40+ Holi Festival Foods: Sweets, Snacks & Drinks!

Thandai on a white plate.

A collection of holi recipes of Indian sweets and Indian snacks to inspire you to whip up a tasty treat! I’ve included my favorite traditional recipes and Indian fusion creations.

 I hope this post gives you some new inspiration to create in the kitchen. Whether you are a pro or a beginner, there is something here for everyone.

All recipes are vegetarian on my site. Where possible, I also offer alternative vegan options.

Holi, the festival of colors is in a way a kick off to the season of colors as we enter spring season. Whether you are looking for a traditional recipe or Indian fusion for a holi party, I got you covered!

Scroll through to find a traditional Indian dessert recipe or one of my Indian fusion creations! 

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Sweets: Traditional and Fusion




What is the Holi festival?

Celebrated in March, Holi marks the arrival of spring after a long winter and symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

Holi is a spring and harvest festival that is celebrated throughout India and globally, also known as “The Festival of Colors.”

On the first day, bonfires are lit, and the following day, people throw colored powder and water at each other in celebration.  It is a joyful and festive event that marks the arrival of spring.

In the US, it can be hard to celebrate Indian holidays without the time off, so incorporating some festive food is always something I try to do!

Gulab Jamun Cheesecake decorated with pistachios, rose buds, whipped cream and gulab jamun slices.

 How is Holi celebrated?

The celebration of the Hindu Holi festival begins the evening before the festival of Holi, known as Choti Holi or Holika Dahan.  On that day, large bonfires are lit in many parts of India to symbolize the burning of evil spirits.

Some families do a prayer and walk around the fire once. People often offer coconut and add popped sorghum or rice to the fire.  Note, India is very diverse and traditions of offerings can vary greatly from region to region just like Indian cuisine.

The lighting of a bonfire on Choti Holi or Holika Dahan symbolizes the burning away of negative and evil elements, and the heat of the fire also indicates the arrival of summer and the end of winter.

On the day of Holi, people usually wear all white, and colored powder is thrown playfully around at each other.  Water guns and water baloons are also filled with colored water.

Orange jalebis on parchment paper

Families gather for festive meals and Indian sweets.  

Thandai is a refreshing cold drink served on Holi. It is made with crushed nuts, seeds, rose petals, cardamom, black pepper, saffron, milk, and sugar.  You’ll find Thandai Powder in the Drinks section below.

Dahi vada (dahi bhalla) and puran poli are popular Holi recipes too.

Holi Sweets: Traditional + Fusion

What better way to brighten the Holi celebration of colors than with bright and delicious Indian desserts?

You can find something for your Holi celebration from an easy recipe, like Greek yogurt shrikhand to classics like gajar ka halwa. A healthier option is Khajur Barfi made with dry fruits.

You’ll find unique, fusion recipes you won’t see anywhere else such as Thandai-inspired baklava!

There’s even Gulab Jamun Cake which uses saffron sugar syrup, yum.

Eggless thandai mousse in serving cups garnished with rose petals and pistachios.

Eggless Cheesecake Thandai Mousse

Eggless cheesecake thandai mousse is the perfect no bake, Indian fusion dessert that is easy to make and will be a hit at your next party! No eggs, gelatin, or agar agar needed. Just a few simple ingredients are used. Perfect to celebrate Holi, Diwali, or any festive occasion.
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Indian fusion baklava

Indian Baklava – Thandai flavors Indian fusion

Indian flavors meet a Greek dessert in this Indian fusion sweet treat. Flavors are inspired by Thandai.
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Gajar Ka Halwa Indian Carrot Sweet Pudding

Gajar Ka Halwa With Milk Powder (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Gajar ka halwa is a traditional India dessert made of shredded carrots flavored with cardamom and sugar. Made using milk powder and with no khoya. The carrot halwa is a easy dessert that can be served on its own or even with ice cream.
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Greek yogurt shrikand topped with pistachios and rose petals.

Instant Greek Yogurt Shrikhand Recipe

Shrikhand is a popular Indian sweet from Western India that is yogurt based and easy to make! I love making it with greek yogurt. Best served chilled and to give the flavors some time to soak in.
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Ricotta cheese peda on a fluted white plate.

Ricotta Cheese Peda

Delicious bites of ricotta cheese peda with notes of cardamom that melt in your mouth! Made with 5 ingredients. Pedas are a popular traditional Indian sweet.
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Three magas pieces on a white fluted plate.

