Shortcut Gulab Jamun Recipe

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on September 11, 2012

I learned this easy milk powder gulab jamun recipe from my husband’s aunt when she was visiting us. I’ve tested this recipe several times and finally have the one for perfectly juicy, soft gulab jamuns to share with you! Traditional gulab jamuns are made with khoya, which is reduced, almost solid milk. Using milk powder or dry milk instead of khoya makes this Indian dessert a little lighter and also easy to make from grocery store ingredients.

The sugar syrup is easy to make – just boil sugar, water and cardamom powder together. You can also flavor the syrup with rose water and or saffron if you wish. If you find the syrup too sweet, just add more water!

Heres the trick to make gulab jamuns soft, and juicy. Add vinegar to the dough. The acids in vinegar, when combined with baking soda, will make the jamuns airy and soft so they absorb the sugar syrup better. They will also be lighter and less dense than khoya gulab jamuns.

Make sure you fry the jamuns on low heat, so that they cook through on the inside.

But I know what you are asking..Can I BAKE gulab jamuns?

Umm..yes, and no. See the photo below – I baked a ball of the dough on 300f for about 7 minutes (or till it browns and rises). See the difference? The fried gulab jamun browns evenly and looks better. The fried one also absorbs the sugar syrup much quicker.

If you want to try baked gulab jamuns – bake the balls (after step 7 in the recipe below) on a silicone baking mat at 300f till they are brown and risen, about 7 minutes. Then remove from oven and let them cool. Remember, they wont look pretty like the fried ones! Once cool, drop them in the sugar syrup. Let them soak for atleast an hour before serving. Baked gulab jamuns will get soggy quickly, so dont keep them more than a day.

More milk powder gulab jamun recipes..
A video and recipe for gulab jamun by Manjula’s kitchen
A gulab jamun recipe using milk powder and bisquick on Indian food forvever
The ladies at Show me the Curry have a gulab jamun recipe using yogurt

Milk Powder Gulab Jamun Recipe

Makes about 24 small sized gulab jamuns

Ingredients
For sugar syrup
2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cup water
4 cardamom seeds, powdered in a mortar and pestle
A drop of rose essence, optional
A small pinch of saffron threads, optional

For the jamuns
1 cup unsweetened milk powder or dry milk (not coffee creamer)
1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons flour
A pinch of salt, optional
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/3 cup whole milk

Method

  1. Place the sugar, water and cardamom powder in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and watch for the sugar to dissolve. Once its dissolved, boil for another minute. Turn off heat and add rose essence and or saffron, if using. Set the syrup aside.
  2. Now make the Jamuns. In a mixing bowl, add milk powder or dry milk, baking soda, flour and salt. Mix well.
  3. Then add butter and vinegar. Add milk a little at a time and mix till it forms dough. You may not need all of the milk.
  4. When a soft, sticky dough forms, stop adding milk. Cover and let the dough stand for about 20 minutes.
  5. After resting, the dough will be less sticky, airy and a little firmer. If its too lose, sprinkle a little flour. If its too dry, add a little milk.
  6. Knead the dough a few times.
  7. Dip your fingers in oil or ghee, divide the dough into 24 even pieces and roll them into balls. Dip your fingers in oil as and when needed to avoid sticking.
  8. Heat enough oil to deep fry in a saucepan pan on medium-low heat. Drop a small pinch of the dough in the oil to test the temperature. The dough should sink to the bottom and then slowly rise to the top. If it sits in the bottom of the oil without bubbling, the oil is not hot enough. If the dough rises and browns too quickly, the oil is too hot.
  9. Add the jamun balls a few at a time and fry in oil on medium-low heat. Stir and turn the jamuns frequently so they brown evenly.
  10. When brown, remove from oil using a slotted spoon and drain on several layers of paper towels.
  11. Repeat with all the dough. Let fried jamuns cool.
  12. Add the jamuns to the sugar syrup. Stir gently so the jamuns are well coated in syrup.
  13. Cover and let the gulab jamuns soak in the syrup for atleast an hour before serving. Gulab jamuns will keep for several days at room temperature.
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Comments

comments

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Vijitha September 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I learnt the hard way. As you said made it n times from the time I got married and finally got a recipe which works. I make it with koya, my MILs recipe. Yours looks so soft and I can see that it absorbed good amount of syrup. I will try your version for my next party. May be for the halloween potluck at work. Simple and informative pics.

