Sep 08, 2022, Updated Aug 28, 2023
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Besan Ladoo is one of the most popular Indian sweets. Made with gram flour, sugar and ghee, this dessert requires only a handful of ingredients but tastes amazing! It is one ladoo which I always make for festivals like Diwali.
Festivals are incomplete without sweets and in India festivals are incomplete without ladoos. Ladoo, an Indian sweet can be made using various ingredients and is round in shape.
We make ladoos out of so many ingredients, there’s motichoor ladoo, atta ladoo (made with whole wheat flour), rava ladoo (made with semolina), coconut ladoo and so on. Out of all these amazing ladoos, besan ladoo is my absolute favorite.
Table of contents
What is Besan Ladoo
Besan Ladoo is a round dessert ball made with gram flour which is called besan in Hindi and hence the name. Flour is roasted with ghee (clarified butter) and then sugar is added and then it’s shaped into round balls.
Nuts and raisins can be added. Some people also add sooji (rava/semolina) to the besan for the crunch. However I personally prefer this ladoo plain, minus the sooji.
It is definitely my favorite ladoo and also one of my favorite sweets ever.
Back home during Diwali, I would always scan through the sweet boxes to see if any one of them had besan ladoo in them. My nani (maternal grandmother) used to make the besan ladoo. So I kind of grew up eating these homemade ladoos. I have so many memories associated with them. I don’t think my ladoos can ever match hers though as they were simply the best! 🙂
Besan (gram flour): there are 2 main types of besan available in the market- the fine besan which is what we regularly use in homes to make chilla, pakora etc. and the ladoo besan which is the coarse variety. Most sweet shops use the coarse variety, ladoo besan to make besan ladoo however you can use the regular besan as well and it will be just fine. Use whichever besan you want or have on hand.
Bura/Boora: it is a type of sugar that is made by boiling sugar with water and let it crystallize. The moisture from sugar gets evaporated and on top of that ghee is also often added to it which makes it more flavorful. It is for this reason that you should use bura to make these ladoos.
If you can’t find bura and have no time to make it at home, just take regular white sugar in a grinder and grind it to a finer consistency and use that.
Ghee: there’s so besan ladoo without ghee! For best results use homemade ghee or the best quality ghee that you can fine. My nani would always make these ladoos with homemade ghee.
Fine or Coarse? Which Besan to Use?
I make ladoos with both types of besan and you can use either depending on what you have on hands and also what you prefer. If you prefer sweet shop style besan ladoos with texture -> use coarse besan (ladoo besan)
Step by Step Pictures- How to Make Besan Ladoo
Before you start, you can sift the besan if you like.
1- To a heavy bottom pan, add 1/4 cup ghee (55 grams) and let it melt on medium heat. Once the ghee melts, add 1 cup besan (110 grams) to the pan. Stir and set heat to low.
2- Mix the besan and the ghee together, at first it will form a clump.
3- Don’t worry and keep stirring, it will start to loosen up a bit around 7 to 8 minutes.
4- Then it will continue to become loose and light, keep stirring on low heat. Do not stop stirring else besan might burn.
5- Keep stirring continuously on low heat. Besan will continue to loosen up and after around 15 minutes (picture 5), it will turn into a smooth paste like consistency.
PS: do not worry if your besan never turns into this consistency, it can happen due to different types of besan available in the market, just keep going and roast the besan.
6- I roasted the besan for around 25 minutes on low heat until it had a nice golden-ish color. Your kitchen will also be filled with a aroma by then (for more ways to check doneness of the besan, please refer to notes below). This time may differ depending on several things like thickness of pan, intensity of heat etc.
7- Remove pan from heat. If you want, you can transfer the besan to another container so that it doesn’t cook further and doesn’t burn. I just kept stirring it after removing from the pan for around 5 minutes until it cooled down a bit. In total let the besan cool down for around 10 minutes, lukewarm is fine, but it should not be super hot before you add the sugar.
Then add 1/2 cup bura (75 grams) to it which in simple terms is a type of powdered sugar. Bura is not be be confused with confectioners sugar/icing sugar. If you don’t have bura, just pulse some granulated white sugar in a blender and use that.
