paneer butter masala recipe | how to make paneer butter masala – restaurant style

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paneer butter masala recipe

a paneer butter masala recipe that will give you one of the best paneer butter masala. this paneer butter masala recipe is an easy recipe and yields a mildly spiced, creamy, tangy and lightly sweet delicious restaurant style paneer butter masala. if allergic to dairy or vegan, then substitute tofu for paneer or add steamed mix vegetables or sautéed mushrooms instead. also skip cream altogether or use coconut cream and use oil instead of butter. 

4.69 from 216 votes
total time:
40minutes

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. paneer butter masala is also called as butter paneer or butter paneer masala.

paneer butter masala, paneer butter masala recipe

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 paneermalai kofta, paneer tikka masala and matar paneer. paneer butter masala is served in almost all indian restaurants.

tomatoes is a key ingredient in paneer butter masala 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

  1. according to me both paneer butter masala and paneer makhani are same. paneer butter masala recipe is made with makhani gravy. the word ‘makhani’ means buttery and is derived from the word ‘makhan’ which means butter.
  2. 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 recipe.

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.

tips to make the best paneer butter masala

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. make a really smooth puree from the tomatoes. if you want you can strain the tomato puree also.
  4. 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.
  5. in case the butter paneer 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 in the butter paneer gravy.
  6. use good quality butter. you can use both unsalted or salted butter in paneer butter masala recipe.
  7. to grind cashews to a fine consistency, its better to soak them in hot water for 30 minutes.
  8. 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.
  9. you can fry the paneer cubes if you want and then add in the paneer butter masala recipe.
  10. to get the bright orangish red color in the butter paneer masala, 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 paneer butter masala recipe.

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 butter paneer masala. some adaptations and improvisations have happened throughout the years.

paneer butter masala 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 butter paneer 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
4.69 from 216 votes
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paneer butter masala

a paneer butter masala recipe that will give you one of the best paneer butter masala. this paneer butter masala recipe is an easy recipe and yields a mildly spiced, creamy, tangy and lightly sweet delicious restaurant style paneer butter masala. if allergic to dairy or vegan, then substitute tofu for paneer or add steamed mix vegetables or sautéed mushrooms instead. also skip cream altogether or use coconut cream and use oil instead of butter. 
course main course
cuisine north indian
prep time 10 minutes
cook time 30 minutes
total time 40 minutes
servings 4
rough calories per serving 193 kcal
author dassana amit

ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)

for preparing cashew paste

  • 2 tablespoons cashew OR 18 to 20 cashews
  • 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

  • 2 tablespoons butter OR 1 tablespoon oil + 1 or 2 tablespoons 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 paneer butter masala

preparation for paneer butter masala

  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. in the same blender add 2 cups of diced or roughly chopped tomatoes. no need to blanch the tomatoes before blending.

  5. blend to a smooth tomato puree. keep aside. don’t add any water while blending the tomatoes.

making paneer butter masala

  1. heat oil and butter in a pan. add bay leaf and saute for some 10-15 seconds or till the oil become fragrant.
  2. add ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw aroma disappears.
  3. 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.

  4. then add cashew paste and stir well. saute the cashew paste till the oil begins to leave the sides of the masala paste.

  5. add water and stir. simmer on a low flame.

  6. add julienned ginger and green chilies, salt and sugar and simmer till the curry begins to thicken.
  7. add the paneer cubes and cook them for about a minute till they become soft.

  8. don't cook for a long time as the paneer will become dense.
  9. lastly add crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) & garam masala. stir.

  10. 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.

recipe video

paneer butter masala video

recipe notes

tips for making paneer butter masala

  1. 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.
  2. for this recipe, its best to use fresh, ripe red tomatoes.
  3. best to use homemade soft paneer.
  4. the amount of cream can be adjusted as per your taste.
  5. 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.

