Gluten-Free Gulab Jamun (paleo, nut-free, dairy-free)


I am so excited to share this recipe for gluten-free gulab jamun with you guys!

You won’t believe what these are made out of… COCONUT FLOUR! Yup, these are coconut flour gulab jamuns!

gluten-free gulab jamun

If you’ve ever been to an Indian restaurant, you’ve probably wondered: are gulab jamun gluten-free? No, they’re not. They are traditionally made with milk powder and flour. Well, this famous Indian dessert is getting a paleo makeover! Think: sweet fried dense donut-like dumplings soaked in an aromatic sweet syrup! Those of us who have to be gluten-free or who would just prefer a cleaner version of this dessert can enjoy gulab jamun once again!

Gluten-free, Paleo & Allergy-Friendly Gulab Jamun:

Not only are these gulab jamuns gluten-free, but they are also PALEO-friendly too! That’s right this is a Paleo Gulab Jamun recipe! That means they are dairy-free and grain-free. My recipe is also nut-free! So many exclamation marks – can you tell I’m excited?! I know a lot of paleo desserts call for nuts but these heavenly little deep-fried balls of sweetness are made with coconut flour!

I know coconut flour gulab jamun may not seem decadent but trust me, they are. Yes, this dessert is a bit healthier than regular gulab jamuns BUT it’s still very rich and decadent. You are going to absolutely love this recipe.

I came up with this recipe for gulab jamun several years ago when I was following a strict paleo diet. Those of you who have my eBook, South Asian Persuasion: 100+ Paleo Indian Recipes, have had this recipe for a while now. I figured it was about time that I share it on my blog – I know many of you still follow a paleo diet or would prefer a cleaner version of this classic Indian dessert. Plus, Holi (an Indian festival) is coming up so what better time to make these!

In my ebook, I have two recipes for gulab jamun: an almond flour gulab jamun and a coconut flour gulab jamun. Today I’m sharing my recipe for coconut flour gulab jamun! I hope you’ll check out my eBook for other gluten-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly Indian recipes!

gluten-free gulab jamun

What is Gulab Jamun?

Gulab jamun is a sweet dumpling soaked in a rose and cardamom flavored sugar syrup. This dessert is served during weddings, holidays and other celebrations!

There are so many Indian desserts that exist (we tend to like sweets!), but to me, gulab jamun is the quintessential Indian sweet. You can find this dessert at nearly every Indian restaurant and it’s almost always served during a special Indian occasion.

I absolutely love gulab jamun and so several years ago, when I found out that I had to start eating a gluten-free diet, I was pretty devastated about the fact that I’d never eat a gulab jamun again. That’s because this sweet is traditionally made with flour as well as an ingredient called khoya which is a milk product.

So I put my experimenting cape apron on and spent a lot of time in the kitchen recreating all of my favorite Indian sweets so that they would be gluten-free and dairy-free: gulab jamun, ras malai, kufi, two types of jalebis! Why? Because it doesn’t matter whether you have celiac disease, are gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant or just prefer to eat a paleo/clean diet – we all deserve to eat gulab jamun 🙂

nut-free coconut flour gulab jamun

This is a picture of the gulab jamuns right after they come out of the oil – they look just like fried donuts:

gluten-free paleo gulab jamun

Coconut flour does an amazing job at soaking up liquid – this is what they look like after soaking in syrup for a bit:

gluten-free paleo gulab jamun

Holi, a spring festival known as the festival of colors, is just days away so I figured this would be a great time to share this recipe. Make these gulab jamuns along with thandai, a popular Holi drink. After what has seemed like a very long winter, I am ready to celebrate spring! I’m excited about longer sunny days and spending more time outdoors with my kiddo. I’m also excited about making and eating these gulab jamun – I can’t wait to hear what you think of them!