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2 Zenith September 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Wow ! these look yummmm … will definitely try for this Diwali !! thanks a bunch :)

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3 Niv Mani September 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm

mmmmm… mmmmmmm… Good!
My son’s been asking for Gulab jamoons.. Thanks for the motivation to make these!

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4 Soma September 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm

this is a really neat one. I used to make gulab jamun with ricotta and bisquick pancake mix. But nice one with the vinegar trick. I never thought of baking it, but now I won’t ever do it. It kind of looks not so nice LOL

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5 Ray September 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm

These look amazing; definitely trying these!

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6 jyothy September 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Hi,
The Jamun recipe looks real simple and YUM OOO!!
Had a question though- what kind of vinegar did u use?
Thanks.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

oops! i forgot to mention, its regular white vinegar. i’ll update the post :)

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7 Devi September 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Yummiieee gulab jamuns! Thanks for sharing such a nice recipe :) ) Like the clicks!

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8 Rosa September 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm

A divine treat! Irresistible.

Cheers,

Rosa

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9 Viswa September 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Yummo!!!

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10 Brahmani September 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Any flour can be used ? Or just the gulab jamun flour packets that are available in the market ?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

no, you dont need the gulab jamun mix at all! just use maida/all purpose flour

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11 Stephanie September 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm

These gulab jamuns look amazing! I never fry but I’m going to have to bite the bullet and fry up a batch of these this weekend. Gulab jamuns were the first Indian sweet I ever tried. Now I’m excited I can make my own!

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12 Sonia September 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm

easy peasy treat!

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13 chinmayie @ love food eat September 11, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Awesome! I have made jamuns only using the ‘gulab jamun mix’ so this is really interesting.

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14 Sanjeeta kk September 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm

What a perfect timing to post these delicacies when festive season is round the corner..hurray!!

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15 Chandana September 12, 2012 at 2:31 am

Hey sala,

Nice recipe there. certainly will try it.
A good way to skip Packaged food of any kind.

One doubt there, from what i can see, there are 2 primary chemical reactions that are goin on there,
1. Venegar+ baking soda = lots of fizz= lots of carbon dioxide = fluffy soft jamuns.
2. vinegar+ milk powder= curdled milk = paneer.

So i guess, paneer+ maida+ butter+ vinegar+ baking soda should also work.
grind them in a mixie/ food processor to get av even mix of all ingredients, knead, make balls and fry.

For the baked ones= If you drop them in the syrup while still hot, they would soak up much more syrup. (like marie biscuit absorbs and expands more when soaked in hot steamy tea)

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16 ED September 12, 2012 at 2:35 am

Wow Sala, these really look wonderful. I’m definitely going to try making them which will be a first for me. Thanks for this.

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17 Happy Cook / Finla September 12, 2012 at 4:25 am

When i first came to belgium I used to make it with milk powder ( recipe from a book) and the first time i made them i kept in a tuperware for next day and when i opend up instead of small balls i had giant balls :-) But then next time i learned i should make smaller balls, don’t know were that recipe is but i think i will try this one once.

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18 Manasi September 12, 2012 at 6:30 am

I love how well the jamuns have absorbed the syrup.
I must try this.
One question, can I use milk and khoya powder in a 50-50% ratio?

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19 Kat Rowley September 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Oh wow! These are one of my favorite things to order when we eat out, and I’ve always wanted to try them at home. This looks totally easy. I’m so glad I found your blog today!