8- Add 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder. You can also add chopped nuts and raisins if you like at this point.
9- Mix everything together until the sugar and cardamom is well combined with the besan. You will get a smooth besan dough.
10 & 11- Now, pinch a small bowl from the dough. Press and then roll between your palm to form a round shape
12- . Repeat with the remaining dough and make all besan ladoo similarly. You will get 7 to 8 ladoos out of the mixture. You can garnish them with nuts if you like.
Storing The Ladoo
You can store besan ladoo at room temperature in a clean air tight container for 2 weeks. If you wish to increase their shelf time, you can refrigerate them.
Expert Tips to Make Perfect Besan Ladoo
So, the ingredient list to make besan ladoo is pretty small but here are few tips that will help you make then perfectly.
Roast the besan properly: the most crucial thing to keep in mind while making besan ladoo is to make sure the besan is roasted well.
It will take time and you will need to have lot of patience. Do not rush this step! If you don’t roast the besan properly, the ladoos will taste bitter and raw.
And how would you know that besan is roasted? You will be able to tell from the aroma and also the color of the besan will change to a golden-ish hue.
Also, the besan turns into a smooth paste once it’s cooked (see pictures below in the recipe steps). But don’t over roast it either else you will burn it.
Keep the heat on low at all times: equally important is to keep the heat to low at all times. If the heat is high, the besan will turn brown and even burn while still being raw.
Keep stirring continuously: yes, this recipe is a good hand workout. You need to stir continuously as you roast, which will be around 20 to 25 minutes! But the end result will be worth it, trust me!
Let the roasted besan cool down before adding sugar: once the besan has roasted let it cool down for at least 10 minutes before adding the sugar.
If you add the sugar while besan is still warm, the sugar will melt and loosen up the mixture and you won’t be able to bind the ladoos.
Roasting time may differ depending on intensity of heat, thickness of pan: please keep in mind that roasting time needed for besan may differ. It takes me around 25 minutes of low heat to roast the besan, it might take you 15 or 50. It depends on several things including if you have gas, induction, coil. It also depends on intensity of heat (medium, low, low-medium) and the thickness of the pan you are using.
If you are not sure rely on aroma of the besan rather than the time, you should smell that nutty aroma.
Besan Ladoo Frequently Asked Questions
When making besan ladoos, they are some common problems that you may face or come across. I will try to address each one and offer their solutions here.
This is the biggest problem that people have when they make besan ladoo. After roasting for 20-25 minutes, when they bind the ladoo and bite into a piece, it tastes raw. And that’s definitely not a good feeling and all your hard work has gone into waste. Here are 5 ways in which you can determine that your besan is properly roasted!
1- The color of the besan will change and it will turn into this brownish-golden color.
2- Your kitchen will be filled with the nutty aroma of the roasted besan.
3- You will see ghee on top of the roasted besan.
4- Besan will feel lighter and fluffier as if it has been filled with air.
5- And the most important tip guys- just take some besan in a small bowl, let it cool down a bit. And then taste test it. The taste of raw besan is hard to miss. If it tastes raw that means you need to roast it more. Taste test is the most full-proof method to test for rawness of the besan.
There are many kinds of besan available in the market. Depending on the quality of the besan and how old the besan is, it is possible that the besan that you are using never reaches that paste-like consistency even after roasting for 25 minutes. Do not worry, keep roasting and do the taste test. If the besan has nutty aroma, doesn’t taste raw and has turned golden-brown in color it is done. Yours ladoos will be just fine even if the besan never turned into that paste like melty consistency.
Solution: First of all wait for 10 minutes for besan to cool down a little before adding the sugar. If you add sugar to very hot besan, the sugar might melt completely and then it will become difficult to shape them.
However, this usually happens when there’s too much ghee in the ladoos. With the ratio mentioned in this recipe, this should not be a problem. Let the mixture cool down, you can also place it in the refrigerator for 5 minutes and then bind the ladoos. When the mixture is warm, it might be a little difficult to shape. As ghee solidifies, it becomes easier to shape into ladoos.
