Thandai Recipe by Manjula


Thandai is a very refreshing spicy cold drink with aromatic flavors; main ingredients are almond, milk, sugar and some spices. Traditionally thandai is served during the Indian holiday “Holi”. Holi is a celebration of the harvest season.
Recipe will serve 4.
No ratings yet
Course Drinks
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • ½ cup almonds badam
  • 1 ½ cup Milk
  • 4 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp whole black pepper kali mirch
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds saunf
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds khuskhus
  • 4 green cardamom ilatchi
  • 2 Tbsp rosewater
  • 2 cup water adjust as needed


  • Soak almonds in water for at least 6 hours. Peel off the almond’s skin.
  • Grind black pepper, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, and cardamom.
  • Using a blender, blend the almonds into a paste. Add just enough water to let the almond blend into a paste.
  • In the same blender add the grinded spices and about ½ cup of water with almond paste. Blend until creamy.
  • Add 1 cup of water and sugar blend until sugar dissolve.
  • Strain the mix through the fine strainer or cheesecloth.
  • Return the left over ground paste to the blender with rest of the water.
  • Blend again and extract the liquid once more.
  • Discard remaining ground mash.
  • Mix the almond liquid, milk, and rose water.
  • Thandai is ready. Serve over the crush ice.


Garnish with rose petals!
Keyword Holi Drink, milk, Poppy Seeds, Rosewater, Sweet
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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48 thoughts on “Thandai

  1. Hello mam ,
    In singapore khus khus is banned ,so can u plz tell me the substitute of it in thandai ,as i actually want the same kooling effect tht we get in thandai

  2. Wonderful beverage. I just made a double batch for my family to try. It was agreed it goes on the holiday table for Pesach! So since we are vegan I simply added a bit more water not enough to equal the milk called for so it was still nice and rich. I also left out the black pepper, I do the same in my chai tea blend as most do not like the bite and I am a pitta dosha so it serves me better too.

    Thank you for this lovely recipe and all the others, which are many, you have shared and my family has enjoyed!

  3. HELLO,

  4. Hello Manjula Aunty,

    I have become a fan of your Recipes and the ratios that you suggest are so perfect that am able to make good food atleast on the second attempt if not first :).

    Have followed so many of your recipes and everyone has relished them. You are a Kitchen Guru…

    Thank you so much. Its really helpful.


  5. Dear manjula aunty,

    from many days wish to send comment but always due to some reason,unable to send.

    i tried many recipes of you and it was very successful. you are very special for me.

    god bless you a good health. i really love you.————-shital from south korea

  6. Manjula, your website has helped me discover a love of Indian food as I can control the heat and spices now that I know some basics and techniques. Tonight I made a feast that included Thandai and it was delicious. I’m a vegan so I didn’t use cow’s milk but almond milk, omitting the whole almonds and leaving everything else the same. I LOVE this drink!

  7. Kind of funny that the recipe conspicuously fails to mention the secret ingredient. Not altogether surprising… but people should know that if you follow the directions, you aren’t making “real” Thundai. It needs something else, something magical…

        1. Ohhh, I kept reading and found out what the magical ingredient is and I seriously doubt that it’s anise and cumin!
          I understand why Manjula has omitted it. 🙂

  8. Hi,

    Your recipes are good and very easy to make. Keep up the good work . I wanted to know how to make thandai syrup in bulk quantities and store it .I want to make it in large quantities so that i can use it daily with milk during summers.

    thank you . looking forward for your prompt reply

  9. Aunty,

    I tried this recipe and it came out good. But I would like to know the end taste of this drink. Is it spicy due to pepper or sweet due to sugar? I found the pepper taste dominated in my preparation. Can you or someone confirm me how it should taste?

  10. Hello Aunty,
    you are a wonderful person. I am so glad in knowing you through internet. I am seeing this recipe for first time and I am quite eager to try it out. you are a true inspirer. your looks and voice are so motherly and warm to me. Thanks for doing a wonderful job.

  11. Manjula,
    My wife and I love your recipes too. Very practical and detailed. We made things we never thought we would make at home – Ras Malai, Bhatura, Naan – and they came out better than what we can get at an Indian restaurant or store. Thank you.

    Rose water is easily available at any Indian grocery. Even middle-eastern or Persian groceries will typically carry it.

  12. Dear Manjula,

    I love your videos. You are an excellent chef. I’m fortunate enough to have an Indian grocery store nearby so if I can pick up those aromatic and flavorful Indian spices and make some of your fabulous recipes. I haven’t heard of rosewater before. Is that something one makes or can one buy it at a grocery shop? Thank you. I look forward to seeing you cooking up a storm.


    Adrian T.

  13. I love your recipes. Without the videos I would be lost, thank you for making them in English. You are soooo kind to make them available for everyone to enjoy! धन्यवाद

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