palak paneer recipe, how to make palak paneer

smooth creamy palak paneer made with fresh spinach leaves, paneer, onions, herbs and spices. one of the most loved recipes in my family and i hope it become yours too. if vegan or allergic to dairy products, then add tofu instead and skip cream entirely or use coconut cream. 
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4.82 from 184 votes

palak paneer recipe with video and step by step photos – this delicious palak paneer recipe is the way my mom would make for us. she has been making this recipe for years and now i make it for everyone. it is one of the favorite paneer recipes on the blog – not only readers’ favorite but also ours.

palak paneer recipe

i also make a restaurant style palak paneer, which has the smoking or dhungar method incorporated in it. i use dhungar method in recipes where i want to add smoky charcoal aroma to the dish.

in this palak paneer recipe i have shown the method of blanching spinach. this is done so that the dish has a nice green color and it is a healthy practice as well.

i always recommend to blanch spinach before making any dish where the spinach leaves are used in large quantities and where a puree is made from the leaves. any chef worth his or her salt will blanch spinach before using the spinach leaves in most recipes. blanching spinach was also taught to me in my home science cooking classes many years ago.

in making palak recipes like dal palak, palak rice or palak sabzi etc, the spinach leaves are not blanched but sautéed. sautéing spinach leaves also works well in most recipes. whether to sauté or blanch depends on the type of cooking technique you are using for that particular recipe or dish and the proportion of spinach used. for a recipe like palak paneer, its best to blanch spinach given the following benefits it has.

why blanch spinach for making palak paneer

  • blanching spinach reduces some of the oxalic acid from the leaves.
  • oxalic acid binds with calcium from the leaves, thereby reducing its absorption in the body. due to this binding, calcium oxalate crystals are formed which cause stones in the kidneys, if spinach is consumed raw and in large amounts.
  • blanching also releases some of the calcium which is present in the leaves. thus the body gets to absorb more calcium from the spinach leaves if you blanch them.
  • the only loss of vitamins which happens during blanching are the water soluble vitamins, but the amount is very less as the spinach leaves are not getting boiled. however blanching preserves and locks some other nutrients in the spinach.
  • the blanching technique retains and preserves the green color of the spinach in the palak paneer.
  • blanching gets rid of harmful microorganisms, which can cause food contamination and food poisoning.
  • when you use raw spinach puree to make recipes like palak paneer or saag paneer, there is a possibility that the raw smell and bitterness of spinach can remain in the gravy.
  • blanching also gets rids of the pesticides residue if any from the spinach.
  • blanching removes the bitter metallic flavor of spinach and makes it more flavorful and palatable without any after taste.
  • when making spinach based sauces or gravies, where spinach is directly ground, there can be a raw taste of spinach even after cooking it. to prevent this blanching is the best option as the raw taste of spinach is not felt after cooking the puree.

palak paneer is basically soft paneer (cottage cheese) cubes cooked in a smooth spinach curry. this palak paneer is one of the most popular paneer recipe on the blog.

this delicious palak paneer goes well with rotis, naan, parathas or tandoori rotis and even jeera rice or biryani rice or saffron rice or ghee rice.

vegans can substitute paneer with tofu in this recipe. i have made palak tofu many times and even with tofu, the palak gravy tastes very good.

few more popular paneer recipes that you can try at times are:

palak paneer recipe

Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:10 minutes
Total Time:40 minutes
Course:main course
Cuisine:north indian
Calories:187kcal
Servings (change the number to scale):4
4.82 from 184 votes
palak paneer
smooth creamy palak paneer made with fresh spinach leaves, paneer, onions, herbs and spices. one of the most loved recipes in my family and i hope it become yours too. if vegan or allergic to dairy products, then add tofu instead and skip cream entirely or use coconut cream. 