Generally speaking, keeping the mixture in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes does the trick, however if you have by mistake added too much ghee you can do the following to increase the volume of the mixture and thus compensating for the extra ghee:
1- Add more roasted besan to the mixture.
2- Add some roasted sooji to the mixture.
3- Pulse some nuts like cashews and almonds and add that.
4- You can also add some almond flour to the mixture.
This is usually because of the variety of besan that you used and if that besan was not roasted properly. There are more chances of this happening with the regular fine variety of besan. If you use ladoo besan which is the coarse variety of besan to make your besan ladoos, this will not happen.
However, I almost always use the regular fine besan that I have at home to make ladoos and this never happens. But if this happens with a brand of besan you are using, now you know how to fix it.
If you prefer your ladoos with texture here are 2 things you need to do: 1) use ladoo besan, the coarse variety of besan to make your ladoos. If you just have fine besan, you can roast 1-2 tablespoons of sooji and add that to the besan and 2) use bura in ladoo and not confectioners sugar/icing sugar. Using icing sugar will not give your ladoos texture. If you can’t find bura in the market and don’t have time to make it at home, just pulse some granulated white sugar in your mixer and use that.
this happens when there’s excess ghee in the ladoos. Again, refer solutions for problem no.3. In this case you either keep them in fridge or if you want them to stay intact at room temperature- you would have to increase the volume of the mixture to make up for the excess ghee. So add things like roasted besan, nuts, almond flour etc. and then bind again. Then it will be stable at room temperature.
You can absolutely use confectioners sugar (also known as powdered sugar or icing sugar) here and I have made ladoos using that in the past.
But, now I almost always use bura because it gives the ladoos a nice texture when you bite into it. You don’t get the same texture with confectioners sugar/icing sugar as it has added cornstarch to it. The texture of bura is different and the taste is also superior which will make your ladoos tastier.
Making Besan Ladoo with Jaggery
I have made these ladoos with jaggery powder and it works fine. You would need to add a little more jaggery than the amount of sugar that is mentioned. Please note that I have only tried with readymade jaggery powder that’s sold in the market and not with a block of jaggery.
This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in November 2013.
- 1/4 cup ghee 55 ml, not melted
- 1 cup besan gram flour, 110 grams (you can use either coarse or fine variety of besan)
- 1/2 cup bura/boora 75 grams, not to be confused with confectioner's/icing sugar OR pulse granulated white sugar and use that
- 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 2 teaspoons chopped nuts like almonds, cashews optional
- To a heavy bottom pan, add ghee and let it melt on medium heat. Once the ghee melts, add besan to the pan. Stir and set heat to low.
- Mix the besan and the ghee together, at first it will form a clump. Do not panic and keep stirring, it will start to loosen up a bit around 7 to 8 minutes.
- Then it will continue to become loose and light, keep stirring on low heat. Do not stop stirring else besan might burn. This definitely is a good hand workout
- Keep stirring continuously on low heat. Besan will continue to loosen up and after around 15 minutes, it will turn into a smooth paste like consistency.
- I roasted the besan for around 25 minutes on low heat until it had a nice golden-ish color. Your kitchen will also be filled with a aroma by then. You can also taste test the besan to check for doneness. This time may differ depending on several things like thickness of pan, intensity of heat etc.
- Remove pan from heat and stir it after removing from the pan for around 5 minutes until it cooled down a bit. In total let the besan cool down for around 10 minutes, you don't want it super hot before adding sugar.
- Then add bura. If you don't have bura, just pulse some granulated white sugar in a blender and use that. Also add cardamom powder and chopped nuts if using. Mix until everything is well combined.
- Now, pinch a small portion from the dough and press between your palms. Then roll between your palm to form a round shape. Make all ladoos similarly. Store them in an airtight container.
- Please refer to the text in the post about common problems one might face during making besan ladoos and their solutions. That covers all the important tips that you need to keep in mind while making besan ladoos.
- Most important thing is to roast the besan properly. If not roasted properly, the ladoos will have a raw taste. All the pointers which you have to keep in mind when deciding if the ladoos are done or not are mentioned in detail in the blog post.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.