Brownies & Bars

Chocolate Kalakand

4.80 from 5 votes
Vedika's chocolate kalakand recipe is a milk-based chocolatey no-bake confection, perfect for Diwali!
A plate of chocolate kalakand, cut into bars, sprinkled with chopped pistachios.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

NOTE FROM GEMMA: Welcome Vedika back for another one of her incredible recipes! She’s going to teach you how to make Chocolate Kalakand for the Indian festival of light, Diwali! 

As summer turns into fall and then winter and the days grow shorter, it is the end-of-year celebrations that bring the little joys. In India, Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, adds brightness to colder days (although in some parts of the country the word ‘cold’ is debatable).  

Colorful rangoli, glowing diyas and lots of mithai, or Indian confections, fill each household. Kalakand is a sweet, milk-based fudge-like treat that can be eaten around this time of year along with an array of other mithai. Kalakand is usually made by cooking paneer (a white, milk-based cheese made using milk solids) with sugar, and adding a touch of cardamom and some chopped nuts, like pistachios or almonds.

I use ricotta cheese and sweetened condensed milk in my version of this Indian classic. It’s not necessarily super authentic, but is quicker and easier than boiling litres of milk to gather the milk solids and then continuing to cook the mixture, and tastes just as good!

I love Kalakand as is, and have a fantastic recipe in my cookbook, 52 Weeks, 52 Sweets. This version adds something a little new to the traditional recipe – chocolate! What you get is a unique flavor, almost like a fudge, but with a slightly tangy finish, akin to that of a cheesecake. 

A display of the ingredients: cocoa powder, ricotta cheese, butter, and sweetened condensed milk in individual bowls with a gold teaspoon of cardamom on a table.

You Only Need a Handful of Ingredients to Make Kalakand!

  • Butter: for a little extra richness
  • Ricotta cheese: this is what gives the kalakand texture
  • Sweetened condensed milk: for the sweetness and texture
  • Cocoa powder: that little something new
  • Salt: to balance the sweetness
  • Cardamom: to add an extra layer of complexity to the kalakand. You can grind fresh cardamom yourself, or use store-bought ground cardamom
  • Crushed pistachios: for a little crunch and color 
  • Gold sprinkles: if you’re feeling fancy 

Finished chocolate kalakand sprinkled with chopped pistachios stacked on a white serving platter.

Making Kalakand

Making kalakand involves patience. You’ll need to cook the mixture over low heat, stirring every now and then until it has thickened. It takes a while, but put on some nice music and have a good time! It will be worth it. If you prefer to keep the kalakand plain, feel free to omit the cocoa powder. Cardamom, however, is a must.

Check Out More Indian-Inspired Recipes!

Bars of chocolate kalakand laid out on a blue plate, sprinkled with chopped pistachios.

Chocolate Kalakand

4.80 from 5 votes
Vedika's chocolate kalakand recipe is a milk-based chocolatey no-bake confection, perfect for Diwali!
Author: Vedika Luthra
Servings: 25 squares
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Chill for 1 hour
Vedika's chocolate kalakand recipe is a milk-based chocolatey no-bake confection, perfect for Diwali!
Author: Vedika Luthra
Servings: 25 squares


  • 1 tablespoon (½ oz/14 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (8.8 oz/250 g) ricotta cheese (not strained)
  • ¾ cup (8 oz/229 g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder , unsweetened
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 tablespoons crushed pistachios for garnish
  • Gold sprinkles, optional


  • Place parchment paper over a plate that is 8-inches (20 cm) in diameter, or grease the plate with unsalted butter.
  • Next, add the butter to a medium-sized, heavy-duty pot over medium heat.
  • Add in the ricotta cheese, sweetened condensed milk, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the mixture comes to a boil.
  • At this stage, reduce the heat to a low flame and let the mixture cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
  • Add in the cocoa powder, salt and cardamom, and continue cooking the mixture until it has reduced in volume and has thickened significantly. The texture should resemble that of ricotta cheese (before you mixed it with everything), and should start to leave the sides of the pan. This will take about 20-25 minutes, but it can take longer depending on your heat.
  • Remove the mixture from heat, and press into a square shape using the rubber spatula, until it is around 6-inches (15 cm) in diameter (the mixture will be hot so do this carefully). Sprinkle and press down the pistachios on the top, then refrigerate the kalakand until it has solidified, for around 1 hour.
  • Cut into small squares (I do 5x5, so 25 squares) and serve. This keeps well for a week if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
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1 year ago

what can you substitute for the ricotta cheese please?

1 year ago

you said put it on a plate .. can you not put it in a 8″ square pan ????

1 year ago

Hello Gemma,
This looks delicious, what can be the substitute for ricotta cheese?

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About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.


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