25 Minute Gujarati Magas Recipe (Magaj)

Melt in your mouth magas or magaj pak is a traditional Gujarati sweet recipe. Made often for special occasions with a few ingredients on the stovetop.
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Mohanthal pieces with pistachio garnish on a steel tray.

Best Gujarati Mohanthal Sweet (No Mawa)

Just 6 ingredients to make a homemade Gujarati mohanthal recipe that melts in your mouth! Detailed pictures to learn the tips to make this delicious traditional sweet without mawa.
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Coconut ladoos on a white tray.

6 Flavors Instant Coconut Ladoos With Condensed Milk

In just 10 minutes, these tasty coconut ladoo with condensed milk are ready. No cooking required for this easy recipe.
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Dry fruit barfi in a fluted white plate.

Easy Khajur Burfi or Dry fruit barfi (Date Nut Roll)

Dry fruit barfi or khajoor barfi or date roll burfi is so easy and a sweet treat. It is a dates sweet or date burfi that is sweet, crunchy and delicious. This dry fruit burfi is made of nuts, dates, cardamom and coconut.  There is no added sugar and it comes together in minutes!
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vegan gajar ka halwa in a gold trim bowl with raisins and pistaschios

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa

Vegan carrot halwa or gajar ka halwa is a popular traditional Indian dessert made of shredded carrots. The carrot halwa is a easy dessert that can be served on its own or even with plant based ice cream.
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Gulab Jamun cake decorated with pistaschios, roses and gulab jamuns.

Yummy Eggless Gulab Jamun Cake

Gulab jamun cake, always a party hit, is an easy, delicious,moist, saffron simple syrup-soaked cardamom cake with gulab jamun baked inside!The cake is layered with a light rose whipped cream or can be made without it.Read on to learn more about this yummy moist cake!
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coconut rose jalebi

Coconut Rose Jalebi

Classic jalebis are given a new taste with rose flavor and sweetened coconut shreds for a fun new spin on a popular Indian dessert
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Sukhdi pieces on a white plate.

15 Minute, 3 Ingredient Sukhdi or Gol Papdi Recipe

This melt-in-your-mouth sukhdi recipe will be ready within 15 minutes! It is a traditional Gujarati sweet recipe.
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Gulab Jamun Cheesecake decorated with pistachios, rose buds, whipped cream and gulab jamun slices.

Best Eggless Gulab Jamun Cheesecake

Rich, creamy eggless gulab jamun cheesecake that is easy to make! This is an Indian fusion dessert inspired by the popular sweet, gulab jamuns. Perfect for special occasions or festive seasons like Diwali.
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kaju katli ice cream sandwiches in an oval tin

Kaju Katli Ice Cream Sandwiches

A very easy and fun dessert, kaju katli ice cream sandwiches with a variety of toppings that kids can get in on! This dessert can be completely made from store bought ingredients or you can make the kaju katli at home! This would be a great kid friendly party dessert where everyone can add toppings to their own sandwiches.
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Milk Barfi squares.

15 Minute Milk Barfi or Milk Powder Burfi

Milk Barfi / Milk Powder Burfi is an easy, delicious, melt in your mouth Indian sweet that is ready in 15 minutes with 5 ingredients.
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Ras Malai Cake slice on a fluted white plate

Best Rasmalai Cake (Eggless)

An easy, delicious moist, milk soaked cardamom cake with layers of rasmalai topping and rose cardamom whipped cream. It actually has rasmalai in it! This cake can be made either completely homemade or semi-homemade.
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Holi Snacks and Light Bites

A selection of finger foods and snacks for your party.

Aloo chana chaat in a white bowl.

15 Minute Aloo Chana Chaat

Aloo chana chaat hits all the right notes: tangy, savory, sweet, with a bit of spice! This popular potato and chickpea based chaat is ready in a few minutes.
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Tater tot chaat on a plate.

Tater Tot Chaat

Easy delicious tater tot chaat is a simple twist on aloo chaat. It bakes delicious flavors into tater tots and is served chaat style.
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Prepared samosa chaat in a white lace trim plate.

Quick Mouth-Watering Samosa Chaat with Spiced Chana

Delicious Indian street style, samosa chaat made quickly at home!  This popular dish is the perfect balance of tang, spice, sweet and bursts with full of flavor.
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Cereal chevdo in a blue bowl.

