Last updated on September 4th, 2020
Easy restaurant style paneer butter masala recipe.
Soft paneer or Indian cottage cheese simmered in a creamy smooth curry made of onions, tomatoes, cashews and cream. The whole curry is sauteed in butter.
This curry has a mild sweet taste and tastes amazing with naan bread, jeera rice, steamed basmati rice.
This restaurant style butter paneer masala is my keeper recipe that I have been making for more than a decade. I have perfected this recipe over the years and this version is so delicious, better than restaurants in fact!
I have had so many guests rave about this paneer butter over the years. This is the most suited recipe of paneer if you want to cater a crowd.
Just three steps here,
- blanch and puree tomato base.
- add spice powders and saute
- add cream, cubed paneer and simmer. easy peasy!
What Is Paneer Butter Masala?
Paneer butter masala also known as butter paneer is an ubiquitous dish that everyone I known of loves. Right from big popular restaurants to small ones, this Indian curry finds its place.
It is the classic vegetarian variation for the popular butter chicken masala.
I have had my share of paneer butter masala from restaurants numerous times. While few very good, few very ok and few were meh.
Cubes of succulent, creamy and rich paneer or Indian cottage cheese cubes simmered in a gravy made of onions, tomatoes, cashews and garnished with cream.
In this curry, the softness of cubed paneer is well complimented by the smooth and creamy sauce that has the signature sweet taste.
This butter paneer recipe I am sharing today is a wonderful treat for all panner lovers. It is rich, creamy, flavorful and delicious with the signature mild sweet taste of paneer butter masala.
Paneer is the most favorite ingredient at our home. We can never get enough of it. With a good handy stash of homemade paneer, I frequently make paneer makhani, palak paneer, shahi paneer and many more paneer dishes.
However this paneer butter masala where cubed paneer are simmered in a curry with butter and cream is our top favorite. The base of curry is a smooth paste of tomatoes, onions and cashews.
Kids are especially fond of this paneer butter given to its smooth paste consistency and mildly sweet taste. Unlike many Indian curries this paneer butter is very delicately spiced and has a mild flavor.
This paneer butter masala recipe is not the same as paneer makhani. Paneer makhani does not have onions while butter paneer does contain onions.
Now while few argue both are the same, I do find paneer makhani is different from this paneer butter masala recipe in taste wise too. The common ingredient here is butter though.
If you love restaurant style paneer dishes, do give this recipe a try. Tastes amazing with your favorite naan or roti or rice!
This Paneer Butter Masala
Is really well made good recipe.
Perfect restaurant style paneer recipe
has smooth gravy with melt in mouth cubed paneer
Very delicately spiced
vegetarian & gluten free
Very less prep time
Always a hit with kids
Tastes amazing with naan/ roti or rice.
This is a very easy recipe to make. In fact this butter masala is one of the easiest paneer recipes that you can make at home.
To make paneer butter masala recipe we first start with making the butter masala or the tomato base.
For that we blanch and puree onions & tomatoes along with cashews. This puree when sauteed in butter with salt, sugar, few basic spice powders like garam masala and ginger garlic, we get the gravy base.
To this gravy we add cubed paneer, add cream, kasuri methi and simmer to get restaurant style paneer butter masala.
See I told you, it is a very simple recipe and to get the real flavor you gotta keep it simple.
In few recipes you will find only tomatoes in the gravy and you can do that too. But we love this recipe of paneer butter with onions.
Onions when blanched and pureed with tomatoes lend a very mild sweet note to this masala recipe.
Before moving into detailed recipe, here are few tips & tricks that you will find useful.
Tips To Make The Best Paneer Butter Masala
How many times you tried a recipe from a book or blog and it did not turn as you expected despiet you following the recipe to T?
Well, there are few points like cook time, quality of ingredients and selection of produce that plays a significant role in making a recipe good.
