Paneer butter masala is a very popular vegetarian Indian curry served in restaurants. It is usually served with Indian bread like naan and roti. It is quick and easy to make restaurant-style paneer butter masala at home in a pressure cooker like an instant pot.
It is gluten-free and can easily be made vegan by substituting a few ingredients. It can be made ahead of time for meal planning and can be stored in the fridge or freezer for a longer duration.
Making paneer butter masala requires few ingredients and is very easy to make at home. The main ingredient is paneer or Indian cottage cheese. You can make paneer at home in the instant pot or use the store-bought one. Paneer cubes can be cut into the desired size, an inch wide and a centimeter thick is a good size.
The paneer butter masala gravy is made of onion, tomato, raw cashews, ginger garlic, and some spices like red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and garam masala. Since we blend all the ingredients to make a smooth puree, you can just chop the onions and tomatoes into large chunks.
Instant Pot instructions
The first step after chopping all the ingredients is to start the instant pot on saute mode. Once the liner is hot, add oil followed by ginger and garlic. You can also use ginger garlic paste as well. Add the onions and saute for a few seconds until they are translucent. Then add the tomatoes, cashews, and all the spices.
Add a little water and deglaze the bottom of the pot with a spatula. Pressure cook on high-pressure mode for 5 minutes followed by a quick release.
Saute all onion tomato and spices.
Pressure cook after adding water.
Now using an immersion hand blender or a blender like Vitamix, blend the ingredients into a smooth puree. If you are using Vitamix or another blender, allow the mixture to cool down a little and then blend it.
Add the heavy cream, crushed fenugreek leaves, and a little bit of sugar and mix well. Finally, add the paneer cubes into the gravy and gently mix it. Adjust the salt if needed. If you prefer, you can shallow fry the paneer in some oil in a pan but it is not required.
Blend into a smooth puree.
Add paneer cubes.
To make paneer butter masala on the stovetop, blend all the gravy ingredients including onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, and soaked cashews into a smooth puree.
Next, heat a saucepan on medium heat and add some oil. Once the oil is hot, add the puree and the dry spices. Cook it until it starts releasing oil and this can take up to 5 minutes. Continue stirring intermittently and scraping to the bottom of the pan to avoid it from sticking.
Add the water, salt, and sugar and mix well. Add the cubed paneer pieces into the gravy and stir well and then turn off the flame.
Paneer butter masala is best served with Indian bread like naan, roti, poori, or paratha. It is served on an Indian platter called thali along with other Indian curries, dals, rice, appetizer, a dessert, and a drink like Indian buttermilk.
Paneer butter masala is a gluten-free Indian curry. It can be modified to suit your dietary needs
- Tofu - if you do not have paneer or if you are looking for a vegan substitute, you can use extra firm tofu.
- Coconut milk - heavy cream gives this gravy a rich and creamy texture, however, to make it vegan, you can use coconut milk instead.
- Spiciness - this curry is mild in spiciness, if you like it spicier, you can add some serrano pepper along with onion and tomato.
The gravy is very smooth and you will need an immersion hand blender or another blender like Vitamix to blend it into a fine consistency.
A stainless steel spatula comes in handy to mix all the ingredients and also to deglaze the bottom of the pot.
Paneer butter masala is a great dish to make in advance and plan your meals ahead of time. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days in an air-tight container.
You can also freeze paneer butter masala for up to 2 months. If you are preparing in bulk, you can portion it and store it in freezer-safe containers or ziplock bags. When you are ready to serve, you can keep it in the fridge overnight or defrost it in the microwave.
Paneer butter masala can be reheated in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the instant pot using the saute mode.
- Since we are blending all the ingredients to make the curry, you can chop them into chunks.
- Paneer can be added as is without frying. If you prefer, you can shallow fry the cubes in a pan.
- If the curry is a little liquidy, allow it to simmer for a few minutes until it reaches the desired consistency.
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Paneer Butter Masala (Instant Pot and Stovetop)
- 14 oz Paneer (cut into chunks, - 400 gm approx.)
- 2 large Tomatoes (cubed)
- 1 medium Onion (cubed)
- 15 count Cashews (Raw and soaked in water for 10 minutes)
- ½ cup Water (more if needed)
- ½ tablespoon Ginger (minced)
- 2 cloves Garlic (large)
- 1 tablespoon Oil
Instant Pot paneer butter masala
- Turn the instant pot on "saute" mode on normal setting
- Once the instant pot is hot, add oil.1 tablespoon Oil
- Add ginger and garlic and continue to saute for a few seconds.½ tablespoon Ginger, 2 cloves Garlic
- Add onions and saute until translucent.1 medium Onion
- Add tomatoes, cashews, and spices - turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and cumin powder and saute it.2 large Tomatoes, 15 count Cashews, ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon Coriander powder, ½ teaspoon Red chili powder, ½ teaspoon Garam masala powder, ½ teaspoon Cumin powder
- Add ½ cup water and deglaze the bottom of the pot with a spatula.½ cup Water
- Cancel saute mode, close the lid and turn the pressure cook mode or manual mode on high setting for 5 minutes with 'release valve' in sealing position.
- Once done, perform a quick release by moving the valve in venting position until the silver pin drops.
- Blend using an immersion hand blender into a smooth paste.
- Add sugar, salt, kasuri methi, and heavy cream and mix it well.1 teaspoon Sugar, ½ teaspoon Kasuri methi, ¼ cup Heavy cream, 1 teaspoon Salt
- Optionally allow the curry to simmer for 5 minutes on saute mode until desired consistency.
- Add paneer and mix well. Turn the saute mode off.14 oz Paneer
- Garnish with some heavy cream while serving.
Paneer butter masala on the stovetop
- In a high-speed blender or Vitamix jar, blend tomato, onion, ginger, garlic, and soaked cashews into a smooth puree.2 large Tomatoes, 1 medium Onion, 15 count Cashews, ½ tablespoon Ginger, 2 cloves Garlic
- Heat a saucepan on medium flame.
- Once the saucepan is hot, add oil.1 tablespoon Oil
- Add the blended puree and mix well.
- Add all the ingredients from the "spices" list and stir well.½ teaspoon Turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon Cumin powder, ½ teaspoon Red chili powder, ½ teaspoon Garam masala powder, 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
- Let it cook for about 5-7 minutes until the liquid evaporates and the mixture starts losing oil and is well cooked.
- Add sugar, salt, kasuri methi, and heavy cream, and mix it well.1 teaspoon Salt, 1 teaspoon Sugar, ½ teaspoon Kasuri methi, ¼ cup Heavy cream
- Allow the curry to simmer for 5 minutes on saute mode until desired consistency.
- Add paneer and mix well. Turn the flame off.
- Garnish with some heavy cream while serving.