Gluten-Free Gulab Jamun (paleo, nut-free, dairy-free)

gluten-free paleo gulab jamun

Gluten-Free Gulab Jamun (paleo, nut-free, dairy-free)

4.75 from 4 reviews
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To Make Gulab Jamuns:

  • Heat oil in a wok or a deep, wide bottomed pot to 360°F.
  • While you wait for the oil to get hot, combine the arrowroot flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar and baking soda to a bowl and mix well. Then, add the eggs and coconut milk and mix well.
  • When the oil is hot, use a small cookie scoop and drop the dough into the oil.
  • When one side of the donut becomes golden, flip it over and cook the other side for about 3 minutes, or until golden. Fry 3-4 donuts at a time.
  • Place the fried donuts onto a paper-towel-lined plate. 

To make the Syrup:

  • Add all of the syrup ingredients to a saucepan over low-medium heat and cook for 5-8 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, add the donuts to the saucepan and allow them to soak in the syrup for 5-10 minutes.
  • Garnish with crushed pistachios if desired and serve warm.
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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Michelle Melendez says

    5 stars
    I, too, was devastated when I had to gluten-free. This recipe is absolutely brilliant. I baked mine instead of frying them (more due to my incompetence with frying in any form). But, they still came out delicious just out of the oven. I’ve been steeping them (I’m probably using the wrong terminology, but still…) for about five minutes now. My cheer glee and excitement is that of an impatient child as I stare at the timer. I’ve been licking my wooden spoon every time I check on them to dunk them some more. Two minutes! At this point, I’m downright pacing (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I might burn a final calorie or two before indulging). Now I’m counting down the seconds…I spoon 3 onto my plate and…yes. It can never be 100 percent like the real thing, but they are glorious in their own right! Thanks so much for your efforts in attempting such a feat! I am quite, QUITE joyous…as I scoop up 3 more. I made mine fairly small, anyhow.

  2. Florence says

    You did it! I am of East Indian descent and not being able to eat the sweets from my childhood is Ugh. I am semi-Paleo. With Diwali and all the Holidays coming up is tough.

    I was a bit nervous when I read your recipe. I was unsure how the balls would come out due to the amount of arrowroot and coconut flour. You proved me WRONG. The recipe came together very well, easy to understand directions and I made it within an hour. (I do my cooking outside.)

    The balls weren’t too sweet, perfect balance to the syrup. I will double the syrup next time.

    Thank you for creating and sharing.

  3. sabrina says

    Hi Ashley…thanks again for another exciting recipe! I’m have a dinner party on Saturday and wondered how far in advance these can be made? Can I make them the day before, soak them, and then leave them in the fridge overnight? Thinking of serving them at room temperature so I can always take them out during the day. Just not sure about how much syrup will be left after soaking though, but I guess I can always make extra for serving. Its a toss up right now between this version and the baked version. Thank you in advance.
    Love you, your website, and all your awesome recipes that you so graciously share with us. So authentic 🙂

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Sabrina, I’m so sorry for the late reply! How did the dinner party go? To answer your question, if you make them a day before, I’d probably only soak them 10-15 minutes before serving. Since these are gluten-free I’m not sure if they’d get soggy after a while in the syrup.

  4. Varsha says

    Amazing easy to follow recipe! Can this recipe be made without egg? And if so, is there an alternative you can advice? Thank you 🙂

    • My Heart Beets says

      Thank you! I haven’t come up with an egg-free version of this unfortunately, sorry! I’m not sure how it will work with an egg substitution, but if you try please let us know how it goes!

  5. Shah says

    Hi . Just made these, mine didnt soak up the syrup that well. Is the syrup thick or thin? But it’s definetly great!!

    • My Heart Beets says

      I’m glad you like them!! Try letting them soak longer – the coconut flour in the gulab jamun is great at soaking up liquid so if you give it a bit of time it should soak it right up! I’d say the syrup is thin but if you prefer thick you can reduce it on the stovetop 🙂 I hope that helps!

  6. Lady E says

    4 stars
    This recipe was good! I just made these tonight, and I liked them. I was a little skeptical because I thought these might end up tasting like coconut, but I used raw milk and cream instead of coconut milk since that is what I had, and I was pleasantly surprised. I will definitely make these again, but i will cut the baking soda next time, because I could taste it a little when I was eating them, but I do think that my palate might be a bit sensitive to baking soda, so it could just be me. But thanks for the recipe! I appreciate you making Indian cooking accessible to the American (and dietary restricted) cook!

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