The Perfect Sweet Lassi Recipe
Watered down, not cold enough, coarse, or just bland. I’ll admit, I’ve had many a mediocre Lassi. It wasn’t until I tasted my brother-in-law’s version that I realized how good a classic Punjabi Lassi can be. This is my take on his Sweet Lassi recipe – creamy, smooth, frothy perfection.
“You have delivered a gem once again. Thank you.”Sana
It’s been over 3 years since I first published this Sweet Lassi recipe. Since then, I’ve had countless commendable Lassis, most recently alongside Halwa Puri at Bundu Khan in Lahore, Pakistan. But I’ve yet to meet one I liked more than this original version.
This recipe is inspired by my brother in law’s Lassi. When I first tasted it, I was taken aback by how well-balanced it was. The consistency was not too thin or thick. The taste was not too sweet or too tart. It was smooth. It was rejuvenating. It was perfect.
Tips for the Best Sweet Lassi
Here’s what made his version so special:
- Foamy & frothy: Before blenders were a thing, lassi was poured from one jug to another to create the signature froth. Thanks to blenders, now you can get the same froth sans arm workout.
- Creamy & Smooth: My brother-in-law’s secret ingredient was a touch of whipping cream, which made the Lassi rich and silky without being heavy.
- Cold: Temperature is one of the most overlooked aspects of a good Lassi, which is why ice is a required ingredient (I’ve even given the quantity in grams).
What is Lassi?
Lassi is a Pakistani and Indian drink made with plain yogurt and other flavorings. There are countless variations of lassi (it’s very much hit or miss at restaurants), and it can be sweet, salty, or fruity. Though Mango Lassi is much better-known worldwide, plain Lassi, whether salted or sweet, is still more prevalent in Pakistani and Indian homes.
Lassi is popular in the summer, but to me, it’s kind of like ice cream – very appropriate year-round. There’s nothing quite like downing a warm plate of Halwa Poori or Nihari with an utterly refreshing glass of lassi.
History and Origins of Lassi
Lassi originated from my ancestral region of Punjab in India and Pakistan. Traditionally, people would use a wooden churner (madhani – pronounced mudh-ah-ni) to whisk Lassi in a clay pot (kujja). If you’re curious, here’s a video showing the traditional way of making lassi. Besides homemade yogurt (or curd), the only other ingredients in a classic Lassi were water, ice, and salt (or sugar).
Fun Fact: Because buffalo milk was more common in Punjab than cow’s milk, Lassi was (and in many places still is) made with buffalo milk yogurt instead of cow’s milk yogurt. Buffalo milk has a higher fat content, so that you can actually see the oil on top of the cup of chai. The yogurt from buffalo milk is therefore richer and creamier.
Ingredients You’ll Need
My brother-in-law describes the recipe as something like, “half a tub of yogurt, less than a third of the heavy whipping cream…the small box, lots of milk, and lots of sugar.”
Like him, most people don’t use a recipe when making lassi, but I find it’s all in the ratios. Using the same ingredients, variations in quantities yield different results.
Here’s more about the ingredients and how to adjust them as needed:
- Yogurt: Use plain, whole milk yogurt. Because yogurt can vary in its thickness and tartness, you may need to adjust the liquid and sugar quantities in the recipe.
- Ice cubes: Serves to properly chill the lassi and slightly dilute the yogurt. In traditional versions, there were little bits and traces of ice, which were quite enjoyable.
- Milk: Thins it out while adding richness and balance. If you like your a thicker lassi, feel free to decrease the amount of milk.
- Heavy whipping cream: Amplifies the creamy base (a must for a good lassi) and enhances smoothness. Substitute with half & half or if you’re going light, skip it altogether.
- Sugar: You can make it as sweet or unsweet as you’d like, depending on your ingredients & preferences.
How to Make Sweet Lassi
Since we’re using plenty of ice, a powerful blender helps. For regular blenders, you may have to partly crush the ice with the milk first.
- Add ingredients in a blender and blend until no longer icy. If you’d like to keep some of the bits of ice, blend for a shorter time.
- It’ll naturally become frothy on top.
- Taste and add sugar for sweetness, yogurt for more tart flavor, ice to make it cooler.
- Pour into two large glasses or 3-4 small. This recipe makes around 4 cups (32 oz), so 2 large lassis or 4 kid-size, though my kids usually demand more than 8 oz.
How To Store Lassi
Lassi keeps well in the fridge, which is why restaurants often have it ready-to-go. To store, cover with a lid and refrigerate for 12-18 hours before it starts losing freshness. Stir or shake again before serving.
How and When to Serve Sweet Lassi
Sweet Lassi is usually served alongside breakfast or brunch or as a refreshment between meals. Ice in the recipe ensures that it’s served chilled. If you’re going fancy, you can serve in glasses garnished with fresh mint leaves.
Punjabi Lassi was pure and simple, but it adapts well to so many variations:
- Pinch of salt: For yogurt Lassi, either salt or sugar was used, not both. But if you like, you can add a pinch of salt to offset the sweetness.
- Rose water or kewra water: Start with 2-3 drops and increase as desired because brands vary in strength. You can also make a Rose Lassi by adding Rooh Afza (rose syrup) and decreasing the sugar.
- Spices: Such as 1/8 tsp cardamom powder, small pinch saffron strands, or cinnamon (non-traditional).
- Toppings: In Lahore, we had lassi topped with malai (clotted cream) and slivered almonds and pistachios.
- Buttermilk: Try replacing the heavy whipping cream with it if you want to enhance the sour flavor.
- Lightened up: For a simpler, lighter lassi, use only yogurt, ice, and sugar, reducing the sugar as needed.
- Modern Lassi Flavors: If you’re willing to step into the smoothie category, try adding fruit such as strawberries or banana.
More Delicious Pakistani and Indian Drink Recipes to Try
- The BEST Mango Lassi
- Authentic Pakistani Chai
- Turmeric Milk (Haldi Ka Doodh)
- 20-Minute Kashmiri Chai (Pink Tea)
- Masala Chai
If you try this lassi, please let me know! I’d love for you to leave a comment or rating and share it with me on Instagram. It always makes my day to see you try my recipes!
The Perfect Sweet Lassi Recipe
- 1 1/2 cup (366 g) plain, whole-milk yogurt
- 4-5 large/8-10 small (~100-130 g) ice cubes
- 3/4-1 cup (177-237 ml) whole milk
- 4 tbsp + 2 tsp (~62 g) cane sugar, or to taste – See Note 1
- 3 tbsp (~44 g) heavy whipping cream, or sub half and half
- High-Speed Blender
- Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth and no longer icy (~1 minute). It'll naturally become frothy on top.
- Taste and add sugar for sweetness, ice for coolness, or 1-2 tbsp of yogurt for tartness. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, for 1-2 days.