Paneer Butter Masala (Paneer Makhani)

Creamy Restaurant style Paneer Butter Masala is easy to make at home.

This creamy curry is made with onion, tomatoes, cashews, cream and butter (of course!).

It has a mild sweet taste and pairs beautifully with garlic naan or jeera rice.

bowl of paneer butter masala served with a piece of naan and garnished with cilantro and cream

You can never have enough of paneer. Can you?

There are just so many ways to cook with it. You cook it with green peas you get matar paneer, you cook with spinach you get palak paneer.

And you cook it with butter and cream, you get Paneer Butter Masala.

Each of them is delicious but my favorite is this paneer butter masala. You can say I have a thing for creamy sauces and that’s why this version has my heart.

Sometimes, it is also known as Paneer Makhani. It’s one or the same thing.

Of course, few ingredients might be different here and there but both do have a creamy sauce and so I like to club them together under the same recipe.

This Paneer Butter Masala

✓ tastes exactly like the one at your favorite restaurant

✓ has a creamy tomato-based sauce

✓ has a rich curry made with butter, cashews and cream

✓ pairs well with naan or rice

To make this paneer butter masala recipe, we start with boiling the tomatoes, onion, cashews, ginger and garlic.

This forms the base sauce. Once the ingredients are boiled, they are pureed and then rest of the ingredients (including paneer) are added to the dish.

A lot of people use only tomatoes for making paneer butter masala or paneer makhani. You can do the same if you like.

I like adding some white/sweet onions to my curry for the extra flavor but it will taste just as good with the tomatoes too.

Remember to not use red onions here. A lot of times they have a very strong flavor and that will affect the final taste of the dish.

So, stick to the white or sweet onions for this dish.

a plate of naan served with paneer butter masala and sliced onions along with a spoon

Tips to Make the Best Paneer Butter Masala

Okay, I have heard this so many times – that my paneer butter masala doesn’t taste like the one at restaurants.

Here’s what you need to do to make it absolutely perfect!

Use nuts in the gravy: yes, it makes the sauce thick and creamy and so you need to use nuts in the recipe.

Cashews and almonds both work, you can even use a combination of both.

However, do not use a lot of nuts because then the final curry will be super thick and I wouldn’t recommend that.

I suggest using 10-15 cashews for 250 grams of paneer.

Be generous with cream and butter: I am not asking you to use 1 cup of both but don’t use ½ teaspoon either!

This is an indulgent dish and so you need to little generous with fat if you are looking for that restaurant style taste.

Use minimal spices: this recipe doesn’t need a lot of spices. A bit of garam masala and cardamom powder is plenty.

I also add little chili powder and Kashmiri red chili powder (mainly for the color).

The flavors of this dish come from fresh tomatoes, cashews, ginger, garlic, butter and cream!

Homemade paneer makes its even better: I know it’s not always possible but if you can, use homemade paneer.

It really makes so much difference. Here for this recipe, I have used store bought paneer but I often make it with homemade paneer and you can tell that it’s way better.

Add sugar to balance the flavors and for that subtle sweet taste: paneer butter masala should have a little sweet taste to it and you get that from adding cream and sugar.

I don’t use a lot of sugar, only 1 teaspoon but that helps in balancing the flavors.

TIP: If using store bought paneer, soak it in hot water for 20 minutes before using in the recipe.

It makes a lot of difference. Also remember to not over cook your paneer else it will become rubbery and chewy.

Hope you guys enjoy this recipe of paneer butter masala or paneer makhani, whatever you may call it.

Method

1- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves and saute for few seconds.

Then add the the onion, garlic, ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion is translucent.

2- Add the tomatoes and cashews and mix.

3- Then add 1 cup of water.

4- Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

step by step picture collage of making paneer butter masala at home

5- After 15 minutes, remove the pan from heat. Remove the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves.

6- Let the mixture cool down a bit and then transfer to a blender. It’s important to let it cool down a bit else it will all blow up from the mixer.

7- Grind the masala to a smooth paste and set aside.

8- To the same pan now add 2 tablespoons butter along with remaining 1 teaspoon oil on medium heat.

step by step picture collage of making paneer butter masala at home

9- Once the butter melts, add the red chili powder and the Kashmiri red chili powder and fry for few seconds. This will give the curry a nice red color.

10- Then add the ground paste back into the pan along with the garam masala (start with 1/2 teaspoon and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon at the end only if you feel like the curry needs that extra bit of garam masala), cardamom powder, sugar, salt and tomato paste (if using).

Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.

11- Then add the cream and mix.

12- Add in the paneer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Finally add crushed kasuri methi.

step by step picture collage of making paneer butter masala at home

Garnish paneer butter masala with cilantro and serve hot with naan or rice!

bowl of paneer butter masala garnished with cilantro

If you’ve tried this Paneer Butter Masala Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in 2013.

