paneer butter masala recipe with video and step by step photos – an easy, quick and delicious recipe of paneer butter masala. within minutes you can prepare this restaurant style paneer butter masala at home.
this is a tried and tested fool proof recipe and is one of most popular paneer recipe on the blog. this recipe is made and loved by hundreds of readers. you can read the comments at the end of post, which has lot of tips from readers as well as myself.
what is paneer butter masala?
paneer butter masala is a rich, creamy, tomato and paneer based gravy dish. it is one of the most famous paneer dish along with palak paneer, kadai paneer, malai kofta, paneer tikka masala and matar paneer. paneer butter masala is served in almost all indian restaurants.
tomatoes is a key ingredient in the recipe. the creaminess comes from addition of cashews or cream – though adding cream can be skipped for a less rich version if you have used cashews. butter is also added which makes the curry rich. the taste of paneer butter masala is slightly sweet with some tang coming from the tomatoes. the gravy has a creamy and velvety feel to it.
what is difference between paneer butter masala and paneer makhani?
- according to me both paneer butter masala and paneer makhani are same. paneer butter masala is made with makhani gravy. the word ‘makhani’ means buttery and is derived from the word ‘makhan’ which means butter.
- makhani gravy is made with butter, tomato puree, cashews or cream and a few herbs & spices. a few variations can be done in either paneer butter masala or paneer makhani by addition of more spices etc. do note that onions are never added in the makhani gravy. so there is absolutely no need to add onions in this recipe. in most authentic punjabi restaurants onion is never added in a paneer butter masala gravy.
few makhani gravy variations you can make are:
- paneer makhanwala recipe
- kaju butter masala recipe
- mushroom butter masala recipe
- no onion no garlic paneer butter masala
how to make vegan paneer butter masala?
- to make a vegan paneer butter masala, use tofu instead of paneer.
- add a neutral tasting oil or vegan butter instead of butter and skip cream altogether.
- you can even use coconut cream, but with coconut cream the flavors of coconut will be felt in the final dish.
a few tips to make the best paneer butter masala:
- since tomatoes are the key ingredient, make sure to use ripe, red and firm tomatoes with a slight sweet taste. the tomatoes should not be very sour or tangy.
- always use homemade paneer if possible or a good quality store brought fresh paneer. its best to make paneer at home and does not take much time. for paneer recipes, i always make paneer at home. you can check the method of making paneer here – how to make paneer.
- make a really smooth puree from the tomatoes. if you want you can strain the tomato puree also.
- the tomato puree has to be sautéed really well. oil or butter should leave sides of the tomato paste. if the tomato paste is not sautéed well, the raw flavor of tomatoes will be felt in the dish.
- in case the paneer butter masala gravy tastes tangy or sour, then to balance the sour taste you can add a bit of sugar or cream. but do not add too much sugar as then the gravy becomes too sweet. also do note if you add cream in the recipe then you might have to add less sugar.
- use good quality butter. you can use both unsalted or salted butter.
- to grind cashews to a fine consistency, its better to soak them in hot water for 30 minutes.
- if you don’t have cashews then the best alternative is almonds. soak the almonds in hot water for 30 minutes. then peel them and make a paste of almonds with little water.
- you can fry the paneer cubes if you want and then add.
- to get the bright orangish red color in the gravy, its best to use kashmiri red chilli powder or deghi mirch instead of artificial food colors. using deep red colored tomatoes also contribute to a lovely orange color in the gravy.
this recipe of paneer butter masala is similar to the way i would make butter chicken many years back. for the first time i had learnt how to make butter chicken during my home science days. later i used to use the same recipe for making paneer butter masala. some adaptations and improvisations have happened throughout the years.
paneer butter masala gravy has a slight sweet taste and very mildly spiced. thus making it an excellent gravy with chapatis for kids.
generally in butter chicken or butter paneer, cream is added. in this paneer butter masala recipe to give a creamy consistency and a sweet tinge, i have added cashew paste. though you can also add cream. in the paneer butter masala video embedded in the recipe card below, i have added cream.
i never use any coloring agents in the food i make at home. what you see in the pics, is the way the paneer butter masala gravy actually looked. the organic tomatoes had such a beautiful red color and the final curry had beautiful tones of orangish red.
serve paneer butter masala with naan or tandoori rotis or chapatis or pudina paratha or lachha paratha. it also goes well with steamed basmati rice or jeera rice.
paneer butter masala recipe below:
paneer butter masala recipe
nutrition info is per serving
ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)
for preparing cashew paste:
- 2 tablespoons cashew OR 18 to 20 cashews
- ⅓ cup hot water for soaking cashews
for preparing tomato puree:
- 4 to 5 medium size tomatoes OR 300 grams tomatoes OR 2 cups of diced tomatoes - pureed
for making paneer butter masala gravy:
- 2 tablespoons butter OR 1 tbsp oil + 1 or 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 tej patta (indian bay leaf)
- 1 inch ginger (adrak) and 3 to 4 garlic (lahsun) - crushed or ground in a mortar and pestle
- ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder OR deghi mirch
- 1.5 cups water OR add as required
- 1 inch ginger (adrak) - julienned, reserve a few for garnishing
- 1 or 2 green chili (hari mirch) - slit (reserve a few for garnishing)
- 200 to 250 grams paneer (cottage cheese) - cubed or diced
- 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon garam masala OR tandoori masala
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cream - optional
- a few coriander leaves (cilantro leaves or dhania patta) for garnishing - optional
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar - optional
- salt as required - check notes below for adding sugar
how to make recipe?
making paneer butter masala gravy:
- heat oil and butter in a pan. add bay leaf and saute for some 10-15 seconds or till the oil become fragrant.
