paneer tikka masala recipe
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4.81 from 42 votes

Paneer Tikka Masala

Paneer tikka masala is a popular paneer dish of marinated grilled cottage cheese cubes in onion-tomato yogurt based gravy.
Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: main course
Cuisine: north indian, punjabi
Diet: vegetarian
Servings: 4
Author: Dassana Amit


for paneer tikka

  • 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 tablespoon thick curd (yogurt) or hung yogurt (hung curd)
  • ½ inch ginger + 2 small garlic cloves - crushed to a smooth paste in mortar-pestle. or about ½ 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


marinating paneer tikka

  • Whisk the hung curd/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 to make paneer tikka

  • 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 tikkas. 
  • 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 1/2 tsp oil evenly on the paneer and bell pepper cubes.
  • Grill the paneer tikka in an preheated oven at 200 degrees c/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 is getting grilled in the oven. For a microwave oven in the convection mode, use 180 degrees celsius/350 degrees fahrenheit for grilling the paneer tikka.

pan frying method to make paneer tikka

  • Heat about 1/2 tbsp oil in a pan. Place the threaded paneer tikka 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 tikka aside.

Preparation for making paneer tikka masala

  • 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/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 1/2 to 1 tsp of sugar for a light sweet taste.
  • Then add the paneer tikka along with the veggies. Stir again and switch off the flame.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves & serve paneer tikka masala with some naan, rotis or jeera rice.