Paneer butter masala recipe – Learn to make best ever creamy and rich restaurant style paneer butter masala with my keeper recipe. It is super easy to make at home.
This is my tried and tested recipe for best paneer butter masala that I have been making for more than a decade. It is a simple mess free recipe that I have perfected over the years and I am sure you will love this.
Love paneer butter masala and always wondered how to make a mean restaurant style one at home? Try out my keeper recipe today.
I am so excited to share this recipe with you all today. It is one of my signature recipes that gets always requested in potlucks, family celebrations and just like that too 🙂
Paneer is an all time favorite at home and I end up making a north Indian paneer curry at least once a week if not more. Among all the paneer curries, this paneer butter masala truly stands out for its taste, texture and also the ease of making.
Yes, it is super easy to make paneer butter masala at home, you need very few basic ingredients and it takes less than 30 minutes total time, from start to finish that is.
Make mealtimes more enjoyable with this easy Indian paneer curry and I am sure you will love this.
About This Recipe
Paneer butter masala is a rich & creamy curry with paneer (cottage cheese) as main ingredient. Paneer cubes are simmered in a creamy gravy or curry made with onions, tomatoes, cashews and spices.
The entire recipe is cooked in butter. It is also known as butter paneer or butter paneer masala.
This is the vegetarian variation of the popular Butter chicken masala. Instead of the chicken in butter chicken, paneer cubes are used here.
Unlike kadai paneer this dish is very mildly spiced, smooth and has a mild sweet taste. No wonder it is always a hit with kids.
Here I am sharing with you a three step easiest restaurant style paneer butter masala recipe that will fetch you super rave reviews, yep really 🙂
You are just three steps away from making best paneer butter masala at home.
- blanch and puree tomato base.
- add spice powders and saute
- add cream, cubed paneer and simmer. easy peasy!
With this recipe, here I am also sharing all the nuances, tips and tricks so that you can make this recipe with great ease.
To make paneer butter masala firstly we will prepare the base sauce or mother sauce with blanched tomatoes, onions and cashews.
Furthermore you will saute this sauce in butter, season to taste and simmer till it reduces to the perfect consistency. This is our basic butter masala.
Finally add cream and cubed paneer to the butter masala and simmer for a minute and finish with a dash of kasuri methi. There you go, best ever restaurant style paneer dish in 30 minutes.
This Paneer Butter Masala Is
Perfect restaurant style paneer recipe
yummy with naan bread.
has smooth gravy with melt in mouth cubed paneer
Very delicately spiced
vegetarian & gluten free
Very less prep time
Always a hit with kids
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.
Tomatoes– tomatoes form the base of this gravy. You will need ripe, red and juicy tomatoes for best tasting butter paneer gravy. Please do not use tart or unripe tomatoes as they will totally alter the taste of the gravy. The signature taste of paneer butter masala is slight sweetness and ripe tomatoes are a must for it.
Onions– Using a small amount of onions lend a slight sweet note again to this curry. While onions are not always added in makhani sauce, we do add onions in butter paneer. Please read the faq to know the difference between paneer butter masala and paneer makhani.
Cashews– These are added to give to your butter masala a super creamy velvety texture and rich taste. Cashew nuts and cream are what make this curry super rich and creamy.
Butter– The entire curry is cooked in butter true to its name. If you want to make that rich restaurant style paneer butter masala please do not reduce the quantity of butter I have given. I have already reduced to minimum and trust me with even less butter, this curry does not taste the same. Yes, I have tried 🙂
Cream– Another important ingredient for this curry. The cream that you add at the end, balances the flavor and lends a wonderful rich and creamy texture to this curry. You can add low fat or heavy cream as you like
Paneer– use fresh and best quality paneer for best tasting butter paneer. I mostly use homemade paneer. If using store bought paneer, cube them and keep immersed in hot water until use. This improves the texture and makes them more soft.
Ginger garlic– Use freshly minced ginger garlic for best flavor if possible. If using store bought ginger garlic paste, you may want to slightly increase the quantity as the flavor is not as potent as fresh ginger garlic.
Seasoning– This is a very mildly seasoned dish. All you need are a dash of garam masala powder for flavor, a dash of kashmiri red chilli powder for spice and color. Salt to taste and a dash of sugar to round off the flavors.
