Pistachio and Rose Kheer is a creamy, nutty, and sweet, Indian inspired rice pudding. Made with homemade pistachio milk for extra flavour.
Rice pudding is always a comforting dessert, and no one can tell me otherwise. Cold days and the winter season are literally meant for warm bowls of rice pudding.
But make it a warming, lightly spiced, nutty, fragrant rice pudding? That’s where the real stuff is at. And on that note, let’s introduce ‘Kheer’.
Pistachio and Rose Kheer
We’re making this kheer pistachio flavoured. It’s pistachio through and throughout, unapologetically so. If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know I have a deep love for everything an anything pistachio related.
So let’s make this Pistachio and Rose Kheer. Which is going to be made with homemade pistachio milk along with a few subtle warming spices, as well as some optional pistachio cream.
We’re also adding in the floral and fragrant flavour of rose, which pairs with pistachio beautifully. It adds elegance and exuberance, which is exactly what kheer deserves.
What is kheer?
Kheer is a rice pudding enjoyed across the Indian subcontinent, the diaspora, and many other South Asian countries. It’s usually made from rice, milk, and sugar and often flavoured with things like cardamom, saffron, nutmeg, dried fruits, and nuts.
Though it’s worth noting that it’s not always made with rice. Kheer can also be made with vermicelli, tapioca, oats, lotus seeds, and more.
Kheer can range in consistency from runny to smooth and creamy, it’s all down to personal preference. I personally prefer the more creamy, thicker style kheer as it’s quite similar to the British style rice pudding (which is delicious). It’s a lot more rich and so incredibly decadent.
Why you need to make your kheer pistachio flavoured
I love the original kheer, that’s not even in question. But pistachio is the best flavour for everything and anything – if you’re new here, just search ‘pistachio’ in my search bar and it’ll all make sense.
Adding pistachio gives kheer a nutty sweetness and extra richness. Pistachio also works really well with flavours like cardamom, saffron, rose, and vanilla.
We’re making homemade pistachio milk for extra flavour
This is where the flavour is at, and we’re going to make the pistachio milk from scratch. Store-bought pistachio milk has very little quantities of pistachio in it which is why it doesn’t have that strong of a flavour.
All you need here are pistachios and milk. Any milk of choice will work which means you can make this Pistachio Kheer vegan if you wanted to.
We’re using basmati rice for this kheer
Basmati rice is the more traditional rice used for kheer, though variations do exist. It is partly down to personal preference too.
Basmati rice has a sweet smell and I’d say it’s quite perfumed. Funnily enough the smell is comparable to pandan, which is a leaf native to South East Asia, and also one of my all-time favour flavours.
This Pistachio and Rose Kheer is perfect for Diwali
I only tend to make this once or twice a year, and one of those occasions is always Diwali. It’s a great on-the-day dessert if you’re looking for something that can be served warm or cold.
It’s also a great dessert option if you’re looking for something that isn’t technique sensitive like a lot of other Indian desserts. It really is a case of putting everything into a pan and stirring it.
I’d even recommend asking someone else to stir it for you if you want it to be really minimal effort.
Here are some other Diwali desserts you might like
- Baked Pistachio Kulfi Cheesecake
- Pistachio Kulfi Milk Cake
- Pistachio Barfi
- Almond and Pistachio Kulfi Shortbread
- Pistachio Kulfi Cookies
- Baked Mango Lassi Cheesecake
What you’ll need to make Pistachio and Rose Kheer
I’ll cover the main ones below but the full recipe can be found at the end of the blogpost
- Pistachios – I use unsalted roasted pistachios
- Ground cardamom – this ground green cardamom and can be purchased from most supermarkets these days. You can also buy the whole green cardamom pods and grind the inner black seeds yourself (this is what I do)
- Pistachio cream – this is a sweetened cream made from ground pistachios along with dairy. I buy this and I’ll link this below
- Rose water – this is water that’s infused with rose and it’s available from many large supermarkets (in London) as well as Indian/South Asian supermarkets
- Rose syrup – this is a sweetened sugar syrup infused with rose that’s also readily available with Indian/South Asian supermarkets. It can be used to make Falooda, Rooh Afza, or even mixed with black tea to add a note of rose
Pistachio cream adds a little extra kick of pistachio flavour, creaminess, richness, and sweetness. It’s not essential but I recommend it if you have it on hand/want to use it.
This is an Amazon Affiliate link. This is the product that I use in this recipe. It is not a gifted or sponsored product. By using this affiliate link, I receive a small commission which is at no expense to yourself. This helps to support this blog for its day to day running. Many thanks.
