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Craving something sweet? Try this 15-minute recipe Coconut Barfi – a perfect recipe for when you want something sweet and satisfying without spending hours in the kitchen.
Coconut burfi or Nariyal barfi is a soft and delicious barfi or fudge which has freshly grated coconut and sugar as its main ingredients.
It is usually made by adding grated coconut to a one-string consistency sugar syrup mixture and cooking them together. In the last two decades or so, sweetened condensed milk has been included in the recipe as well.
In my opinion, the sugar syrup, as well as the condensed milk, lends this nariyal burfi a slightly chewy texture.
This coconut burfi recipe (adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor’s website) uses heavy whipping cream instead of milk, condensed milk, or sugar syrup. The introduction of cream makes this barfi soft and very easy to dig into – perfect for kids.
Using cream instead of sugar syrup also cuts the cooking time drastically.
Ready to learn how to make a melt-in-the-mouth, soft coconut barfi recipe? Let’s get started!
EASE: Perfect for beginners!
TIME: 15 minutes
MADE AHEAD: Absolutely
Coconut barfi is a classic dessert that’s been around for generations and is a popular sweet in south India and Maharashtra, where you can find coconuts in abundance.
Every state has its own variation and a unique name for this decadent dessert, such as Nariyal or Khopra barfi (Hindi), Naralchi barfi (Marathi), Tenginakayi burfi (Kannada), Thengai burfi (Tamil), Kobbari barfi (Telugu), Coconut fudge (English), etc.
This sweet is usually served during special occasions or Indian festivals such as Diwali, Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc.
If you like to take homemade gifts for parties or potlucks, this coconut burfi ticks all boxes. Here’s why we love this sweet dish –
- Easy to make and needs only a few ingredients.
- It is a crowd favorite!
- This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.
- It needs only 15 minutes of hands-on time!
- Coconut – While this recipe calls for fresh coconut, you can substitute it with dry desiccated coconut as well.
- Sugar – To add sweetness to the dish.
- Confectioner’s sugar – Helps to bind the mixture together.
- Heavy cream – We use heavy cream instead of milk or condensed milk, which is traditionally used. The cream helps bind the coconut flakes together and gives this fudge a creamy texture.
- Green cardamom – Freshly ground cardamom makes this dish aromatic.
- Ghee for greasing – The plate needs to be greased so that the coconut mixture does not stick to it. Using ghee also makes the dish fragrant.
- Nuts for toppings (optional) – to add crunch and a pop of color.
Melt-in-the-mouth Coconut Barfi (Nariyal Burfi)
- 3 cups grated coconut fresh or frozen
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
- A teaspoon of ghee for greasing
- finely chopped pistachios for garnishing optional
- Heat a non-stick kadhai over medium-low and add grated coconut, sugar, and cream. Mix them well till they are well combined.
- Continue to cook them while stirring continuously till the mixture turns yellowish golden in color and starts leaving the sides of the kadhai like in this picture.
- Remove the kadhai from heat and add cardamom powder and confectioners sugar and mix well.
- Grease a thali or a 9-inch square pan with ghee. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and spread it evenly.
- Sprinkle finely chopped pistachios (if using) and let the coconut barfi set for an hour or so in the refrigerator. Slice the barfi into sixteen equal pieces.
- Store in the refrigerator for a week.
Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.
Tips and Tricks
- Cook it over medium-low heat – Don’t rush the process. It needs to cook at medium-low heat so that the coconut doesn’t brown.
- Stir continuously – Make sure to stir the coconut burfi mixture throughout the cooking process to cook evenly and prevent browning.
- Do not overcook – Cook until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. The burfi will dry up and harden if you overcook it. If it hardens, add a few tablespoons of milk till it is the desired consistency.
- Use a greased tray or parchment paper to set the burfi mixture. This prevents the burfi from sticking to the tray.
- Spread the mixture evenly – use the back of a spoon or use a small greased steel bowl to flatten the mixture evenly.
- Let it cool – Let the mixture cool before cutting it into pieces.
You can cut this homemade coconut burfi in square pieces or a diamond shape depending on your preference.
- Substitute heavy cream with the same amount of whole or full-fat milk.
- Frozen coconut – you can substitute fresh coconut with frozen one too. Make sure to thaw the shredded coconut before using it.
- Desiccated coconut – you can substitute fresh coconut with desiccated, but note that desiccated coconut is dry and dehydrated, and you’ll have to increase the amount of moisture to get the same results. For every cup of desiccated coconut, use 0.5 cups of heavy cream or whole milk.
- Traditional coconut burfi with sugar syrup – Skip the heavy cream and instead cook the coconut in sugar syrup like this recipe from Archana’s kitchen.
- Rose coconut barfi or double-layered coconut barfi – Divide the cooked coconut mixture into two equal portions. Transfer one half onto the greased tray. Spread evenly. To the remaining half, add 1-2 drops of red coloring and rose water (or rose essence) and mix well. Transfer the pink-colored coconut mixture on top and spread it evenly. Let it set and cut into the desired shape.
- Coconut barfi with condensed milk – Mix 3 cups of desiccated coconut with a 14-oz can of condensed milk, 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground cardamom. Cook while stirring continuously until the mixture starts leaving the sides of the kadhai.
- Add saffron to make it more aromatic – Add a few strands along with cardamom powder.
Coconut burfi is best served at room temperature. Garnish it with edible silver foil (varq) or chopped nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios before serving.
How to store
To extend the shelf life of coconut barfi, make sure to refrigerate the leftovers.
Refrigerator: Place this homemade coconut barfi in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. You can stack these barfis but make sure to place parchment paper between layers to prevent them from sticking to each other.
Freezer: Can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. Make sure to place parchment paper between each layer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Do not refreeze once thawed.
Serving instructions: If refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before serving. If you prefer it to warm up, you can reheat it in a microwave for 10 seconds. Any more than that, it might lose its shape.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can. You’ll have to add more liquid to the recipe since desiccated coconut is dehydrated. Add 0.5 cups of heavy cream or milk to every cup of desiccated coconut.
If the barfi is sticky and not setting, it is because it wasn’t cooked enough. Transfer it back to the wok/pan and continue cooking till the moisture is absorbed. If it is crumbly, add a few tablespoons of milk and cook till the mixture has softened and binds together easily.
This recipe takes about 15 minutes to cook and takes about an hour to set.
Other traditional Indian sweets you’ll love
Whether it is an Indian festival or just a special occasion, here are some easy Indian sweet recipes for you to try!
For more easy Indian sweet recipes, click 45+ favorite Indian desserts and sweets recipes worth trying!
This post was originally published on 10/25/2016 and was completely updated with pictures and new text on 6/21/2023.