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 94 votes
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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!

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

  1. 5 stars
    Fantastic! I’m not a vegetarian or a big fan of paneer, so I use this to make palak chicken–which I’ve loved for years when I go to Indian restaurants. I am delighted that I can use this recipe and come up with something that tastes like food from an Indian restaurant—or maybe an Indian home, even better–though I have not had Indian home cooking. Thank you!!!

  2. This recipe calls for 350 grams spinach with stem or 350 grams spinach leaves? Sorry for asking such a stupid question 😐

  3. 5 stars
    it was so so soo good!
    Only thing I altered was I fried the paneer cubes. And while boiling palak I also added jeera, which was mostly removed, except for a few while grinding the spinach.
    otherwise I followed the recipe to the the T.
    Mind-blown.
    very well deserved 5 stars, as this was the first time I ever cooked palak paneer in my life 🙂

      1. Loved it!
        And I just discovered your page.
        The recepies are wonderful Manali. I am so glad this exists. I am going to go on a cooking frenzy 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! It was great and will definitely make it again. In fact next time, I plan to try making my own paneer and low carb naan to go with!

  5. 5 stars
    This was my first time making palak paneer. wowwww, this is so simple and amazingly delicious. This recipe will definitely be added to my recipe book. Thank you so much

  6. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe! I’ve used it loads of times and it turns out great every time. I’m very impressed that this enabled me to make something that actually tastes authentic. Thanks a lot!

  7. 5 stars
    I have been trying for around 3 years and comes of perfect and yummy. It’s my families favourite. I have tried other palak paneer recipes too but your is easy and tasty. Thanks

  8. 5 stars
    Made this, only thing I was missing was Fenugreek, it was really good, the spice blend was slightly different than I am used to, but that may have been the lack of fenugreek. Overall it was very enjoyable, but I might have to tinker with the spices a bit to match what I’m used to.

  9. 5 stars
    Making this for the second time in a few weeks. It turned out SOOOO well. My daughter is requesting that I make it for her so she can have something soft to eat after getting her wisdom teeth out tomorrow. I’ll be taking her a care package of a big batch of this. I’ll be checking out your other recipes for some more inspiration too.

  10. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I avoid dairy, so used coconut cream instead of cream and tofu instead of paneer. Turned out great! Thanks

  11. 5 stars
    We loved this palak paneer recipe and has become a go-to at our house. Blitzing everything in the blender makes it so much more easier.

  12. 5 stars
    Turning out too delicious! Thanks for sharing with such details 🙂
    The comment section doesn’t have the option to add a picture otherwise would have 🙂

  13. It’s amazing. While we lived in India we loved it so much. Now when I made it myself, ..such a nostalgy. Thank you, sister!🥰

  14. Hi Manali!

    The recipe turned out pretty well and I love the no bs pics that come with the recipe!

    maybe a dumb question: is it 234 cal for the whole dish or per serving? Was curious.

    1. per serving, it’s calculated automatically by a plugin wherein it divides the total calories by the number of servings I enter in the recipe card. It’s a rough estimate.

  15. Followed this recipe to a tea. Used 3/4 an inch of ginger vs 1 inch and it still turned out to taste like a bland ginger paste. I do think it would be better if it slow cooked all day because the onions are pronounced. It tasted nothing like any Palek Paneer I’ve ever had and Indian food is my favorite and I’ve eaten it in 10+ countries. Tried this recipe particular recipe because of the great reviews and just have no words for what turned out.

    1. Sorry you didn’t like it, everyone has a different taste bud but majority seem to love it so I will take it :). Also you claim to have eaten palak paneer in 10 countries and I am an Indian born and brought up in India and grew up eating homemade palak paneer and I can very much say it tasted like this :). Thanks for trying!

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