Paneer Curry Recipe

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Made with an aromatic and creamy tomato cashew base, this Paneer Curry recipe is a dinnertime delight! Unlike my Paneer Butter Masala, this sauce or curry base includes spicy green chili and sweet onions for a paneer masala you’re sure to love.

paneer curry garnished with coriander leaves and served in a white bowl.

About Paneer Curry

While there are many delicious Indian Paneer Curries made with cottage cheese, this paneer masala recipe is one of my favorites. The addition of onion paste and the special spice blend make this curry recipe quite different from others I have posted on the blog.

You may have encountered a similar style of paneer curry in Indian restaurants; sometimes you’ll see it made with potatoes and peas in addition to paneer.

Whenever I make recipes that feature paneer, I make my own version of the beloved Indian cottage cheese at home; I’d choose Homemade Paneer over store bought every time!

Instead of paneer and cream, you can also use tofu and coconut cream to make this vegan. Just note that the coconut cream will leave a faint coconut flavor that isn’t present in the original.

If tomatoes are not in season, opt to use canned whole tomatoes instead. You do not want to use sour tomatoes, and canned are always picked at peak freshness. You can also substitute cherry tomatoes, which can be grown in greenhouses year round and will often taste better than other out of season varieties.

Paneer curry is best served with chapati, paratha or naan. You can also serve this cottage cheese curry with plain rice, cumin rice, ghee Rice or biryani rice.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Paneer Curry

Prep Ingredients

1. First, soak 12 to 15 cashews in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes.

cashews soaking in hot water

2. When the cashews are soaking, roughly chop 2 large tomatoes, 1 large onion, 1 inch ginger and 6 to 7 small to medium garlic cloves. Crush the ginger and garlic to a paste in mortar-pestle.

chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger on a cutting board

3. Add the chopped onions to a blender or grinder jar.

chopped onions in a grinder jar

4. Without adding any water, grind or blend to a smooth and fine paste. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

onion paste to make paneer curry recipe

5. To the same grinder jar (no need to wash it), add chopped tomatoes and soaked cashews.

tomatoes and cashews added to blender jar

6. Again without adding any water, grind or blend tomatoes and cashews to a fine smooth paste. Keep the jar aside.

kaju tomato paste

Make Masala For Paneer Curry

7. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a thick bottomed pan or kadai. Add the onion paste.

onions added to pan with hot oil

8. Sauté the onion paste over a low to medium-low heat, stirring often. Be careful while adding onion paste as it splutters.

light color sautéed onion paste

9. Sauté till the onion paste begins to caramelize and become golden.

golden onion paste

10. Add the crushed ginger-garlic paste. If using ready ginger-garlic paste, then add 1 teaspoon of it.

ginger paste added to onions

11. Stir and sauté for few seconds or till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

sautéed aromatics for preparing paneer curry recipe

12. Now add the tomato-cashew paste. Be careful as the mixture can splutter.

creamy tomato cashew sauce added to pan

13. Mix everything very well and begin to sauté the masala on a low heat.

sautéing the masala on a low heat.

14. While the masala is cooking, add 1.5 cups of water to the grinder or blender jar. Swirl the jar so that the tomato paste at the sides and at the bottom gets mixed with the water. Keep aside.

water after blending in grinder jar to clean it

15. Continue sautéing and stirring the onion-tomato-cashew masala till you see some fat releasing from the sides and the sauce becomes glossy.

masala has thickened and oil has begun to release

Make Paneer Curry

16. Then add the following ground spices:

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
spices added to masala

17. Stir and mix in the spice powders very well.

curry gravy stirred with spices

18. Add 1 or 2 slit green chilies.

green chiles added to masala

19. Add the water which you mixed with the leftover tomato+cashew paste from the grinder or blender jar.

blender water added to gravy pan

20. Season with salt as required.

salt added to curry

21. Add 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves.

fresh coriander added to paneer curry recipe

22. On a low to medium heat, simmer the gravy till it thickens a bit and you see oil specks on top.

simmering the cottage cheese curry gravy

23. Then add 200 grams paneer that has been cut into cubes or squares. Preferably use homemade soft paneer.

paneer added to cottage cheese curry

24. Add ½ teaspoon of crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves). Mix well and switch off the heat.

kasuri methi added

25. Add 2 tablespoons low fat cream or light cream or 1 tablespoon whipping cream.

cream added to gravy

26. Mix in the cream until well incorporated. Switch off the heat. Taste the cottage cheese curry, adding more salt if required.