Paneer Butter Masala

Creamy Restaurant Style Paneer Butter Masala! This rich and creamy dish has pieces of paneer tossed in a tomato and cashew based curry. Goes so well with naan or rice!

bowl of paneer butter masala served with a piece of naan and garnished with cilantro and cream
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword paneer butter masala, paneer makhani
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 365 kcal
Author: Manali
4.75 from 4 votes
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Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons oil, 10 ml, divided, I used avocado oil, use any flavorless oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 6-7 large garlic cloves, 25 grams, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 inch ginger, 15 grams, roughly chopped
  • 1 large white onion, 180 grams, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 large tomatoes, 460 grams, roughly chopped
  • 10-15 whole cashews, raw
  • 1 cup water, 8 oz
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, + 1/4 teaspoon, if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste, optional
  • 3-4 tablespoons cream, 45-60 ml
  • 250 grams paneer, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons crushed kasuri methi, dried fenugreek leaves
  • chopped cilantro, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves and saute for few seconds.

  2. Then add the the onion, garlic, ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion is translucent.

  3. Add the tomatoes and cashews and mix. Then add 1 cup of water. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

  4. After 15 minutes, remove the pan from heat. Remove the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves.

  5. Let the mixture cool down a bit and then transfer to a blender. It’s important to let it cool down a bit else it will all blow up from the mixer. Grind the masala to a smooth paste and set aside.

  6. To the same pan now add 2 tablespoons butter along with remaining 1 teaspoon oil on medium heat. 

  7. Once the butter melts, add the red chili powder and the Kashmiri red chili powder and fry for few seconds. This will give the curry a nice orange-red color.

  8. Then add the ground paste back into the pan along with the garam masala (start with 1/2 teaspoon and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon at the end only if you feel like the curry needs that extra bit of garam masala), cardamom powder, sugar, salt and tomato paste (if using). Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  9. Then add the cream and mix.

  10. Add in the paneer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Finally add crushed kasuri methi. 

  11. Garnish paneer butter masala with cilantro and serve hot with naan or rice!

Recipe Notes

  1. If you want to make this vegan, use vegan butter in place of regular butter, coconut milk or cream in place of heavy cream and tofu in place of paneer. 
  2. You can add water or milk to thin down the curry and adjust as per the consistency you prefer. 
Nutrition Facts
Paneer Butter Masala
Amount Per Serving
Calories 365 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 45%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Cholesterol 71mg 24%
Sodium 494mg 21%
Potassium 452mg 13%
Total Carbohydrates 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 6g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 33.1%
Vitamin C 28.3%
Calcium 33.8%
Iron 4.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

21 thoughts on “Paneer Butter Masala (Paneer Makhani)


  1. hii…. Manali.. i tried it just now.. It came out very well.. I can say this is the best PBM recipe as compared to other recipes. Thank you very much.. N i love ur blog. i visit ur blog nw and then to see what u bought..:) but this is the first time im commenting.. keep going.. good luck.. 🙂

  2. Hi Manali
    I really liked your recipe . PBM is one of my favourite I was just googling and landed on your website. I also have cooking blog where I have also written PBM
    But your recipe description and presentation is appreciable. All the best.


  3. I loved it. The colour and taste came out very well just like restaurant paneer butter masala. I really like your recipes, they are detailed and almost like my mom’s 🙂

  4. This recipe looks wonderful and I will be making it soon.
    Have seen pictures of your cookbook and am wondering if the recipes could be readily adapted to stove top cooking.
    I really hope so!

    1. Hi Mary, the book is specifically written for the pressure cooker. But you can most definitely adopt most of the recipes to stove-top, would just need to adjust the amount of water here and there and use your own adjustment. Why don’t you try some of the recipes from my book which are available online and see if you can make them on stove top and then decide whether to buy the book or not 🙂 Hope that helps!

  5. Hi Manali ! In your recipe you have mentioned the use tomato paste – is it the same as tomato purée ?

    1. No, Archana tomato paste is different than tomato puree. It’s very concentrated compared to puree and that’s why you only need a little to bring in the flavor. Skip if you can’t find it.

  6. Hi Manali,
    Recipe looks interesting one question though which cream do you use in your cooking? Can you share a link where I can buy it?

    1. Hi Manasa, I have used heavy cream here. You can find it at any grocery store in the milk aisle. I usually use the organic valley heavy cream. You can even use half & half which is 50% milk and 50% cream!


  7. I made this earlier this week and it was AMAZING! I used the instant pot recipe from the cookbook. Didn’t change a thing. This is one of my favorite recipes hands down, LOVE IT! Thank you so much for sharing and keep these recipes coming!

  8. Wonderful recipe — thank you!

    I wanted to ask — can this be frozen? Would I do it before or after adding the butter, cream and paneer?

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