Here are few tips & tricks that will help you get this paneer butter masala recipe perfect.
Tomatoes– Tomatoes form the base of this curry. Use ripe and red tomatoes that are not sour to get that slight note of sweetness and color. I prefer to use big salad tomatoes for this recipe.
Onions– Adding onion lends a mild sweet taste that combines with cream for the signature sweet taste of this masala. If onions are not added the sharp taste of tomatoes and spices will be more prominent.
Key to smooth gravy- To get a super smooth gravy, it is important to blanch the onions, tomatoes and soak the cashews well in warm milk or water. Also use a high powered blender or mixer grinder to grind them into a super smooth puree. You can even pass the puree though a sieve.
Secret to rich taste– cashews in gravy and not skimping on cream. Yup, if you want that signature rich flavor of this curry, use around 20 cashews or almonds and add the quantity of cream mentioned in recipe. If you don’t prefer cashews use blanched almonds.
A dash of sugar absolutely balances the flavor and taste. Do not miss it.
Keep the spices minimum- The key to best tasting paneer butter masala recipe is to use less spices. This gravy should be mildly spiced and delicate.
The flavor of butter, cashews and cream should shine through. Also do not add more ginger garlic paste than mentioned in the recipe.
You can also fresh ginger and garlic minced instead of paste.
Garam masala powder adds good flavor but do not more quantity than mentioned 1 teaspoon. Also use best quality garam masala powder.
Kasuri methi adds a wonderful flavor to this curry. Kasuri methi is dried fenugreek leaves. Try to add this if available.
Butter– Please do not skimp on butter to the exact taste and richness of this paneer butter masala recipe. I have already tweaked the recipe to use only 4 tablespoons butter here. If you want to make this more rich, add 2 tablespoons more butter.
Quality of paneer– I always suggest to use homemade paneer in paneer recipes. Fresh and soft homemade paneer takes this curry one level up in taste.
If you are using store bought paneer, make sure to soak it in hot water for 15 minutes and drain before adding to the curry. Here I have toasted the paneer. For 1 cup cubed paneer you can use 1 tabespoon oil and toast on a flat pan.
Secret for deep vibrant color– Ripe red tomatoes and kashmiri red chilli powder. As mentioned above this is a very mildly spiced recipe. So adding tons of red chilli powder to get the color will also vary the flavor. Kashmiri red chilli powder on the other hand is less spicy but yields a wonderful color.
Do not over cook the curry after adding paneer- Tired of paneer turning chewy and hard in your paneer recipe? One reason could be the paneer bought groceries is not fresh. However the most common reason is overcooking the paneer.
Once you add the cubed paneer to the butter masala, simmer for a minute or two and remove it from flame.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Paneer Makhani & Butter Paneer Masala The Same?
While few restaurants use these names interchangeably paneer butter masala & paneer makhani are not the same. Though most of the ingredients used in these both gravies are common the taste and flavor has notable difference.
- While a good amount of onions are used in paneer butter masala recipe, there are no onions used in paneer makhani.
- Cream is an important ingredient in paneer butter masala but optional in paneer makhani
- Butter paneer masala in Indian restaurants has a slight sweet taste while paneer makhani has sharp flavors.
- Both are paneer recipe with tomato base though.
- In some places poppy seeds, melon seeds are used in paneer butter masala but paneer makhani is just tomatoes and butter.
- All in all paneer makhani does not have a mild sweet taste as opposed to this butter paneer.
How to make this recipe vegan?
To make this curry vegan just replace
- dairy paneer with soy paneer or tofu cubes
- cream with cashew cream
- Butter with oil or vegan butter.
Can I make this dish ahead and store?
Yes the gravy or the mother sauce can be frozen for months.
Make paneer butter and let it cool thoroughly. Transfer to a clean freezer safe container and deep freeze. Stays good for 3-4 months.
