paneer lababdar

Paneer Lababdar Recipe

Updated: May 12, 2024, By Swasthi, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Make this comforting and luxurious Paneer Lababdar at home with pantry staples and Indian cottage cheese. It is absolutely delicious and surely going to impress your entire family. Lababdar is one of the many hugely loved dishes from the North Indian restaurants. Creamy, flavorsome, rich and luxurious is what it defines! Make it on the stovetop or in the instant pot with my easy recipe instructions.

Paneer lababdar served in a white bowl

What is Paneer Lababdar?

Paneer is the Indian name for non-melting Indian cheese and ‘Lababdar’ means ‘a strong desire for something’ and surrender to it. Probably here it means a desire to indulge in the dish. So Paneer Lababdar is a dish that you will desire to indulge in! A little research helped me figure out this. There are numerous popular Paneer recipes made in the households and restaurants. To name, Paneer butter masala, paneer makhani, malai kofta are some of them.

Paneer lababdar is less popular in the households and is mostly served in North Indian Restaurants. If you love trying out new dishes, bookmark this for your next meal! It’s creamy, spicy, delicious and super flavorful. Above all it is easy to make and does not require much time like the paneer butter masala. This can also be made in the Instant pot.

This would be a great addition to your weekend menu, parties, celebrations and festive meals. Serve it with plain Basmati rice, tandoori roti, butter naan, paratha or with any flavored rice like Jeera rice, Ghee rice or Turmeric rice. You can also make this ahead and reheat either on the stovetop, microwave or in the instant pot.

Lababdar Vs Butter Masala

Texture of the dish: While paneer lababdar has a slightly chunky gravy due to the addition of chopped onions, paneer butter masala has a super smooth and silky sauce since the onions are pureed.

Paneer: In lababdar we add paneer in 2 forms – cubed and grated. Grated paneer gives a unique texture to the dish. In butter masala, we add only the paneer cubes.

Red chilies: The use of Kashmiri dried red chilies add a smoky and pungent flavor to the dish without making it very hot. They also impart a nice orange to red color to the gravy.

Whole spices: The use of whole spices like cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon bring in more depth of flavors into the gravy than the regular garam masala. The spice level & flavor is slightly higher in this dish than the paneer butter masala.

More Paneer Recipes
Paneer Pasanda
Dhaba Style Paneer Curry
Paneer Butter Masala
Malai Kofta
Matar Paneer
Paneer Tikka Masala

How to make Paneer Lababdar (stepwise photos)


1. Pour ½ cup water to a pan or pot. Then add the following ingredients:
2 cups chopped tomatoes (about 350 grams)
4 dried kashmiri red chilies (or any low heat chilies)
14 cashew nuts
2 inch cinnamon stick
4 cloves
4 green cardamoms

boiling tomatoes spices and cashews to make paneer lababdar

2. Boil until tomatoes turn soft. To quicken process you can also cover and cook. Tomatoes are boiled to add volume to the gravy & spices are boiled to bring out the aroma.

simmering tomatoes in a pan

3. Cool this completely. Add them to a blender jar along with the water that is left in the pot.

transfer cooled tomatoes spices to blender

4. Make a smooth puree and set this aside.

smooth tomato puree to make paneer lababdar

Make Lababdar Gravy

5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Then add 1 bay leaf. When the leaf begins to sizzle, add ½ cup fine chopped onions.

sautéing onions in oil

6. Fry until golden. Add 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste.

add ginger garlic paste to sautéed onions

7. Saute till the raw smell goes off. This may take 1 or 2 mins. Ginger garlic tends to get burnt quickly, so be cautious.

frying ginger garlic paste to make paneer lababdar gravy

8. Pour the tomato puree to the pan. Add
½ teaspoon red chili powder
1¼ teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon garam masala (I use this garam masala)
½ teaspoon salt.

add spice powders to the tomato masala

9. Mix everything well and saute for 2 to 3 mins. Cook covered until the gravy thickens slightly.

simmering masala to make paneer lababdar

10. Soon the masala will thicken and begins to leave the sides, then pour ¾ to 1 cup water to make the gravy.

pour water to make gravy

11. Add ¾ teaspoon sugar. Mix well and cook covered until the gravy turns thick. You can also see traces of oil over the gravy. Taste test the gravy and add more salt if needed.