INGREDIENTS FOR palak paneer recipe

(1 CUP = 250 ML)

for palak puree

  • 200 to 250 grams fresh spinach (palak) OR 5 to 6 cups roughly chopped spinach OR about 7 to 9 oz spinach
  • 1 or 2 green chilies - chopped (hari mirch)
  • 1 or 2 small to medium garlic cloves (lahsun) - roughly chopped (optional)
  • ½ inch ginger - roughly chopped
  • 3 cups water for blanching spinach
  • 3 cups water for ice bath

other ingredients for palak paneer

  • 1 small to medium sized onion - finely chopped OR about ⅓ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 small or medium sized tomato - chopped OR about ⅓ cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 4 to 5 small to medium garlic cloves (lahsun) - finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder) - optional
  • a pinch of asafoetida (hing) - optional
  • ¼ or ½ teaspoon garam masala powder - add more if required
  • 1 small to medium tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • 200 to 250 grams paneer or tofu OR about 7 to 9 oz paneer (cottage cheese)
  • ⅓ to ½ cup water or add as required
  • 1 or 2 tablespoon cream - low fat 25% to 35% (i used amul cream)
  • 2 tablespoon oil or ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi leaves (dry fenugreek leaves) - optional. kasuri methi is crushed and added right towards the end. just before adding cream.
  • salt as required

garnish for palak paneer

  • a few teaspoons of cream or butter for topping the palak paneer (optional)
  • ½ inch ginger - julienned
  • lemon or lime wedges or slices

HOW TO MAKE palak paneer recipe

making palak puree

  • rinse the palak or spinach leaves very well in running water. tender stem are fine. if the stems are stringy, then discard the stems.
  • boil 3 cups water in a pan or microwave or electric heater. add ¼ tsp salt to the hot water and stir. then add the palak leaves in the hot water. let the palak leaves sit in the water for 1 minute.
  • after 1 minute, using a pasta tong, take the leaves. 
  • immediately add the palak or spinach leaves in a pan or bowl containing ice cold water. this method helps in preserving the green color of the spinach. just add 8 to 10 ice cubes to 3 cups water to get cold water. allow the spinach leaves to be in the cold water for a minute.
  • then drain the ice cold water. add the spinach in a blender or grinder jar with chopped ginger, garlic and green chilies.
  • make a smooth palak puree. no need to add water while making the puree. keep the spinach puree aside.

making masala for palak paneer

  • heat oil or ghee or butter in a pan or kadai. if using butter, melt it a low flame making sure that the butter does not brown.
  • add the cumin and let them splutter.
  • then add the tej patta or bay leaf.
  • add the finely chopped onions. saute till the onions become golden.
  • then add the finely chopped garlic. saute till the raw aroma of garlic goes away. no need to brown the garlic.
  • add the chopped tomatoes. stir and saute the tomatoes till they soften.
  • once the tomatoes are softened and you see fat releasing from the sides of the mixture. then add the turmeric powder, red chili powder and asafoetida/hing.
  • stir very well.

making palak paneer

  • then add the palak puree and mix well. 
  • add about ⅓ to ½ cup water or as required. stir again.
  • simmer for 6 to 7 minutes or more till the palak or spinach is cooked. season with salt. the gravy or sauce will also thicken by now.
  • stir and add garam masala powder.
  • stir again and then add the paneer (cottage cheese) cubes.
  • stir gently and simmer on a low flame till the paneer cubes become soft and succulent. cook for about 1 minute.
  • lastly add cream. stir gently again so that the cream gets incorporated in the palak paneer gravy uniformly. switch off the flame.

garnishing palak paneer

  • pour the palak paneer in serving bowls. while serving you can top the palak paneer with some butter or cream.
  • you can also drizzle a few drops of lime or lemon juice on top along with ginger julienne on the palak paneer.

serving palak paneer

  • stir and serve the palak paneer hot with some rotis. palak paneer goes very well with indian breads like tandoori roti, chapatis, phulkas, parathas or naan.
  • being a versatile dish, palak paneer also accompanies rice dishes from the indian cuisine like jeera rice, veg pulao, ghee rice and even a simple steamed rice very well. 

