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Gulab Jamun – Indian Syrup-Soaked Donut Holes

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Gulab jamun are the Indian version of donut holes.  But unlike the donut holes that I would mooch off of my brother’s soccer team while they were having halftime meetings, gulab jamun are not finger foods.  Imagine, if you will, hot Krispy Kremes fresh out of the fryer, soaked in sugar syrup, and then served on top of some extra syrup.  That, my friends, is gulab jamun.  Gulab jamun are little syrup sponges (in this case a cardamom, syrup) your arteries will hate you for, but that you won’t be able to resist (if you feel guilty, you can remind yourself that they aren’t as fattening as deep fried cupcakes or cupcakes wellington).

Many recipes for gulab jamun use mixes, but as regular readers know, I am a 100% from-scratch kind of gal.  I got my gulab jamun recipe from My Feasts.  It worked perfectly, with one exception: the balls were supposed to be able to soak in the syrup for hours, but after two minutes, my balls were fully saturated. By the five-minute mark, they had completely fallen apart in the syrup.  I have two theories as to why this happened: the syrup could have been too hot, or the balls might not have been fried long enough.  If you have any thoughts on this, please leave a comment.

To work around that minor hiccup, I found that the best technique was to let the gulab jamun soak for two minutes and then remove them from the syrup with a slotted spoon.  When I was ready to serve them (if I didn’t eat them immediately), I microwaved them for ten seconds at a time (until hot) and served them over a small amount of hot syrup.

If you've tried this recipe, please RATE THE RECIPE and leave a comment below!

3.5 from 2 votes

Gulab Jamun – Indian Syrup-Soaked Donut Holes


Dough ingredients

  • 2 C powdered milk
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 C + 2 tbsp ghee clarified butter
  • 1/2 C milk room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • vegetable oil for frying

Syrup ingredients

  • 3 C water
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom


  1. Mix powdered milk, flour and baking soda in a bowl.
  2. Add ghee to flour and milk powder mixture. Mix well.
  3. Slowly add milk. The dough will be very soft.
  4. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Bring all syrup ingredients to a boil in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
  6. Reduce to low heat. Keep the syrup warm and ready for the addition of the fried gulab jamun.
  7. After 20 minutes, pinch off small pieces of dough and roll them into little balls.
  8. Fry the balls in vegetable oil. I used my mini deep fryer. I very lightly fried mine (maybe that's why they didn't hold up as well). I liked them that way, but you could also keep them in the fryer for a few minutes to make them a darker brown.
  9. Add the fried balls to the warm syrup. See my notes above about how long to soak them.
  10. Serve warm over syrup.


Diwali Cupcakes

I made these gulab jamun as toppers for my Diwali cupcakes (coming soon).  Nothing goes better with a cupcake than a syrup-soaked donut!

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18 comments on “Gulab Jamun – Indian Syrup-Soaked Donut Holes”

  1. Priyasays:

    My favourite jamuns, u have turned them prefectly..

  2. interesting! these sounds really yummy!

  3. Ivysays:

    Looks good. I have had these and they are kinda’ too sweet for me.

  4. Rifatsays:

    Hey Steph – hope you are well.
    My M.I.L. lets the jamuns cool for 5 mins after frying them before putting them into the warm (not hot) syrup. That helps them hold their shape!

  5. JehanPsays:

    Yum I love Gulub Jamun…these are divine!! I made this a few weeks ago and ate in all within 1 day!

  6. Tamannasays:

    interesting way to name em! looks delicious, i love gulab jamuns!

  7. Bumblesays:

    The gulab jamun fell apart probably because of one simple thing: the shape you moulded them in.

    For the gulab jamun to remain intact in syrup for hours, you need to oil your hands and then shape the mix into PERFECT shiny spheres. Oil you hands before every ball if needed. The smoothness and lack of imperfections in the surface will reduce the risk of them breaking apart.

    That’s why you always see them shaped in spheres. Try it and see how it goes, I know mine lasted for a good 4 hours in the hot syrup with a further reboiling.

  8. something different to see!!!

  9. Cindysays:

    Hi! Great recipe!
    Just one question : if you want to make the gulab jamuns for the cupcakes toppings in advance, do you still put them in syrup as soon as their cooked or not?
    Will they keep well for a day or two?

  10. Kayleesays:

    Thanks to all for your supportive and kind words. They are much appreciated by myself and my family.
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  12. loanssays:

    Outstanding post but I was wondering if you
    could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be
    very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Appreciate it!

  13. Swatisays:

    Hi Stefani,
    This is Swati from India. i just came across your website’s link for gulab jamun while surfing through the internet for some other recipe. And I was pleasantly amazed at somebody from outside India trying this very popular recipe in India. I really appreciate your effort at making an Indian dessert. However, i will like to inform you that the ingredients you have mentioned for the jamuns (what you call doughnuts) are not completely correct. First of all, the main ingredient is an extremely reduced milk, which is made by continuously boiling milk and it’s consistency is that of a dough kneaded from flour. We call it ‘Khoya’. Probably milk powder is a substitute to it because of it’s unavailability in US. The other important ingredient is ‘Paneer’, which is similar to ‘Cottage Cheese’. Secondly, from the pics posted by you, it seems that the amount of all purpose flour is more than required. It is used only for binding purpose. Thirdly, the balls should be rolled in perfect spheres.


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