Matar Paneer (Stovetop & Instant Pot)

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Matar paneer recipe – a popular Indian Curry dish made with green peas and Indian cottage cheese, is from the versatile Northern Indian cuisine that has many different (and delicious) variations. I’m sharing our family recipe of a flavorful and simple home-style mutter paneer.

Top shot of matar paneer on white rectangle plate next to sliced cucumber in a white bowl and folded two roti in a white plate sitting on white marble table

About This Recipe

This simple homemade matar paneer is a family recipe spiced to perfection and cooked with green peas (matar or mutter in Hindi), and paneer which is Indian cottage cheese.

It is a tasty Indian dish that I make often, as matar paneer — also known as mattar or mutter paneer — is one of the most popular dishes from Northern India.

I have been making this recipe for YEARS. I originally learned how to make it at my in-laws’ home – a classic Punjabi recipe that was simple, easy, and absolutely fuss-free!

All of that being said, this family recipe is not a restaurant-style matar paneer. It tastes absolutely delicious, but is much simpler and lends more of a homey, comforting feel.

I share three ways of making this dish – Stove-top pressure cooker (with step-by-step photo guide), in the Instant Pot and in a pan or skillet on the stove-top.

Ingredients You Need

  • Paneer (cottage cheese): Paneer is a super soft, fresh, unaged Indian cottage cheese, usually made from dairy milk. You can use ricotta cheese if needed instead of paneer, but it’s important to note that ricotta cheese may be salted and paneer is not. Squeeze and drain any extra whey from ricotta before using.
  • Vegetables: You will need fresh or frozen green peas (matar), a few medium-sized ripe red tomatoes, a medium or large onion, and some green chilies.
  • Cashews: Cashews act as a creamy thickener for the masala paste. However, if you do not have cashews on hand, you can substitute almonds.
  • Seasonings: You will need several seasonings and spices for this mutter paneer recipe, including cumin seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, salt, ginger, garlic, coriander leaves and seeds, black peppercorns, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.
Top shot of matar paneer on white rectangle plate next to sliced cucumber in a white bowl and folded two roti in a white plate sitting on white marble table
Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Matar Paneer

Gather Masala Paste Ingredients

1. First, you will take all of the masala paste ingredients and add them to a grinder or a blender. Make sure you include:

  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ¾ to 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger {sub with ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger (dry ginger powder)}
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic 
  • 10 to 12 cashews
  • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies or serrano peppers
  • 4 to 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 inch cinnamon (Use true cinnamon. For cassia cinnamon, use ½ inch of it)
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds {sub with 1 teaspoon of ground coriander (coriander powder)}
  • 1 green cardamom – optional
  • 2 cloves
Top shot of ingredients to be ground for matar paneer in blender

Make Masala Paste

2. After that, you will grind the ingredients into a smooth paste. If needed add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water while grinding the masala paste. When the paste is creamy and blended to a fine consistency, set aside until later.

NOTE: There should be no small bits or pieces of cashews in the paste.

Spoon holding masala paste over the blender with ground paste

Frying Cumin

3. Next add 3 tablespoons oil in a 2-litre pressure cooker. Let the oil become hot. Reduce heat to a medium-low heat. Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and fry until they splutter.

Top shot of cumin seeds sautéing in pressure cooker

Add Masala Paste

4. Next, add in your ground masala paste, and mix well.

TIP: It is important to be careful while sautéing because the masala paste tends to splutter when added to the pressure cooker. If there is too much spluttering, then cover the cooker partly with a lid until the spluttering stops.

Top shot of masala paste in a pressure cooker

Sauté

5. Now you will sauté the paste mixture for about 10 to 12 minutes on a medium-low heat.

You want to be sure to sauté long enough for the oil to separate from the paste. The masala paste will also thicken and look glossy.

Top shot of masala paste in pressure cooker

Add Ground Spices

6. After sautéing the masala paste, add in all of the dry spice powders, stir to combine well and sauté for a minute. Be sure to include:

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or sweet paprika (sub with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cayenne or red chilli powder)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon garam masala powder (replace with ¼ teaspoon of curry powder)

NOTE: If adding heavy or light cream or malai, you can add now. Add 1 tablespoon of heavy or light cream or malai (the cream that floats on top of heated and cooled milk). In place of cream, substitute with ¼ cup whole milk.