RECIPE VIDEO

RECIPE TIPS

  • the paneer or tofu cubes can also be lightly fried and then added to the curry. in this case, you don't need to cook the paneer or tofu in the gravy as when frying they are already cooked.
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preparation for palak paneer recipe

1. rinse the palak or spinach leaves (200 to 250 grams), very well in running water.

rinse palak or spinach

2. boil 3 cups water in a pan or microwave or electric heater or in a pan. add  ¼ tsp salt to the hot water and stir. then add the palak leaves in the hot water. let the palak leaves sit in the water for about 1 minute. if using stove-top then keep the pan down and switch off the flame.

making palak paneer recipe

3. after 1 minute, strain the palak leaves.

palak leaves

4. immediately add the palak or spinach leaves in a pan or bowl containing ice cold water. this method helps in preserving the green color of the spinach. just add 8 to 10 ice cubes to 3 cups water to get cold water. allow the spinach leaves to be in the cold water for a minute.

making palak paneer recipe

5. then drain the ice cold water. add the spinach in a blender or grinder jar with ½ inch chopped ginger, (1 or 2 small to medium) garlic cloves and 1 or 2 green chillies. you can also use a hand-held immersion blender to make the puree.

making palak paneer recipe
6. make a smooth palak puree. no need to add water while making the puree. keep the spinach puree aside.

making palak paneer recipe

making masala for palak paneer

7. heat 2 tbsp oil (or ghee or butter) in a pan or kadai. here i have used butter. if using butter, melt it a low flame making sure that the butter does not brown.

palak paneer recipe

8. add ½ tsp cumin and let them splutter.

palak paneer recipe

9. then add one tej patta/bay leaf (small to medium sized) .

palak paneer recipe

10. add ⅓ cup finely chopped onions (1 small to medium sized onion).

palak paneer recipe

11. saute till the onions become golden.

palak paneer recipe

12. then add the finely chopped garlic/lahsun (4 to 5 small to medium sized). saute till the raw aroma of garlic goes away. no need to brown the garlic.

making palak paneer recipe

13. add ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes (1 small or medium sized tomato).

making palak paneer recipe

14. stir and saute the tomatoes till they soften.

sauting tomatoes to make palak paneer recipe

15. once the tomatoes are softened and you see fat releasing from the sides of the mixture. then add ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp red chili powder and a pinch of asafoetida (hing). if you do not have asafoetida, then skip it.

adding spices to palak paneer recipe

16. stir very well.

making palak paneer masala

making palak paneer

17. then add the palak puree.

palak paneer recipe

18. stir well.

simmer palak paneer

19. add about to ⅓ to ½ cup of water or as required. stir again.

simmer palak paneer recipe

20. simmer palak paneer gravy for 6-7 minutes or more till the palak or spinach is cooked. season with salt. the gravy or sauce will also thicken by now.

simmer palak paneer

21. stir and add (¼ to ½ tsp) garam masala powder.

add garam masala to palak paneer recipe

22. stir again and then add the paneer cubes (200 to 250 grams cottage cheese). i have added the paneer cubes directly to the gravy. but you can also lightly fry or saute the paneer cubes till they lightly browned and then add them to the palak gravy. in this case, you don’t need to cook the paneer further.

palak paneer recipe

23. stir gently and simmer on a low flame till the paneer cubes become soft and succulent. cook for about 1 minute.

making palak paneer recipe

24. lastly add cream (1 or 2 tbsp cream, low fat 25% to 35%. i used amul cream). you can also add 1 tsp kasuri methi (crushed) at this step. kasuri methi is optional though.

adding cream to palak paneer recipe

25. stir gently again so that the cream gets incorporated in the palak paneer gravy uniformly. switch off the flame.

mix palak paneer recipe well

26. stir and serve palak paneer hot with some rotis or naan or paratha or jeera rice or ghee rice. you can top the palak paneer with some butter or cream also while serving. also drizzle a few drops of lime or lemon juice on top along with ginger julienne on the palak paneer.

palak paneer


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dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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533 comments/reviews

  1. I made this recipe today and it turned out looking like the pictures at each step of the way. Next time I make it I will double all of the spices as I found it too mild. Maybe my spices are too old? It helped me ( a non-Indian cook) a great deal to have all of the ingredients prepared and measured out before starting. I made mine with canola oil and coconut cream instead ghee and cream. I also made my paneer from scratch and next time will use my tofu press to make it more firm and let it press overnight in the fridge. It rather crumbled in the palak. Thank you for sharing this recipe and for the very clear instructions.

    • thanks memy for the detailed feedback. palak paneer has a mild flavor and taste, but it can be perked up by adding more spices. any neutral tasting oil can be used. coconut cream also works well and give a nice balance in the dish. i am glad that the clear instructions were helpful. thanks again and welcome.

