27 Diwali Recipes Guaranteed To Spread Joy During The Festival Of Lights (2024)

Wishing you an abundance of love and riches this Hindu New Year!

By Camille Lowder
27 Diwali Recipes Guaranteed To Spread Joy During The Festival Of Lights (1)

Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, marks the beginning of the Hindu new year and celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, hope over despair, and knowledge over ignorance. Diwali (November 10 to 15, 2023) is celebrated with food, fireworks, and ceremonies of hope, love, joy, and peace. While the celebration varies by region, special Indian dishes (and especially sweets) are always an important element of the festivities. These 27 recipes for Diwali favorites will help you spread joy and happiness to everyone in your life during the Festival of Lights.

Because Diwali is celebrated by a number of religions (including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhists), traditions and customs can vary from family to family. There is almost always a focus on enjoying mithai (or sweets). Try our peda (milk fudge), our pista kulfi (cardamom pistachio ice cream), or our coconut burfi brownie bites (kind of like a Mounds bar)—sharing and gifting confections is a huge part of the celebration too, so make extra.

As for savory options, many Indian standards show up on the holiday table. By many, we mean tons, since this is a holiday for feasting and celebrating with friends and family. Check out our chicken tikka masala, our potato curry, our saag paneer, and more—they’re delicious whether you’ve got your whole family together or are celebrating with a smaller group. If you do have a whole crowd, add some extras to the table as appetizers, like our papdi chaat, our homemade samosas, or naan served alongside tomato or mango chutneys too.

Diwali is also a time for prayer and reflection, so if you're religious, we hope you find time during this 5-day festival to contemplate the past and pray for joy in the coming year. For everyone else, we hope these recipes will help broaden your perspective and inspire you to try something new (always a great tradition for any New Year!).

1

Peda (Milk Fudge)

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Peda is a super-popular mitai (sweet) in Indian households during Diwali. It’s a milky fudge-like confection that is traditionally made from dried evaporated milk solids called khoya, though lots of people use a shortcut method of sweetened condensed milk and non-fat dry milk powder (like we did here).

Get the Peda (Milk Fudge) recipe.

2

Butter Chicken

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Butter chicken is one of the most popular dishes at most Indian restaurants, and for good reason. This chicken recipe uses deeply flavored chicken thighs, simmered in an ultra-silky and aromatic sauce of tomatoes, cream, and cashews. Spoon this dish over steamed rice or serve with warm naan for the perfect dinner.

Get the Butter Chicken recipe.

3

Papdi Chaat

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Papdi chaat can take on many variations, but this particular version is a monster of a delight with two chutneys, tender potatoes and chickpeas, tangy yogurt, a medley of eye-catching red onions, pomegranate seeds, diced tomatoes, and finished with a generous snowing of crunchy sev noodles. 😍

Get the Papdi Chaat recipe.

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4

Tandoori Chicken

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The real standout in this timeless recipe is the use of a masala-yogurt marinade that coats the chicken throughout the cooking process, making it exceedingly juicy and extra flavorful. You can marinate the chicken in the morning, then roast it for just 30 minutes (!) when you’re ready to eat.

Get the Tandoori Chicken recipe.

5

Homemade Samosas

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Homemade samosas don't need to be intimidating! The spiced potato filling is fast and easy, and the dough comes together quickly using melted ghee. You may need to hunt down some spices and seeds, but it's well worth it for the best, most authentic-tasting samosas this Diwali.

Get the Homemade Samosas recipe.

6

Mango Chutney

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In India, where chutneys hail from, the word can refer to many different spiced dishes made with fruits, vegetables, and/or herbs. This mango version, which is spiced with fennel, mustard, cumin, and coriander seeds, plus a kick from fresh ginger, is similar to a jam or jelly, and will add flavor to nearly anything you pair it with.

Get the Mango Chutney recipe.

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7

Chicken Madras

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If you love spice, you’ve got to try this chicken Madras recipe. Spiked with a potent blend of freshly ground spices and soothed with rich coconut milk, this chicken curry is equal parts spicy, creamy, and downright delicious.

Get the Chicken Madras recipe.