- add ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw aroma disappears.
add the tomato puree and stir well. cook for 5 to 6 minutes. then add kashmiri red chili powder and stir again. continue to saute till the oil starts to leave the sides of the tomato paste.
then add cashew paste and stir well. saute the cashew paste till the oil begins to leave the sides of the masala paste.
add water and stir. simmer on a low flame.
- add julienned ginger and green chilies, salt and sugar and simmer till the curry begins to thicken.
add the paneer cubes and cook them for about a minute till they become soft.
- don't cook for a long time as the paneer will become dense.
lastly add crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) & garam masala. stir.
- garnish paneer butter masala with coriander leaves. serve paneer butter masala hot with plain naan, garlic naan, rotis or steamed basmati or jeera rice. side accompaniments can be onion-lemon salad or some pickle.
tips for making paneer butter masala recipe:
- addition of sugar depends upon your taste as well as the tanginess present in the tomatoes. if you add cream in the recipe then you might have to add less sugar.
- for this recipe, its best to use fresh, ripe red tomatoes.
- best to use homemade soft paneer.
- the amount of cream can be adjusted as per your taste.
- if you don't have cashews then the alternative is almonds. blanch the almonds. peel them and then make a paste of almonds with little water.
how to make paneer butter masala recipe:
1: soak 18 to 20 cashews in a hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. when the cashews are soaking, you can prep the other ingredients like chopping tomatoes, preparing ginger-garlic paste, slicing paneer etc.
2: then drain and add the soaked cashews in a blender or grinder.
3: add 2 to 3 tbsp water and grind to a smooth paste without any tiny bits or pieces of cashews.
4. remove the cashew paste in a bowl and keep aside.
5. in the same blender add 2 cups of diced or roughly chopped tomatoes. no need to blanch the tomatoes before blending.
6. blend to a smooth tomato puree. keep aside. don’t add any water while blending the tomatoes.
making paneer butter masala recipe:
7. add 2 tbsp butter OR 1 tbsp oil + 1 or 2 tbsp butter in a pan. adding oil prevents the butter from browning too quickly. if using only butter, then keep the pan on a low flame so that the butter does not melt.
8: add tej patta and fry for some seconds till the oil becomes fragrant.
9: add ginger-garlic paste or crushed ginger-garlic (1 inch ginger + 3 to 4 garlic crushed to a paste in a mortar pestle). fry till the raw aroma of the ginger-garlic disappears. if using ginger-garlic paste, then use 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste.
10: pour the tomato puree.
11: when the puree begins to cook, after 5 to 6 minutes, add ½ tsp kashmiri red chili powder or deghi mirch.
12: stir and continue to saute till the oil starts leaving the sides of the pan. the whole sauteing takes about 12 to 14 minutes on a low flame.
13: add the cashew paste.
14: saute till the cashew paste is cooked and again the oil will start to leave the sides of the masala. the cashew will begin to cook fast. approx 3 to 4 minutes on a low flame. keep on stirring.
15: add 1.5 cups water.
16: let the curry simmer and come to a boil. after 2 to 3 mins, add ginger julienne (about 1 inch ginger – julienne). reserve a few for garnishing. the curry will begin to thicken.
17: after 3 to 4 minutes, add the 1 or 2 slit green chilies, salt and sugar (optional) and stir. you can add sugar from ¼ tsp to 1 tsp depending on the sourness of the tomatoes. sugar is optional and you can skip it too. if you add cream, then you will need to add less sugar.
18: after a minute, add the diced or cubed paneer (200 or 250 grams). keep in mind the consistency you want before you add paneer as you will be cooking the paneer for a minute. you can also fry the paneer and then add the paneer once the gravy has become creamy.
19: stir gently and let the paneer cook in the gravy for about a minute or till they become soft and cooked. lastly add 1 teaspoon kasuri methi leaves (crushed). also add 1 teaspoon garam masala. stir very well and switch off the flame. you can also add 2 to 3 tablespoons of low fat cream or 1 to 2 tablespoons of whipping cream at this stage. addition of crushed kasuri methi gives a restaurant flavor.
20: stir and serve paneer butter masala hot garnished with 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves, the remaining ginger julienne and dotted with butter or cream. good combo for paneer butter masala is naan or butter naan or tandoori rotis or plain paratha or roomali roti or malabar paratha.
paneer butter masala also goes well with steamed basmati rice or jeera rice or biryani rice. i served with whole wheat rotis accompanied with onion-lemon salad and pickled carrot-beetroot from the kanji drink.