Palak Paneer- Spinach With Indian Cottage Cheese

4.94 from 207 votes

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

4.94 from 207 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
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!

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: 234kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 109mg, Potassium: 684mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 10770IU, Vitamin C: 34.8mg, Calcium: 399mg, Iron: 3.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
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Hi, I’m Manali!

Bringing you easy, delicious vegetarian & vegan recipes! Eating veggies can be fun, you just need to get creative in the kitchen with the right set of ingredients!


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Recipe Rating




401 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this so many times this recipe is committed to memory. I figured now would be a good time to say thank you. 😊

  2. 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?

  3. 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).

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I had an abundance of silverbeet so used that instead of spinach and it worked well. Thanks!

  9. 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.

  10. 5 stars
    I really enjoyed this recipe. I didn’t have the fenugreek either so I skipped that. It was very yummy. I can add this recipe to my own favorite menus.

  11. 5 stars
    Hi Manali !

    Great reiepe, I tried cooking palak paneer for the first time tonight and it is great ! Thanks for sharing this

  12. Can I leave out/substitute the kasuri methi? not a staple in our house and I try to avoid buying spices for single recipes 🙂

  13. 5 stars
    My spinach stays bright green through blanching/blender but turns dark green when I sauté at the end. Am I losing nutrients this way? Is the sauté step necessary?

    I love this recipe and make it every month!

    1. use ice cold water after blanching the spinach, that should help. You can also add a pinch of baking soda while cooking the spinach in the pan and that can help with color. Also if you skip the tomatoes, it will be more green, up to you if you want to do that!

  14. 5 stars
    It’s delicious, thanks for the recipe. I’ve never tried making it before (never even put spinach in a blender before!) I used Kashmiri chilli powder instead as I’m into that at the moment 🙂

  15. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I left out the spicy stuff for the first time but I think it would have been better with a little kick. Easy to follow recipe and turned out amazing. Thanks!

  16. 5 stars
    You’re right, everyone has it’s own way to make Palak Paneer. I don’t blanch the spinach to make this recipe.

    Thanks for such a detailed recipe, which is easy for everyone to make it.

  17. Thank you! I am definitely going to try this, but I want to use thawed, frozen spinach to avoid the extra step of blanching the spinach. I hope that’s not a sacrilege!

  18. Just wondering what cheese I could use instead of paneer. Not sure where I can buy paneer? Can you buy it in an Australian supermarket?

    1. queso fresco maybe? make sure it’s the firm kind. In US, we do find paneer at American supermarkets as well and of course all Indian grocery stores have them.

    2. Yes. You get paneer in indian supermarkets. You can check for lemnos brand paneer in Woolworths. But I like Sharma brand paneer (Indian stores in Australia should have it). It is best. You could also try with tofu (may be medium or hard)

  19. 5 stars
    It was my first attempt with this dish, together with yummy Jeera Rice, from the same page. My guests were impressed, said it tastes like in a restaurant 🥰. I followed the receipt thoroughly (make sure to soak that paneer 😉 except I didn’t use chili and lemon. And I only had fenugreek in powder form, so added it together with the Garam Masala. For cream I used coconut milk. One of the best recipes ever. Mouth-watering! I think for this recipe the ingredients are very important. Ideally, fresh from the market. Thank you Manali!!!

  20. 5 stars
    This is fantastic! I substituted tofu for the paneer and coconut milk for the cream to make it vegan, and my son and I agree: we have a new favorite recipe. Thanks, Manali!

  21. Hello! Should I still soak the paneer in hot water if I plan on pan frying it? And do you soak it whole or in pieces? Excited to try this recipe tonight!! 🙂

    1. yes you should, store bought paneer should be soaked for 20 minutes or so for better texture. Soak, then drain the water, pat dry the paneer and then pan fry

  22. This is my go to recipe for palak paneer. Mouthwatering, delicious taste with every bite.
    I paired it with homemade butter garlic naans and OMG..
    Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  23. 5 stars
    One of our favourite recipes at home, thank you for the easy to follow method and recipe Manali!

  24. 5 stars
    Very new to Indian cooking. This was so easy and so delicious. Will be making again! Spinach was a little bitter for me so opted for the sugar addition.

  25. 5 stars
    This recipe is absolutely delicious. I followed the instructions exactly and wouldn’t change a thing. The paneer I used I made myself. A gallon of milk makes over a pound of paneer and is very easy to do. Thank you Manali.

  26. 5 stars
    I’m vegan, so I made the vegan version, however my daughter can’t have onion or garlic, so I used the green part of the spring onion (she can’t have the white part) and some garlic oil. It was delicious. Thank you.

    1. I’m curious to know how your daughter can tolerate garlic oil if she can’t eat garlic? And what’s the difference between the green and white parts of spring onions, aside from the intensity of flavour of course.

  27. 5 stars
    I always use this recipe when I want Palak Paneer. Not much of a cook myself but I am able to make this delicious recipe when my wife is tried from work. Thanks for a sample yet delicious paneer recipe.

    1. I have tried this recipe many times and it tastes delicious every time. Super easy to make, with just a few ingredients, this Palak paneer can be served at home at dinner time or for a gathering as well. Thanks Manali.

      1. Hi! I’m planning on making this but I cannot find fenugreek. I may be able to get fenugreek seed. Will that work? Or can I omit or substitute for something else?
        Thanks!!

  28. 5 stars
    Hi Manali…… thank you for sharing this recipe. I tried it and came out well, everyone in my family liked it. Keep sharing your delicious recipe and God Bless you. Cheers, Susan

  29. Hello Manali,
    Wonderful recipe . Just a question. What can I substitute for heavy cream as I do not always have that in my house . Thanks

    1. substitute with yogurt or whole milk. Or at times you can also cook few cashews along with the spinach (around 5-6) and grind it along with the spinach. that will make it creamy.