Thandai Ice Cream


Thandai is a refreshing drink popular in north India, especially Uttar Pradesh. Its made using a number of ingredients believed to have a cooling effect, hence the name; Thandai in hindi means ‘cooling’.

It is a delicious and decadent blend of Almonds, fennel seeds, cardamon, pepper, rose and saffron, mixed with milk and served chilled on hot summer days. But cravings do not understand such weather limitations, besides I live in California!! So I didn’t just make a glass of Thandai to drink, I made a batch of Thandai flavored ice cream as well.

Time for Prep: 20 mins     Time to freeze: 12 hours      Yield: 8-10 Servings     Level: Easy


  • 2 cups milk, chilled
  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • For the Thandai flavoring:
    • 1/4 cup almonds
    • 1 tbsp roasted fennel seeds, corse powder
    • pinch of Cardamon powder
    • 2 tbsp poppy seeds (khas khas)
    • 10-12 white peppercorns
    • 2 tbsp rose water or 2 drops of rose essence
    • a few strands of saffron


  1. In a blender add all the ingredients for flavoring and grind to a paste.
  2. Add milk and sugar, blend them together.
  3. Chill overnight, then strain the milk mixture. Its important to let the paste and the milk be kept aside overnight to ensure that all the flavors are fully absorbed.
  4. If using an ice cream machine, pour strained milk and heavy cream and follow instructions by the manufacturing company.

Process if Not using an ice cream machine:

  1. Whip the heavy cream till you get soft peaks, mix in strained milk mixture.
  2. Transfer to a shallow container and freeze.
  3. Take it out in a couple hours or after the mixture gets slushy. Whip or blend it and freeze again. Follow this step a couple times to get a very smooth ice cream.

Scoop and serve. You can garnish it with a pinch of saffron to give it some extra kick.


  • For a nuttier flavor, first roast the Almonds for 5 mins at 350F. Cool and then grind into paste.
  • The Milk and cream has to be chilled before you add lemon juice to avoid it from curdling.
  • If you do not want to whip in between freezing, then replace milk with a 10 oz can of condensed milk and 12 oz can of evaporated milk. Skip the sugar completely.

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