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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Serve palak paneer hot with naan or roti or rice.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- Take them out and put them in ice cold water. This helps the leaves in retaining their green color.
- 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.
- 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.
- Then add the chopped onions. Cook the onion for 2 to 3 minutes until soft and translucent.
- 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.
- 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.
- Then add the heavy cream and mix.
- 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.
- Serve palak paneer hot with naan or roti or rice.
- If the spinach is bitter, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. That's totally optional.
- If you like, you can pan-fry the paneer cubes (until golden brown) before adding them to the curry.
383 thoughts on “Palak Paneer- Spinach With Indian Cottage Cheese”
ANYONE tried using canned spinach ??
I have. It works, but it’s not as good. Good enough for a quick meal though.
Amazing, I would like to use this recipe but with soya chicken. Would everything be the same other than paneer?
Yes should be fine!
This is the best palak paneer recipe I’ve found! It even worked with me using frozen chopped spinach instead of fresh. I just defrosted the spinach and then added to the blender and continued with the rest of the recipe. Probably not quite as good as fresh, but if anyone else is wondering, the flavor is still amazing! Thanks for a great recipe!
Damn this was absolutely fantastic. My girlfriend and i are in love with recipe. She said; top 3 all-time!