The KEY tips for making kheer
- Cooking low and slow – you want the heat to be enough for a very, very gentle simmer. If the heat is too high, it can cause the pistachio milk to split
- IF your milk splits – add another 100ml of cold milk to drop the temperature of the kheer to prevent further curdling. Then reduce the heat on your stove even further, and whisk the kheer together. The whisking motion will help tease the starch out of the rice which will in turn help the split milk come back together
- Using plenty of milk – you always need more milk thank you think, but you can adjust this to your preference (full measurements at the end)
- Stir throughout the cooking process – you don’t need to stir this continuously the entire time, but it’s worth stirring it every few minutes to ensure the kheer is cooking evenly. And this will help to create a smooth and creamy finish
How to make Pistachio Kheer
Let’s start by making some pistachio milk
1) Start by soaking pistachios in cold water for at least 6 hours/or overnight
2)Then drain out all the water. For a more green-coloured pistachio milk, you can remove the pistachio skins. They’ll come off with ease – I only spend around 5 minutes doing this, it doesn’t need to be perfect
3) Add the pistachios to a blender jug along with milk
4) Then blend until smooth
5) Next, pour the pistachio milk into a large bowl lined with a cheese cloth or muslin cloth
6) Squeeze the milk gently through the cloth to extract the pistachio milk
7) You’ll be left with perfectly smooth pistachio milk
8) As well as some pistachio pulp (left behind in the cloth). You can use the pulp in your morning oats or to thicken curries. You can also dry it out into a flour and use it for baking
Now we can make Pistachio and Rose Kheer
1) Start by washing the basmati rice twice, then place it into a wide saucepan
2) Next, pour in all of the pistachio milk
3) Also pour in the normal milk too
4) Then add in the vanilla, ground cardamom, and salt
5) I’m also adding in some pistachio cream for an extra hit of pistachio flavour and creaminess. This is optional but highly recommended (the pistachio cream I’ve used is linked above in the blog). The cream is also sweetened which is why I haven’t added extra sugar (see the full recipe below for substitute suggestions)
6) Stir everything together over a low heat, it should be on a very gentle simmer. If the heat gets too high, the pistachio milk will split and curdle (see my tips above on how to fix this if it happens)
7) And after about 45 minutes you’ll end up with a perfectly creamy pistachio kheer
8) Finish the kheer with some rose water. Adding the rose water at the end preserves the flavour, as it loses intensity once heated
9) Ladle some kheer into a bowl. This is best served immediately as it will thicken further as it cools
10) Then top with some rose syrup (optional but so worth it)
11) Also top with some chopped pistachios and dried rose petals
Frequently asked questions
Can this Pistachio Kheer be made vegan?
Yes it can, simply swap the milk in the recipe for any plant based milk of choice. My preference is soy milk as I’ve not found an oat milk that does well under heat.
Omit the pistachio cream and add pistachio butter at the end of cooking along some oat cream/coconut cream. You’ll also need to add sugar which I haven’t as the pistachio cream was already sweetened.
What can we use instead of pistachio cream?
If you’re not using pistachio cream, you can add pistachio butter at the end of cooking along with 3-4 tbsp of sweetened condensed milk.
If you don’t have pistachio butter, you can just omit it entirely. The pistachio milk already has a good amount of pistachio flavour, the pistachio cream was just more of a bonus. See my ‘notes’ at the end of the recipe card for more detail.
How long will this Pistachio Kheer keep? And what’s the best way to store it?
Kheer can be kept refrigerated in an air tight container for 3-4 days. It can be eaten cold or reheated and served warm. It does thicken as it cools, so it will require loosening with some additional milk if you want to bring it back to its original consistency.
If you enjoyed this recipe
Please do let me know! Leave a review and a rating below, I’d love to know how you got on.
Until then, happy kheer making!
- 200g unsalted pistachios
- 1.3l milk of choice
- 125g basmati rice
- 1tsp vanilla bean paste/extract
- 1/2tsp ground cardamom
- Pinch of salt
- 120g pistachio cream - optional
- 2tbsp rose water
- 8tsp rose syrup
- Roughly chopped pistachios
- Dried rose petals
To make the Pistachio Milk
- First start by soaking the pistachios in a large bowl filled with cold water for at least 6 hours/or overnight. This allows them to hydrate to create a smoother pistachio milk
- Then drain out all the water. For a more green-coloured pistachio milk, you can remove the pistachio skins. They'll come off with ease - I only spend around 5 minutes doing this, it doesn't need to be perfect
- Next, add all the pistachios to a blender jug along with with 500ml of the milk and blend till completely smooth
- Set a cheese cloth or muslin cloth over a large bowl and pour the pistachio milk into it. Gently squeeze the bag/cloth to pass as much pistachio milk through as possible
- You'll be left with a smooth pistachio milk in the bowl along with pistachio pulp still in the bag/cloth. Don't discard the pulp, this can be used in your morning oats or to thicken curries. It can also be dried into a flour and used in baking
- Start by washing the basmati rice, I only wash it twice as we want the starch to thicken the kheer. Then place the rice into a large, deep saucepan
- Next, pour in all of the pistachio milk along with the remaining 800ml of milk. Also add in the vanilla, ground cardamom, salt, and pistachio cream (if using). If you're not using pistachio cream - please see my notes below for substitutes
- Place the pan uncovered over a low heat and bring to a very gentle simmer. If the heat is too high, the pistachio milk can split (if this happens, see my key tips in the blogpost to fix this). Keep the kheer over a low heat, stirring every 2-3 minutes for 45-50 minutes. The rice should be fully cooked and softened at this stage, and the kheer should also be a perfectly creamy consistency
- Finish the kheer with the rose water and mix in. Adding the rose water at the end will preserve the flavour as it diminishes when heated
- You can also adjust the consistency at this stage to your preference, simmer for longer if you prefer a thicker kheer, or add more milk if you prefer it thinner. The kheer will continue to thicken as it cools
- When serving, garnish each bowl with a tsp of rose syrup, along with some chopped pistachios, and dried rose petals
To make the Pistachio and Rose Kheer
Note: If reheating, I recommend adding more milk to loosen it up again unless you prefer the thicker consistency
- If you're not using pistachio cream, you can add around 2tbsp of pistachio butter at the end of cooking along with 3-4tbsp of sweetened condensed milk
- If you don't have pistachio butter, you can use some pistachio extract along with sweetened condensed milk
- If you don't have pistachio extract or sweetened condensed milk, you can add 50g sugar along with the vanilla, cardamom, and salt. Feel free to add more or less sugar based on your preference
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 461Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 18mgSodium 341mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 6gSugar 14gProtein 18g
This is an automated calculation and hence may not be entirely accurate.