Palak Paneer- Spinach With Indian Cottage Cheese

Palak Paneer is one of the most popular paneer dishes.

Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) is cooked with spinach and spices in this creamy and flavorful curry.

It pairs well with naan, paratha or jeera rice.

palak paneer served in a white bowl with a serving spoon

When we were kids, the only way my brothers would eat spinach was if it was cooked with paneer in palak paneer.

It was such a great way to sneak in the greens. They wouldn’t touch spinach otherwise but if there was paneer with it, they would happily gulp down bowls of it.

Palak Paneer is such a staple in north India. It’s one of the most commonly made paneer dishes in Indian homes.

I would say it was made much more frequently in my home than say paneer butter masala or shahi paneer.

Maybe because it was considered healthier than the other creamy versions of paneer. Whatever the reason was, we would always be very happy when mom made it!

What is Palak Paneer

Palak= spinach (in hindi)

Paneer= Indian cottage cheese

So, this curry is made with spinach and Indian cottage cheese.

The spinach is blanched and then pureed. It’s then cooked with spices and simmered on low heat with paneer.

Cream is added to cut down on the bitterness of the spinach leaves and also make it rich.

If you don’t want to add cream, you can also use yogurt or milk in place.

palak paneer served in a bowl with rice

How to Make Palak Paneer

Everyone has their own way of making this dish and honestly, I also make it in a different way every time I cook it.

This particular recipe is very simple and I would call it home style palak paneer recipe.

It uses basic spices and simple ingredients.

For the curry, I first blanch the spinach and then puree it.

Once the spinach is boiled, add it to ice cold water. This helps in retaining the color of the spinach.

The curry is made of the spinach puree, tomato, onion, ginger and garlic. I use lot of garlic because in my opinion spinach and garlic go really well together.

However, if you are not a fan, you may cut down on it or skip it altogether. Also, you can skip the tomatoes if you want.  It will still come out great!

I often use my homemade paneer for this palak paneer recipe. It’s really the best.

However, if you use store bought paneer, just remember to soak it in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes and then use in the recipe.

The store-bought paneer will be really soft then.

A lot of people like pan frying their paneer before adding it to the curry.

I am not a fan since I like simple soft paneer. But if you want, you can pan fry the paneer cubes in 1 to 2 teaspoons oil until they are golden brown and then add to the curry.

Since spinach is little bitter, I also use some cream and sugar to cut the bitterness.

You can also add little sugar, it’s totally optional though.

palak paneer served with basmati rice and sliced onions in a white plate

Vegan Palak Paneer

Can you make this recipe vegan? Yes of course, follow the same steps as it is.

Use tofu (extra-firm please) in place of paneer and coconut cream or milk in place of heavy cream.

You may also add cashew cream in place. The rest of the recipe would be same.

Make Ahead Option

You can make this recipe in advance up to 2 days if you want to.

Keep it refrigerated. And when it’s time to serve, heat it up well.

You may need to add some water or milk to thin out the curry while re-heating.

Palak Paneer Serving Suggestions

I love eating palak paneer with plain paratha or roti.

But it goes well with naan or jeera rice too.

 

Method

1- To a pot of boiling water, add little salt and then spinach leaves to it. Blanch the spinach leaves for 2 to 3 minutes until wilted.

2- Take them out and put them in ice cold water. This helps the leaves in retaining their green color.

3- To a blender, add the blanched spinach along with tomato, 3 cloves of garlic, ginger and green chili.

4- Puree to a smooth paste and set aside.

step by step picture collage of making palak paneer at home

5- Heat a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the oil and then add the remaining 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Sauté for few minutes until it starts changing color.

6- Then add the chopped onions.

7- Cook the onion for 2 to 3 minutes until soft and translucent.

8- Add in the prepared spinach puree and mix. Also add around 1/2 cup water at the point.

Cover the pan and let it cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. The spinach will bubble a lot. Stir at regular intervals to avoid sticking at the bottom.

step by step picture collage of making palak paneer at home

9- Once the spinach is cooked, add the garam masala, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix and cook for 1 minute.

