Instant Pot Kalakand (Milk Cake)


A rich, creamy dessert that’ll melt in your mouth! This cardamom-spiced milk cake is the perfect treat for this festive time of year.

Instant Pot Kalakand (Indian Milk Cake)

What is Kalakand (milk cake)?

Kalakand, also known as milk cake, is a popular Indian dessert. It’s a sweet that I think most people prefer to buy in stores, because of how long it takes to make.

Well, I’ve come up with a shortcut kalakand recipe that doesn’t sacrifice flavor. This recipe tastes just like store-bought mithai!

Instant Pot Kalakand (Indian Milk Cake)

Milk Cake Recipe Expert

You should know that I’m somewhat of a kalakand expert. Okay, no one has officially bestowed that title on me, but it’s true. What makes me an expert? Well, I have decades of experience eating kalakand lol. I’ve been eating it (according to my mother, more like demanding it) since the approximate age of 3. Back then, I called it “milk mithai.” I still think that’s a nice name for this dessert.

As a teenager, I dreamt of opening my own mithai shop (I also had several other unlikely career aspirations, like being a comedian, which is hilarious because I am not funny, though I try lol). I had plans to call my mithai shop Ashley’s mithai shop (not very creative, I know).

Now, I’m a grown-up (more or less), and even though I don’t have my own mithai shop, I’m pretty sure that if I did, this kalakand would be a best-seller. Right ahead of or alongside my kaju katli, moong dal halwa, and besan burfi.

What does Kalakand taste like?

If you’ve never tried kalakand, it tastes kind of like a mix between a cake and soft fudge. It’s sort of like Indian tres leches. Think a soft, and moist yet still firm cake that’s slightly crumbly and melts in your mouth. I think it might be impossible for me to describe this dessert in a way that does it justice.

Kalakand is said to have originated in Alwar, a city in Rajasthan. The story is that a dessert maker left Pakistan after the Partition in 1947 and settled in Alwar, where he brought this dessert and made it popular. Different varieties of milk cakes were already popular in Punjab; it could be that kalakand was an adaptation of those other variations.

Kalakand vs Burfi

There are many types of milk-based Indian desserts. Kalakand is like a soft and creamy cake whereas burfi is more like a firm fudge. The main difference is in texture. Again, kalakand is much softer than burfi. If you’re looking for a burfi recipe, then give my milk burfi a try.

Instant Pot Kalakand (Indian Milk Cake)

There are different varieties of milk cake. This dessert can vary in color; some are white, some are brown, and some are ombré. It all depends on the cooking method and the type of ingredients used. Some recipes use whole milk, some call for paneer, and some use condensed milk. My shortcut version calls for ricotta cheese.

Traditionally though, this dessert is made by reducing milk and sugar until it forms a crumbly, soft burfi (fudge). It normally takes forever to make. You’re supposed to watch a pot of milk boil until it reduces to basically nothing.

We are skipping that step entirely. My method requires minimal effort and little hands-on time.

Instant Pot Kalakand (Indian Milk Cake)

How to make Kalakand in an Instant Pot:

Add ricotta cheese, sugar, and water to a pot and mix well. Pressure cook.

Open the lid, add ghee, dry milk powder, and freshly ground cardamom.

Pour it into a pan, garnish with pistachios, and chill for 3 hours.

Slice and serve!

Instant Pot Kalakand (Indian Milk Cake)
Instant Pot Kalakand (Indian Milk Cake)
Instant Pot Kalakand (Indian Milk Cake)

Is Kalakand good for your health?

Whenever I see this question, I laugh. No, kalakand is not good for your health lol. This is wishful thinking. Now, that said, I do feel better about making desserts myself because I know exactly what ingredients I’m using to make them. I always use high-quality, organic ingredients when cooking. I believe that anything homemade is likely going to be healthier than store-bought.

Should I keep Kalakand in the Fridge?

Yes, I keep kalakand in the fridge. You can store this mithai in an air-tight container in the fridge for about a week. 

As someone who has eaten more than her fair share of kalakand over the years, I’m confident in declaring that this is the best kalakand I’ve ever had. Or at least, equally as good as the best I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Instant Pot Kalakand (Indian Milk Cake)

Instant Pot Kalakand (Milk Cake)

Instant Pot Kalakand (Indian Milk Cake)

Instant Pot Kalakand (Milk Cake)

4.97 from 88 reviews
Pin Recipe Print Recipe
Servings 25 pieces
Cuisine Indian


  • 15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup sugar approx. 200 grams
  • cup water approx. 2.8 oz
  • ½ cup ghee 4 oz, room temp
  • 2 ½ cups dry milk powder approx. 235-250 grams
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom*
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios


  • Add the ricotta cheese, sugar, and water to the pot and mix well.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve, and cook for 11 minutes at high pressure. (This is a good time to grind cardamom if you don’t have some on hand).
  • Quick-release pressure.
  • Add ghee, milk powder, and cardamom to the pot and stir until well combined (you may want to wear a glove to hold onto the hot pot as you stir). 
  • Pour the mixture into a parchment-lined 8×8 pan, sprinkle chopped pistachios over top, and then gently shake the pan to help level the fudge and also to help the pistachios stick. 
  • Let the milk cake cool down (takes about an hour), then put it in the fridge for 3 hours to set. 
  • Once chilled, lift from the pan using parchment then cut into 1.5-inch x 1.5-inch squares. 
  • You can store this mithai in an air-tight container in the fridge for about a week. 