You can also add ¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar at this step if it tastes too tangy from the tomatoes, being sure to mix it in very well.

cottage cheese curry  after adding all ingredients and simmering

27. Serve paneer curry garnished with chopped coriander leaves accompanied with chapati, paratha, Naan or tandoori roti or steamed rice or Jeera Rice.

white bowl of paneer curry garnished with fresh cilantro leaves on an orange tablescape

Paneer Curry FAQs

What if my curry tastes too acidic or sharp or sour?

Try adding in a small amount of sugar to balance out the acidity from the tomatoes. ¼ to ½ teaspoon should do.

Can I replace the cream with curd or yogurt?

I don’t suggest it, as both will lend a sour, tangy taste to the curry that would be out of place. Use either low fat cream or regular whipping cream with 35%+ milk fat for best results.

You can also opt to use milk powder, though this will lend a sweetness to the curry. Use discretion as you add it to ensure the curry doesn’t become too cloying; just note that the taste will not be the same as if you used cream.

Finally, you can opt to use khoya, mawa, cashew or almond paste.

Can I make this vegan?

Sure! Simply swap firm or extra firm tofu for the paneer and use cashew or almond paste or coconut cream instead of the low fat cream.

What if my curry is too thin?

If you want a thicker paneer masala curry, try adding cashew or almond paste, or a few spoonfuls of cooked and mashed potatoes. Gram flour (besan) or makki ka atta (maize flour) can be also be added. Note that the adding these ingredients will bring a change to the taste and flavor of the paneer curry.

You can also let it continue cooking with the lid off to evaporate some of the excess moisture, with no major changes to the flavor profile. But don’t cook after adding paneer as then it will become hard or chewy.

What’s the best garam masala to use?

Why, homemade of course! Try my garam masala powder recipe.

More Popular Paneer Curries!

Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

paneer masala recipe, paneer curry recipe

Paneer Curry

Paneer curry recipe is a rich and delicious curry made in an onion-tomato-cashew curry base with soft paneer cubes or Indian cottage cheese.
4.84 from 30 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Cuisine North Indian, Punjabi
Course Main Course
Diet Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 3


For onion paste

  • 105 grams onion or 1 large onion – roughly chopped

For cashew paste

  • 175 grams tomato or 2 large tomatoes – roughly chopped
  • 27 grams cashew or 12 to 15 cashews – soaked in ½ cup hot water

For ginger-garlic paste

  • 1 teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste or 4 grams ginger or 1 inch ginger – roughly chopped + 4 grams garlic or 6 to 7 small to medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped – crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle

Other ingredients

  • 200 grams Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) – cut in cubes or squares
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or add as per taste
  • ½ teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
  • salt as required
  • 1.5 cups water or add as required
  • ½ teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 2 tablespoon light cream or low fat cream or 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves – for garnish



  • First soak 12 to 15 cashews in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • When the cashews are soaking, roughly chop 2 large tomatoes, 1 large onion, 1 inch ginger and 6 to 7 small to medium garlic cloves. Crush the ginger and garlic to a paste in mortar-pestle.
  • In a blender jar or grinder jar, take the chopped onions. Without adding any water grind or blend to a smooth paste.
  • Remove the onion paste in a bowl and keep aside.
  • To the same grinder jar, add chopped tomatoes. Also add the soaked cashews.
  • Again without adding any water, grind or blend both tomatoes and cashews to a smooth paste. Keep the jar aside.