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preparation for paneer butter masala

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.

making paneer butter masala recipe

2: then drain and add the soaked cashews in a blender or grinder.

making paneer butter masala recipe

3: add 2 to 3 tbsp water and grind to a smooth paste without any tiny bits or pieces of cashews.

making paneer butter masala recipe

4. remove the cashew paste in a bowl and keep aside.

making paneer butter masala recipe

5. in the same blender add 2 cups of diced or roughly chopped tomatoes. no need to blanch the tomatoes before blending.

making paneer butter masala recipe

6. blend to a smooth tomato puree. keep aside. don’t add any water while blending the tomatoes.

making paneer butter masala recipe

making paneer butter masala

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.

making paneer butter masala recipe

8: add tej patta and fry for some seconds till the oil becomes fragrant.

making paneer butter masala recipe

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.

making paneer butter masala recipe

10: pour the tomato puree.

making paneer butter masala recipe

11: when the puree begins to cook, after 5 to 6 minutes, add ½ tsp kashmiri red chili powder or deghi mirch.

making paneer butter masala recipe

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.

cooking paneer butter masala recipe

13: add the cashew paste.

cooking paneer butter masala recipe

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.

cashew paste for preparing paneer butter masala recipe

15: add 1.5 cups water.

cashew paste for making paneer butter masala recipe

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.

preparing paneer butter masala recipe

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.

paneer butter masala preparation

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.

adding paneer cubes in paneer butter masala recipe

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.

paneer butter masala recipe, paneer butter masala

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.

paneer butter masala recipe, paneer butter masala

dassana amit
Founder, Designer, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer ||

i started vegrecipesofindia.com in feb 2009. it is a pure vegetarian blog and shares recipes with step by step photos that will help you to make delicious and tasty vegetarian food easily.

i am passionate about cooking from childhood and learnt cooking from my elders. having a home science degree surely enhanced my cooking & baking skills which i now share as fool proof recipes on the blog. i am trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.


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614 comments/reviews

  1. There is no need to add onion know mam?

    • jayanthi, no need to add onions. if onions are added the taste will be different.

  2. Can you used canned tomato puree in this?

    • you can use canned tomato puree. but add sugar in paneer butter masala if required if the puree is too sour.

  3. Yours is the only vegetarian recipes I trust blindly. Every recipe I tried over time never ceased to amaze me. TOday it was paneer butter masala. The taste is always spot on and always super delicious. Loads of love ❤️..

    • thanks you akshatha both for this awesome feedback on paneer butter masala as well as the rating. wish you a happy diwali festival and enjoy with a lot of sweets and savories. happy festivities.

  4. THANK YOU! This recipe has helped me crack the code of how to make restaurant style gravy. My family is thrilled and we are enjoying this and your dal makhani recipe immensely!

    • thanks a lot christine. so glad to know that both the paneer butter masala and dal makhani is liked by your family. happy cooking.

  5. Hi Dassana
    Thanks so much for your lovely recipes…I tried many of your recipes…today morning I tried your banana wheat cake recipe as I wanted some healthy recipe.. … awesome… could not believe..it turned out so well…..with such simple ingredients..you rock….great job.

    • thank a lot sheetal. nice to know and read your lovely comment. baking recipes if done rightly with the correct proportions, do turn out well most of the times. thanks again. happy cooking and baking.

  6. Have been making this for quite some time now and every time it comes out lip smacking. Thank you for this paneer butter masala recipe. 🙂

    • Welcome Shilpa. Glad to know this. Thanks for your positive feedback.

  7. This was great – I did a vegan version with vegan butter, soy milk and tofu and it tastes brilliant. Thank you!

    • Welcome Tim. Glad to know the vegan variation you made for the paneer butter masala.

  8. Hey Dassana Amit ,

    This is a nice recipe I have searched on the internet for this recipe many times but didn’t able to find perfect, but I think today I got the perfect one so will surely try this thanks for sharing .
    Keep up the good work !

    you can see my see my result

    • Thanks Abhay. Glad to know that you like this paneer butter masala recipe. Do try some more paneer recipes from the website. All the recipes are tried and tested.

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