Annika Eats

Homemade Thandai From Scratch

Thandai is a traditional Indian drink made during the festival of Holi. It is filled with nuts, spices and a little sugar for sweetness. The recipe is easy to make ahead as well. 

Growing up, celebrating Holi as a festival was one of the best feelings ever. There was no adult supervision as we were playing with water, during the day and with other kids. As much fun as it was drenching everyone in water and colors coming home after hours of water fights, soaking wet and tired not to mention hungry – homemade snacks were the best. I do no recall drinking Thandai a lot as it was tedious to make according to mum. I remember drinking rose milk or something warm. 

So why am I making Thandai today? As I grew up I wanted to know how to make Thandai and realized through research it is really not tedious at all! Mum just didn’t want to take any effort! LOL! This recipe is the perfect make ahead drink for any occasion and you can store it in the fridge for a week! Giving you Thandai on repeat. 

What ingredients do you need to make this Thandai?

There are two parts to making this recipe, the Thandai spice mixture and the milk. The Thandai mixture is made of cashews, almonds and pistachios that have been soaked in water. We blend it with pumpkin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron, poppy seeds, rose petals, black pepper, and fennel seeds. This mixture is added to boiling milk and sweetened with sugar. THATS IT!

Now, there are many variations of this recipe that exist, however, I am sharing a version that I have perfected. It is not entirely traditional but it is absolutely delicious, easy and the flavor is as authentic as it can be. 

To make this recipe we need a blender, a good high speed blender to make sure the mixture is smooth and is blended well. I have used a heavy bottom sauce pot to boil the milk and the mixture in it. Let it sit in the pot once boiled and steep, ideally for 1 hour but I like to do this in the night and let it sit in the fridge overnight. When ready to serve, strain the mixture, top it with some saffron cream (optional), saffron strands and rose petals. Serving it chilled is the best option. 

Looking for more Holi recipes? Check out the Thandai Tres Leches recipe, Thandai Mishti Doi and Nankhatai recipe. Now that we have covered how to make this Thandai Mishti Doi, you can have a look at the recipe video on my socials but let’s get to it. Don’t forget to follow along for more fun recipe inspiration. 

If you try this recipe out, don’t forget to share it with me on instagram so I can see how it turned out. I’d love nothing more than to chat with you on your cooking/baking.  

Homemade Thandai From Scratch

Thandai is a traditional Indian drink made during the festival of Holi. It is filled with nuts, spices and a little sugar for sweetness. The recipe is easy to make ahead as well.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Drinks, High Tea, tea time
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 people


  • Blender
  • Sauce pot
  • Strainer


Thandai Mixture -

  • 1/4 cup Almonds
  • 1/4 cup Cashews
  • 2 tbsp Pistachios
  • 1 tbsp Pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp Poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp Fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp Green cardamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 10 tsp Rose petals
  • Pinch of Saffron
  • 1/2 tsp Almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp Rose water
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

For the milk -

  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup Ice

Saffron cream -

  • 3 tbsp Heavy cream
  • Pinch of saffron


Thandai Mixture -

  • Soak the almonds, cashews, pistachios in 1/4 cup warm water for 10 mins.
  • Blend the nuts and water with the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Set aside.

For the Milk -

  • Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy bottom pan, add the thandai mixture and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat and simmer. Add the sugar and simmer for 10 mins.
  • Remake from the heat and add the ice to cool it down immediately. Transfer to the fridge once its come to room temperature and let it cool down completely for atleast an hour.
  • Strain and pour into glasses.

Optional -

  • To make the saffron cream, warm the cream, add the saffron and simmer. Remove from the heat and let it cool down. Pour over the thandai milk while serving.


  • Make this the night before and let it sit in your fridge overnight before straining and serving.

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