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Learn how to make Vegan Gulab Jamun using my simple gulab jamun dry-mix as a starting point to make this festive Indian sweet consisting of soft cardamom-scented donut balls soaked in saffron/rose water syrup. Dairy-free and with a gluten-free option! Jump to Recipe

overhead shot of two servings of vegan gulab jamun donuts made from a homemade dry mix
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DIY Gulab Jamun Dry Mix for gifting to yourself and others

Get ready for one of my favorite Indian treats ever – Gulab Jamuns! The ultimate indulgence for special occasions. Small, bite-sized syrupy donut balls of bliss! And with this Gulab Jamun Dry Mix, you will be able to make them all.the.time.

If you are new to Indian food or Indian Diwali sweets, you might be wondering what I am talking about. Let me explain:

What are Gulab Jamuns?

Gulab jamuns are like a rich donut, flavored with cardamom and saffron and soaked in sugar syrup to make a soft and melt-in-your sweet syrupy Indian dessert. A favorite around the festival season, The traditional version uses milk powder or mawa (milk solids) or other forms of dairy.

Every few years I try to improve my vegan gulab jamuns. This version (also a slight variation in my indian kitchen book) makes amazing jamuns. But just getting all the ingredients together can add up to the cooking time. I made them simpler and tastier!

Just blend up the ingredients and store as a diy donut mix so that you can make quick vegan jamuns as needed. You can also gift this mix to people as it is shelf-stable for a couple of months!

vegan gulab jamuns made from a dry mix

This recipe uses some flour, cardamom, baking soda, sugar, and nuts such as almond and pistachios to add a “mawa” (milk solids or milk powder) effect. A little bit of breadcrumbs ensures that the mix has a bit of air. Just blend everything up. Add some nondairy milk, make dough and pan fry or deep fry, soak in warm sugar syrup and ready!

Let’s make this right now!

a small spoon with half a syrup soaked vegan Indian donut

Indian Vegan Gulab Jamun Donuts Dry Mix

5 from 7 votes
By: Vegan Richa
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 12
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Learn how to make Vegan Gulab Jamun using my simple dry mix. this festive Indian sweet consists of soft cardamom-scented donut balls soaked in rose water syrup. Dairy-free and with gluten-free option! Makes 22 to 26 balls
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Ingredients 
 

For the gulab jamun mix

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp almond flour
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp raw pistachios, 8 to 9 pistachios
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • seeds from 2 cardamom pods, or use 1/4 tsp ground, I prefer seeds for best flavor
  • 1.5 tbsp potato starch, or cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp bread crumbs, i use panko

To add later:

  • 3.5 tbsp or more thick non dairy milk such as oat milk or cashew milk

For the sugar syrup:

  • 1 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 cup Plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • seeds from 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 6 saffron strands or 1 tsp rose water

Instructions 

  • To make the mix, add all the ingredients except breadcrumbs into a blender and blend till nuts are broken down and mixture is homogeneous, then add the breadcrumbs and pulse once or twice.
  • Transfer the mix to container, if you want to store it should be air tight to store upto 2 months
  • To make the gulab jamun, transfer all mix to a bowl. Add 3 tbsp of non dairy milk and mix well. press and mix with your hands and see if you need more non dairy milk and add it 1 tsp at a time.
  • You can also use a tbsp of vegan cream cheese and 2 tbsp non dairy milk instead (I use kite hill plain and it adds that hint of mawa flavor in the Gulab jamuns)
  • You want to stop as soon as dough is soft and not dry, let the dough sit for five minutes and then knead lightly to build the gluten which will help make even non cracked gulab jamuns.
  • Because of the sugar in the mix, the dough will get slightly sticky, add in a sprinkle(1/2-1tsp)  of all purpose flour while kneading if needed. Knead for a min and then make it into small balls (1/2 inch size if making in aebleskiver pan, slightly larger to fry)
  • To make them in aeblskiver pan or appe pan – heat the pan over medium heat. Add at least 1 tsp of oil in each of the holes. Once the oil is hot, add your balls in each, and turn them around in 15 seconds and continue to cook so that they are evenly golden brown from all sides. Repeat for all the balls. Refill the oil as needed in between. Reduce heat to low medium if browning too quickly for either method
  • To fry the balls, you can deep fry them over medium heat. You do not want the oil to be too hot and fry them until they are golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a paper lined plate.
  • To make the sugar syrup. Add all the ingredients to a shallow pan. And bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, mix really well to make sure all the sugar has been dissolved and continue to cook for two more minutes and reduce the heat to medium. let it simmer for another 2 mins. Switch off heat. Let sit for 5 mins so it’s not boiling hot, then Add in the balls, let the balls soak for 5 mins then start heat to low. Move the balls around to coat from all sides. Switch off heat after 5 minutes. Let the balls soak in the syrup for at least an hour before serving.
  • Garnish with some chopped nuts if you wish and serve.

