kiri aluwa or sri lankan milk toffee, Sri LankaExcept that Fahim tells me that no one calls it kiri aluwa, apparently. Ah well. 🙂

This is a sweet that I encountered very soon after I came here. And as usual with most sweets, I adore it. 🙂

In the past, we’ve bought it from the grocery store. Milk toffee usually comes in a plastic rectangular container with about, oh, 250 grams of it or so per box.

But then we had a sugar craving, and I decided that finally, finally, finally, I would make milk toffee myself, if only to say I have and could. Because, don’t you know, this is a Sri Lankan sweet and I live in Sri Lanka now, so it’s just something that should be done. 😀

I’ve broken the recipe into two columns, one for each size of sweetened condensed milk can we have here. The smaller can size seems to be what is more common in other parts of the world, including Canada and the US.

Sri Lankan Milk Toffee


400 grams (14 oz) 525 grams (18.375 oz) sweetened condensed milk
30 grams 40 grams water
350 grams 460 grams sugar
2 3 cardamom pods, dehusked and crushed (optional)
1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Put the sweetened condensed milk, water, and sugar in a pot over medium-low heat. Stir constantly to prevent scorching.
  2. Continue stirring constantly until the mixture begins to crystallize and leaves the sides of the pan.
  3. Add the sugar and continue to stir constantly (I’m not kidding about this) until the mixture is past the boiling point and starts to foam. (My total cooking time was around 15-20 minutes.)
  4. Remove from heat and add the cardamoms and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Pour the mixture into a lightly buttered 9×13″ pan. When cooler but not yet hard, cut into small diamonds or squares.
  6. When cool, separate and store in an airtight container.

The directions I got included no information on the temperature it should reach or whether it’s at a softball or hardball stage when it’s done, so I can’t help you there. At least, not yet. I don’t have a candy thermometer – they don’t exist here as far as I can tell. But next time I make it, I’ll check for soft/hard ball and leave an edit at the bottom of this post.

Fahim told me it was done when it started foaming on the sides of the pan. As in, not foaming everywhere, just at the sides.

The longer this cooks, the harder the resulting toffee will be. It tends to be a bit grainy regardless, or at least I’m told that no matter what I do, it will always have crystallized sugar. I’m tempted to experiment with adding butter to see if that helps – I prefer smooth smooth toffee, which also doesn’t exist here. 😀

At any rate, the milk toffee we’ve bought tended to be hard and crunchy, whereas mine was definitely soft enough to bite through without much effort, and I definitely prefer mine soft. The original directions said something like “starts to crystallize and leave the sides of the pan.” To my way of thinking, that would produce a milk toffee that’s hard like we buy in the stores, so I want mine less done than that. 🙂

If you’re like Fahim, you’ll add raisins and chopped nuts to the mixture – after it’s removed from the heat. I didn’t this time. I wanted to make milk toffee the right way/mostly authentic way at least once before I ventured into variations.

And if you’re Fahim, you’ll also beg me to experiment with chocolate variations. Because you’re a chocolate fiend. And for no other reason. 🙂

I hope you enjoy. 😀 And please, let me know how this turns out for you if/when you give it a try. 🙂

4 Replies to “Kiri Aluwa – Sri Lankan Milk Toffee”

  1. Do you have a candy thermometer? It seems to me if you take it to the soft ball stage it might stop being grainy. Of course, the humidity and kind of sugar you’re using is a factor too. I’d definitely try it as so far as I know I’m not allergic to cardamom. Miss M is a particular fan of anything caramel and I’m sure she’d love it if the spice isn’t too strong.

    1. No candy thermometers – they don’t exist here as far as I know.

      From a conversation Fahim and I had, it seems that this recipe will always be grainy no matter what. It seems that there’s just that much sugar in it. Of course, I plan on experimenting with the addition of butter, but whether it works or not we don’t know yet. 🙂

      I make it without cardamom since Fahim doesn’t like it. It works perfectly fine. Honestly, though, you could add a pinch of cinnamon powder to it if you liked, but I wouldn’t add more. Or you can make it plain like I did. 🙂

      Please let me know how it goes when you make this. 🙂

  2. Butter helps. 🙂
    I remember watching my grandma make milk toffee when I was little, and she would always add a healthy dollop of butter, or sometimes Astra, and it made her toffee heavenly; soft, chewy, almost fudgy, which is much better than the hard, grainy versions 🙂

  3. Lauren, thanks for commenting. Sadly, I haven’t made this recently, but since you’ve so kindly reminded me of it, I think I shall have to remedy that. And add butter while I’m at it. 🙂

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