8

Coconut Burfi Brownie Bites

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Coconut burfi is an Indian mithai (sweet) made from shredded coconut and sweetened condensed milk with a touch of cardamom. The combo of chocolate and coconut is so magical, and the ground cardamom just makes it even more special.

Get the Coconut Burfi Brownie Bites recipe.

9

Chicken Tikka Masala

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Chicken tikka refers to chicken that's been marinated in yogurt and then roasted. You can find chicken tikka served on skewers or roasted and served dry. The "masala" in chicken tikka masala refers to the cream sauce that the meat is served in. The more you know!

Get the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe.

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10

Vegetable Biryani

Vegetable biryani usually contains yogurt-coated, spiced vegetables that are then layered between rice and steamed all together. A saffron liquid is poured over, then the dish is topped with caramelized red onions for the perfect vegetarian side (or main!).

Get the Vegetable Biryani recipe.

11

Khichdi

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The most basic version of this South Asian dish (also known as kitchari) is made up of just rice, a pulse (like mung beans or lentils), turmeric, and salt, but the variations are endlessly diverse. Our version adds warming spices and garlic, ginger, and tomato, but feel free to make it your own.

Get the Khichdi recipe.

12

Bateka Nu Shaak

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Shaak is a Gujarati term that refers to bhajis, or as the Western world would call it, “curry.” Bateka nu shaak is a quick, comforting, homestyle meal made with a handful of spices, tomatoes, and potatoes. If you’re new to Indian cooking or Diwali, this is a great starting-off dish to make.

Get the Bateka Nu Shaak recipe.

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13

Chicken Biryani

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For this recipe, we were inspired by the Hyderabadi-style of biryani, where rice and a curry filled with veggies and/or a protein are cooked separately, then layered and baked into an aromatic, harmonious, and hearty dish. Serve alongside a fresh cucumber raita for a perfectly balanced meal.

Get the Chicken Biryani recipe.

14

Masala Chai

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There are many versions with varying amounts and ratios of ingredients, but at its core, masala chai is black tea brewed with fresh ginger, crushed spices, milk, and sugar. Make a pot to start your Diwali off right this year—it'll keep you feeling cozy and warm all day long.

Get the Masala Chai recipe.

15

Lentil Dal

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The term dal refers to both this soup-like Indian dish and the word for split lentils. For this version, red lentils are simmered down in a tomato broth with lots of warm, bold spices. The spiced oil that gets drizzled over top is optional but highly encouraged. The yogurt will help balance out the spiciness and the acidity of the dish.

Get the Lentil Dal recipe.

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16

Aloo Gobi

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Aloo gobi is a classic vegetarian Indian dish translating to potatoes (aloo) and cauliflower (gobi). It's a one-pot, super-simple, comforting dish that's ready quickly—serve it as a side or over rice as a main.

Get the Aloo Gobi recipe.

17

Mango Lassi

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Like a cross between a milkshake and a smoothie, mango lassi is a simple pleasure: All you need is about equal amounts of sweet mangoes and creamy full-fat yogurt, a little ice, and a high-powered blender to force the two ingredients into one drinkable treat.

Get the Mango Lassi recipe.

18

Homemade Naan

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Naan is a traditional South Asian flatbread that is usually cooked in a tandoor oven. The yogurt-based bread quickly bubbles up and yields a soft bread with slightly crisp edges. It's perfect for soaking up all of that extra sauce from chicken tikka masala or served as an Diwali appetizer along with garlic hummus or any of your favorite dips.

Get the Homemade Naan recipe.

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19

Rice Pudding

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We kept this rice pudding (known as kheer in India) simple, but recommend making it extra special for the holiday by adding in other traditional ingredients, like pistachios, cardamom, rose water, or saffron.

Get the Rice Pudding recipe.

20

Saag Paneer

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This robust curry is a staple in many Indian restaurants. With a manageable ingredient list, ours is easy to re-create at home. It's the perfect vegetarian meal to celebrate Diwali (you could even try and make it vegan using extra-firm tofu and canned coconut milk).

Get the Saag Paneer recipe.

27 Diwali Recipes Guaranteed To Spread Joy During The Festival Of Lights (2024)
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