15 Minute Delicious Cereal Chevdo (Chevro) or Chivda

Cereal chevdo or cereal chivda is an Indian snack that is savory,crunchy, and addictive! It’s a delicious snack with a cup of masala chai or on the go!
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Khaman with tadka poured on top and dessicated coconut.

Instant 30 Minute Khaman Dhokla Recipe – (Besan)

Moist and spongy traditional Gujarati khaman dhokla recipe! This instant savory besan (gram flour) khaman is a flavorful, steamed and so tasty.  This recipe uses no yogurt or curd so it is both vegetarian and vegan.
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samosa pinwheels with green chutney

Samosa Pinwheels (Baked)

Flaky,delicious baked puff pastry samosas that are quick to pull together and would taste delicious with a cup of chai and green chutney
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Sev mamra on a blue plate.

10 Minute Sev Mamra Recipe

Sev mamra or sev murmura is a 10-minute light snack made of puffed rice, spices, and sev.  Tastes great as a crunchy tea-time snack or on the go. It has that crunchy addictiveness of popcorn but with more flavor.
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Poha chevdo in a bowl with peanuts, cashews and raisins.

Roasted Poha Chevdo

Quick Indian snack that is great with chai in which poha (flattened rice), dry fruits and spices come together for a lip smacking treat! Like a savory trail mix.
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Masala corn in a white plate on gray cloth.

Masala Corn

Masala corn is a an easy, delicious snack ready in a few minutes. With just sweet corn kernels, spices and butter you’ll have a tasty,tangy, and flavorful treat.
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Chaat hummus in a white bowl.

Chaat Hummus – Indian Hummus

Chaat inspired Indian hummus! Just like chaat, this easy to make hummus dip is balanced with tangy, spicy and sweet notes.
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methi na gota pakora

Methi Na Gota

Methi na gota or methi pakora is a traditional Gujarati snack. This is one of many recipes by my Mom that everyone loves.
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Indian cheese board.

Indian Cheeseboard

Fun Indian flavors inspired cheeseboard. Makes for a great easy way to entertain!
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baked samosas with puff pastry on a white plate.

Cheddar Jalapeno Samosa Recipe (Baked)

Flavor packed potato filled samosas with the addition of infused jalapeno flavor and cheddar. Baked samosa using puff pastry.
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You’ll need a delicious drink for your Holi events.  Thandai is synonymous with Holi so I definitely recommend checking out the first one below. Make a pitcher of it the night before for a yummy, traditional drink.

Thandai powder in a small white dish with a gold spoon.

10 Minute Instant Thandai Powder (Thandai Masala)

Ready in 10 minutes, this homemade thandai powder is a blend of nuts and Indian spices that gives delicious, deep flavors that are SO much better than store-bought thandai masala powder.
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Rose lassi in a glass with pistachio and rose petal garnish.

Rose Lassi

Rose lassi, made in 5 minutes, has a beautiful, light floral taste. I have a tip on an ingredient to use for restaurant-style lassi.
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Mango lassi with crushed pistachio garnish in a glass.

What Is Mango Lassi? + Recipe Using Mango Pulp (Fresh or Canned)

Indian mango lassi is a popular and delicious Indian drink made in 5minutes with either canned mango pulp or ripe, fresh mangoes to make mango puree. I have a tip on an ingredient to use for restaurant style lassi.
Get the recipe

Chikoo milkshake on a plate with coconut shred garnish and a slice of chikoo.

Creamy Chikoo Milkshake (vegan option)

Creamy chikoo milkshake with or without ice cream ready in 5 minutes! Plus, three yummy ideas for additional flavor.
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Sweet lassi in a glass with crushed rose petal garnish.

5 Minute Creamy Sweet Lassi Recipe (Plain Lassi)

Creamy sweet lassi recipe is easily made in 5 minutes and with a handful of ingredients.  This frothy classic sweet lassi (meethi lassi) is a yogurt-based drink. It is a simple, classic recipe!
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Oat milk chai in a mug with cookies on the side.

Oat Milk Chai (Tea)

Oat milk chai is an easy-to-make, delicious masala chai that is dairy free.  Cozy up to this drink made in just a few minutes.
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I hope you enjoy this round-up of the best Holi recipes to celebrate this Indian festival. If you’re on Instagram, feel free to tag me so I can see your creation. Thank you for your support!

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