowl

Dairy-Free Variation of Kesar Badam Halwa

You can make Kesar Badam Halwa halwa dairy-free by replacing two ingredients in this recipe. Add any clear oil instead of butter or ghee, and, add unsweetened plain Almond milk instead of regular milk.   This also makes the recipe vegan.

More Indian desserts to enjoy

Here are some other Indian desserts that I love to make and my family really enjoys.

Sooji Sheera or rava kesari on a white plateSooji Sheera (Semolina Pudding) Instant Pot Carrot Halwa Gajar Halwa
Instant Pot Gajar ka Halwa
Coconut Ladoos lined up in a row on a white plate
10-Minute Coconut Laddoo
Besan ladoos
Easiest Besan Laddoo
Gajar Burfi or Carrot Fudge made in an instant pot arranged on a round white plate
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 or Kheer made in an Instant Pot served in a blue bowl
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

Nankhatai (Almond Spice Cookies)
Almond spice cookies piled up on top of each other on a white plate

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Kesar Badam Halwa garnished with slivered almonds served in a blue bowl

Kesar Badam Halwa | Saffron Almond Pudding

Kesar badam halwa, or saffron almond pudding, is the undisputed "king" of Indian desserts. Made using just 5-6 simple ingredients, it is one of the most delicious and decadent desserts. 
4.5 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 422kcal


  • 1 tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter (or light oil for vegan)
  • 1 cup Almond Flour (can also use Almond Meal)
  • 4 tablespoons Slivered Almonds (Reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish)
  • 3/4 cup milk or Almond milk for Dairy Free and Vegan
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Saffron
  • 3/4 cup sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom Powder (about 5-6 Cardamom Pods, peeled and crushed)


  • Saute: Heat butter or ghee on SAUTE.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of slivered almonds for garnish and add the rest in.  Add almond flour and saute for 3-4 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat milk, water and saffron in the microwave for 3 minutes.  You can also heat this on the stove-top.  Add sugar to the almond mix and stir well.
  • Pressure Cook: Add crushed cardamom and saffron milk mixture to the pot, and whisk well to prevent any lumps.  Cancel SAUTE, close the lid.  Set the vent to 'sealing' mode and pressure cook for 4 minutes on high pressure.
  • Reduce: Do a quick release of pressure (QR), by turning the knob from sealing to venting position.  Once the pin drops, open the lid and turn on SAUTE.  Reduce the liquid and stir in between.  For this quantity, in a 3qt Instant Pot, it takes about 10 minutes for the halwa to reduce to a pudding like consistency.  This time can vary depending on the quantity of halwa and size of your pot.  A larger surface area will help reduce the halwa faster. 
  • Turn off SAUTE when Halwa reaches a desired pudding like consistency. It will continue to thicken while it cools too. Garnish with the reserved slivered almonds and serve warm! Enjoy!


Notes & Recipe Tips

If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.


Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 1.4mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Almond, Halwa, Pudding, Vegan
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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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