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 14 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*
Total Fat 17g 26%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 109mg 5%
Potassium 684mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 1g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 215.4%
Vitamin C 42.2%
Calcium 39.9%
Iron 18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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

  1. Manali, can I use frozen spinach for this recipe? If each pack of frozen spinach is 1 pound, should I use one pack for this recipe?

  2. I want to make this recipe for 12 people. Do I x4 of everything or adjust the spices differently?
    Thank you! Looks yummy!

    1. Yes it should be fine! But I won’t recommend doinf 4x spices and liquid. It can be too much, so start with less (maybe triple the spices & liquid) and go from there!


  3. Followed your recipe to the T and the palak paneer came out excellent! Made this evening for dinner and we loved it. Thanks Manali!


  4. Hey manali i m going to make with ur recipe today for the first time. Reading all comments im sure it ll turn
    out good but i just want to know what happens if we add pureed onions instead of chopped? Just curious. Also never ate with kasoori methi so its going to be a new thing. Looking forward to it. Thank you 😊

    1. You can use pureed onions, just make sure to saute it well until all the raw smell of the onion goes away, this may take 4 to 5 minutes! hope you like it!


  5. I tried this! It just came out exactly like Restaurant taste! Just love all your recepies! Thanks for posting this awesome and healthy recipie .


  6. I tried your recipe 3 times in the last 3 days and it came out great. I have been eating indian food for the past 20 years and have made palak paneer. However making it your style by adding the herbs after the spinach is cooked gave it a restaurant taste!!!! When I sautee the onions, garlic and add spices in (like most avid indian cooks recommend) it rarely comes out the same as the restaurant. With your method, it comes out exactly like the restaurant. Delicious. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. I’m wondering how far ahead I can make this for a dinner party? Would I make it to a certain point and then finish it later? Thank you for the recipe; it looks delicious!


  8. Great recipe, thank you so much! Nutritious and delicious, much healthier and cheaper than restaurants (especially of you make the lanner at home). Just wanted to add that if you use frozen spinach you probably don’t need to blanche because I read that frozen spinach is already blanched before it’s frozen. Also I didn’t have kasuri methi but I added celery seed and it tasted fine.


  9. I tried this recipe using Beetroot leaves instead of spinach and it turned out beautiful. we couldn’t stop eating it! I also used cashew cream instead of dairy cream. Fantastic… Yum

  10. I live in southern CA. Besides Thai green chili, would our common Jalapeno (warm to hot) or Serrano (3-9 times hotter) chiles be a good substitute or…? Use with or w/o seeds?
    Looking forward to trying this!! Thanks!


  11. Thank you very much! Turned out great! First-timer!! Good checklist and method description (long and short). Thanks for the effort!


  12. Awesome. THANKS HEAPS – while I do like cooking and I find it relaxing and therapeutic, the guidance and the recipes certainly help. As you were the RAAHBAAR as they say in Urdu/Hindi…thanks heaps for everything and taking pains to make lives better.

  13. its just wow and delicious Indian style palak paneer. me and my in laws just loved it and soon will try again. thank u

  14. This was so good, I couldn’t stop eating it. Absolutely incredible recipe! I added cumin to it, and it turned out perfectly. I need to hit the gym tomorrow thanks to this amazing recipe, but I plan to cook it again in the very near future! 🙂

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