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orange paneer curry garnished with cream, unsalted butter and coriander in cast iron skillet

Paneer Butter Masala (Paneer Makhani)

This Paneer Butter Masala (Paneer Makhani) is easy to make at home and better than any restaurant version I’ve tasted! It’s super flavorful with rich and creamy, buttery, spicy notes, and is also naturally gluten-free. Pair it with roti paratha, naan, or rice and a salad for a delicious Indian meal! Feel free to swap the paneer (cottage cheese) for chicken to make Chicken Butter Masala if you like.

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Ingredients

For the Paneer:

For the Paneer Butter Masala:

For Garnish:

To Serve: Roti parathas, plain roti, naan, warm steamed rice, etc.

Instructions

For the Paneer:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the paneer cubes, unsalted butter, and olive oil in a large bowl. Mix with a spoon until fully combined, then add the paneer cubes. Carefully mix to fully coat the paneer in the marinade. (Note: paneer tends to crumble if manhandled so be extra cautious!). Cover with cling wrap or a plate, and allow for the paneer to marinate for 1 hour, or overnight in the refrigerator for best results.
  2. When ready to cook, heat the unsalted butter and Olive Oil in a large nonstick skillet or fry pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the marinated paneer and the remaining marinade in the bowl to the pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes, while carefully turning the paneer with a spatula, until the marinade is no longer “wet”. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside.

For the Paneer Butter Masala:

  1. Make the ‘spice bowl’: Combine all the spices in a bowl – the kosher salt, ground cayenne, coriander powder, ground cumin, turmeric powder, garam masala, and freshly cracked black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat the unsalted butter and olive oil in a deep skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the red onion and sauté until softened – about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and continue sautéing until fragrant – about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the red and green chilies and sauté for another minute.
  5. Stir in the contents of the ‘spice bowl’ and sauté to combine everything in the pan.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and pour in the 1 cup of water. Stir, and then turn down the heat to low and cover the pan. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat, and carefully transfer the contents in the pan to a blender jug. Cover and blend until a smooth texture has been achieved. (Note: Be careful as hot liquids expand when blended. You may need to uncover the blender jug and push down the contents with a spoon 1-2 times.) Transfer the sauce back to the pan, then turn on the heat and set to medium-high again.
  8. Mix in the Tandoori color powder (or food coloring if using), lemon juice, and cooking cream. Stir until fully integrated and the color of the sauce is even.
  9. Then add the paneer from the other pan to the sauce and gently stir to combine.
  10. Add the methi leaves (or kasuri methi leaves if using) and stir for 1-2 minutes. Then turn off the heat and transfer to a serving serving dish.
  11. For Garnish/To Serve: Pour the remaining cream in a circular motion over the Paneer Butter Masala, sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander, and add a small dollop of unsalted butter to the center of the dish (if desired). Enjoy with hot flaky roti parathas, crispy plain rotis, soft fluffy naans, and/or warm steamed rice!

Notes

  1. Methi (Fenugreek) Leaves: I normally buy fresh methi, wash, dry, pick and chop the leaves. I then store it in a small Ziploc bag in the freezer so that I can pull it out and use how much I like whenever a recipe calls for it. Frozen methi leaves stay good for about 3 months if stored properly. You can purchase fresh methi leaves at your local Indian grocery store. If you don’t have access to fresh methi leaves, you can use Kasuri/Kasoori Methi Leaves (dried Fenugreek leaves) instead, which can be found at large supermarkets, large retail stores such as Walmart, or online.
  2. To make this gluten-free: No adaptation is required! All of the ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten-free.
  3. Not a fan of paneer and need meat? Don’t worry, I’ve got you my fellow carnivores! 😉 The paneer can be easily swapped for chicken breasts – use 400g (or 2 large breasts) and follow the exact same method to make Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani)!

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Nutrition

The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.