Laddu or laddoo is a spherical sweet from the Indian subcontinent made of various ingredients and sugar syrup or jaggery. It has been described as "perhaps the most universal and ancient of Indian sweets."[1]

Region or stateIndian subcontinent
Main ingredientsFlour, sugar, ghee, dry fruits
VariationsGram flour, rava

Laddus are often served during celebrations and religious festivals, especially those associated with the Hindu deity Ganesha.[1][2][3]


Archaeological excavations have found "food balls" made of legumes and cereals such as barley, wheat, chickpea and mung bean were consumed in the Indus Valley Civilization circa 2600 BCE.[4][5]

In the 3rd-4th century Sanskrit medical text Sushruta Samhita, ladduka are described as small balls of jaggery, peanuts, and sesame seeds coated with honey. These balls were used as an antiseptic and to deliver medication. However, the first documented mention of laddu as a sweet is in the 11th-century Western Indian cookbook Lokopakara. It gives a recipe for making laddus with shavige (rice vermicelli), ghee, and sugar syrup, which were formed into balls and fried in ghee. The 15th-century Indian cookbook Nimatnama-i-Nasiruddin-Shahi gives several recipes for laddus made with white flour, dried fruits, rosewater, camphor, and musk.[1]


Besan laddu

Besan (chickpea flour) laddus

Besan laddu is the most common variety. To prepare it, besan (chickpea flour) is fried in hot ghee (clarified butter). Sugar and cardamom powder are then mixed in. The mixture is formed into balls and allowed to cool and solidify.[1][6]

Motichoor laddu

Motichoor laddus

Motichoor ("crushed pearls" in Hindi)[7] laddu is made from boondi, tiny fried balls of chickpea batter soaked in sugar syrup.[1][8]

Thaggu ke laddu

Thaggu ke ("Cheat's") laddu is made from khoa (condensed milk), semolina, and white sugar and is a specialty of Kanpur, India. It was invented by Mattha Pandey, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. Pandey heard Gandhi refer to white sugar, which was popularized in India by the British, as "white poison" and disease-causing. Since his laddu was made with white sugar, he named it accordingly.[1]

Shahi laddu

Shahi (royal) laddu is made from the sweets peda and barfi, which are ground into a paste, mixed with cardamom, dried fruits, and nuts, and formed into balls. It is decorated with vark (edible foil).[1]

Coconut laddu

Coconut laddus

There are multiple coconut laddu recipes. Its earliest form Narayl Nakru dates back to the time of the Chola Empire, when it was a sweet that was packed for travelers and warriors as a symbol of good luck for their expeditions.[9]

Laddu with edible gum

In India, these are traditionally given to lactating mothers as they help in the production of milk.[10][11] These laddus are called dinkache ladoo in Marathi and gond ka laddu in Hindi. The main ingredient is gum arabic which is collected from the babhul tree. Other ingredients include coconut, almonds, cashews, dates, spices such as nutmeg and cardamom, poppy seeds, ghee, and sugar.[12]

An alternative multigrain recipe will have a portion of gum replaced by grains and legume flours such as besan, urid, ragi (nachani in Marathi) and wheat.[13]

Temple laddus

Some Hindu temples have their own laddu versions, which are offered to the deities and then served to devotees as prasada (sanctified food). The besan laddu served in the Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati, India, has been called "the most famous temple laddu." The Maa Tarini Temple in Ghatgaon, India serves laddus made from coconut and khoa. The special laddu at the Subramaniya Swamy Temple in Tiruchendur, India is made from foxtail millet.[1][14]


Wheat flour laddus
Til (sesame seed) laddus
Rice flour laddus

Every region of India has its own version of laddu. In Rajasthan, laddus are made from wheat flour, in Maharashtra from sesame seeds, in Kerala from rice flour, and in Andhra Pradesh from rice flakes. Optional ingredients include grated coconut, roasted chickpeas, nuts, and raisins.[1]

World record

The largest individual laddu weighs 29,465 kg

The largest individual laddu weighs 29,465 kilograms (64,959 lb) and was achieved by PVVS Mallikharjuna Rao (India), in Tapeswaram, Andhra Pradesh, India, on 6 September 2016.[15] The laddu was made to a traditional Boondi recipe. The ingredients included ghee, refined oil, cashew nuts, sugar, almonds, cardamom, and water.

In popular culture

In the Sesame Street episode "Rakhi Road", Elmo is shown eating laddus.[16]

A laddu weighing 6,300 kg was made for a Ganesh festival in Andhra Pradesh, India in September 2012. This was claimed to be the largest known laddu.[17]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Bloomsbury Handbook of Indian Cuisine. Bloomsbury Publishing. 2023. pp. 269–270. Archived from the original on 2023-03-14. Retrieved 2023-03-14.
  2. ^ "Sweet shops make hay in Diwali shine". The New Indian Express. 31 October 2013. Archived from the original on 21 April 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  3. ^ Sangeetha Devi Dundoo (31 October 2013). "As good as home". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 23 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  4. ^ Agnihotri, Rajesh (1 June 2021). "Microscopic, biochemical and stable isotopic investigation of seven multi-nutritional food-balls from Indus archaeological site, Rajasthan (India)". Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 37: 102917. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2021.102917. ISSN 2352-409X. S2CID 233578846. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  5. ^ Tewari, Mohita (25 March 2021). "Harappan people ate multigrain, high-protein 'laddoos': Study". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 19 February 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  6. ^ Collingham, Lizzie (2007). Curry : a tale of cooks and conquerors. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0195320015. Archived from the original on 2023-03-14. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  7. ^ "Motichoor Ladoo (Laddu): A Sweet Dip in the History of India's Favourite Festive Treat". Archived from the original on 2022-09-02. Retrieved 2022-08-15.
  8. ^ Krondl, Michael (2011). Sweet invention a history of dessert (1st ed.). Chicago, Ill.: Chicago Review Press. p. 17. ISBN 9781569769522. Archived from the original on 2023-03-14. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  9. ^ Madhulika Dash (16 October 2004). "Food Story: The journey of ladoo from a medicine to the much-loved Indian sweet". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 27 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  10. ^ Kajale, Neha, et al. "Effect of traditional food supplements on nutritional status of lactating mothers and growth of their infants." Nutrition 30.11 (2014): 1360-1365.
  11. ^ Singh, Mayank (2012). "Traditional Herbal Care of Human Health in Jaunpur (U.P.)" (PDF). Indian J. L. Sci. 1 (2): 61–65. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Dinkache ladoo, Gund ladoo, Gond Ladoo, Gond Ka Laddu.....Easy Recipes on". Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  13. ^ Naidu, Bhargavi G., Kirti J. Shirke, and Anuradha Shekhar. "Research Paper Open Access." (2012).
  14. ^ Collingham, Lizzie (2007). Curry : a tale of cooks and conquerors. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0195320015. Archived from the original on 2023-03-14. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  15. ^ "Largest laddu (individual)". Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on 2018-10-19. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  16. ^ "Guide to Deepavali". Time Out. October 24, 2019. 'Sesame Street' even paid tribute with a Rakhi Road episode which shows Elmo chomping away at laddu.
  17. ^ "6,300 kg Tapeswaram laddu creates record". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2012.