The Best Mango Lassi Recipe (Restaurant-Style)
Hello and welcome to the BEST Mango Lassi recipe. This recipe makes better-than-restaurant Mango Lassi with six easy-to-find ingredients. The base of the recipe is strong while allowing you to adjust to taste according to your mangoes. Tested to perfection!
Perfection doesn’t exist. The ‘best recipe’ doesn’t exist. We all know that. But we can get close. And after 25+ tests in comparison with 7 different Houston restaurants, I’d say this is realllyyy close.
What is Lassi?
Lassi is a yogurt-based drink that’s said to have originated in Punjab. Traditionally, people made lassi by hand-blending homemade yogurt with water and salt. It served as cooling hydration against the intense summer heat of the Indian subcontinent. Today, most people drink sweet lassi more often than salted.
What is Mango Lassi?
Mango Lassi is a sweet and tart lassi flavored with mangoes (whether fresh, pulp, or both). Thanks to Indian restaurants, Mango Lassi has become the most well-known version of lassi around the world.
It’s interesting to note that despite Mango Lassi’s popularity, it’s not the most commonly made lassi in many South Asian households. For example, during visits to Pakistan, we would have mango milkshake or mangoes followed by lassi. But Mango Lassi itself wasn’t conceptualized.
What makes this recipe so special?
You’d think a ‘throw-it-together’ recipe like lassi wouldn’t need such obsession. But it took countless trials with all sorts of mangoes and yogurts and pulps to get this recipe where I want it. Here’s why you’ll love it:
- The ratios are precise. We’re talking grams, even for the ice cubes.
- It’s strong in mango flavor but not overly sweet, ‘pulpy’, or artificial-tasting.
- It works with whatever mangoes you’ve got on hand. Perfectly ripe, seasonal mangoes? You’re in luck! Store-bought frozen? I’ve got you covered!
- It’s cold and stays cold until the last sip. No room temperature lassi issues!
- The base of the recipe is strong but it still allows you to customize it to taste.
Notes on the Ingredients for Mango Lassi
This recipe requires six ingredients, and each plays an important part in the flavor and consistency. Here’s what you need to know about them:
- Mangoes: You can use any mangoes for this recipe, but the most important part is that your mangoes be ripe. I’ve discussed what type of mangoes to use, how to tell when they’re ripe, and how to cut and freeze below.
- Whole Milk: Milk adds a rich base to lassi and keeps it fluid instead of heavy and dense.
- Plain, whole milk yogurt: Use the thicker part of yogurt for the recipe. Depending on how sour or tart your yogurt is, you may need to increase it to taste.
- Store-bought Sweetened Mango Pulp: It’s very important that you use Indian mango pulp (usually made from Alphonso or Kesar mangoes). This comes in large cans at South Asian grocery stores, and must be removed & stored to prevent rusting.
I tried hard to make pulp an optional ingredient, but I found it’s essential for 2 reasons:
- Mango Pulp helps compensate for ‘okay’ mangoes or store-bought frozen mangoes. But even if you use great mangoes, a small amount enhances the mango flavor and color.
- It’s almost always used at restaurants, so if you want a ‘restaurant-style’ lassi, you can’t get the flavor without it.
- All that said, if you can’t find Indian mango pulp or don’t want to use it, you’ll still get amazing mango lassi as long as your mangoes are ripe and delicious.
- Cane Sugar: I use pure cane sugar. Feel free to use your favorite sweetener here as long as it isn’t overpowering in taste.
- Ice cubes: Not only does the ice chill the lassi, but it provides water content so the lassi isn’t too heavy.
Mangoes for Lassi
Ah I could talk about mangoes all day. Here’s more on which mangoes to use, how to tell when they’re ripe, and how to cut + freeze them for lassi.
Which Type of Mangoes are Best for Mango Lassi
If you have a choice between mangoes, go for the one with less fibers (i.e. the less stringy ones).
Here in the U.S., we don’t have have a wide variety of mangoes. The most common around me are Tommy Atkins or Champagne (also called Ataulfo or Honey). Because Tommy Atkins are more fibrous and typically less sweet, I recommend you use Champagne/Honey. (In the U.K., Champagne may not be available.)