Video

Notes

  • While cooking the balls in aeblskiver pan, you want to move them around pretty frequently otherwise they will tend to crack open or burn.
  • For even absorption of the sugar syrup, you do not want the syrup to be too thick and you want it to be warm when you add the balls to it. If it has thickened too much, add a tbsp or so water and mix when still warm.
  • To ensure the balls soak the syrup completely, you can use a toothpick to poke a hole or two before adding to the syrup.
  • Keep the balls small as they absorb the syrup quickly and have best texture.
  • Serve with the syrup or with Creamy Indian pudding(rabri)
Glutenfree option 
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tbsp raw pistachios
3 tbsp almond flour
1 tbsp soy milk powder (optional but adds binding and texture )
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
seeds of 2 cardamom pods
1.5 tbsp sugar
blend into a powder and use as above.

Nutrition

Calories: 107kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 85mg, Potassium: 21mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Ingredients for making Gulab Jamun Dry Mix

  • The donut dry mix is made using a mix of all-purpose flour and almond flour. We also add some bread crumbs for a better more airy texture. I included a gluten-free option for you as well in the notes section of the recipe card.
  • We only add about 1.5 tbsp of sugar to the dry mix. With the soaking syrup, it will be sweet enough.
  •  raw pistachios and almond flour add the mawa effect that is typically achieved by adding milk powder to the mix
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda makes these rise. Make sure you measure it out correctly. Adding too much baking soda can add an unpleasant aftertaste to your donuts.
  • The diy gulab jamun donut mix gets a boost of flavor from the seeds from 2 cardamom pods. Fresh seeds give you the best flavor profile if you just cannot find a whole cardamom pods then use 1/4 tsp teaspoon ground Cardamon
  • potato starch makes these extra tender and melt-in-your-mouth
  • Once the dry mix is sorted, all you have to do is add non-dairy milk such as oat milk or cashew milk. It should be a thick milk substitute.
  • The sugar syrup for dunking is made from water and sugar and is flavored with cardamom, lemon juice, and either saffron or rose water

overhead shot of ingredients used for making vegan gulab jalum dry mix

Tips:

  • While cooking the balls in aeblskiver pan (Danish specialty item), you want to move them around pretty frequently otherwise they will tend to crack open or burn.
  • For even absorption of the sugar syrup, you do not want the syrup to be too thick and you want it to be warm when you add the balls to it. If it has thickened too much, add a tbsp or so water and mix when still warm.
  • To ensure the balls soak up the syrup completely, you can use a toothpick to poke a hole or two before adding to the syrup.
  • Keep the balls small as they absorb the syrup quickly and have the best texture.
  • When shaping the balls, it helps to oil your hands a bit to avoid sticking.

How to make Dry Mix Gulab Jamuns:

vegan gulab jalmun Indian donut dry mix being made

To make the dry donut mix, add all the ingredients except breadcrumbs into a blender and blend till nuts are broken down and the mixture is homogeneous. Add breadcrumbs and pulse once(or blend for 2 seconds)

Transfer the DIY donut mix to a glass container, if you want to store it, the container should be airtight! That way you can store the mix for up to 2 months.

batter for vegan gulab jamun donuts being mixed

To make the gulab jamun, transfer all mix to a bowl. Add 3 tbsp of non-dairy milk and mix well. Press and mix the batter with your hands and see if you need more non-dairy milk and add it 1 tsp at a time.

milk being added to donut batter for making vegan gulab jamun recipe

Tip: You can also add a tbsp of vegan cream cheese and 2 tbsp nondairy milk. I use kite hill plain and it adds that hint of mawa flavor in the Gulab jamuns.

vegan gulab jamun batter in a glass bowl
picture demonstrating how to knead vegan gulab jamun batter in a glass bowl

You want to stop as soon as the dough is soft and not dry, let the dough sit for five minutes, and then knead lightly to build the gluten which will help make even, uncracked gulab jamuns.

