Phirni or firni is a traditional Indian dessert made with rice grits or pulsed rice and sugar.
Always served chilled in small clay pots or matka, this classic dessert is a must for festivals like Diwali, Holi, Karwa chauth.
Coming to rice desserts, phirni is one of the popular ones. There are so many variations with this dish like the mango firni, rose phirni and even chocolate flavored ones.
Here I going to show you how to make the most basic version, just rice, sugar, saffron.
What Is Phirni?
Phirni is a popular Indian sweet rice pudding made with basmati rice grits, milk and sugar. It is one of the popular rice desserts recipe from North India.
You basically cook the coarsely powdered long grained like basmati in milk and sugar. The rice gets cooked and also thickens the milk, yielding a creamy and rich texture.
The cooked pudding is chilled and served in small shikoras or kulhad, earthenware pots.
It is a very delicious, creamy and rich dessert which tastes best when you slow cook with patience.
While there are many shortcuts to make this dessert, I suggest you try this traditional phirni recipe at least once to know the authentic taste, especially if you are a beginner.
Though the recipe is a bit time consuming, it is a very easy and straight forward one.
All you have to do is cook milk , rice and sugar in low flame and cool it.
It is a perfect make ahead dessert that you can make a day before, chill and let the flavors infuse. Perfectly made chilled firni tastes as yummy as a kulfi, rich creamy and irresistible.
My daughter who is not a big fan of rice desserts like payasam or kheer loves this chilled firni.
Do try this easy dessert for the upcoming festive season and enjoy!
This Phirni Is
Slow cooked classic Indian dessert
Vegetarian & gluten free
Can be made vegan easily
Creamy, rich & delicious
Easy make ahead dessert.
I prefer to make quick desserts that do not take lot of time mostly.
On some days when we really feel like indulging I mostly pick this phirni or kheer or badam halwa. Recipes that take a bit of time but totally worth it.
While the process is a bit consuming, these desserts are made totally with pantry staples.
Ingredients You Will Need
Rice– Traditionally we use badmati rice to make phirni. Basmati rice has a unique flavor and lends that flavor to this dessert.
If it is not available you can use any long grained rice.
Milk– As with any milk based dessert use full fat milk for best taste and texture. Along with milk I like to add a splash of condensed milk to make the dessert richer.
You can also use evaporated milk or even cream instead of condensed milk.
Sugar-Use regular granulated sugar or organic raw sugar as per preference.
Saffron, dried rose petals & Green Cardamom– for flavoring the phirni.
Dry fruits– chopped, for adding along with rice and as garnish.
These are the simple ingredients for phirni recipe.
Step By Step Method
Soak 1/4 cup basmati rice n water for 20 minutes.
Rinse the rice grains and drain excess water.
Heat 1 teaspoon ghee in a pan.
Add the drained rice and saute in ghee for 3-4 minutes. Let the rice cool down a bit.
Take the sauteed rice in a small mixer grinder jar and grind to a coarse powder. The consistency should be of semolina or grits.
In the mean time soak the saffron strands in 1/4 cup warm milk.
How To Make Phirni
Add 1 litre or 4 cups milk in a heavy pan and bring to a boil.
Add the rice grits and saffron soaked milk.
Mix well and cook in medium flame until the rice gets completely cooked. It will take anywhere between 15-20 minutes in medium flame for the given quantity.
Add 1/2 cup sugar and mix well. Also add slivered almonds and mix well.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes for the phirni to thicken well.
Add pounded green cardamom and dried rose petals. Mix well.
Simmer for 5 more minutes and remove from flame.
Cool to room temperature, divide among serving bowls, cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
Serve phirni chilled with chopped almonds, crushed rose petals.
Tips & Notes To Make Phirni
What is the difference between kheer and frini ?- though made with same ingredients, phirni and kheer are two different desserts.
Kheer is made with whole rice, consistency is a bit thin and you can serve it both warm or chilled.
Phirni on the other hand is a chilled dessert where we use powdered rice to thicken the milk. It is set like kulfi and served super cold.
Quick & easy phirni recipe with condensed milk– If you don’t have the time to slow cook this recipe you can use condensed milk instead of reducing the milk. Add rice grits to 2 cups of milk and cook for 15 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup condensed milk, mix well and simmer for 5 minutes. Add your flavorings, mix well and simmer for 2 minutes.
How to make phirni recipe vegan? – To make this recipe vegan you can use almond milk or coconut milk.
Add sugar only after the rice is well cooked– In this recipe, you have add sugar to the milk only after the rice has completely cooked. If you add sugar in the begining itself rice will not cook properly and will have a bite.
Can I make this recipe without rice? The unique flavor of this dessert comes from rice. Having said that, you ccan make this recipe with
- any millet, roasted and powdered for a rice free option.
Use freshly pounded green cardamom for best flavor.
Instead of rose petals you can add rose water or kewra water.
More Indian Sweet Recipes
I hope you will try this easy to follow phirni recipe and enjoy as much as we did.
- 1/4 cup basmati rice or any long grain rice
- 4 cups full fat milk 1000ml or 1 litre
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- A big pinch of saffron soaked in 1/4 cup warm milk
- 4 green cardamoms peeled and pounded
- 1 tabespoon dried rose petals
- 1 teaspoon ghee or butter
- Soak 1/4 cup basmati rice n water for 20 minutes.
- Rinse the rice grains and drain excess water.
- Heat 1 teaspoon ghee in a pan.
- Add the drained rice and saute in ghee for 3-4 minutes. Let the rice cool down a bit.
- Take the sauteed rice in a small mixer grinder jar and grind to a coarse powder. The consistency should be of semolina or grits.
- In the mean time soak the saffron strands in 1/4 cup warm milk.
How To Make Phirni
- Add 1 litre or 4 cups milk in a heavy pan and bring to a boil.
- Add the rice grits and saffron soaked milk.
- Mix well and cook in medium flame until the rice gets completely cooked. It will take anywhere between 15-20 minutes in medium flame for the given quantity.
- Add 1/2 cup sugar and mix well. Also add slivered almonds and mix well.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes for the phirni to thicken well.
- Add pounded green cardamom and dried rose petals. Mix well.
- Simmer for 5 more minutes and remove from flame.
- Cool to room temperature, divide among serving bowls, cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
- Serve phirni chilled with chopped almonds, crushed rose petals.