Making masala

  • Heat tablespoons oil in a thick bottomed pan or kadai.
  • Add the onion paste.
  • On a low heat begin to sauté the onion paste. Keep on stirring often while sautéing the onion paste. Sauté till the onion paste becomes light golden or golden.
  • Then add the crushed ginger-garlic paste. If using ready ginger-garlic paste, then add 1 teaspoon of it.
  • Stir and saute for a few seconds or till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
  • Now add the tomato+cashew paste. Be careful as the mixture can splutter.
  • Mix everything very well and begin to saute the masala on a low flame.
  • While the masala is getting sauteed, add 1.5 cups water in the grinder jar. Swirl the jar so that the tomato paste at the sides and at the bottom get mixed with the water. If you want you can even run the mixer once, so that everything gets mixed well. Keep aside.
  • Saute the onion-tomato masala till you see some fat releasing from the sides. The masala will also become glossy.

Making paneer curry

  • Then add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder.
  • Stir and mix the spice powders very well.
  • Add 1 or 2 slit green chilies.
  • Add the water which was mixed with the leftover tomato+cashew paste in grinder jar.
  • Season with salt as required. Also add 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves.
  • On a low to medium heat, simmer the cottage cheese curry till it thickens a bit and you see oil specks on top.
  • Then add paneer cubes.
  • Add ½ teaspoon kasuri methi, which has been crushed. Mix well and switch off the heat.
  • Then add 2 tablespoons low fat cream or light cream or 1 tablespoon of whipping cream.
  • Mix the cream very well with the rest of the cottage cheese curry. Switch off the heat.
  • Serve paneer curry garnished with some coriander leaves accompanied with chapati, paratha, naan or steamed rice or cumin rice or saffron rice.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Paneer Curry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 421 Calories from Fat 324
% Daily Value*
Fat 36g55%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Cholesterol 50mg17%
Sodium 911mg40%
Potassium 248mg7%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 660IU13%
Vitamin C 14.2mg17%
Calcium 338mg34%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Paneer Curry post from the archives (September 2016) has been updated and republished on 18 October 2021.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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  1. Hi Dassana
    I made this dish this evening as a weekend treat. I followed your recipe without deviation and it turned out great. The thing that made the huge difference to the taste was the half teaspoon of sugar at the end, it just made it! Thank you so much for all the effort and time you put into this wonderful website. It is really inspiring and because of you I have become more confident about cooking. Btw I am following your blog from Ireland 🙂5 stars

    1. thanks a lot ruby both for the feedback and the review. some sugar in tomato based gravies nicely help to balance the tang. usually whenever i make tomato based gravies i add a bit of sugar in the end.

      most welcome and i am so glad that the website is helping you to become more confident in cooking. i could make out you are from ireland seeing your email id ????. wish you all the best and warm regards.

  2. yumm! Made it today. Only change I made was no oil. I know it’s horrible to eat such dish without oil, but to take care of my heart’s heart I have to do it this way :(. As I’m new to no oil cooking(not always) I guess I fried onion and tomato little LOT longer. That affected taste but still it was yummy. Thanks!5 stars

    1. Welcome Prajakta. Good to know that you liked the dish. Take care of your health.

  3. Yesterday I tried it was delicious! ( I didn’t add ginger garlic ) but even then it was good thanks for the recipe!

  4. Love your recipes ! Am about to try this and was wondering if I can replace cream with yogurt.

  5. hi dassana, liked u site very much….also tried some of the paneer dishes… my kids loved them… there any alternative for fresh cream…

    1. thank you anitha for sharing you feedback and experience. instead of fresh cream you can use malai. for malai now, two ways you can use it. either saute to with onion-tomatoes or you can whip the malai in a small blender or with a wired whisk and then add towards the end once the dish is done. you can also use milk powder. but with milk powder, the gravy becomes sweet. 2 tablespoons of milk powder will make the gravy overtly sweet and there is no balance of flavors in the dish. so with milk powder, some discretion has to be used and it also depends on what kind of gravy base is there. another option is to use cashew paste or almond paste. they give a nice creaminess to the gravy. you can add the paste after the onions and tomatoes are sautéed. a last option is to use khoya or mawa. khoya makes the gravy rich but the taste is also good.

  6. Hi dassana…i m a big fan of yours…whenever i try ur recipes it never disappoint me..yesterday i tried the paneer masala recipee…and it became very tasty and delicious…we had it with your another recipee jeera my hubby loves paneer,he really liked it and appreciated me….thank u a lot..keep sharing such wonderful recipees with us…may God bless u…5 stars

    1. thanks a lot debashree for sharing this. glad and pleased and also thanks for your kind wishes.