Top shot of dry spice powders being added to masala paste

Add Green Peas

7. Next, add in 1 cup of rinsed green peas or matar.

Green peas in green colander being added into pressure cooker

8. Mix again.

Top shot of green peas mixed into masala paste

9. Then, add 1 to 1.25 cups water, salt and mix thoroughly.

Top shot of water mixed into masala paste

Pressure Cook

10. It’s now time to pressure cook the green peas until they are fully cooked. Be sure to cover the cooker tightly, then cook for about 9 to 10 minutes or 2 to 3 whistles on medium to medium-high heat.

NOTE: When the pressure drops on its own, open the lid of the pressure cooker. If the gravy appears thin, simmer until it reaches the desired consistency.

The consistency should be medium and neither thick nor thin. If the gravy appears thick, add some water and simmer.

For a slight sweet taste, you can also add up to ½ teaspoon of sugar at this point.

Top shot of pressure cooker with lid with steam around it

Make Matar Paneer

11. Finally, add the paneer cubes and mix well or simmer on a low heat for some seconds or until the paneer cubes are fully cooked. Don’t overcook as the paneer will become dense and hard.

You can add more flavors, by including ½ teaspoon of crushed kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) at this step.

NOTE: You want to avoid overcooking, otherwise the paneer will become dense and rubbery. You can even shallow or pan fry the paneer pieces separately and then add these to the curry.

Top shots of paneer cubes in liquid masala and pea mixture, sitting in pressure cooker

Garnish and Serve

12. Now that your matar paneer is ready to eat, garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot or warm.

Top shot of matar paneer on white rectangle plate next to sliced cucumber in a white bowl and folded two roti in a white plate sitting on white marble table

Serving Suggestions

Matar paneer goes well with Indian flatbreads like Roti, Paratha and Naan. It also pairs well with Cumin Rice and steamed Basmati Rice.

At home I usually make paratha or roti to go with it, but a side vegetable salad or Raita goes really well with the combination of mutter paneer and paratha.

You can also enjoy mopping the curry with Poori (Indian fried bread) and even your regular everyday Bread or some dinner rolls.

Storage and Leftovers

If you do have any mutter paneer leftovers, refrigerate in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days. The curry will thicken after cooling and so while reheating, add a bit of water to loosen the consistency.

Instant Pot Method

Matar paneer can be made easily in an Instant Pot. I make many Indian recipes in the Instant Pot and even this mutter paneer. Read the instructions below to make Matar Paneer recipe in your Instant Pot.

  1. Preparation: Make the masala paste with tomatoes, spices, herbs and cashews as listed in the above step-by-step guide. Set aside.
  2. Sautéing: Press the sauté button on the Instant pot and let the display show “hot”. Add oil to the inner steel pot. Crackle the cumin seeds first. Add the ground masala paste and sauté stirring often until it thickens and looks glossy. You can press the sauté button twice to bring the setting to less, if the pot becomes too hot.
  3. Adding ground spices: Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and garam masala powder. Mix and sauté for a minute.
  4. Including green peas: Add the green peas, 1 cup of water, salt and combine thoroughly, deglazing the inner pot. Press the cancel button.
  5. Pressure cooking: Seal the lid and position the valve to sealing. Press the pressure cook/manual button and set the time to 3 minutes. Pressure cook on high pressure. After you hear the beep sound when the cooking is complete, wait for 5 minutes and then do a quick pressure release. 
  6. Final touches: Press the cancel button. Add paneer cubes and mix well. Finally add some coriander leaves and mix again.
Tips

Expert Tips

  • Tomatoes: Include tomatoes that are ripe and sweet. If the tomatoes are sour, the curry will have a sour taste. To balance the sourness add some sugar or a bit of light cream.
  • Creamier Version: For a slightly creamier version, I add cashews, but these can be skipped. To give some citrus notes to the curry, I also add coriander leaves (cilantro). If you are not a fan of cilantro, omit them.
  • No onion no garlic version: In my recipe you can skip both garlic and onions. To mimic their flavors, include a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing) after adding cumin seeds and before adding the masala paste. Mix it well and then add the ground masala paste. Make sure not to burn the asafoetida while frying it in oil.
  • Scaling: You can make a small batch or a large batch by easily scaling the recipe.
  • Make-ahead: If you are pressed for time, grind/blend the masala paste and freeze it for a couple of days or refrigerate overnight, so that you can easily cook the matar paneer gravy the next day.
  • Fats: I always make mutter paneer in oil. For a richer version, you can make it in ghee (clarified butter).

