Paneer butter masala step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
About this recipe
Rich, creamy, and delicious paneer makhani is a North Indian curry made with Indian cottage cheese, tomatoes, spices, and butter. Also popular as butter paneer, this curry is made without onion and is ready in under 30 minutes. It is a perfect vegetarian dinner and can be paired with plain naan, garlic naan, roti, jeera rice, or even plain basmati rice.
Paneer butter masala is the vegetarian version of butter chicken and is one of the most popular vegetarian dishes ordered at an Indian restaurant. Making it at home is easier than you think and it tastes better than your favorite takeaway curry. As the name suggests, this curry is cooked in butter which, along with cream, imparts a richness to it.
I am making this easy butter paneer in an Instant Pot, which saves time and needs minimal monitoring. There are two main steps in this simple recipe - first, make the creamy tomato-based sauce, and next, simmer paneer in it. It is mildly spiced and has a mild sweetness. This Instant Pot paneer butter masala is probably one of the easiest Indian curries you will cook.
This dish is great for parties, and gatherings and is a definite crowd-pleaser. It is a good source of vegetarian protein. Read on to see the ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and useful tips to make a restaurant style paneer butter masala or butter panner at home. Also, check out my collection of more Instant Pot paneer recipes.
Paneer: You can use store-bought paneer or fresh homemade paneer.
Butter: As the name suggests, this curry is cooked in butter.
Tomato puree: Or passata, forms the base of the curry sauce.
Ginger garlic paste: It adds flavor to the curry.
Cream: It adds richness to the curry. You may replace it with half and half.
Spices: The spices used are ground turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala.
Sugar: We add a small amount of sugar to the curry to balance the tang from the tomatoes.
Kasoori methi: (Dried fenugreek leaves) This is a key ingredient to make this curry restaurant quality.
How to make butter paneer in Instant Pot
Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and heat one tablespoon of butter and add the ginger garlic paste. Saute for one minute (step 1).
Add tomato puree, spice powders (ground turmeric and red chili powder), sugar, and salt. Mix well (steps 2,3).
Add one cup of water and deglaze the pot (step 4).
Secure the IP lid and set the vent to a sealing position. Pressure cook (on high pressure) for 3 minutes (step 5).
Do a quick pressure release. Set the Instant Pot in saute mode (step 6).
Add the remaining ingredients - paneer cubes, heavy cream, garam masala powder, kasuri methi, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Simmer for 6-7 minutes (steps 7,8).
Add the fresh cilantro and mix well (step 9). Serve the Instant Pot butter paneer with Indian bread.
To make butter paneer masala on a stovetop:
- Take a thick bottom pan and heat one tablespoon of unsalted butter.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for one minute.
- Next, add tomato puree, ground turmeric, chili powder, sugar, and salt.
- Add two cups of water and mix well. Bring it to a boil on high heat. Alternatively, you can add hot water to save time.
- Cover and simmer on low heat for 12-15 minutes.
- Make sure the tomato puree is fully cooked and the fat begins to release from the sides.
- Add the remaining ingredients - paneer pieces, cream, garam masala, kasoori methi, and 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Simmer for 6-7 minutes on medium heat.
- Top with coriander leaves.
I like to saute ginger garlic paste in butter first before adding the tomato puree. This helps remove the raw smell of garlic and also adds flavor to the curry. However, you may choose to skip this step and simply pressure cook the curry sauce.
Kasoori methi is an important ingredient to make this curry restaurant quality. I highly recommend not skipping it.
You can easily make fresh paneer at home using this recipe.
I like to use store-bought tomato puree (or passata) as it adds a nice color to the curry. If you use homemade tomato puree, add one tablespoon of tomato paste to it. Kashmiri chili powder can also be used to get a bright red hue to the curry.
Cream adds richness to the curry and I highly recommend not skipping it. However, you may substitute it with half and half, coconut cream, or cashew cream.
It is important to simmer the paneer after pressure cooking the curry sauce.
I am using one cup of water which gives me a slightly thick curry sauce. For a thinner sauce use an extra half cup of water when pressure cooking.
You can use canned tomatoes or chopped fresh tomatoes to make this dish. In that case, blend the curry sauce into a smooth paste using an immersion blender or hand blender after pressure cooking.
I don't use any whole spices in this dish. However, you can use cumin seeds, bay leaf, and green cardamoms for this recipe. Add them before ginger garlic paste and saute for a few seconds. All these spices are easily available in any Indian grocery store.
If you make this dish on the stovetop, use two cups of water instead of one. See the detailed instructions in the above section.
Tikka means grilled. To make tikka masala, we need to grill the paneer first. Also, the curry base for tikka masala is made using onion tomato masala and is spicier than butter masala.
No. The key ingredients of the dish are milk-based - paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and butter. It also uses cream for richness. If you want to make it vegan, replace butter with vegan butter or cooking oil, paneer with extra firm tofu, and fresh cream with coconut cream or coconut milk; although the vegan version of the curry will be quite different from the original.
Butter paneer can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container. This curry also freezes well and can be stored in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
This Instant Pot paneer butter masala is:
- restaurant style and better than takeaway curries,
- very easy to make and ready in 30 minutes,
- a crowd-pleaser, and great for parties and gatherings.
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Paneer Butter Masala / Paneer Makhani
- 2 cups paneer (16 oz)
- 2 cups tomato puree passata
- 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup cream
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoon kasoori methi
- 2 tablespoon cilantro
- Set Instant Pot in saute mode and add one tablespoon of butter.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for one minute.
- Add tomato puree, ground turmeric, chili powder, sugar, and salt.
- Add 1 cup of water. Mix well and deglaze the pot.
- Secure the IP lid and set it to pressure cook mode for 3 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure.
- Set the Instant Pot in saute mode.
- Add the remaining ingredients - paneer, cream, garam masala, kasoori methi, and 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Add the cilantro and mix well.
- Serve hot with naan, jeera rice, or bread of your choice.