add sugar and more salt if needed

12. Add ¾ to 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (crushed)
1 green chilli (slit)
200 grams cubed paneer
3 to 4 tablespoons grated paneer (you can also add it later)

add kasuri methi paneer chilies

13. Mix well. Cook for 1 to 2 mins on a very low flame. Add grated paneer and pour 2 to 3 tablespoons cream. Mix and turn off the stove.

add cream to paneer lababdar gravy

14. Garnish with coriander leaves & more grated paneer. Serve paneer lababdar with rice, butter naan, roti, phulka.

paneer lababdar recipe

Instant Pot Paneer Lababdar

  • To a grinder jar, add chopped tomatoes, cashews, cinnamon, cloves, red chilies and cardamoms. Blend to a smooth puree without adding water. Press saute button on the Instant pot and Pour oil to the steel insert. Add bay leaf, onions & green chilli. Saute until onions turn golden. Then saute ginger garlic for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Transfer the pureed ingredients. If your blender is not powerful enough to make a smooth puree, then pass it through a sieve. Be careful at this stage as it splatters. Add salt, sugar & all the spice powders – red chilli powder, garam masala and coriander powder.
  • Saute this stirring often until most of the moisture evaporates and the masala begins to smell good. If the masala begins to stick to the bottom, press cancel button to turn off the heat for a while.
  • Pour 1 ¼ cup water and deglaze the pot well by scrubbing the bottom with a spatula. Secure the Instant pot with the lid and position the steam release valve to sealing. Pressure cook on high for 3 mins. Let pressure release naturally.
  • Once the pressure drops, open the lid and give a good mix. If the curry is runny to your liking then press saute button and cook for 1 to 2 mins to evaporate the excess moisture. Taste test and add more salt at this stage if needed.
  • When the lababdar gravy turns thick, press cancel and add paneer, kasuri methi and cream. Mix well and remove the steel insert from the Instant pot. Sprinkle grated paneer and give a gentle stir. Cover and let rest for 5 mins for the paneer to absorb the flavors. Garnish with cream and coriander leaves. Serve paneer lababdar with naan or basmati rice.


What is lababdar made of?

Basic lababdar curry is made of onions, tomatoes, cashews, whole spices like cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon and cream. To this either chicken or paneer is added.

What is paneer lababdar made of?

Paneer lababdar gravy is made of a spicy cashew tomato paste that is cooked with sautéed onions. It has a perfect balance of sweet, tang and spicy tastes with great flavors of spices & herbs like kasuri methi. Lastly paneer is added to this along with cream.

How to make vegan lababdar?

Simply substitute paneer with tofu, quorn, mixed vegetables or chickpeas. Substitute cream with cashew cream.

What is the difference between paneer lababdar and paneer makhani?

Paneer lababdar always has onions included in it & the gravy has a chunky texture since chopped onions are sautéed and not blended. Whereas the authentic paneer makhani has no onions included in it and the makhani gravy is super silky and smooth.
Paneer lababdar has more robust flavors due to more spices being added to it whereas paneer makhani uses minimum amount of spices. Lababdar uses ghee, butter or oil but makhani gravy is made with only butter.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

paneer lababdar recipe

Paneer Lababdar Recipe (Instant Pot and Stovetop)

5 from 103 votes
Rich, creamy and delicious restaurant style paneer lababdar made with Indian cottage cheese (paneer), onions, tomatoes, cashews and basic spices. It is best served with naan, roti, jeera rice or plain basmati rice.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings4 people

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

To Boil & Puree

  • 2 cups (350 grams) tomatoes (chopped, 3 large)
  • ½ cup water
  • 15 cashews (or skinned almonds)
  • 2 inch cinnamon piece (use only 1 inch if using cassia)
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 4 dried red chilies (less spicy variety like kashmiri or byadgi)

For the Gravy

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup onions (very finely chopped,1 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (kashmiri)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¾ to 1 cup water (or as needed for the gravy)
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 green chilli slit
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon kasuri methi (crushed, dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 200 grams paneer (cubed, Indian cottage cheese)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon cream (heavy cream/whipping cream or any)
  • 2 tablespoon coriander leaves
  • 3 to 4 tablespoon grated paneer



  • Add tomatoes, dried red chilies, cashews, cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamoms to a pot or pan.
  • Pour water and cook covered until tomatoes turn soft and pulpy.
  • Cool this and add to a blender. Blend well till you get a smooth puree. The puree has to be smooth. If needed you may add little water and blend.

