Last updated on August 30th, 2019
Paneer butter masala is the most popular Indian paneer curry worldwide. Making this paneer curry at home is an experience in itself but very easy and simple. With minimum spices and block of paneer you can make the best ever butter paneer at home that too within 30 minutes. This best paneer butter masala recipe is my keeper one that I have perfected over many trials. I am sure you will love it too. Here is how to make most yummy paneer butter masala to serve with your butter naan, jeera rice, paratha or even plain steamed basmati rice. Yum!
Today I am sharing with you all one of my keeper recipes and can vouch for its taste :). Paneer butter masala is basically an Indian paneer curry from Punjab. This curry has come a long way and now it is one of the quintessential dish on the menu of any Indian restaurant across the globe.
Paneer recipes are a savior be in restaurant or at home. A piece of butter naan, dhaba naan or kulcha with some paneer butter masala, palak paneer or kadai paneer is my standard order most of times we dine out 🙂
Even at home when I am out of veggies or need something special I resort to paneer. Right from simple paneer fry or masala to paneer korma to paneer biryani to malai ladoo to easy kalakandh, paneer is truly one versatile ingredient.
So What Is Best 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. So restaurant style paneer butter masala is not the correct term to measure this dish is my humble opinion.
Cubes of succulent, creamy and rich paneer or Indian cottage cheese cubes simmered in a gravy made of onions, tomatoes, cashews and garnished with fresh cream.
In this curry, the softness of paneer cubes is well complimented by the smooth and creamy saue that has the signature sweet taste.
This butter paneer recipe I am sharing today is a wonderful treat for all panner lovers. It is ric, creamy, flavorful and delicious with the signature mild sweet taste of paneer butter masala.
This Paneer Butter Masala Recipe
Delicious, flavorful & rich
Better than restaurants & takeaways
Mildly spiced with delicate flavors
Quick & easy to make under 30 mins recipe
Gluten free & vegetarian
Can be made vegan by using dairy free cheese like tofu
Kid friendly side dish for flatbread.
To make paneer butter masala you need just a handful of ingredients. The true essence of this curry is in its simplicity. Very few simple yet rich ingredients like cashews, cream and paneer go into the making of this curry.
Unlike restaurant versions my butter paneer is not loaded with colorants and has a mild pleasing color. I absolutely don’t add coloring to these gravies.
The secret behind vibrant homemade gravies is nice plump ripe tomatoes and Kashmir red chili powder.
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 butter paneer masala, 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 has a slight sweet taste while paneer makhani has sharp flavors.
How To Make Paneer Butter Masala Recipe.
Preparing tomato gravy for butter paneer
Blanch the tomatoes, onions and cashews in hot water for 2-3 minutes. Peel and remove the seeds.
Transfer to mixer jar and make a very smooth puree.
Making Paneer Butter Masala
Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a thick pan.
Add bay leaf and saute well. Add cardamom pods and saute.
Next add crushed ginger garlic and saute till raw smell leaves.
Next 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 paneer cubes with some ghee
Toast until slightly golden.
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 fresh cream and stir well.
Butter paneer gravy ready. See the color change after adding cream.
Add the paneer cubes and toss gently. Simmer for 2-3 minutes
Add crushed kasuri methi, ginger julienne if using and mix well.
Remove from flame.
Serve paneer butter masala with naan, kulcha.
Tips For Making Best Paneer Butter Masala
- The base of this gravy is tomato. So use ripe red tomatoes are that are plump amd juicy. I like to use a mix of desi and salad tomatoes for such gravies
- Next the main flavor of this curry comes from butter. So try to add the butter as mentioned in the recipe.
- Adding onion lends a mild sweet taste that combines with cream for the signature sweet taste of this curry. If onions are not added the sharp taste of tomatoes and spices will be more prominent.
- The key to best tasting paneer butter masala is to use less spices. This gravy should be mildly spiced and delicate.
- For creamy ans smooth sauce, make sure to blanch the onions and tomatoes very well. Also make them into a very smooth puree and pass through a sieve if required.
- I suggest you use fresh homemade paneer for this recipe. If you are using store bought paneer keep it covered in hot water for 15 minutes before adding to the gravy. Toasting the paneer is an optional step but adds to the flavor.
- For vibrant colored gravy use kashmiri chili powder or good quality paprika powder.
- After adding paneer do not cook the gravy for long time. Once you add paneer, toss gently, simmer for a minute and remove from flame.
How To Make Vegan Paneer Butter Masala?
- To make this curry vegan just replace
- dairy paneer with soy paneer or tofu cubes
- Fresh cream with cashew cream
- Butter with oil.
How To Make Jain Paneer Butter Masala
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.
Can I Make This Butter Paneer Ahead and Freeze?
Yes the gravy can be made well ahead and frozen just like my makhani sauce.
Make the gravy 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.
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.
More Paneer Recipes
I hope you will try this paneer makhani recipe and enjoy as much as we did. P
Paneer Butter Masala Recipe
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
- 3 tablespoons fresh cream
- 1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi
- Optional garnish
- More fresh cream
- chopped cilantro leaves
- Ginger julienne
- For preparing tomato puree
- 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.
- To prepare paneer butter masala gravy
- 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 paneer cubes 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 fresh 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
2. Do not boil or cook for ling time after adding paneer cubes