If you can’t find Champagne, another great option is to use frozen mangoes which are often imported from Peru. (I’ve tried the ones from Trader Joe’s & HEB). If using store-bought frozen, you’ll need to use the higher amount of pulp for best results.
Lastly, if you live near a large city, you can try getting Pakistani or Indian mangoes from South Asian grocery stores or even online. Here in Houston, I found Anwar Ratol & Chaunsa, both which worked beautifully in Mango Lassi.
Note: In the pictures, we’ve used Pakistani mangoes (Chaunsa) while the video shows Champagne.
How to Tell When Mangoes are Ripe
Like most fruit, mangoes show ripening by feel and color. Champagne mangoes are ripe when they:
- Turn a deep, golden yellow color.
- Are soft and tender instead of firm.
- Start to show juices coming out from the stem.
- Begin to show wrinkling of the skin.
How to Cut & Freeze Mangoes for This Recipe
The goal is to separate the ripe flesh of the mango from the large pit in the center:
- Cut lengthwise around the large pit in the middle. Cube the flesh and remove with a spoon (see picture & video)
- Next, use a small paring knife to cut around the pit in the flow of the fibers.
- Cube and remove the flesh from the thin strips.
- Try to salvage the flesh around the pit as much as you can.
- Place the chopped cubes and pieces in an airtight container or bag until ready to use. When ready to use, separate a few cubes with your hands to make it easier to blend.
How to Make Mango Lassi
Here’s the kicker. This recipe suggests that you freeze your ripe mango before using it to make mango lassi. Not only does this give the lassi a better texture, but it brings out the mango flavor. Plus, it stays cold until the last sip. Once your mangoes are frozen, you’re ready to make the lassi:
- Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender, using the lower amount for pulp and sugar. Blend on high speed until smooth and no longer icy. If the mixture gets stuck, use the blender tamper or stop and push it down with a spatula.
- Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding sugar for sweetness, pulp for more mango flavor/color, or 1-2 tbsp of yogurt for tartness. Initially, you’ll notice it looks thick like a smoothie. But, it’ll quickly become pourable and runnier, like traditional Mango Lassi.
This recipe makes 2 small (~8-9 oz) servings or 1 large lassi if you don’t want to share. (Completely understandable.)
- Cardamom Powder: A small pinch of cardamom powder or ground cardamom is a nice variation.
- Rose water: A refreshing touch, but add only a drop because it can easily get overwhelming.
A Final Tip before you start
If you have a weighing scale, use it to measure out the ingredients, especially the mangoes. Depending on how the mango is cubed, it’ll yield different amounts in cups. If you don’t have a weighing scale, chop the mango into into 1/2″ cubes and measure before freezing.
I haven’t tried this with Greek yogurt, but I think it should work. If you’d like to use it, try adding less than amount in the recipe so the lassi stays runnier in consistency.
You’ll often find that it’s already made in restaurants because it keeps well in the fridge. You can refrigerate for 12-18 hours before it starts losing freshness.
Place in an glass jar, cover with a lid, and store in the fridge.
How and When to Serve Mango Lassi
There aren’t any rules for when you can have Mango Lassi, but I prefer it after a meal or as a refreshment between meals. Ice in the recipe ensures that it’s served chilled.
More Indian & Pakistani Drink Recipes You’ll Love
The Best Mango Lassi (Restaurant-Style)
- 135-145 g (~3/4 cup small cubes) ripe mango, preferably previously frozen (See Note 1), I use Champagne (also called Ataulfo or Honey)
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) whole milk
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp (~98 g) plain, whole-milk yogurt (See Note 2)
- 2-4 tbsp (~40-80 g) store-bought Indian mango pulp (See Note 3), I use sweetened
- 1.5-2 tbsp cane sugar, depending on how sweet your mango is
- 3 large/7-8 small (~70-100 g) ice cubes, use lower amount if using frozen mangoes
- High-Speed Blender
- Add mango, milk, yogurt, mango pulp (start with lower amount), cane sugar (start with the lower amount), and ice cubes to a high-speed blender. Blend on high until smooth and no longer icy. If the mixture gets stuck, use the blender tamper or stop and push it down with a spatula.
- Taste and add remaining sugar for sweetness, pulp for more mango flavor/color, or 1-2 tbsp of yogurt for tartness. Initially, it’ll look like a smoothie, but it’ll quickly become pourable and runnier, like mango lassi.