paneer tikka masala

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Paneer Tikka Masala with step by step photos. Paneer tikka Masala is a popular dish of marinated grilled cottage cheese cubes in onion-tomato yogurt based gravy or curry.

paneer tikka masala recipe

This is a super delicious restaurant style Paneer Tikka Masala gravy recipe. This recipe is favorite with many and a popular Punjabi dish on the blog.

About This Paneer Tikka Masala Recipe

  1. Gravy: This is a rich and heavy paneer tikka masala gravy recipe with complex flavors and tastes. The sauce is made with onions, tomato puree, yogurt and cream. While making the sauce or gravy, one point which is essential is the balance in flavors and taste and this paneer tikka masala recipe exactly delivers that.
  2. Grilling or Pan frying: The tikka recipe is very versatile and can be grilled, broiled or even pan fried. I have shown both the grilled and pan fried method in this post. If you prefer less hand work then grill the paneer cubes in the oven.
  3. No oven, No problem: If you don’t have an oven, then heat some oil on a tawa (griddle) and pan fry the marinated paneer cubes till golden.
  4. Time Management: Paneer Tikka Masala is a lengthy dish so some prep work often helps. You can marinate the paneer the night before and keep in the refrigerator. Minimum marination is of 1 hour. If you plan to use homemade hung curd, then you have to consider the time involved for making hung curd. It takes about 4 to 5 hours or overnight for the whey to drip slowly from the curd. So make the hung curd a day or night before.
  5. Serving Suggestions: Paneer Tikka Masala goes best with plain naan or butter naan and even with tandoori rotis. However, they also can be served with roti, naan or some jeera rice (cumin rice). So do try this restaurant style paneer tikka masala recipe.

Tips for Best Paneer Tikka Masala

  • Gravy or sauce: For the gravy or curry, use ripe, red and slightly sweet tomatoes. Avoid using tomatoes which are too tangy or sour or unripe.
  • Curd (Yogurt): For  marinating the paneer cubes, use fresh hung curd or use fresh full fat thick yogurt (thick curd). Do not use curd which has become sour. You can even use Greek yogurt. Hung curd is made by allowing all the whey (water) to drain from fresh curd or yogurt. The curd is kept in a muslin or cheese cloth on top of a sieve with a bowl beneath (to collect the whey) overnight or for 4 to 5 hours in the refrigerator. A heavy object like a pan or pestle is kept on top of the muslin or cheesecloth. For this recipe you can use 1 cup of fresh curd (yogurt) to make hung curd.
  • Paneer: Paneer is firm cottage cheese made by curdling milk with lemon juice or vinegar. It is very easy to make paneer. For making any paneer based curry dish, it is always best to make the paneer at home. If using packaged paneer, then follow the instructions mentioned on the pack before marinating them.
  • Grilling or pan-frying: Do not grill or pan-fry the paneer cubes for a long time as this will result in the cubes getting dense and rubbery.
  • Consistency: The consistency of the gravy is medium to medium-thick. So add water accordingly to get the consistency you prefer.

How to make Paneer Tikka Masala

Marinating paneer cubes

1: Whisk the hung curd (yogurt) till smooth. You can also use a really thick curd like Greek Yogurt instead of hung curd.

curd for paneer tikka masala recipe

2. Add all the ginger-garlic paste, spice powders, lemon juice, salt, gram flour or corn starch and mix well.

add spices - making paneer tikka masala recipe

3. Add the paneer cubes, onions, bell pepper.

add paneer

4. Gently mix again so that the marination coats the paneer and bell pepper evenly. Marinate for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator.

marinating paneer cubes

5. Meanwhile boil water with a pinch of salt. Add halved onions and tomatoes. Cover and keep aside for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also add 2 tablespoons cashews (12 to 15 cashews) to the hot water. Adding cashews gives a creamier consistency with a nice sweetness. Later drain and chop the onions and tomatoes roughly. Its not necessary to blanch, but blanching reduces the cooking time later.

blanching onions for paneer tikka masala recipe

6. The marinated paneer and veggie after one and a half hour.

marinated paneer

Method 1 – Grilling marinated paneer cubes

7. Line a baking tray or pan with aluminum foil. This method makes it easier to clean the pan later.

making paneer tikka masala recipe

8. Thread the paneer cubes on a bamboo or metal skewers and place them on the prepared pan. Preheat your regular oven to 200 degrees celsius/390 degrees fahrenheit, for at least 10 minutes before you grill the tikkas. For a regular oven, heat both the top and bottom elements and keep the pan in the center rack. for a microwave oven use the convection mode and preheat at 180 degrees celsius/350 degrees fahrenheit.

thread the paneer cubes

9. Brush about ½ tsp to 1 tsp oil evenly on the paneer and bell pepper cubes.

paneer and bell pepper cubes

10. Grill the paneer cubes in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius/390 degrees fahrenheit for 15-25 minutes (depending on the oven temperatures). I have a really slow oven, so it took 28 mins for the paneer cubes to be grilled and browned at the edges. Just keep an eye when the paneer cubes are getting grilled in the oven. For a microwave oven in the convection mode, use 180 degrees celsius/350 degrees fahrenheit.

