Nariyal Ladoo – Coconut Balls

Indian festivities are incomplete without mithai , a more popular name for sweets in India. These are prepared during the festival season , weddings or just like that. During festivities and weddings these are typically  boxed in colorful cartons to be given to friends and family. Of course the modern day  cakes, chocolates and other baked goods inspired from the west  have taken over the gift market during festivities but  there are people who still prefer the traditional way of gifting sweets/fudges.

This is how a traditional Mithai ( Sweets ) box looks like.

It’s believed that Indian sweets have an elaborate cooking process and for time pressed people the easier option is to buy sweets from local confectionery shops. I personally avoid buying sweets for the simple reason that the store bought mithai is loaded with extra amounts of sugar and ghee. I want to savor all the sweets without feeling guilty of consuming extra sugars and butter/ghee.  The recipe I’m sharing today is  simplified, with the right amount of sweetness without compromising on taste.Coconut and cardamom are the two star ingredients in this recipe which will make you crave for this mithai. 
Even if you are pressed for time, all you need is about 30 minutes to assemble these coconut balls ( ladoos). You can also make burfi/fudge with this recipe. It will need more cooling time but once cooled , all you have to do is to cut the burfi. Just follow the recipe till the end to learn how you can make burfi.
Makes 20 medium size ladoos ( balls)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cooling time: 10 minutes  ( for ladoos)
30 minutes ( for burfi /fudge)
Course : Dessert
Cooking Level : Easy
4 cups unsweetened , finely shredded coconut ( dry )
1 can (14 oz)  sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon green cardamom powder (preferably freshly ground)
In a non stick pan, roast coconut until you get a nice aroma ( on medium flame). It should take about 3 minutes. Do not brown.
Add  in sweetened condensed milk and cardamom powder.
Mix well and continue to cook and stir till the ingredients clump together ( about 3 minutes).
Remove from heat.
If you are making coconut ladoos/balls,  allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
With clean hands, take about 1 tablespoon of mixture in your hands and make small balls. You can adjust the size of ladoos – make them smaller or bigger. You can garnish them with pistachio nuts.  Store in air tight container for up to a week. I have not used any nuts in my recipe as my family likes it that way. As you can see in the picture below, my ladoos have been dipped in shredded coconut just to make them look lovely 🙂 It’s an optional step . All you need is about a tablespoon of shredded coconut in a small bowl and once the ladoos are ready give them a nice rub in the bowl with shredded coconut.
To make coconut burfi/fudge:
Pour coconut mixture into a lightly butter/ghee smeared baking dish and spread out to about  1-2 inch thickness. Top with pistachios ( if using ) and press gently with the back of a spoon to help nuts stick. Let the burfi/fudge cool completely and then refrigerate at least for 30 minutes to allow it to firm up. Cut the fudge into squares or diamonds and store in air tight container. Tip: Refrigeration helps the burfi to firm up and makes it easier to cut.
The burfi or ladoo is best enjoyed at room temperature.
Let me know if you try the recipe and how it turns out for you.

Here are two more sweets/mithai recipes that are easy and quick to make:

Besan ladoo / Chick Pea Flour Balls

Gajar Halwa ( Carrot Pudding )…The Easier Way

Khoya Balls/ Fusion Balls

Happy Cooking !






  1. Love cardamom and coconut! I must try both recipes as this sounds lovely!

  2. Love coconut, I’m planning to try these with chocolate drizzle on top. )

  3. Coconut and Cardamom are two of my favorite flavors – these look so easy to make. I love the idea of giving a gift of homemade sweets in a beautiful box like the one above – much more special than buying something from the store. Lovely.

  4. Coconut isn’t exactly my most favorite treat. But those definitely look delicious. I could use trying them out.

  5. ooo, I am definitely trying this recipe! Thanks for sharing

  6. I love coconut and have often wondered what this little balls are made with. Now I know!

  7. I love learning about cultural traditions. This is fun and would love to try this.

  8. Delicious. They remind me of the packaged desserts in America that are colored pink but there probably are more tasty.

  9. What a great treat! I love coconut anything!

  10. What a fun little treat. These look delicious and I bet they would be well received as a holiday gift.

  11. Absolutely wonderful! I love laddoo, and these coconut ones are really fantastic. When we were little, we used to make barfi using condensed milk and coconut, as you mention, whenever we fancied a sweet snack.

  12. I love coconut! I can’t wait to try these.

  13. O-M-G I have a girlfriend who married into an Indian family and at all of her showers (yes there were many ha!) and the hena party her soon to be MIL served these! I had no clue what they were but knew they were delicious. I am bookmarking this so I can recreate them! Thank you 🙂

  14. Wow. That doesn’t seem as time consuming as I would have expected. It doesn’t make your hands sticky? I have to try this.

  15. I’ve never heard of coconut burfi before, but it looks so good I HAVE to try making it myself!

  16. How could you ever go wrong with sweetened condensed milk and coconut?? These look absolutely fabulous! 🙂

  17. Homemade is always best! I enjoyed reading about this tradition!

  18. This recipe does indeed look super quick and straightforward and the finished ladoos look really rather beautiful!

  19. This dessert is similar to a filipino dish we make too!

Would love to hear from you