Because of the sugar in the mix, the dough will get slightly sticky, add in a sprinkle (1/2-1tsp) of all-purpose flour while kneading if needed. Knead for a min and then shape it into small balls (1/2 inch size if making in aebleskiver pan, slightly larger to fry)

vegan gulab jamun being shaped into little dough balls
an aebleskiver pan with homemade vegan gulab jamun

To make the mini donuts in an aeblskiver pan or appe pan:

Heat the pan over medium heat. Add at least 1 tsp of oil in each of the holes. Once the oil is hot, add your balls in each, and turn them around in 15 seconds and continue to cook so that they are evenly golden brown from all sides. Repeat for all the balls. Refill the oil as needed in between.

To fry the balls, you can deep fry them over medium heat. You do not want the oil to be too hot and fry them until they are golden brown on all sides. Transfer to paper-lined plate.

vegan gulab jamun on a white plate
homemade vegan gulab jamun donuts being made in an appe pan

To make the sugar syrup. Add all the ingredients to a shallow pan. And bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, mix really well to make sure all the sugar has been dissolved and continue to cook for two more minutes and reduce the heat to medium. let it simmer for another 2 mins. Switch off heat. Let sit for 5 mins so it’s not boiling hot, then Add in the balls, let the balls soak for 5 mins then start heat to low. Move the balls around to coat from all sides. Switch off heat after 5 minutes. Let the balls soak in the syrup for at least an hour before serving.

Garnish with some chopped nuts if you wish and serve.

Why are my gulab jamuns cracking while frying?

Either the oil is too hot or the jamuns were not shaped to be smooth and even

why are my gulab jamuns breaking apart in the sugar syrup?

The sugar syrup is too watery, and too thin. Or the jamuns weren’t cooked long enough

Why are my jamuns not soaking up the syrup?

The sugar syrup is too thick (or cold and has thickened). Or the jamuns are overcooked causing them to be too hard on the outside.

overhead shot of vegan gulab jamuns made from diy donut mix

My jamuns have a doughy or dry interior.

The jamun balls were either cooked too quickly in hot oil and not long enough or they were not soaked long enough

Can these vegan gulab jamuns be made gluten-free?

Yes, see the gluten-free blend in the recipe notes.

MORE VEGAN DIWALI RECIPES FROM THE BLOG:

Happy Diwali!

About Richa

Hi, I'm Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options.

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36 Comments

  1. Pasha Davidson says:

    What is the pudding that the gulab jamun are sitting in at the end of the video?

  2. Cezare Rodrigues-noble says:

    Hello! Thank you for this recipe I’m in the middle of making it and quite confused about the quantities! It says makes 22-26 balls, servings auto-set in the recipe box to 12.. 1/4 flour, 3tbs almond flour etc, I measured carefully but have only 9 small balls… please help what’s happening?

    1. Richa says:

      The size of the balls matter. You might have made them much larger. The smaller balls cook more evenly. Just make the full batch of the mix, then use a smaller amount to make the dough and make balls, so in case you get fewer balls, you have the mix already ready to quickly make a dough and make more balls!

  3. Janani says:

    5 stars
    I make these every year and they get gobbled up! They come the best when they are made into smaller balls. They soak well and are perfect beautiful jamuns! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Richa says:

      Yay

  4. Mark says:

    5 stars
    You are a star. Every recipe a tasty hit.

    1. Richa says:

      ❤️❤️❤️

  5. Ali says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for posting the recipe. One of my coworkers brought me some a while back. It was delicious. I will attempt to make some this weekend.

    1. Richa says:

      Awesome!

  6. Emily says:

    5 stars
    Made these for dessert yesterday after an Indian meal from your book. Everyone loved them! There’s another batch in the fridge fir later tonite!

  7. ama says:

    Oooh, I have to try these. I made the GF recipe in your cookbook about a month ago (and one more time) and absolutely LOVED it. I like them alone a lot, too, without the syrup.

  8. Trixie says:

    Mmmmmm! Just made these in my cake pop baker and glazed them with icing sugar, lemon, saffron mix instead of the the sugar syrup (like a glazed donut), since I describe these to my friends as Indian donuts.

    Delicious and perfect!

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      cake pop baker! cool

  9. Anita Harshman says:

    If trying these baked in a donut pan as previously suggested can you suggest a temperature and time. Thanks

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      Check them at 20 mins at 350*.