Paneer Butter Masala is, perhaps, one of the best known dishes from the Indian cuisine. Justly so, too, considering how scrumptious the dish is when made right. Melt-in-the-mouth cottage cheese cubes in a decadent, creamy gravy that is a little sour, a little sweet, a little spicy – what’s to not love? It is a dish we most often order while eating out with the extended family.
That said, it is quite simple to make creamy, delicious, restaurant-style Paneer Butter Masala at home. Today, I share with you my Easy Paneer Butter Masala Recipe, one that I have been using for years now, arrived at after several trials and tribulations. I make the curry without any heavy cream in it, trying to keep it as healthy as I can, and it still turns out absolutely fantastic. If you have the paneer ready, it will not take you more than 20 minutes to put it all together. Serve it with naan, parathas, rotis or any flatbread of your choice – or even some jeera rice – and you will have a winner of a meal on the table!
Paneer Butter Masala is made in different ways by different families, different restaurants. This is the way I make it, and it might not be the most authentic of recipes, but I can assure you that it yields a finger-licking-good outcome! All of us at my place surely do love it.
One of the most important things in the making of perfect Paneer Butter Masala is in cooking the gravy well. I do not blanch the tomatoes or saute the onions beforehand, but smoothly puree them raw along with a few other ingredients, then cook the paste till the raw smell is completely gone. Another thing to remember is to use good-quality paneer that is soft and well-made. It is also important to ensure that you do not go overboard on the spices, and use them sparingly. Also, do not cook the curry too much after adding in the paneer – it needs to simmer for just a minute or so after.
If you are entertaining, the gravy for this Easy Paneer Butter Masala can be made a day in advance, with the paneer and other final touches being added to the dish just before your guests arrive. This is a gluten-free dish that can easily be made vegan too.
Let us now check out my Easy Paneer Butter Masala recipe, shall we?
Ingredients (serves 2-3) :
To grind :
- 4 medium-sized tomatoes
- 1 small onion
- 5-6 cloves of garlic
- A 1-inch piece of ginger
- 4-5 whole almonds
- 4-5 whole cashewnuts
Other ingredients :
- 200 grams paneer
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Red chilli powder to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon chana masala or to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
- 1/2 tablespoon kasoori methi
1. We will first grind the paste for the Paneer Butter Masala and keep it ready. For this, peel the ginger, onion and garlic cloves and chop roughly. Chop the tomatoes roughly. Halve the cashewnuts and almonds. Grind all of these ingredients together to a smooth paste without adding any water. Keep aside.
2. Cut the paneer into cubes. Keep aside.
3. Now, we will begin preparing the Paneer Butter Masala. Heat the butter in a pan, and add in the paste we ground earlier to the pan. Lower the flame to medium and cook the paste till the raw smell of the ingredients goes away and it thickens. This should take 4-5 minutes.
4. Now, add the milk and the water to the pan, along with salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, jaggery powder and chana masala. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add the paneer cubes to the pan. Mix well, gently. Cook on medium heat for a minute more. Switch off gas.
6. Garnish with kasoori methi and finely chopped fresh coriander. Serve with rotis, naan or flatbread of your choice.
1. I prefer using the flavourful, tart ‘country’ (nati) tomatoes in the paste, as opposed to the ‘farm’ variety.
2. I use a small-sized red onion in the paste. It adds a bit of sweetness to the curry, and helps even out the tartness of the tomatoes.
3. I use a mix of almonds and cashewnuts to thicken the gravy. You can use only almonds or only cashewnuts to do so, too.
4. Make sure you grind the paste smooth, without any lumps in it. This is imperative for a delicious, great-quality Paneer Butter Masala. You can even pass the paste through a sieve, if you want to – I don’t.
5. Instead of sugar, I have used jaggery powder to sweeten the gravy. It balances out the tartness of the tomatoes, and I would not recommend leaving it out.
6. I have used boiled and cooled full-fat milk in the curry. It adds a whole lot of flavour and richness to the gravy.
7. It is important to cook the paste first, till the raw smell of the ingredients goes away. The milk and spice powders must be added only after this.
8. I like using Ciba Taaza, Everest, Badshah or MDH brand of chana masala or rajma masala in this gravy, rather than garam masala. You may use garam masala instead, too. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences.
9. You can gently fry the paneer cubes before adding them to the gravy too. I haven’t, so as to reduce the use of oil. Frying the paneer does take the taste of the curry up by several notches, but it tastes great even without doing so.