oven grilled paneer tikka

11. Below is the oven grilled tikka cubes. You can brown the edges a bit more if you want but do not overcook the paneer cubes.

threaded paneer tikka with the skewers

Method 2 – Pan frying or stovetop method

12. Heat about ½ tbsp oil in a pan. Place the threaded paneer and veggie cubes with the skewers on the pan.

fried paneer tikka

13. Gently rotate the skewers, when one side is crisp and browned. Keep on rotating till all the sides are browned. Add more oil if required, while frying. Keep the fried paneer cubes and veggies aside.

fried paneer tikka

Making Paneer Tikka Masala Gravy 

14. Roughly chop the blanched onions and make a fine paste. Make a smooth puree of the blanched tomatoes and cashews (if you have added them) too. Forgot to take a pic.

tomato puree for paneer tikka masala recipe

15. In the same pan, heat 2 tbsp oil and then add the onion paste.

onion paste for paneer tikka masala recipe

16. stir often and saute till the onions paste turns golden.

sauting onions for preparing paneer tikka masala recipe

17. Add ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

add ginger garlic paste - making paneer tikka masala recipe

18. Add the tomato puree. Stir well and saute till you see fat leaving sides of the masala.

add the tomato puree - making paneer tikka masala recipe

19. Now add all the dry spice powders – turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala/tandoori masala.

add spices - making paneer tikka masala recipe

20. Stir well so that the spices are incorporated in the masala paste evenly.

mix - making paneer tikka masala recipe

21. Now remove the pan from the fire. Add beaten fresh curd (yogurt). Removing the pan from fire, won’t allow the yogurt to curdle. Use full fat and fresh curd.

add curd - making paneer tikka masala recipe

21. Stir well.

stir making paneer tikka masala

22. Add water and salt. Stir again.

add water to paneer tikka masala

23. Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes or till the paneer tikka masala gravy thickens and you see fat floating on the top. You can keep the consistency from medium to slightly thick. The consistency can be altered by adding more or less water.

simmer paneer tikka masala

24. Add cream and kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves). Stir well and simmer on a low flame for a minute. Check the taste and add more salt or cream if you prefer. You can also about ½  to 1 tsp of sugar for a light sweet taste.

add cream to paneer tikka masala recipe

25. Then add the grilled paneer cubes and veggies.

paneer for paneer tikka masala recipe

26. Stir the gravy again and switch off the flame.

stir paneer tikka masala recipe

27: Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve Paneer Tikka Masala with some naan, roti or jeera rice or garam masala rice or biryani rice.

paneer tikka masala recipe, paneer tikka masala

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paneer tikka masala recipe

Paneer Tikka Masala

4.84 from 48 votes
Paneer Tikka Masala is a popular paneer dish of marinated grilled cottage cheese cubes in onion-tomato yogurt based gravy.
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs

Cuisine North Indian, Punjabi
Course: Main Course
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

For marination

  • 250 to 300 grams paneer (cottage cheese) - cut into cubes or squares
  • 1 medium bell pepper (capsicum- green, red, yellow) - diced
  • 1 medium onion - halved and the layers removed
  • 6 tablespoons hung curd or greek yogurt
  • 1 inch ginger + 3 to 4 small garlic cloves - crushed to a smooth paste in mortar-pestle. or about 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or deghi mirch or red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder or tandoori masala powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 to 3 pinches of nutmeg powder or grated nutmeg
  • a generous pinch of crushed saffron or saffron powder - optional
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch or besan (gram flour)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon oil for brushing
  • ½ teaspoon salt or as required

For paneer tikka masala gravy

  • 2 medium onions or 1 large onion or 100 grams onion - peeled and halved
  • 3 medium tomatoes or 200 grams tomatoes
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves+ ½ inch ginger - crushed in a mortar-pestle to a paste. or about 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 to 2.5 tablespoon fresh full fat curd (yogurt or dahi) - whisked well till smooth
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder (ground coriander)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder - optional
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder or kashmiri red chili powder or deghi mirch
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • ½ cup water or add as required
  • 3 to 4 tablespoon low fat cream - 25% to 35% low fat (i used amul cream)
  • 2 tablespoon oil or 2 tablespoon butter
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • a few coriander leaves for garnishing (cilantro leaves)
  • salt as required

Instructions

Marinating paneer cubes

  • Whisk the hung curd or greek yogurt till smooth in a large bowl. You can also use a really thick curd instead of hung curd.
  • Add all the ginger-garlic paste, spice powders, lemon juice, corn starch or gram flour & salt. Mix well.
  • Add the paneer cubes, onions, bell pepper.
  • Gently mix again so that the marination coats the paneer, onions and bell peppers evenly. Cover the bowl & marinate for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator.

