Paleo Kulfi (vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free)


This delicious cardamom-infused Indian ice cream is about to become a summer staple. Today I’m sharing a recipe for kulfi that is paleo, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free! No need for an ice cream machine either!

Vegan Paleo Kulfi

I’m giving kulfi, a famous Indian ice cream, a paleo-friendly makeover! And it’s just as good as the original version! You’d never know it was dairy-free or vegan.

What is kulfi? How is this recipe different?

If you’ve never tried kulfi before, it’s a dense and creamy frozen dessert that melts slowly. It’s typically made by reducing milk on the stovetop, which gives the dessert a subtle caramel-like flavor and makes the dessert thick/dense.

Kulfi is typically a dairy-heavy dessert that’s made with milk, condensed milk, milk powder… you get the point, a lot of dairy. Well, this version is made with cashew milk and coconut milk and it’s just as creamy and just as tasty as traditional kulfi! It’s also loaded with nuts and flavored with cardamom and saffron.

So if you have a dairy allergy or if you’re vegan, this is the recipe for you.

Vegan Paleo Kulfi

(That’s definitely a grapefruit spoon pictured next to my kulfi. I’ve never used that spoon to eat grapefruit. But kulfi? Absolutely.)

So if you’ve never had kulfi before, let me *officially* introduce you two. You’re about to fall in love and have a long and happy life together because let me tell you, kulfi will keep you happy. Kulfi is dependable. It won’t melt into a puddle and get all over the place like regular ice cream. Kulfi is pretty good-looking, and oh, it also happens to be rich and creamy… sounds dreamy, right? Yep. I’m basically obsessed. I’d marry kulfi if I could.

How’s that for an introduction? For kulfi’s full biodata, click here (just kidding… also, you probably only got that joke if you’re Indian…).

Vegan Paleo Kulfi

A few things to know about this dairy-free kulfi:

  • Cashew milk. My recipe calls for it – you can make your own or go with store-bought (silk cashew milk works well).
  • No need for an ice cream maker! That’s actually the one appliance I don’t currently own.
  • These are traditional kulfi molds BUT I actually use small paper dixie cups! I find them much easier to unmold – you just tear the paper cup right off – so easy and they give the ice cream a “kulfi-like shape.” You can use the ice cream mold of your choice.

Let me know what you think of this vegan kulfi. You’re going to love this tasty frozen dairy-free dessert!

Paleo Kulfi (vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Vegan Paleo Kulfi

Paleo Kulfi (vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Kulfi is considered India’s ice cream. It’s a saffron flavored icy treat with rich, nutty flavor. Kulfi is fairly dense and so it takes longer to melt than traditional ice cream.
4.77 from 13 reviews
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  • Add the cashew milk, coconut milk, cardamom and saffron to a pot and bring the mixture to a full boil. Keep an eye on the pot so that it doesn’t boil over.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the almond flour, and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and immediately stir in the sweetener and pistachios. Allow the mixture to cool on the stovetop. (I suggest tasting a spoonful of the mixture and adding more sweetener to taste if needed).
  • Next, pour the mixture into an ice cream mold and freeze until solid.
  • When serving, garnish with crushed pistachios.


  • I use small dixie cups as they are easy to unmold and give the ice cream a "kulfi-like shape." You can also use these traditional kulfi molds or the ice cream mold of your choice.
  • *If you use sweetened cashew milk then you may want to use less maple syrup/honey.
  • I suggest tasting a little spoonful before you freeze the mixture - that way you can adjust the level of sweetness!
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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This recipe is from my Paleo Indian eBook, South Asian Persuasion with 100+ gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo-friendly recipes (just fyi, my cookbook is not vegan… but if you are vegan or even if you’re not, try my paleo jalebi!)

Vegan Paleo Kulfi
dairy-free kulfi

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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. RK says

    Hi. What brands of cashew and coconut milk do you use? Does it taste at all like coconut? I don’t like coconut so trying to find something that will mask the taste. Have you tried this recipe with sugar and is it just as good? Thanks!

  2. Joanna says

    Hello Ashley,
    You title this recipe as Paleo Kulfi (vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free) …
    Yet the sweetener options given are maple syrup or HONEY (!)
    Honey is NOT vegan …
    Anyway, I haven’t tried out the recipe yet (waiting for the moulds to arrive) but looking forward to it as I love all the individual ingredients (minus the honey). Yes, you guessed it, I’m vegan.
    When I’ve made it, I’ll let you know the verdict.
    Kindest Regards,

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Joanna, it’s vegan if you use a vegan sweetener – I listed maple syrup or honey as options however you can use maple syrup, or whatever sweetener you’d like 🙂 Let me know what you think!

  3. Nisha Agarwal says

    Hey Ashely,
    I do not like cashew or coconut milk. Can I just make this with alone milk. If yes, sweetened or unsweetened?

    • Nisha Agarwal says

      Hey Ashely,
      Re writing as I noticed a typo. I do not like cashew milk or almond milk. Can I just use almond milk. Let me know if sweetened or in sweetened

      • Anita Sharma says

        I am making it right now and will let you how it goes! Excited to try it. I’m concerned about the freezer burn or ice forming on the top sometimes when you make ice cream. Will try it and post the results!

      • Anita Sharma says

        I tried the recipe and it looks good and tastes good. When I take a bite into it though, there are ice crystals in it. Is that normal? It tastes like ice cream with ice pieces in it. Does that happen to you?

  4. pym says

    I really like kulfi molds shapes but can’t find. In USA(Amazon does have 6; for $36 too much ) what mold did you use?

    • My Heart Beets says

      So great to hear! An ice cream maker is one of the few appliances I don’t own – but please let all of us know how it turns out if you try this with an ice cream maker!

  5. Sonia Varghese says

    Hi! I made this and it was good, however next time I would reduce the mix for 5 more mins as it was still watery/icy when frozen and not that creamy. I also want to try making it with Ripple pea milk, have you tried that?

  6. Maneesha says

    5 stars
    Wow! Ashley, you really nailed it with this recipe!! Such a great treat!! I LOVED the kulfi! It tastes just as creamy as the dairy kulfi! I love the addition of the pistachio and the saffron! My husband enjoyed it too! He couldn’t believe it was dairy-free! Win!

  7. Tessa Simpson says

    5 stars
    I love the unique flavor combo her! WOuld be OK to add it a round up post I am doing on Paleo frozen treats? A link back and 1 image for a pin collage? Eager to try it!

  8. Chaya says

    Hi Ashley,
    I love every. recipe. of. yours that I. have tried and I. have your Insta pot cookbook. Thank you so much!
    So, I am wondering if. almond milk would work in this recipe. ( I want to make it today and won’t be able to get. to the store. for cashew milk.) 😉

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Chaya! Sorry for the late reply here – almond milk will definitely work! I will say that I find cashew milk to be creamier but either one works 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what you think of this!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Maneesha, great question! I’m going to update this in the notes! But to answer you here – I used unsweetened and added sweetener but you can use sweetened cashew milk and then decide if it needs additional sweetener. I suggest trying a little spoonful before freezing. Can’t wait to hear how it goes! 🙂

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