  • You can use non-fat or full-fat dry milk powder in this recipe. I have used this brand as well as this brand. I’ve also used the brand Village Farms from Wegmans. You can also find dry milk powder at Indian grocery stores as well as most grocery stores.
  • If for some reason the mixture looks runny, feel free to add more milk powder or hit sauté at the end.
  • Freshly ground cardamom powder is much more aromatic and flavorful than store-bought. I highly suggest grinding your own for this recipe (and for any Indian dessert recipe). Grind your own by removing the green shell and grinding the black seeds inside. I have and love this electric spice grinder if you’re looking for a recommendation.
  • I prefer using raw pistachios because they’re brighter green than roasted.
  • You can also decorate with rose petals if you’d like.
  • Important! All of the recipes on my blog are tested using a 6-quart instant pot – I have not tested this recipe in a different-sized pot. I don’t know if this recipe will work in a 3 quart or 8 quart as the surface area is different and will affect the temperature of the sugar syrup. I suggest only using a 6 quart for this recipe.
  • Do Not Double Recipe: Please do not double/triple this recipe or any other Instant Pot dessert recipe on my blog. A dessert or anything made with sugar syrup can be finicky in an Instant Pot. I have only tested this recipe as written.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Instant Pot Kalakand (Indian Milk Cake)

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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. Lea says

    5 stars
    I made this this afternoon (meant to make it last night as had for dinner tonight) anyhow, it didn’t have a runny consistency once I added all ingredients, so I added a splash of milk to loosen it off and then followed all the instructions except…. we ate it within 5 hours, still delicious, I managed to save a few squares so I can try it tomorrow and see how it should really be. Banging recipe I’ll definitely try this or one of the other variations again. Thank you 🙂

  2. Hiral says

    It worked like a treat couple of years ago for many times I made it but lately this year I keep getting food burn ☹️☹️
    So sad

  3. Liz says

    Hi Ashley,
    I am allergic to all dairy so am wondering if I can use coconut condensed milk and coconut flour (1/2 cup) to make this dessert or any other of your milk desserts?

  4. Sandra says

    5 stars
    Hi. I just made this for my son and for my daughter-in-law, (who is from Southern India). Lunch included this milk cake, your green bean thoran (big hit) and also your lazy tikki (also a big hit). They left just now, back to Toronto, but I forgot to include this milk cake in their care package–they are both extremely career oriented so don’t cook much….well “Hello Fresh” a few times a week, a lot of take out otherwise.
    Megha’s parents are visiting from India in September, I’m planning planning a big banquet one Saturday afternoon in honour.
    Question–do you think this milk cake would freeze okay? They both loved it.

  5. Vaishali says

    Thank you Ashley, kids loved kalakand, it was delicious and easy to make.
    If possible, please share bengali sweets recipe ( Rasgulla , Cham Cham)

  6. Vicky says

    4 stars
    I’ve made this twice now, first time didn’t set but I knew I’d used too much ricotta,. Next time I measured carefully and it’s set a lot better but still not enough to set. I’ve read your other comments and will try sautéing. I’m in Aus so my ricotta brand is different, will keep trying to get it to set, but it still gets eaten lol!

  7. Desi says

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for the recipe . I really appreciate your generosity in sharing this. Made it this diwali (my first time making a diwali sweet dish) and it was a hit! Will definitely become a part of our future family Diwali tradition!

  8. Reshma Shroff says

    Hi Ashley,

    My Kalakand came out sticky. While cutting it, the knife was not coming out clean & also it was stuck to the parchment paper at the bottom. Any idea as to what could have happened? I used the Trader Joe’s whole milk ricotta, regular sugar, Bob Red Mills non fat milk powder and ghee. Thanks

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Reshma, I think sometimes the amount of liquid in ricotta can vary – so I would just saute or mix it longer to dry up any extra liquid – IF it looks too liquidy next time. For now though, can you let it set a bit longer and see if that helps? You can also try cleaning the knife in between cuts – that should also help. Le time know!

      • Reshma Shroff says

        Thanks for your prompt response! I did put it on sauté for a few minutes but it started getting brown from the bottom. I also left it in the refrigerator for a while day. I think next time I will sauté it separately or try another brand of ricotta cheese.

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