Kesari Kheer : Saffron Infused Indian Rice Pudding

Kheer or the Indian rice pudding is a flavorful dessert which is not too high on calories but has the comfort of one. Made using few ingredients, this dessert is heaven in a bowl. If you like milky desserts, you are bound to get crazy over this one. I recently made this for a batch of non Indian friends and they loved it ! Dedicating this recipe to them, presenting my version of Kheer infused with Saffron a.k.a Kesar- Kesari Kheer !

Indian recipe books are full of desserts and they all have one thing in common – the royal, comfort appeal ! This usually means using all sorts of nuts, sultanas and Ghee/ clarified butter in the recipes which makes them rich and royal. When it comes to Indian desserts, my take is usually a bit different.

My inclination is often towards the low sweet, low fat varieties such as rasgullas, sandesh and Kheer.

kheer close shot

Just this last week, we invited a bunch of friends over for dinner and i planned to cook a complete Indian meal. I planned the appetizers and entrees really quickly but got stuck over the choice of dessert. It was too hot to have anything hot and i did not really care for Ice creams much.

Then, suddenly my husband reminded me of Kulfi, Rabdis and Kheer for options and my eyes lit up. It must have been atleast an year since i made kheer and just the thought of it, made me yearn for it. Also, since rice pudding is widely enjoyed all over the world, i thought this would be perfect for my non Indian friends ๐Ÿ™‚

Kesari Kheer- Saffron infused Indian rice pudding

Kesari Kheer

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Kesari Kheer


  • Whole Milk – 1 ltr
  • Basmati rice/ jasmine rice – 1/4 cup
  • sugar- 3 tablespoons
  • 5-6 strands of saffron
  • dry coconut- 1/4th cup , grated
  • 5-6 Almonds, cut into slivers
  • 2-3 green cardamoms + 1 black cardamom
  • 10-12 raisins
  • ย Chironji – 1 tablespoon


  1. Wash and soak the rice for atleast an hour. Drain the water from the soaked rice and keep aside.
  2. Take a heavy bottomed pan and to it add in the milk and put to boil on medium high. Add in the soaked rice to the milk and keep cooking while stirring in every 3-4 minutes. It is important to keep stirring so that the milk does not stick to the bottom. The rice will begin to cook and will be well cooked in about 30 minutes or so.
  3. Cook the milk + rice till the milk reduce to 2/3 rd quantity. Add in the sugar and mix well. Take 2 tablespoons milk from the mix and to it, add in the saffron strands. Let it rest for about 10 minutes so that saffron essence and color gets infused in the milk. Using your fingers, gently crush the saffron strands in the milk. Add the saffron with milk into the pan with milk+ rice. Add in the crushed cardamom and mix.
Add in the grated coconut and mix well. Once the kheer is a bit thick, shut the flame. Depending on your choice, cook further for a thicker consistency. Remember that the pudding will continue to thicken as it cools down.

Keep the kheer aside to cool down. When slightly cooled down, add in the raisins and chironji. Let the kheer cool down completely.

Once completely cooled down, add in the chopped almonds on top and serve. You can also serve this lukewarm.

I served the kesari kheer cold and it was very well received by my friends.

I had made a big batch but it all got over in a jiffy! Almost everyone took a second serving and i am sure it gave me more joy seeing them enjoying the kheer than they did eating it ๐Ÿ™‚ The saffron lend a beautiful light yellow tinge to the kheer and the grated coconut added a great texture to it. I am so going to make this soon ! Try my version and i am sure you would love it !

Fancy Indian desserts? Maybe try one of these too :

almond malpua copy

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  1. Looks delicious, Prachi. And adding coconut would definitely add a nice texture to the kheer. Take care. -Sreelatha

  2. Pingback: Diwali 2016- Collection of 27 recipes | Divine Spice Box

  3. Wow, this kheer looks really inviting. Thank you so much for the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚ And your website too looks very beautiful. Great job indeed.

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