Paneer butter masala

Paneer butter masala

The Easiest Paneer butter Masala you will ever make

Paneer Butter Masala is yet another popular Punjabi dish. Paneer is nothing but Indian cottage cheese. This is the vegetarian version of Butter chicken masala.

Both are served as accompaniments to Naan in restaurants, though they go well with rotis and chapatis. I even like to have it with Dosa or idli.

Very few ingredients are sauteed, ground, cooked with the paneer pieces, and finally, the cream is added. It’s that simple but lip-smackingly good. It has a mildly sweet taste, and so is always a kid’s favorite.

As I always tell you, this may not be the authentic Punjabi recipe, but is so good that you will look no further.

Paneer is usually found in the frozen section of the grocery store. You can easily make your own by curdling milk. ( My recipe coming soon ). I usually make this gravy using store-bought paneer, and it always comes out well.

But honestly, whenever I make paneer butter masala, I never have cream in my house. Our South Indian cuisine does not require cream and  I buy only when needed.

The demand for naan and paneer butter masala comes all of a sudden from my kids, which almost always I end up making without cream.

So I devised this dummy cream, which replaces cream so well that you will not find the difference 🙂 . This recipe has been made with my dummy cream, and it came out so well that my picky eater son certified it the best!

Fresh cream gives the gravy a velvety texture. When you are using my alternative method, the texture may not be the same, but the taste will not be compromised.

Even if you have cream, you should try this method once in a way,  as it is healthier. You can omit the condensed milk or the honey if you feel it will become too sweet. For us, it was just right.

Over to the recipe…

Paneer Butter Masala
Paneer butter masala is a tangy and sweet gravy almost always paired with naan. It's the vegetarian version of the butter chicken masala, made by replacing chicken with paneer or cottage chees.e
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hema Magesh
  • 200 g Paneer/Cottage cheese (cubed)
  • 3 medium sized ripe tomatoes
  • 1 big onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1" piece ginger
  • 3 cashew nuts
  • 3-4 whole Kashmiri chillies
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • honey/sugar to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder/all-spice powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • a big pinch kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves
  • salt to taste
  • water as needed

Replacement for cream

  • 1 tbsp milk powder
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 tsp condensed milk
  • Soak the frozen paneer cubes in hot water for about 10 minutes. Once it softens, lightly squeeze out the water. Saute the paneer cubes in a tsp of butter, till it just heats up all over, and keep aside. The paneer should not change color.
    Paneer butter masala steps 1-3
  • In a bit of butter, around 1-2 tsps,  add the sliced onion, garlic, ginger, cashews, and red chillies. Add 1/2 tsp of salt. Saute well till the raw flavor of the onions and garlic disappear.
    Paneer butter masala steps 4-6
  • Once it fries, add the chopped tomatoes and 1tsp of sugar, to mellow down the tanginess of the tomatoes.
  • Saute well till all the water from the tomatoes evaporate. Cool down and grind in a blender or mixer. Strain the puree using a big-eyed sieve to remove the tomato seeds.
    Paneer butter masala steps 7-9
  • In the same pan melt a tbsp of butter. Add the strained puree and cook. 
  • Once it starts boiling, add the turmeric powder, garam masala powder, and Kasuri methi.
    Paneer butter masala steps 10-12
  • If the gravy is too thick add half a cup of water and the required salt.
  • Cook till you get a  nice aroma, and the gravy thickens a bit. Now add the sauteed paneer pieces and cook for 2 minutes. Add the honey.
    Paneer butter masala steps 13-15
  • Simmer the flame and add the cream, little by little slowly stirring till it all incorporates into the gravy. Once it reaches the required consistency switch off and garnish with coriander leaves. Do not let the gravy boil once you add the cream, as it will curdle.
  • But if you are like me, and you do not have a stock of cream in your house, then create the dummy cream using the recipe above, and use it in place of cream. 
    Paneer butter masala
  • Serve hot with Naan.

Hema’s P.S

  • I always prefer using whole Kashmiri red chillies as it gives it a nice red hue. If you cannot get it, you can very well use Kashmiri red chilly powder. 
  • Adding a pinch of salt to onions will get them fried quickly. Adding sugar to tomatoes will greatly reduce the tanginess and make it subtle. I have seen that however red the tomatoes are, they impart tanginess in gravies even though they seem sweet while having raw. 
  • It’s a good idea to balance the tanginess by adding honey/sugar/jaggery etc, before adding the cream so that the chances of curdling are nullified. I have never experienced this curdling issue to date.
  • Putting the paneer in hot water straight from the freezer makes it very soft. Be gentle while squeezing the water out of it, else it will crumble.
  • Do not omit Kasuri methi as it gives the main flavor to the recipe. Always crush the dry leaves with your hands before adding to the gravy. This gives the maximum flavor.
  • Balancing the tangy, sweet, and salt tastes, gives the best paneer butter masala. So adjust spices as per your taste buds.


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2 Responses

  1. Shwetha says:

    Nice recipe. Very tasty! 😋

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