Thandai Recipe

June 25, 2012mayurisjikoni
Blog post



What is Thandai?

In general, Thandai is a refreshing traditional milk based Indian Drink that is quite popular during the Holi Festival. Made from spices, nuts, seeds and rose petals its not only a cooler but also a nutritious drink.

With the beginning of the hot days during Holi festival and also Shivratri, it’s ideal to serve this cooling drink to the guests. Actually, when one says thandai, it refers to the powder or syrup used to make the drink and also to the drink itself. As a matter of fact, in Hindi it means cooling.


There are two forms:

  • The powdered form –  where nuts, poppy seeds, pepper, fennel seeds, cardamom, dried rose petals, saffron, seeds like melon, pumpkin, are crushed to make the powder.
  • The syrup form – The ingredients are crushed into a smooth paste and added to sugar syrup. It is then strained through a cheesecloth to obtain the flavored syrup.


How is this drink prepared?

Generally, milk is boiled the previous day of the festival and the powder or syrup are added. As a result, the flavors are allowed to infuse into the milk overnight. Before the festival, either the flavored milk is put in the freezer to cool or ice cubes are added.


My favorite

In particular, I love milk be it plain, with chocolate, rose syrup, kesar(saffron), etc etc. The options are endless. Therefore not surprising that Thandai  too is one of my favorite drinks. Apart from the  cooling factor, it also provides the necessary nutrients and energy to get through the hot festival day.


Traditional Method of making Thandai

In fact, commercially prepared thandai syrup and powder usually contains artificial food colour and flavors. Therefore, I don’t like to use them. Traditionally the paste is made by grinding all the ingredients using a sil batta  (a large flat stone and a stone rolling pin) to a paste. And then it is strained and squeeze in a muslin cloth to obtain the flavour.  Personally, prefer just grinding the dry ingredients to a powder and storing it. Because I feel that the traditional method results in wastage of fine and expensive ingredients.



  • Fortunately, Sugar can be replaced by using honey, maple syrup, agave nectar or stevia as many people want healthier options. 
  • Homemade thandai powder or syrup taste will vary according to the proportions of ingredients used. Some prefer a slightly hot taste, therefore will add extra peppercorns and some like it sweetish.
  •  Similarly, replace dairy milk with almond, cashew nut, soya, oat, coconut or any other vegan milk.


Can the  Powder or Syrup be stored?

Due to the humid climate in Mombasa, I usually store the powder in the fridge in an airtight container. In fact it is best to store the syrup too in the fridge if the climate is humid. In fact don’t keep the powder for too long as it will lose its flavours. Indeed, it is best to prepare small quantities for freshness.


Is Thandai only used in milk?

Not at all, thandai powder or syrup are used in a variety of different ways. Here are some ways you can make something different for Holi Festival using the powder or syrup to please your guests:



The Group Foodies_Redoing Old Posts, started by Renu helps the members to make an effort to update old posts. Incidentally, the first time I had posted this recipe, the photos were pretty dull. However, this time I thought of adding some colour not to the dish but in the way of using colorful props.

Updated on 18/03/2021. First Published on 25/06/2012

Ingredients Required To Make Thandai Powder and Milk:

  • Fennel Seeds – valiyari, saunf. 
  • Cardamom – elachi. Remove the seeds from the pods. Add the empty pots to your loose tea leaves pot.
  • Peppercorns – mari. Black or white peppercorns. Use according to your taste.
  • Poppy Seeds – khus khus. Omit if you don’t have any. Add melon seeds instead. Also known as magaz seeds.
  • Saffron – kesar.
  • Almonds – badam.
  • Pistachio – unsalted
  • Dried Rose Petals – buy organic ones, free from any pesticides or chemicals.
  • Pumpkin Seeds – optional or use melon seeds (magaz).
  • Milk – I have used dairy milk. Feel free to use any nut milk for a vegan option. Milk must be cold.
  • Sugar – sugar definitely adds that authentic taste. However feel free to use any sweetener of your choice like honey, maple syrup, stevia, etc.
  • Ice Cubes – crushed


Dietary Tips:

  • Gluten free
  • For vegan option use plant based milks
  • Satvik, as no alcohol is added in this recipe
  • Nutritious

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Thandai is a refreshing traditional milk based Indian Drink that is quite popular during the Holi Festival. Made from spices, nuts, seeds and rose petals, its not only a cooler but also a nutritious drink.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Drinks, festival recipe
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4


Thandai Masala/Powder:

  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds saunf, valiyari
  • 4-6 peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds khus khus
  • a generous pinch of saffron kesar
  • 6-8 almonds badam
  • 8-12 pistachios
  • ¼ tsp cardamom elachi
  • 1 tbsp dried rose petals
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Ingredients for Thandai Milk/ Drink:

  • 6-8 tsp sugar
  • 4 cups cold milk
  • crushed ice


Preparation of Thandai Masala/Powder:

  • Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods.
  • Roast aniseeds, poppy seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns over very low flame till you get the aroma of the aniseeds and poppy seeds will begin to pop.
  • Take the pan off the heat. Mix in the saffron.
  • Let the mixture cool down.
  • Put the spice mixture, nuts and seeds in a coffee grinder and process it into a fine powder.

