19 Indian Sweets and Snacks for a Festive Diwali
Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is not complete without an array of traditional Indian snacks and sweets. Falling every year between mid-October and mid-November and celebrated over several days, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge. From barfi to samosas — explore these delicious sweet and savory treats for a festive Diwali party at home!
Indian Chole Aloo Tikki
Aloo tikki are deliciously spiced fried potato cakes, served here topped with a delectable mixture of chickpeas, sauces, and garnishes. This makes a special appetizer for four to eight people, but you might love it so much that you'll end up enjoying it as a main dish for two.
Indian sweets are often made with gram (or chickpea) flour, and this besan halwa is a classic example. Halwa comes in many forms, and the fact that this version is easy to slice and serve makes it perfect for sharing or gifting.
Air Fryer Pakoras
Make Diwali feasting a little lighter with these air-fried pakoras. True to the traditional deep-fried version, these healthier cauliflower and potato pakoras get just as crispy in the air fryer.
Kulfi is a no-churn ice cream that is often prepared in individual molds — an ice pop mold or even ramekins will do the trick. This quick and easy kulfi uses condensed milk to avoid long hours of simmering as in the traditional version.
Dahi Batata Puri
Chaat is an all-encompassing term for snacks in India. This classic chaat from Mumbai is a delectable combination of crispy shells called puri with yogurt (dahi) and potatoes (batata), garnished with sweet and spicy sauces. As recipe contributor Rani explains, the ingredient list may require a trip to your local Indian grocery store — but it will be worth it.
Super-Easy Coconut Ladoo
Ladoo or laddu are Indian sweets often made with gram (chickpea) flour, but here in this ridiculously simple recipe the base is coconut. Just five ingredients and a little bit of effort to roll the mixture into balls is all it takes to make these traditional treats. They last in the fridge for up to one week, so feel free to make these ahead of time.
One of the most beloved Indian sweets is gulab jamun, syrup-soaked balls made from powdered milk and flour. The rosewater-scented syrup permeates the balls, which for the uninitiated can be described as something like a rich doughnut. Bonus: They can be made the day before serving.
Another Indian sweet featuring chickpea (gram) flour, these laddu are commonly gifted during celebrations like Diwali. These top-rated laddu are made with just five ingredients, yet taste rich and indulgent thanks to the addition of ghee.
Crispy Vegetable Pakoras
You won't be able to stop at just one of these crispy pakoras, made with gram flour, vegetables, and a mix of spices. One reviewer suggests adding more heat with some fresh serrano chile peppers, and mixing up the vegetables by adding okra and cabbage in addition to the cauliflower.
Paneer Tikka Masala
This vegetarian dream of a dish can be enjoyed as a main course, or keep the paneer on skewers for an easy-to-serve appetizer. Recipe contributor Susmitha says, "The aroma of spices and paneer cooking in the oven is mouthwatering... This recipe replicates the taste of paneer tikka masala served in restaurants while eliminating cream and milk that is typically used."
If you've never enjoyed malpua, this Diwali is the time to start! As recipe contributor Baisali Chef explains, "Malpua is an Indian pancake-like dessert fried in oodles of ghee and sugar syrup. The traditional sweet has been a festive staple since eons. For the longest time in Indian households, malpuas were associated with something celebratory. This is very popular in Northern and Eastern part of the country and the history goes back to the days of Aryans."
Air Fryer Kurkuri Bhindi
Another healthier twist on a traditionally deep-fried dish, this air fryer Indian okra is heavenly spiced and a delicious accompaniment to a spread of savory snacks. You can also serve it as a side to your favorite curry with rice, naan, roti, or chapati.
Making your own parathas is easy with this recipe from home cook krishna biswas. Parathas are a welcome addition to your favorite Indian meal, or can be enjoyed on their own with yogurt, Indian pickle, and chutney.
Shahi Tukra (Bread Pudding)
This traditional Hyderabadi bread pudding is perfect for serving the whole family. As recipe contributor SUSMITA explains, "It is great for a large dinner party as the recipe can be easily multiplied to make more." Nuts, cardamom, and saffron set this recipe apart from other versions of bread pudding.
Baked Onion Bhajis
Baked instead of deep fried, you'll love these crispy onion bhajis. Sliced onions are tossed with a gram flour batter, then baked till golden in a hot oven. Thinking twice about making this recipe? This review is as convincing as they come: "I've made them 3 times now and my guests keep coming back for more."
The perfect thing to serve alongside Diwali snacks and sweets is masala chai. This authentic recipe is infinitely better than a store-bought chai mix and you can easily make more or less depending on how many tea-drinkers you'll be serving. If using loose-leaf tea instead of tea bags, use 1 teaspoon of loose tea for every tea bag called for in the recipe.
Crispy Stuffed Okra
Fresh okra is stuffed with an intoxicating blend of Indian spices, then lightly battered and fried until crisp and golden. You won't be able to stop at just one!
Quick Nariyal Burfi
Coconut burfi made easy with just four simple ingredients and no need for a candy thermometer. Make these alongside some laddu for a heartfelt Diwali gift of homemade treats.
More Indian Recipes
Need more ideas for celebrating Diwali deliciously? Turn to our Diwali and Indian recipe collections for more recipes, including more tempting sweets and snacks, as well as your favorite Indian curries, dal, naan, and more!