When required, remove and thaw the required quantity for 15 minutes. Gently heat in some butter and add a splash of water and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add cubed paneer and mix well. Simmer for a minute and remove from flame.
How to make this paneer recipe without onions and tomatoes?
To make no onion garlic paneer butter masala or jain variation just skip onions and garlic from this recipe. While skipping onions you should add more cashews, tomatoes and cream to get the required volume. Also you can add 1 cup more water and simmer.
Paneer butter masala goes very well with rich tandoori breads like butter naan, tandoori roti, tawa roti, paratha, jeera rice, peas pulao, corn rice, veg pulao etc.
You can also serve this curry with plain steamed basmati rice or poori.
If using homemade paneer, cut into cubes and set aside. If using store bought paneer soak the cubed paneer in warm water for 15 minutes, drain and set aside.
This time I toasted the cubed paneer. This step is optional. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a flat pan or skillet.
Place the cubed paneer and toast until golden from both sides.
It takes around 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
Blanch 3 red ripe tomatoes in hot water for 3-4 minutes. Peel the skin and chop roughly.
Soak 15-20 cashews in warm water or milk for 10 minutes.
To a blender jar add cubed onions, blanched and peeled tomatoes, soaked and drained cashews.
Blend to a very smooth puree. Use a high powder blender.
If the puree is not very smooth pass it through a sieve.
How To Make Paneer Butter Masala
Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add 1 bay leaf, cloves and cardamom pods. Saute well for a minute.
Add the prepared tomato puree. Also add minced ginger garlic paste or freshly minced ginger garlic. Mix and cook in medium flame for 2 minutes.
Add Kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder and salt. Mix well and cook till the tomato puree leaves fat from sides. This may take around 10 minutes. Cover and cook in medium flame for around 5-6minutes.
Once the tomato puree is well cooked, add 1 cup water and sugar. Mix well and cook for 10 more minutes till the gravy thickens.’
Add cream and stir well.
paneer butter gravy is ready. See the color change after adding cream.
Add paneer pieces and toss gently. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Add crushed kasuri methi, ginger julienne if using and mix well.
Remove from flame.
Serve paneer butter masala topped with 1 tablespoon more cream, kasuri methi and 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with naan for best restaurant stye dinner.
More Paneer Recipes
I hope you will try this paneer butter masala recipe and enjoy as much as we did. Please give a star rating ★ in the recipe card below. Follow us on Pinterest , Instagram, Facebook for more recipes and ideas.
Restaurant Style Paneer Butter Masala
For Tomato Puree
- 3 large tomatoes ripe and red
- 1 big onion
- 6-7 whole cashews
To Make Paneer Butter Gravy
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 bay leaf / tej patta
- 1 teaspoon crushed ginger-garlic
- 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 200 grams paneer cubed and slightly toasted
- 4 tablespoons fresh cream
- 1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi
- More cream for garnish
- chopped cilantro leaves to serve
- Ginger julienne to serve
- Blanch the tomatoes, onions and cashews in hot water for 2-3 minutes. peel and de seed the tomatoes.
- Transfer to mixer jar and make a very smooth puree.
- Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a thick pan.
- Add tej patta and saute well. Add cardamom pods and saute.
- Add crushed ginger garlic and saute till raw smell leaves.
- Add the tomato puree and mix well. Let cook for 2-3 minutes
- Add chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well and cook till the tomato puree leaves fat from sides. This may take around 10 minutes. Cover and cook in medium flame.
- In the mean time toast the cubed paneer with some ghee
- Once the tomato puree is well cooked, add 1 cup water and sugar. Mix well and cook for 10 more minutes till the gravy thickens.
- Add cream and stir well.
- Add the paneer cubes and toss gently. Simmer for 2-3 minutes
- Add crushed kasuri methi, ginger julienne if using and mix well. Serve paneer butter masala with naan, kulcha
- dairy paneer with soy paneer or tofu cubes
- cream with cashew cream
- Butter with oil.