  7. Hi author, your recipes are really great. I’m beginner in cooking but with God’s grace your blog is really helpful to me.God bless you..Thank you so much.
    I need a help, due to doctor’s advice my dad avoid tomatoes and potatoes. There is any tastey dishes without using this?????5 stars

    1. thanks frednesh. you can skip tomatoes and potatoes in many dishes. even with minimal ingredients, you can make good recipes. on the website i have added many recipes that are made without tomatoes. also of any recipe, if just one tomato is used, then you can easily skip it, eg veg pulao or biryani or any gravy. but in a recipe where more tomatoes are added, then skipping them is not recommended. hope this helps.

  8. Hi Dassana,
    Happy Diwali:)
    I tried the paneer masala gravy and it was delicious, I wanted to know if I could add capsicum to this recipe? If yes at what stage should I add capsicum?
    Please let me know

    Archana5 stars

    1. happy diwali archana. thanks for the feedback on paneer masala recipe. after you add the spice powders in the onion-tomato masala, then you can add the capsicum. just saute for a few minutes after you add capsicum. then add green chilies and water.

      1. Hi Dassana,
        I tried making this with capsicum today and everything was going great until I added a little extra water, and I let it boil to see if that would help, but it didn’t 🙁 is there anything that you could add to paneer/north indian dishes to fix such errors? (like how we add rice flour to fix a watery sambar)
        looking at the pictures and the description you provide for all your recipes gives me great motivation to cook:) wonderful effort:)

        1. yes… you can thicken the gravy. usually boiled mashed potatoes are added in north indian gravies eg for chana masala or rajma masala to thicken the gravy. another way is to add a nut paste, like cashew paste or almond paste. even beaten curd can be added. but when adding curd, care has to be taken, so that it does not split. in some recipes even grated or crumbled khoya (mawa) is added. even gram flour (besan) or makki ka atta (maize flour) can be added. but the taste will differ with the ingredient that is added. if you would have just allowed it cook without a lid for some more minutes, the gravy would have reduced in size.

          thanks archana for the last line. feel nice and i also feel motivated to share more. wish you and your family a happy diwali.

  9. I’ve just discovered your blog and I love it! I’ve been in a food mood today. Reading about different dishes, looking up recipes and planning out meals for the week. This blog is very well done. It’s very clear, informative and the photos are beautiful. I believe I’ll try this recipe out first and work my way through your many others. Thanks very much!

    1. thanks for your kind words and positive views lee. glad you liked the recipes, layout and pictures of our blog. surely try and do share your feedback with us. you are welcome.

  10. Dear dasani, cud u pls inform which garam masala is to b used as I nvr found a specific Punjabi garam masala in any of the branded masala co. So if was to use any ready made one which wud u suggest.5 stars

    1. neha, you won’t get any punjabi garam masala outside. i do not prefer to use ready made garam masala as i find them too pale and less aromatic when compared to the homemade ones. so i prepare garam masala at home. you can check the recipe links given below and scale down the ingredients and make a small batch.

      punjabi garam masala –
      garam masala powder –

      1. Dear Amit, first of all sry for mentioning ur name incorrectly.
        Thanks for the reply, I was just willing to confirm that you use some special masala, but it’s the same v prepare at home.
        Ur site is a great help. The simplicity of ur recipes inspires a lazy person like me to and trust me I hv tried many n the wrk wonder.
        Ll b waiting for many more easy, simple yet delicious recipes.

  11. Thank you Dasani, another hit. What I might try with this next time is shallow the paneer first (like your saag paneer) and use the gravy from your baby corn masala recipe.

    1. thank you maffinley. you can definitely fry the paneer and use the baby corn masala gravy.

  12. what a coincidence, just yesterday I wished to learn how to prepare this dish… and here comes the recipe. Your blog is amazing. Thank you, I’ll try to cook paneer masala soon!
    Greetings from Germany 🙂

    1. thats a lovely coincidence julia 🙂 thanks a lot and do let give feedback if time permits. namaste 🙂