FAQs

How can I make this vegan matar paneer?

Vegans can substitute tofu with paneer and still enjoy the deliciousness.

Can I make matar paneer in a pot or pan?

Of course! First fry the cumin seeds in a pan, then add the masala paste and sauté until the oil releases from the sides. Next, stir in the dry spice powders, matar, salt, and water. Then close the pan and cook the peas until they become soft. If the curry becomes too thick or dries up while cooking, add more water. At this point, pick up with the original recipe and follow the remaining directions.

Can I make mutter paneer spicy?

Yes you can! Increase the amount of green chillies and red chilli powder.

More Delicious Paneer Curries!

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close up shot of matar paneer on white rectangle plate on white marble table

Matar Paneer Recipe (Mutter Paneer)

4.86 from 175 votes
Matar paneer, a popular Indian curry dish made with green peas and cottage cheese, is from the versatile Northern Indian cuisine that has many different (and delicious) variations. I’m sharing our family recipe of a flavorful and simple home-style mutter paneer.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Cuisine North Indian, Punjabi
Course: Main Course
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

Main ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil or ghee
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or ¼ to ½ tsp red chilli powder or cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder or Punjabi garam masala powder
  • 1 tablespoon cream – light or heavy or can add malai, (optional)
  • 1 cup green peas (matar) – fresh or frozen, 130 grams
  • 1 to 1.25 cups water for stove-top pressure cooker and 1 cup water for Instant Pot
  • salt as required
  • ½ teaspoon sugar or add as required – optional *check notes
  • 250 to 300 grams Paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
  • ½ teaspoon kasuri methi – crushed, (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)

Ingredients for masala paste

  • ¾ to 1 cup chopped tomatoes – 120 grams or 3 medium-sized
  • ½ cup chopped onions – 60 grams or 1 medium-sized
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies or serrano peppers or 1 to 2 green chillies
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger or 1 inch ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic or 3 to 4 medium-sized garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
  • 10 to 12 cashews
  • 4 to 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon (true) or ½ inch cassia cinnamon
  • 1 green cardamom – optional
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds

Instructions

Making masala paste

  • In a grinder or blender take all the ingredients listed under "masala paste" – onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chilies, cashews, coriander leaves, black peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander seeds and cloves. 
  • Grind all the ingredients to a smooth paste. If needed you can add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water while blending.
  • There should be no small chunks or pieces of cashews in the paste.
  • Set the ground paste aside.

Sautéing

  • Heat oil in a 2-litre pressure cooker. Add the cumin seeds. Fry the cumin seeds until they splutter. (Read below on how to cook in a pan and Instant pot.)
  • Then add the ground masala paste. Mix well. Take care while sautéing as the paste splutters. If there is too much spluttering, then cover partly with a lid until the spluttering stops.
  • Saute for 10 to 12 minutes or more on a medium-low heat until the oil separates from the paste. The paste will also become thick and look glossy.
  • Add all the ground spices – turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder. Mix well.
  • If adding cream or malai, you can add now. Stir and saute for a minute.
  • Then add the green peas or matar. Mix again.
  • Add water and season with salt.

Cooking in stove-top pressure cooker

  • Cover the cooker tightly and pressure cook for about 2 to 3 whistles or 9 to 10 minutes.
  • When the pressure drops on its own, open the lid of the pressure cooker.
  • If the curry appears thin, then simmer till it reaches the desired consistency. The consistency is medium and neither thick nor thin.
  • If the gravy appears thick, then add some water and simmer for some minutes.
  • Add the paneer cubes. Mix well or simmer for a few seconds until the paneer cubes are cooked. For a slight sweet taste, you can also add sugar just before you add the paneer cubes.
  • Don't overcook after adding paneer, as they will becomes dense and hard.
  • Garnish matar paneer with coriander leaves and serve hot or warm.