10. I have used store-bought ID brand paneer here. You can use home-made paneer instead, too.
11. Do not overcook the curry after adding in the paneer. This tends to make the paneer hard. Just simmer the gravy for about a minute after adding the paneer.
12. Add the coriander and kasoori methi to the curry at the very end, after switching off the gas.
13. Keep the gravy a little runny and not too thick. It thickens further on cooling.
14. Adjust the quantity of water depending on how thick the gravy is. Adjust seasonings accordingly.
15. The gravy can be made beforehand and refrigerated for up to a day. Make sure you add in the paneer just before serving and cook it all together for about a minute, on medium heat.
16. The almonds, cashewnuts and milk are enough to make the gravy rich and flavourful. There is no real need to add any cream.
17. Ideally, good-quality butter must be used to make this curry. However, you can also use a mix of oil and butter or only oil. I have used Amul butter here.
18. You can make the gravy without onion and garlic, if you so prefer. In that case, you can add in a little more milk and a couple more cashewnuts and almonds, or heavy cream to keep the sweetness and thickness intact.
19. This curry can easily be made vegan too – Just skip the butter, paneer and milk completely, in that case. In their place, you may use vegan butter, tofu and vegan milk respectively. If you want to use cream, you can use a vegan version.
Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!
I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #277. The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.
42 thoughts on “Easy Paneer Butter Masala Recipe”
Will ask my cook to try it
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Lovely colour and write up Priya. I saw the pic on FB for a flash and later could not find it. Found it here.. PBM is my and will be the all time fav curry.
Thank you so much! This is one of our favourites too. 🙂
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I love butter chicken so I know I’d love this! Now, you just made me miss butter chicken. Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday party! It’s lovely to see you here!
Thank you! It’s my pleasure entirely.
Looks awesome and delicious dear
Thank you so much!
Looks so yummy! I have never seen someone who does not like PBM. 🙂
Thank you so much!
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I’d certainly love this, the seasonings and care taken here seem wonderfully tasty! I may have to leave out the cashews (intolerance) but hey, they wouldn’t be missed with all those other flavorings! Thanks for sharing with Fiesta Friday!
It’s my pleasure entirely, sharing on Fiesta Friday! 🙂
Oh, the cashewnuts and almonds are what give thickness (and a lot of flavour and richness) to the gravy. The gravy would be watery and weak if you don’t add in cashewnuts or almonds at all. If you have a cashew intolerance, you could substitute them for almonds and maybe add a dollop of fresh cream to the gravy. I hope this helps!
This is one of my favourite dishes, or also the version called Shahi Paneer, which I do use cream to make. So good, so simple and so satisfying!
Thank you! 🙂 This is one of my most favourite things ever too.
KP hates paneer. Do you think I might be able to convert him with this recipe?!
If they love Indian food, yes. This is a lovely dish to begin with. 🙂
For people who may have certain food allergies, what modifications can be made to compensate and yet still keep the flavor of the food largely intact?
That’s too generic a question. I would need more details about the allergies to answer that.
Do you like Indian food across the board or do you have personal taste preferences?
@Ragnar’s Hot Peppers
I’m an Indian, so I love Indian food in general. Of course, I do have personal taste preferences. Everyone does.
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I can understand that.
This does look tasty.
I have eaten a few Indian type foods. Have you ever eaten a fresh Ghost pepper or used such a pepper in cooking?
A fresh ghost pepper would be too hot to eat on its own. I did bring some home with me from a trip to North-East India, and used it in my cooking.
I only ask because I know that there are some people who may pull stunts like that for Youtube views.
Oh yum, this looks delicious. I love paneer – and think I would fry it off first as you suggest you can. Also intrigued to hear that you blitz the onion and tomatoes raw. Will give it a whirl!!
Thank you so much! Glad you liked the recipe. 🙂
I hope you will try this out soon, and that you will love it too. Waiting to hear your feedback.
The Girl Next Door, Here is an example: Nut allergies. if a person has a nut allergy, what adjustments can be made in a certain Indian originated recipe that may call for nuts without taking away from the flavor of the meal otherwise in your view?
If the person is only allergic to cashewnuts, they can be substituted with almonds or foxnuts. If no nuts can be used at all, the gravy can be made without nuts – in that case you’d have to use a bit of cream for thickening.
The Girl Next Door, I do invite you to look at my blog and leave any comments.