This Is the Creamy Paneer Masala I Make Over and Over

Feel free to swap the paneer for tofu or sautéed vegetables. The delicious, easy-to-make sauce will work well on anything.

Photo: Vrunda Satpanthi

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Paneer butter masala is a classic Indian dish made of a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce and protein-rich paneer. The sauce is luscious, silky, mildly spiced, and easy to make. It’s so delicious – a recipe I promise you will love and keep making.

The sauce is so versatile that you can add any protein of your choice. While this recipe calls for paneer, you can use tofu or sautéed vegetables of your choice. When going the veggie route, a mix I like here is sautéed carrots, beans, peas, and corn.

One of the secrets to success here is toasting your own whole spices, so don’t dig out an expired, powdered blend from the back of the cupboard and expect the same results. Traditionally, paneer butter masala is enjoyed with tandoori naan, roti, or rice. I enjoy mine with a side of pickled onions and papadum.

More Related Recipes to Try Next:
Vegetable Samosas
Dal Makhni
South Indian Stuffed Peppers

paneer masala recipe
Photo: Vrunda Satpanthi

Paneer Butter Masala


  • 150 grams paneer, cut into one-inch cubes
  • 4 medium sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • Half of a medium sided white onion, roughly chopped
  • 10 - 12 cashews
  • 3 whole peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons Kashmiri red chili powder or paprika (adjust amount to taste)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or non-dairy butter)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon Kasuri Methi or dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons sugar or honey
  • Cilantro, to garnish
  • Cream or coconut cream, to garnish


  1. In a heavy bottom pan, heat up a tbsp of oil. Once hot, add the whole spices and sauté for 30 seconds. Then add in the onions, tomatoes, cashews, ginger, garlic, salt to taste, 1 tbsp red chili powder, and cook until the tomatoes are completely softened. Should take about 12-15 minutes.
  2. After the mixture is cooked and cooled, fish out all the whole spices and blend the mixture to a smooth puree. If you wish, at this stage you can strain the gravy.
  3. In the same heavy bottom pan, add butter and the remaining oil. Once the butter melts, add in the remaining red chili powder followed by the prepared gravy. If the gravy is too thick, add ¼ to ½ cup of warm water.
  4. Cover the pan and cook the gravy for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. (The gravy has the tendency to splatter, so get it off the heat when stirring.)
  5. In the meantime, cut the paneer into cubes and soak them in hot water for 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, add in kasuri methi, garam masala, sugar, and salt to taste. Cook for a minute. At this stage adjust the consistency to your liking.
  6. Lastly, add in the paneer, cilantro, and cream. Mix everything well and enjoy!

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