Palak Paneer- Spinach With Indian Cottage Cheese

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!
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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!
4.93 from 182 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
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

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

  1. Will the bright green color be maintained if it is stored in the refrigerator for one day and served the next day? Or will it turn a bit darker?

  2. 5 stars
    I see a lot of recipes for palak paneer call for cumin seed, have you used this spice before in this recipe? Some incorporated it with the base (onion, garlic, ginger, green chile).

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Manalo, I’ve pinned quite a few of your recipes! I LOVE Indian food. I’m Filipino, but my lovely stepmother is from India. Growing up with her I ate homemade Indian food regularly. She has tried to teach me but I’m always forgetting the recipes. I’m so glad to have you because all your recipes are awesome. I’ll make sure to go back and rate the ones I’ve already made. I made this tonight with tofu instead and it was perfect. Better than restaurant food! So fresh and not skimping on any flavor. Thank you thank you!

  4. 4 stars
    Very happy I tried this recipe! Turned out great and certainly better than our local Indian restaurant. I cheated a bit to save time by using canned spinach puree. The finished dish was a bit heavy with onion and garlic so will use less next time. Didn’t bother with the cream or lemon juice but did add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of kasuri methi and a generous grating of black pepper. Will definitely make again. Served with gosht bhuna, dal makhani & naan bread.

  5. Hello Manali- I tried this recipe (from another site). Want to try your recipe next, I love saag paneer. Had a problem with the paneer last time, it was dry and tasteless, was Gopi brand from Whole Foods. Are no Indian groceries anywhere near me. All I can think of is to make a journey to a distant store. Any other ideas you might have? Thank you so much.

    1. did you try soaking the paneer in hot water for 20 minutes before using in the recipe? Try that, it will make it soft. Paneer doesn’t really have a taste of it’s own but it’s beauty is that it takes the taste of whatever it’s added to. That’s why it’s like a blank canvas and used in so many types of sauces and Indian recipes! You can try making your own at home if you want.

  6. 5 stars
    WOW! I just tried this recipe and it is unbelievably good!(although I forgot the tomato). I’m never buying this at a restaurant again -it is so easy to make and so much more delicious. Much lighter and fresher than a restaurant version too. Instant favourite!

  7. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I had an abundance of silverbeet so used that instead of spinach and it worked well. Thanks!

  8. Hi Manali , prepared this recipe today and my husband loved it. It was a hit. I dint add cream instead substituted with store bought coconut milk . Many Thanks to you.

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