Grilling method

  • Line a baking tray or pan with aluminum foil. This method makes its easier to clean the pan later.
  • Thread the paneer cubes on a bamboo or metal skewers and place them on the prepared pan. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 10 minutes before you grill the paneer cubes. 
  • For a regular oven, keep both the top and bottom elements on and keep the pan in the center rack. For a microwave oven use the convection mode and preheat at 180 degrees celsius/350 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Brush about ½ tsp oil evenly on the paneer and bell pepper cubes.
  • Grill the skewered paneer cubes & veggies in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 to 25 minutes (depending on the oven temperatures). I have a really slow oven, so it took 28 mins for the paneer cubes to be grilled and browned at the edges. 
  • Just keep an eye when the paneer is getting grilled in the oven. For a microwave oven in the convection mode, use 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

Pan frying method

  • Heat about ½ tbsp oil in a pan. Place the threaded paneer cubes and veggies with the skewers on the pan.
  • Gently rotate the skewers, when one side is crisp and browned. Keep on rotating till all the sides are browned. Add more oil if required, while frying. Keep the fried paneer cubes and veggies aside.

Preparation for making paneer tikka masala gravy

  • Boil water with a pinch of salt. Add halved onions and tomatoes to the boiling water. Cook for one or two minutes. Switch off. Cover and keep aside for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • You can also add cashews to the hot water. Adding cashews gives a creamier consistency with a nice sweetness. Later drain and chop the onions and tomatoes roughly. Its not necessary to blanch, but blanching reduces the cooking time later.
  • Later chop the onions roughly and make a smooth fine paste in a grinder or blender.
  • Peel and roughly chop the tomatoes. Make a smooth puree of the tomatoes in the grinder or blender. Keep both the onion & tomato puree aside.
  • Whisk or beat the yogurt till smooth and keep aside. There should be no lumps in the yogurt and it should be beaten well.

Making paneer tikka masala

  • In the same pan, heat 2 tbsp oil and then add the onion paste.
  • Stir often and saute till the onions paste turns golden.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
  • Add the tomato puree. Stir well and saute till you see fat leaving sides of the masala.
  • Now add all the dry spice powders - turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala or tandoori masala.
  • Stir well so that the spices are incorporated in the masala paste evenly.
  • Now remove the pan from the fire. Add beaten fresh curd (yogurt). Removing the pan from fire, won't allow the yogurt to curdle. Use full fat and fresh curd.
  • Stir well. Add water and salt. Stir again.
  • Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes or till the gravy thickens and you see fat floating on the top. You can keep the consistency from medium to slightly thick. The consistency can be altered by adding more or less water.
  • Add cream and kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves). Stir well and simmer on a low flame for a minute. Check the taste and add more salt or cream if you prefer. You can also about ½ to 1 tsp of sugar for a light sweet taste.
  • Then add the grilled or pan-fried paneer and veggies cubes. Stir again and switch off the flame.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves & serve Paneer Tikka Masala with some naan, roti or jeera rice.

Notes

  • Tomatoes: For the gravy or curry, use ripe, red and slightly sweet tomatoes. Avoid using tomatoes which are too tangy or sour or unripe. 
  • Curd (Yogurt): For marinating the paneer cubes, use fresh hung curd or use a thick yogurt like Greek yogurt. Do not use hung curd which has become sour. For the gravy too, use fresh curd or yogurt. 
  • You can easily make hung curd:
    • Line a clean muslin or cheesecloth on a strainer on top of the bowl.
    • Place the fresh curd or yogurt on the muslin or cheesecloth.
    • Bring together all edges of the muslin and make a knot.
    • Gently press and keep the muslin on the strainer.
    • Press a heavy weight object like a lid or bowl or tray on top of the muslin. 
    • Place the bowl, strainer, muslin with the curd, weight et all in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. The whey will collect in the bowl and creamy smooth hung curd will be left in the muslin. 
    • For this recipe you can use 1 cup of fresh curd to make hung curd. 
  • Paneer: For making any paneer based curry dish, it is always best to make the paneer at home. If using packaged paneer, then follow the instructions mentioned on the pack before marinating them. 
  • Grilling or pan-frying: Do not grill or pan-fry the paneer cubes for a long time as this will result in the cubes getting dense and rubbery. 
  • Consistency: The consistency of the gravy is medium to medium-thick. So add water accordingly to get the consistency you prefer. 

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Calories: 379kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 14gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 634mgPotassium: 438mgFiber: 4gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1206IUVitamin B1 (Thiamine): 1mgVitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 1mgVitamin B3 (Niacin): 1mgVitamin B6: 1mgVitamin B12: 1µgVitamin C: 43mgVitamin D: 1µgVitamin E: 4mgVitamin K: 12µgCalcium: 375mgVitamin B9 (Folate): 34µgIron: 1mgMagnesium: 25mgPhosphorus: 99mgZinc: 1mg

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  1. All your recipes are very authentic. Almost all dishes come out very delicious. And the way they are explained is so good that it becomes very easy to follow and make exactly same way.
    Thank you so much for sharing recipes with us!!5 stars

    1. thank you shilpi for sharing this lovely feedback and review on the recipes. felt nice to read your comment and also know that the explanation is simple for the recipe to be easily followed and made. thanks again. most welcome and happy cooking.

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