  2. Made this last night for my mom and dad. It was a big hit, my mom says its the best she’s ever had, way better than any she’s eaten in restaurants. Thank you for sharing your recipe, and the great step by step photos.

  3. Tried Palak paneer first time ! Such well described recipe steps. Anyone can cook reading this blog.

    Thank you for your kind gesture !!

  4. One of the best indian food recipes blog. I follow your receipes almost every other day. Today I am going to try this recipe with palak+bathua. Hope it will turn great… thank you again for sharing with description.

  5. The recipe turned well except that there were a quite a few strands from the stems left in the puree.. what could be the reason for the same.. did i make a mistake in cleaning the spinach or grinding it? As these did not get cooked later even and had to be discarded time and again while eating.

    • prachi, thanks for the feedback and rating. when making palak paneer or any dish with spinach puree, always use stems which are fresh or tender. if the stems are not tender, then they will have strings in them which gives a stringy texture in the gravy. so remove the stems if they are dense or fibrous. while grinding, use a good grinder or a blender so that it yields a smooth puree. there should be no visible strands of stem in the palak puree. i hope these tips help.

  6. I have made this recipe many times, it’s my favorite Palak Paneer recipe ever! I usually double it, as it keeps well in the fridge/freezer. This last time I added a pinch of Red Boat Salt, and it gave it a nice subtle depth. Thank you so much for posting it!

  7. Thank you- your clear instructions lead to an amazing meal. As a non-veg eater I used hot-smoked chicken for the protein and finished with a splash of sesame oil. I see you have over 2 million Facebook followers… well deserved 👏

  8. This recipe is awesome. Normally if palak paneer was made at home, it would sit in the fridge for a couple of days because too many leftovers. Moreover paneer tends to be heavy also.
    I mean honestly before whenever we made palak paneer at home it was because there was leftover milk and organic spinach at hand so everyone would sort of eat it reluctantly you know and that too only thinking about the health benefits. 🙂 But this recipe is so yummy and light despite the paneer that everyone just lapped it up and no leftovers though everyone wanted it the next day too. 🙂 Winner!!

  9. Thank you for this blog. After trying to make curries in the past with little luck, I discovered your blog and this has changed everything. It took some practice, but finally made a palak paneer that I enjoy. I look forward to trying other recipes.

  10. Hi Dassana. I am a regular follower of your website. Your recipes are simple and the results are mindblowing. The illustrations ease the process. Keep it up.

  11. I tried this tonight and the taste was really really nice. Thank you!

    My paneer was a little bland so i shallow fried it before adding it to the gravy. The taste of the gravy was wonderful!

  12. I follow your website for practically everything I make. It is very useful and detailed. Could you please advise if my dish has become too hot how I can make it less spicy. I haven’t used cream. Could it be due to that and I used 1.5 green chillies while blending.

    • thanks rekha. the spiciness and pungency of green chilies is not felt in the palak gravy without cream. sometimes some green chilies are too hot, so its best to add them in less amounts. some mashed potatoes (about ¼ cup) can reduce the spiciness. some cashew paste or almond paste will also reduce the spiciness. you can even add some full fat milk. hope these suggestions help.

  13. This recipe is delicious! The recipe yielded a creamy restaurant style green gravy that was very authentic. I highly recommend it. The flavours were well balanced. Thank you!

  14. Thank you for the recipe.. I prefer your website first for any recipes… I suggested to my friends too.. I followed ur website for more than 2 years… Thank you

  15. As always, thanks for sharing your wonderful receipe. . Just one small doubt. If you soak the palak in hot water, will it not loose its nutrition?

  16. Hey,
    I have been following your recipes for years now…and all the dishes I tried they came out so very well everytime…thanks to the picture guide for every step…its a blessing for all such amateur cooks like me who love to cook but has no idea about the exact recipes for every dish…had followed your recipes during my hostel days and now cooking for my family…Thank you for being the saviour… Tried Rajma masala, daal tadka, Palak paneer for the first time recently from your website and am super amazed by the taste…thanks to your precise guidance. Just can’t thank you enough.
    Love,
    Tanu

    • Welcome Tanu. Glad to know that you are following the blog for so many years. Thanks for sharing this awesome feedback on recipes. Felt good reading your nice words about the recipes.

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