Herbs– Dried kasuri methi and some chopped coriander leaves if you like.
How To Make Paneer Butter Masala?
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 whole tomatoes, cashews and cubed onion in boiling water for 5 minutes.
Once done, drain excess water and rinse with cold water. Remove the peels of the tomatoes and add to a blender jar along with cubed onions. Blend to a smooth paste.
Blend cashews into a smooth paste separately.
Making the butter paneer masala
Heat 3 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 5-6 minutes.
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.
Stir in the cashew paste. Mix and cook for a minute.
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.
Transfer the paneer butter masala to a serving bowl or individual bowls. Add more fresh cream, some chopped coriander leaves and kasuri methi.
Tips To Make The Best Paneer Butter Masala
How many times have you tried a recipe from a book or blog and it did not turn as you expected despite 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 to make best paneer butter masala ever.
Tomatoes– First of all tomatoes form the base of this gravy. 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.
To make the gravy more vibrant you can add 2 teaspoons tomato paste along with tomato puree while cooking. Make sure to use unsalted tomato paste. Do not add tomato sauce or ketchup.
In general ripe and red tomatoes enhance the color of paneer butter masala.
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 through a sieve.
Secret to rich taste– cashews in gravy and not skimping on cream. Yup, if you want that signature rich flavor of this gravy, 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 3 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 gravy. Here I have toasted the paneer. For 1 cup cubed paneer you can use 1 tablespoon 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 overcook 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
How to make paneer butter masala vegan?
To make this recipe vegan just replace
- dairy paneer with soy paneer or tofu cubes
- cream with cashew cream or soy cream
- Butter with oil or vegan butter.
Can I make this recipe without onions?
Yes if you wish to leave out onions, just skip them and instead add 1 more tomato to maintain the volume. In this recipe I have used a very small quantity of onions though.
What is the substitute for cream in paneer butter masala recipe?
If you wish to skip cream in this curry you can instead
- increase the quantity of cashew paste by another one tablespoon
- add coconut cream
- add 1 teaspoon milk powder and mix very well.
Are paneer butter masala and paneer makhani the same?
No, they are not. Though many restaurants use the names interchangeably they are two different recipes.
Paneer makhani is essentially paneer cubes simmered in makhani sauce. Makhani sauce is prepared with a defined set of ingredients like tomatoes, cashews and creams. Onions are not added in this recipe.
Paneer butter masala on the other hand is a recipe that varies from place to place. For example, some restaurants use onions and some even use melon seeds to make the gravy thick. Some chefs add a small piece sauteed red bell pepper while pureeing tomato to maintain color.
So with butter paneer masala, the ingredients are like whatever suits you keeping the tomatoes-cashew-cream as base.
Is it necessary to blanch the tomatoes?
Yes, I always recommend blanched tomatoes in this recipe. Blanched tomatoes yield more smooth gravy and also reduces the cooking time.
Can I use canned tomatoes for this recipe?
Yes, you can. You will need about 2 cups of it.
How to make paneer butter masala ahead and store?
Yes, this curry freezes very well and can be stored for months. Just make the gravy without adding the cream. Let cool thoroughly. After that transfer to safe containers, label and freeze.
Stays good for 2-3 months. When needed, remove and thaw for just few minutes. Gently reheat with a dash of butter, add cream, cubed paneer and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Serve.
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Restaurant Style Paneer Butter Masala
1 CUP = 250 ml
For Tomato Puree
- 3 large tomatoes ripe and red
- 1 big onion cubed
- 12 whole cashews
To Make Paneer Butter Gravy
- 3 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
- 2 cups cubed paneer 200 grams
- 4 tablespoons fresh cream
- 1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi
- 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 tomatoes and onions to mixer jar and make a very smooth puree.
- Blend cashews into a smooth paste separately with 2 tablespoons milk
- Heat 3 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
- You can double or triple this recipe.
- Paneer butter masala in general is very less spicy. However if you are making for kids or want to reduce spice further, just add a pinch of red chilli powder or you can even omit
- Use really good and soft malai paneer for this recipe to get the best taste.