I’m a new vegetarian, so I was looking for blogs to help me relearn how to cook. I’m happy to have found you. :D

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20 Charul @ Tadka Masala September 13, 2012 at 9:17 am

Hi, I have kind of same recipe with khoya .. Have tried it both with and without baking soda. Must say it really gives a nice oomph to the jamuns. But I am a little skeptical about vinegar? Won’t it leave a tangy taste in jamuns?
PS: the baked jamuns looks like mini pav!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

There is so little vinegar here, you wont even taste it. Its just enough to react with the baking soda and give you soft, spongy jamuns that will get nice and juicy when they go in the syrup.

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21 Kathleen Richardson September 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Interesting that vinegar has such a strong odor in the bottle, but once used, it tones down or completely disappears. My mother used to put it on our skin when we got sunburns and the smell was gone in seconds!

About the cardamom, Sala. You said four seeds. I consider the large ‘containers’ to be pods and when you break them open, the round tiny black pieces to be seeds which you then grind to a powder. Is that what you mean, or do you consider the large pods to be the seeds?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

I mean the seeds inside the pod :)

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22 anudivya September 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Nice tip on the vinegar Sala.
I tried baking Gulab Jamuns a while ago, weren’t that shabby…
http://mixtomatch.blogspot.com/2011/08/baked-gulab-jamun.html

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23 Siti October 11, 2012 at 10:13 pm

hey..m wondering hw many ml is1 cup??

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24 NikitaP October 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Hi.. they look so good! I’ve never made indian sweets before. Quick ques- What oil should they be fried in? As I have only olive oil and sunflower-olive oil at the moment….

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Sunflower oil is fine.

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25 gayathri October 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm

looks so delicious…nice click….

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26 Sangeetha November 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Hi Sala,
The gulab jamuns look delish! I am planning to make it for Diwali (yes, tomorrow!). I scourged the stores today and could find only non-fat dry milk. Do you think this will work? I could not find the Nido powder that I typically use. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Yes, non fat dry milk is good!

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Sangeetha Reply:

Thanks! I just finished frying a big batch and they came out fantastic!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Yay! Enjoy!

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27 Meera November 12, 2012 at 9:15 am

This looks yummy !
Btw I’m making this right now and my dough seems to clump up and is dry. I don’t know why?
Any suggestions would be helpful :)

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Is it dry after you have rested it? You can sprinkle milk, a little at a time till the dough forms. You dont want it too too wet – just moist enough that you can form balls.

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28 The Mad Analyst November 13, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Hey, thanks for posting this recipe! A coworker brought some of these in for a Diwali event earlier this week and I’m planning to make a batch myself. Would you happen to know a specific temperature for the oil? I try to avoid trial and error when possible =)

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

I dont have oil temperature. But read step 8 in the method – it will help you fry at the right heat.

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29 Arunie November 15, 2012 at 6:00 am

Looks Yummy!Is it alright to use skim milk instead of whole milk?Thanks

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30 Shilpa November 15, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Omg can’t thank you enough. I have always tried making with gits and always turned out as a disappointment. This time with your recipe it is so easy and all my Gulab Jamuns are nice, brown and soft..Thank you so much….
Shilpa

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31 Lemon Cake November 18, 2012 at 8:25 am

Great recipe! Hope you don’t mind if I add my own adaptation to my blog? (attributed to the original of course)

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32 stefi November 27, 2012 at 3:38 am

hey this was an awesome recipie thanxx a ton:)my jamuns had a little powderiness to but it looked a lot like yours maybe it wasn’t cooked fully.

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stefi Reply:

oh no i just realised i accidently made mine with rice powder.maybe thats why it had a powdery taste to it…silly me : p

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33 Sam January 7, 2013 at 3:53 am

Thanx for sharing this lovely recipe. I cnt wait to try thm and share my expreience wth u. I would like to know how many grams would one cup milk powder be?

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34 Munira January 7, 2013 at 9:15 am

Hello,
I tried these yummy Gulab Jambuns yesterday, this was my first time making this dessert, and I found it so easy… and OH SO TASTY! Thank you thank you thank you!
I was wondering if you have a such an easy reciepe for Ras Malai? Maybe I am pushing my luck a bit here… but thought I would ask.
Thanks again!
Munira

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35 Jenny January 8, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Hi tried making this recipe but my gulab jamuns keep falling apart no matter how gentle i am with stirring them.. They are always fine at first but when they start to brown, the start to crack, break and then all im left with is a suspension like mixture of the powder and oil.. help!can somebody tell me what i’m doing wrong? i followed the proportions of the ingredients properly and im pretty sure i didnt forget to put anything…

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Looks like your dough might be too dry. Try adding a little more water.