Preparation of Thandai Milk/ Drink:

  • Divide the powder between 4 glasses.
  • Add the cold milk and sugar. Mix well.
  • Add crushed ice and serve immediately.


  • You can add powdered sugar to the mixture and keep it. I don't add it as I would like to use other sweeteners for diabetics and those who don't take sugar.
  • If you prefer a slightly pungent taste add a few more peppercorns.
  • Serve as a dessert. Instead of ice top it with kesar pista or vanilla ice cream. 
  • Store the extra masala in an airtight container in the fridge.
Keyword homemade thandai, how to make thandai powder, thandai milk recipe

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A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962




  • poonampagar

    March 6, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    Even i prefer making small batches of thandai powder and store it without any sweetener. Loved your entire post with so many innovative recipes using thandai powder. Can’t take my eyes off this thandai pic, looks so vibrant and festive !

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 6, 2020 at 9:35 pm

      Thank you so much Poonam.

    2. Vishhal B Anand

      March 24, 2021 at 1:16 am

      Excellebt Recipe of a festive special. Wonderful

      1. mayurisjikoni

        March 24, 2021 at 3:49 pm

        Thank you so much.

  • Pavani

    March 9, 2020 at 6:08 am

    Beautiful post Mayuri. Believe it or not, I’ve never tried Thandai 🙂 Your post is inspiring me to make a small batch of thandai powder and try. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 9, 2020 at 10:19 pm

      Pavani, you’ve got to try the drink, its so cooling, delicious and nutritious too. Can always replace the sugar with a healthier option if you want to. But taste it first with normal sugar.

  • Shailender Sharma

    March 10, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    Holi seems to be incomplete without thandai and gujia. And when thandi looks to be this much tempting and inviting, it is must in one’s wish list for holi.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 11, 2020 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks Shailender, thandai or a thandai based food is a must during Holi.

      1. Sujata Roy

        May 30, 2021 at 4:32 am

        5 stars
        Loved how you gave detailed information and method to make different types of thandai. Also loved your click and presentation. Thanks for including my recipe. Bookmarking this post to try all the different recipes.

      2. mayurisjikoni

        May 30, 2021 at 4:58 pm

        Thanks Sujata and you’re welcome.

  • Lata Lala

    March 11, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    Thandai and Holi go hand in hand. I too love to make small batch of thandai always. While scrolling through the thandai recipes, loved all of them.
    Pics are fantastic and so colorful.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 18, 2020 at 10:05 pm

      Thank you so much Lata. Small batches of any spice powder keeps it fresh and tasteful.

  • jayashreetrao

    March 13, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    I had made thandai powder two years back. I think I should make it again no as I am tempted. Nice post.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 16, 2020 at 3:09 pm

      Thanks Jayashree and hope you managed to make the thandai powder.

  • Jagruti’s Cooking Odyssey

    March 13, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    Holi and Thandai go hand in hand, and homemade thandai powder is the best to keep things fresh and tasty.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 16, 2020 at 3:08 pm

      That’s so true Jagruti, and can’t imagine Holi without thandai in some form.

  • Geetanjali

    March 17, 2020 at 9:11 am

    I am drooling over those pictures…Thandai looks so tempting! Who can say no to this. Truly a treat for the taste buds. Love the addition of pumpkin seeds.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 18, 2020 at 10:02 pm

      Thank you so much Geetanjali.

  • Uma Raghupathi

    March 17, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    Thandai looks refreshing and flavorful. I had this in my child hood during holi. Now a days i miss this drink. May be i will try vegan version of this recipe.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 18, 2020 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks Uma, hope you enjoy the vegan version.

  • Renu

    March 19, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    5 stars
    One of the must for Holi. I remember my dad making this fresh every Holi. I liked this powder form, one can make ahead and keep it. Good for Holi as well as for the summer months.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 20, 2021 at 6:28 pm

      Thank you Renu, I’ve tried the fresh one too which tastes a bit different.

  • Azlin Bloor

    March 21, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    5 stars
    I love cooling milk drinks and this thandai sounds like something I would really enjoy, especially with all those spices in there. A great drink for celebrations. I’m definitely going to give this a try.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 21, 2021 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you so much Azlin. We even use the powder or syrup to prepare desserts, cakes and cookies.

  • Archana

    March 24, 2021 at 9:10 am

    5 stars
    No more will I be buying the thandai powder thanks to you Mayuri. Thandai Powder is definitely doable will make a small batch and store it. I love to drink milk so any variations in my milk are welcome.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 24, 2021 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks Archana, its been years since I’ve bought the ready made powder or syrup. Its so easy to make at home.

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