Instant Pot Matar Paneer Recipe

  • Make the masala paste with tomatoes, spices, herbs and cashews as listed above.
  • Press the sauté button of your Instant pot and let the display show “hot”. Add oil to the inner steel pot. Crackle the cumin seeds first.
  • Add the ground masala paste and sauté stirring often until it thickens and looks glossy. You can press the sauté button twice to bring the setting to less, if in case the pot becomes too hot.
  • Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and garam masala powder. Mix and sauté for a minute.
  • Add the green peas, 1 cup of water, salt and combine thoroughly, deglazing if needed. Press the cancel button.
  • Seal the lid and position the valve to sealing. Press the pressure cook/manual button and set the time to 3 minutes.
  • Pressure cook on high pressure. After you hear the beep sound when the cooking is complete, wait for 5 minutes and then do a quick pressure release. 
  • Press the cancel button. Add paneer cubes and mix well. Finally add some coriander leaves and mix again. Serve hot or warm.

Making mutter paneer in a pan on stove-top

  • First heat the oil in a heavy pan. Fry the cumin seeds.
  • Add the masala paste and sauté stirring often until the oil releases from the sides.
  • Add the ground spice powders and mix well.
  • Add the green peas, salt and about 1.5 to 2 cups water. Mix again.
  • Close the pan and cook the green peas until they soften. If the curry becomes too thick or dries up while cooking, add some more water.
  • When the peas are cooked, add the paneer. Mix and switch off heat. To add more flavors, at this step together with the paneer, you can add crushed kasuri methi.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Serving suggestions

  • Matar paneer goes well with Indian flatbreads like roti, paratha, naan. It also tastes nice with cumin rice and steamed basmati rice.
  • You can also eat it with puri (Indian fried bread). A side vegetable salad or raita pairs really well with the combination of matar paneer and paratha.

Storage and leftovers

  • If you have any leftovers refrigerate in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days. The curry will thicken after cooling and so while reheating, add a bit of water to loosen the consistency.

Notes

  • Tomatoes: Add tomatoes that are ripe and sweet. If the tomatoes are sour, the curry will have a sour taste. To balance the sourness add some sugar or a bit of light cream.
  • Creamier Version: For a slightly creamier version, I add cashews, but these can be skipped. To give some citrus notes to the curry, I also add coriander leaves (cilantro). If you are not a fan of cilantro, omit them.
  • No onion no garlic version: In my recipe you can skip both garlic and onions. To mimic their flavors, include a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing) after adding cumin seeds and before adding the masala paste. Mix it well and then add the ground masala paste. Make sure not to burn the asafoetida while frying it in oil.
  • Scaling: You can make a small batch or a large batch by easily scaling the recipe.
  • Make-ahead: If you are pressed for time, grind/blend the masala paste and freeze it for a couple of days or refrigerate overnight, so that you can easily cook the matar paneer gravy the next day.
  • Fats: For a richer version, you can make matar paneer in ghee (clarified butter).
  • Vegan option: Replace paneer with tofu for a vegan matar paneer.
  • Spiciness: To make the curry spicy, increase the amount of green chillies and red chilli powder. 

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Matar Paneer Recipe (Mutter Paneer)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 349 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 324mg14%
Potassium 248mg7%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 610IU12%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 21mg25%
Vitamin E 5mg33%
Vitamin K 15µg14%
Calcium 335mg34%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 33µg8%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 34mg9%
Phosphorus 82mg8%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Note: This Matar Paneer recipe is from the archives (April 2013) and has been republished and updated on 19 March 2021.

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419 Comments

  1. Hi Dassana I am a very big fan of you and your recipe. I just love the way you prepare and blindly go along with that and no doubt it comes out to be very tasty. Whether it is North Indian or South Indian or any dish, yours is superb. God bless you always.

    1. Thank you so much Asha for the trust and feedback on the recipes. Thanks for your kind wishes too. So glad to read your comment. Thanks again and wish you all the best.

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