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36 chandni January 19, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Hi Sala, I recently started following your blog and followed this recipe. It was amazing
http://thespoonofjoy.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/gulab-jamun.html

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37 Harjinder Gill February 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Many thanks for this great receipe. It worked for me. They were super soft and juicy. I’ve tried many receipes but this has to be the best and easiest one.

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38 Km February 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Can I substitute red vinegar for this recipe?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

I’ve never tried it with red wine vinegar. My guess is that white vinegar will work best.

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39 Heena March 9, 2013 at 9:51 pm

wow! i tried this recipe 4 the first time n without vinegar because it was not available. it turned out so well… thanks

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40 Meraa April 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Hi. I have a time thinking how to make it because I saw just how to do it but this is easier. I have to thank you because it was delicious but I have to admit that I added a little more flour because I forgot the butter and I made some of that way but I did it in your way too. Thanks again.

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41 neeru April 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Hi .I have a question which brand of milkpowder did u use as I only see the ones fortified with iron ,calcium etc. which is good for babies..Thanks!

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42 Mohini May 4, 2013 at 2:23 am

Hi Thanks a lot for this wonderful recipe. I just did it,it came out well.

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43 Jennifer in BreadLand May 13, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Hmm… made these and they turned out beautifully, but went soft immediately in the syrup. I am used to gulab jamuns that are a bit crispy on the outside (actually, I like them kind of firm on the inside anyway). Any idea what went wrong? They are still tasty, but very, very soft now, sort of like cake. Not falling apart, but not the texture I’m used to. :-(

For anyone who’s surprised by baking soda, I have seen many traditional recipes that call for yogurt, which would add a similar acidity. :-)

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Gulab jamuns aren’t supposed to be crispy. If you like yours denser and less spongy, use more flour and or less baking soda.

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44 Rab May 16, 2013 at 7:36 am

Hello,
I have made your recipe and loved it. It was a big hit. Now I want to make it in my daughters birthday party for my daughters. I want to make like 200 ct. Can I make ahead like two day before or one day before? I was thinking to fry them and mix them in the syrup the morning I have the party. Do you think it will work?

Thank you so much.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Yes making ahead will work.

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45 Debra June 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I have never made any kind of Indian sweet before but tried your recipe this evening with my young son and they have turned out beautifully. It was so EASY!!! Thank you for this lovely recipe, it is perfect for Father’s Day tomorrow. x

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46 Coco in the Kitchen October 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I have been looking for the secret to the spongy gulabs for years.
Didn’t know about the vinegar!

Thanks, Sala.
Can’t wait to try your recipe.

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47 Priya@MyKitchenOdyssey October 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Lovely recipe sala.Vinegar in a sweet recipe hmm interesting.I used to get gulab jamun mix and do it.I have to try this sometime.

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48 tamera November 3, 2013 at 10:53 am

can i use cinnamon instead of cardamon?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Sure!

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49 Deanna November 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Made this today! Came out very well! Thank you!

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50 Sarah November 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Tried the recipe last night, I followed the whole thing exactly but I only had enough dough to make 12 balls. They were hard and not cooked well. Can you give me some tips on how to fry them properly? How many minutes I should fry them for? Thanks

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

You need to fry them till they are golden brown. And the right oil temperature is when the balls sink, and then soon after start to rise to the top. If the they were too hard, you need to add more milk or water to the dough.

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51 Saman Amin February 10, 2014 at 1:10 am

Hey Sala.
I’ve tried these a couple of times using this recipe, they look so great and taste just as good. Only issue I’ve been having each time is when I refrigerate them for later, they turn a little hard, more so, on the inside. Why is that? What did i do wrong? HELP!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Try adding a little more baking soda, or add more water to the batter so its not too stiff

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