You may also add ½ teaspoon of sugar at this point if you like.

10- Then add the heavy cream and mix.

11- Stir in the paneer and mix. Let the curry simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.

12- Switch off the flame, add lemon juice and kasuri methi and mix.

step by step picture collage of making palak paneer at home

Serve palak paneer hot with naan or roti or rice.

palak paneer served in a bowl with rice bowl in the background

If you’ve tried this Palak Paneer Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in April 2014.

Palak Paneer

Simple and easy Palak Paneer is a popular Indian dish where Indian cottage cheese is cooked with spinach puree. Delicious and healthy! Great with naan!

palak paneer served in a white bowl with a serving spoon
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword palak paneer
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 234 kcal
Author: Manali
5 from 38 votes
Print

Ingredients

  • 350 grams spinach
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 5 large garlic cloves, divided, 3 whole and 2 finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 green chili, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil, 15 ml, I used avocado oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water, or as needed
  • 3/4-1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream, or adjust to taste
  • 225 grams paneer, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 tablespoon kasuri methi, crushed, dried fenugreek leaves
  • lemon juice, to taste

Instructions

  1. To a pot of boiling water, add little salt and then spinach leaves to it. Blanch the spinach leaves for 2 to 3 minutes until wilted.

  2. Take them out and put them in ice cold water. This helps the leaves in retaining their green color.

  3. To a blender, add the blanched spinach along with tomato, 3 cloves of garlic, ginger and green chili. Puree to a smooth paste and set aside.

  4. Heat a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the oil and then add the remaining 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Sauté for few minutes until it starts changing color.

  5. Then add the chopped onions. Cook the onion for 2 to 3 minutes until soft and translucent.

  6. Add in the prepared spinach puree and mix. Also add around 1/2 cup water at the point.

    Cover the pan and let it cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. The spinach will bubble a lot. Stir at regular intervals to avoid sticking at the bottom.

  7. Once the spinach is cooked, add the garam masala, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix and cook for 1 minute.

    You may also add ½ teaspoon of sugar at this point if you like.

  8. Then add the heavy cream and mix.

  9. Stir in the paneer and mix. Let the curry simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Switch off the flame, add lemon juice and kasuri methi and mix.

  10. Serve palak paneer hot with naan or roti or rice.

Recipe Notes

  1. If the spinach is bitter, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. That's totally optional.
  2. If you like, you can pan-fry the paneer cubes (until golden brown) before adding them to the curry.
Nutrition Facts
Palak Paneer
Amount Per Serving
Calories 234 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 47mg16%
Sodium 109mg5%
Potassium 684mg20%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 10770IU215%
Vitamin C 34.8mg42%
Calcium 399mg40%
Iron 3.2mg18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

106 thoughts on “Palak Paneer- Spinach With Indian Cottage Cheese

  1. 5 stars
    I tried this last fall – the picture doesn’t do it justice. I really don’t like the picture and that’s usually why I make a recipe, because of the visual. But thankfully I tried it and it was delicious. My sister is making it today. I saved back some of the spinach leaves after sauteeing because I wanted some texture. I used cottage cheese and never could find fenugreek leaves, unfortunately. But still was delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    amazing recipe.. I am a food lover and food blogger..
    I am addicted to exploring new food..
    This is my 2nd time visit here, and
    I want to thank u because I have tried this
    recipe on my first anniversary and the best
    thing is my wife liked it so much..
    thanks for this great recipe.. well written..!!

  3. 5 stars
    Manali, fantastic recipe, make it often, family loves it. As to the nutritional table in your recipe, can you confirm how many ounces or grams of palak paneer there are in a serving? Thanks

    1. Hi Joseph, the nutritional info is calculated automatically by a plugin. It divides the total calories by serving size, it is an estimate. I am not sure how many ounces of palak paneer are in a serving but this recipes serves 4 and if you divided it equally among 4 parts- that’s the nutritional info that’s given in that chart.

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