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

palak paneer served in a white bowl with a serving spoon
Manali
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!
4.99 from 65 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 234 kcal

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
 

  • 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.

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

Calories: 234kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 11gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 109mgPotassium: 684mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 10770IUVitamin C: 34.8mgCalcium: 399mgIron: 3.2mg
Keyword palak paneer
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

168 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.

      1. 5 stars
        I gotta say I LIKED the pic and that’s why I chose the recipe. I wanted a smooth sauce and got it. The flavor was perfect – it’s important to note that the methi absolutely completes the flavor, so I was glad I had it in my cabinet.

  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..!!

      1. 5 stars
        I just made it for Dinner this evening,it came out perfect,it’s really easy,I also like the other options which gives me more ideas thanks.

  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.

      1. 4 stars
        I tried it this evening – it turned out well. I was wondering – could we not add the turmeric at all? Because as soon as I added it, the green colour was no longer so green!

  4. 5 stars
    My husband says that this recipe tastes just like his mom used to make in India! Nice, clear instructions with great tips. I used yogurt instead of cream because that’s what I had on hand, and I doubled the recipe. The final product was delicious!

    PS I have your instant pot cookbook and it’s so good that I always check out your website first when looking for new recipes to try!

  5. 5 stars
    love this in restaurants, but have always been intimidated by the thought of making it myself. you lay it out very well, easy to follow, far easier to make than i would have thought! i made this for the second time tonight (needed to use the leftover paneer from the first time), and both times were splendid! i really like how you say it can be different every time, and present options to vary it. last time, i completely forgot the lemon juice. and the addition changes the dish in a subtle, pleasant way, but both ways are great!

  6. 5 stars
    Hi

    I love all your recipes. They always are so good to follow and taste great.
    Can I just ask with this recipe can I use frozen spinach?
    Thanks so much
    Louisa

      1. Do you have any sense of how much frozen spinach to use?? raw spinach cooks down so much… How much quantity do you end up with after it is cooked?

    1. Tried this recipe this afternoon. I am trying palak paneer for the first time in my life and it turned out to be awesome one.
      Very simple with minimum ingredients..
      Thanks !

  7. 5 stars
    Hi
    I read your recipe and added the same ingredients in same order. But I do not have mixer grind to make the puree. So I pressure cooked the spinach. Then boiled with water little bit and added pepper and clove, garlic and ginger for a while. Then added it to the pan as you said. Only difference is my dish color turned to little bit brownish. It tasted good. I really like to thank you for sharing the recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    The main point was how to get rid of spinach’s bitterness and u nailed it. Thank you the palak paneer was awesome.

  9. 5 stars
    I find your recipes very dependable and brilliant. Thanks.

    Please add that spinach stems may be discarded, only the leaves have to be used

  10. This is a great and easy dish – thank you! I made this and it’s a keeper 🙂
    My only question is what are your per serving sizes for nutritional facts? Does the size differ for each recipe?

    1. Yes it differs for each recipe. The nutritional info is calculated automatically by a plugin, it’s just an estimate. If I say the recipe serves 4, it divided the total calories by 4 and so on.

  11. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it’s fantastic. I’ve been craving Indian and wanted to try something new. Definitely keeping this recipe as my go-to palak paneer!

  12. 5 stars
    So easy and it turned out to be sooo delicious. My family loved it. Best palak paneer I have ever made so far.

  13. Looks amazing, I am going to try it this eve.
    My palak paneer ends up too sour- any tips?
    I do some mistakes with onion and tomato
    proportions, lets see how this one turns out to be 😀

  14. Hi,Folks
    I’m Japanese and love to cooking!
    I made this recipe for 3 times this week and so light meal, high protein and delicious (*^^*)

  15. 5 stars
    Thanks again, Manali! I really need to get some dried fenugreek leaves… but even without them and using a frozen spinach brick this was a quick, easy, and delicious Friday dinner!

  16. 5 stars
    It was my first time cooking with Paneer and my first recipe from your blog (I googled paneer recipe as I had some in my fridge and some spinach in the fridge that was about to go off, that is how ended up here!). It didn’t take me more than 30 minutes so a perfect lockdown-lunch while doing home office. Easy instructions, I swapped some ingredients with things that I had on hand. My sauce didn’t came out as smooth but that’s because I used my food processor and not blender as my blender is useless when I blend things without any liquid but once I added my soy cream (only thing I had in my cupboard) it still turned out nice and creamy. There is one minor thing though, my boyfriend and I finished the whole pan (and could have even eaten more lol but we did go easy with the rice) so I personally don’t think this serves four. I am excited to try out more recipes!

  17. I keep cooking this recipe. Great, simple taste. Thank you. I fry some jeera (cumin) seeds with the onions, for a Punjabi touch.

  18. Can I make this in advance and freeze it or will it lose its vibrancy on defrosting? I made this before and it was so good that now I’m making it for a dinner party!

    1. I would make the base (without adding dairy) and freeze it. When ready to serve, heat it up on stove top, add the cream and the paneer. Simmer 5 minutes and serve.

  19. 5 stars
    Thanks for this amazing recipe. I made this recipe for my sister on her birthday.
    And the good thing is she liked it.. This is my third time after my college I cooked.
    Thanks a lot for this delicious and simple recipe. You have written this recipe in
    a very brief way which helped me to make it perfectly. Thanks! and keep it up…

  20. 5 stars
    It was simply fantastic….

    I couldn’t find paneer at my local grocery store so I used panela instead and it really turned out well.

  21. 5 stars
    I agree, great recipe! I made one mistake and used sweeter yellow onions, do not do that. There is nothing about this delicious dish that requires anything on the sweet side including the onions. Keep it savory! Thank you for the terrific recipe!

  22. I just tried this recipe Manali, it was so delicious that I finished half of it in one go and under 5 min lol. Thank you very much. Will definitely try you other recipes as well.

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