How to make Paneer Lababdar

  • Heat oil in a pan. Then add add bay leaf and saute for a min.
  • Add finely chopped onions and saute until they turn completely and uniformly golden.
  • Next add ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes away. This takes about 1 to 2 mins.
  • Pour the tomato and spice puree to the pan.
  • Add red chili powder, salt, coriander powder and garam masala.
  • Mix and saute for about 2 to 3 mins. Cook covered for another 2 to 3 mins until the gravy thickens slightly.
  • Pour water and add sugar. Mix well. Cook covered on a medium heat until the gravy thickens and you see traces of oil over the gravy.
  • Taste test and add more salt if needed. Take kasuri methi to your palm, crush it and add it here. Also add grated paneer, cubed paneer and green chili.
  • Mix everything well and lower the flame completely. Cook just for 1 to 2 mins. Turn off the stove.
  • Pour cream and mix. Add coriander leaves and mix.
  • Keep the pan covered for 5 mins so paneer absorbs the flavors. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves. You can also garnish with more grated paneer & cream.
  • Serve paneer lababdar hot with roti, garlic naan or rice.


  • You can replace paneer with tofu.
  • To make a no garlic & no onion recipe, just skip them.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.


NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Paneer Lababdar Recipe (Instant Pot and Stovetop)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 367 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 51mg17%
Sodium 524mg23%
Potassium 559mg16%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 1657IU33%
Vitamin C 90mg109%
Calcium 341mg34%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Paneer Lababdar Recipe

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
I tried all your paneer recipe…and it turned out so yummy in my first attempt…..Thankyou for sharing

5 stars
I prepared it(paneer lababdar) yesterday for tiffin
It turned out fantastic super tasty hotel style…I use ur recipes maximum times ..thanks for sharing ?

5 stars
I have made several of your recipes and it is obvious that you have paid attention to the proportions and made these yourself. Thank you for sharing and making these available to us!

5 stars
Fantastic recipe. This is one of many Indian dishes you won’t find at Indian restaurants here in America, and even if you could find it this recipe is probably better than what you would get for $20. Thanks!

5 stars
This paneer lababdar is another best recipe from your blog. It is easy to make than most of other paneer dishes and tastes awesome. Thank you for the great recipes.

Serves 4 means how many Lbs/gms in weight?

Instead of chopped onions can we put grated onion?

To save time I pureed the onion in a food processor and it turned out fantastic.

5 stars
Delicious like restaurant style paneer lababdar

This is my Lababdar recipe – it is excellent (I do add a little more cream, but otherwise follow faithfully). I often check your recipes and incorporate details even if I already have an established recipe. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

5 stars
Awesome recipe. It was

5 stars
This turned out yummy, I also used this gravy recipe to make egg and vegetable kofta. My husband asks for it every week. Thank you your recipes are a keeper

5 stars
Awesome recipe, came out very well. Thank you?

5 stars
Good recipe. Came out good

5 stars
Its simple and yet so tasteful. Thanks for the receipe!

5 stars
Loved it

5 stars
Hi Swathi.

Thanks! Absolutely delicious and rediculously easy to make. Because it was in the fridge, I used creme fraiche instead of the cream and (again bcause it was in the fridge) also added a large handful of spinach a few minutes before the paneer – this worked really well.

I’ll definitely be making this again (anf again) in the near future.

Thanks again, Steve (UK)

Hello! Swasthi,
I tried your Paneer Lababdaar recipe today and it turned out to be really really good. Everyone liked it a lot.
Thanks for the great recipe.

5 stars
awesome recipe…Thank’s for sharing ?

5 stars
I made it first tym and really it were so yummy .Everyone liked it in my family .Thnx for this receipe

I made lababdar paneer for lunch as per your receipe. Everyone liked it. Thank you
for your receipe!

5 stars
I love your web-site Swasthis. I cooked this curry and some Jeera rice and both came out wonderfully, so flavoursome. This dish was a little spicy for my daughter but I think this related to the chillis I used (store bought fresh). I also was unsure whether these and the cinnamon stick etc were to be blended for the gravy (but I then checked with the video). My blender wasn’t great so this was lumpy so I sieved them out (so if they had been in it would have been even spicier!). I also saw your comments on how to prepare store bought paneer on another one of your recipes and I did this with the paneer coming out great (I have only used store bought once before and it was disgusting). I love that you have the general instructions, the video and the photos, it was good for me to check when I wasn’t sure about the blended bit. Thanks again for your effort, I will be using your recipes lots. Jenean