Paneer makhani is a delicious curry made by cooking paneer in buttery tomato cashew gravy. This super delicious creamy paneer makhani is loved by most Indians & is popular on the Indian restaurant menus. Paneer makhani goes so well with plain basmati rice, jeera rice, roti, paratha or naan.
This restaurant style paneer makhani is an all-time favorite at home as it super quick to make & tastes amazingly delicious. It can be made just under 25 to 30 mins from scratch.
Paneer makhani is a popular punjabi dish made with paneer, tomatoes, cashews, spices & cream. Paneer refers to Indian cheese & makhan refers to butter. So paneer makhani translates to paneer cooked with butter.
This recipe is different from the paneer butter masala I have shared before. Punjabi paneer makhani is made with very few ingredients and uses no onion making it distinct from the Butter paneer or Paneer butter masala.
This recipe is a must try if you are looking for some easy, yet delicious paneer recipe that can be made with minimum effort.
You can cook your basmati rice on one burner while you make the paneer makhani on the other. You will have your awesome meal ready under half an hour. Do include some fresh sliced onions, carrots, cucumbers & lemon in your meal to perk up the nutrition.
This paneer makhani recipe has roughly been adapted from the Veg makhani and Butter chicken recipes on this blog.
Paneer tikka masala
How to Make Paneer Makhani (Stepwise photos)
1. Chop tomatoes and add them to a blender jar along with cashews. If you do not own a powerful blender then soak the cashews in little hot water for 15 mins. Drain the water and add them to the blender. I do not soak them.
2. Blend them to a smooth puree. If your blender doesn’t make a smooth puree, then filter the puree. I do not filter as mine does a smooth puree.
Make Makhani Gravy
4. Heat 1 tbsp butter. Add slit & deseeded chilli, 2 cardamoms, 2 cloves and 1 small cinnamon stick. If you do not have the whole spices then just skip them.
5. When they begin to sizzle, add ginger garlic paste (or ginger paste). Saute until the raw smell goes away.
6. Pour the tomato puree.
7. It will begin to splash immediately, so cover the pan partially. Continue to cook until the tomato puree thickens.
8. Add red chili powder and salt.
9. Stir and cook until it begins to leave the sides. You can adjust more or less chili powder now. I added about 1 ¼ tsp red chili powder since mine was not hot, adjust as needed to suit your taste.
Add 1 ¼ tsp garam masala. If your masala is very strong, then use ¾ tsp garam masala and ½ tsp coriander powder. Mix and saute for a minute or 2.
10. Add about 1 cup water, sugar and mix. You may need to adjust the amount of water slightly.
11. Cover and cook on a medium flame until the gravy thickens. You can now see butter begins to float on the gravy slightly. There is not much butter used, so you will only see little traces of butter.
Make Paneer Makhani
12. Add paneer (Indian cottage cheese).
13. Sprinkle crushed kasuri methi. Gently stir, cover and cook on a medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
14. Add cream as desired. I add about ¼ cup of cream and cook until it begins to bubble. This quantity goes well for our taste and it balances the sour taste from tomatoes. You can add more or less to your liking.
Serving suggestions : Paneer makhani can be served with
Indian flat breads like – naan, roti or plain paratha.
Plain or Flavored rice like
- Use good quality paneer from a good brand. You can also check this homemade paneer recipe to make your own just like the way I did.
- If using store bought paneer, you can optionally soak it in hot water for 15 to 20 mins before adding to the gravy. This will keep the paneer soft.
- This paneer makhani recipe uses cashews to make the makhani gravy creamy. Feel free to replace them with soaked and blanched almonds.
- You can also make the gravy ahead and refrigerate. Do not add the paneer & cream while making the gravy. When you are ready to consume, heat until it begins to bubble. Then add paneer & stir in the cream.
- Choose ripe tomatoes and avoid the unripe or green ones as they ruin the taste of the paneer makhani.
- I do not use artificial colors for my food. I generally use Kashmiri or byadgi chilli powder for good color. .
- You can use cooking cream, whipping cream, heavy cream or even vegan cream. You can also skip the cream completely and just increase the amount of cashews.
- Avoid over cooking paneer in the makhani gravy as overcooked paneer turns hard, rubbery & chewy.
Paneer Makhani Recipe
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 16 to 18 cashewnuts or blanched almonds
- 2¼ cups tomatoes or 400 gms
- 2 cups paneer (200 grams Indian cottage cheese)
- 1 tablespoon butter (can use upto 2 tbsps)
- 2 green cardamoms (elaichi)
- 1 inch cinnamon piece (dalchini, optional, but recommended)
- 2 cloves (optional, but recommended)
- 1 green chili (slit & deseeded, optional)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste or crushed (or ¾ tsp ginger paste)
- ¾ to 1 ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
- salt as needed
- ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar (to balance the flavors)
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric (haldi) (optional)
- 1¼ teaspoon garam masala (adjust as needed)
- ½ teaspoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- ¼ cup cream (adjust to suit your taste)
- If using store bought paneer, then soak it in hot water for 15 to 20 mins.
- Drain the water and use. This will keep the paneer soft.
- Blend together tomatoes and cashews to a smooth puree.
- If you do not have a powerful blender then just soak cashews for 10 to 15 mins in hot water.
- The tomato puree has to be smooth.
- If you find your puree coarse, then pass it through a strainer.
How to Make Paneer Makhani
- Heat a pan with butter. saute cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms and green chili.
- Then saute ginger garlic paste for 2 mins until the raw smell has gone.
- Transfer the tomato puree to the pan.
- The tomato puree will begin to splash so be cautious.
- Cover partially and cook until the puree thickens.
- Add chili powder, turmeric and salt.
- Saute until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
- Next add garam masala and saute for 1 to 2 mins.
- Pour 1 cup water and sugar. Adjust the amount of water as needed to make a gravy.
- Cook until the paneer makhani gravy thickens & you see traces of butter or grease on top.
- Add the paneer & kasuri methi to the makhani gravy.
- Stir gently and cook covered for 2 mins on a low heat.
- Pour the cream and allow to bubble.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with cream and coriander leaves.
- Serve paneer makhani with roti, naan or jeera rice.
- If you are making ahead then just make the makhani gravy and refrigerate. When needed allow the gravy to bubble and then add paneer and cream.
- To use almonds, soak them in hot water for 30 mins. Peel off the skin and blend along with tomatoes.
- You can totally skip the cream in the recipe.
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)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
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.
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This was *amazing* I have no words 😭 This is a staple from day 1. Thanks for a superb recipe, with great visual cues.
Thank you so much Tina. Glad you like it.
This was easily—EASILY—the greatest ratio of effort to wow factor I’ve ever made. Absolutely delicious and not the slightest bit challenging for someone like me who didn’t grow up cooking. The only difficulty was in finding the fenugreek leaves (primarily because I’m a super-white dude in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio—fortunate enough to have an Indian market nearby, clueless enough to need help finding the fenugreek).
I did cheat by using canned tomato purée, but followed everything else mostly to the letter. Will use fresh next time. I was concerned the paneer might end up rubbery since I did not soak in hot water; it was the texture of provolone or Swiss when I opened the package. But it softened up perfectly in the final stage.
Thank you Swasthi for a much-needed win!
Thank you so much Joe! So happy to know it turned out good.
Super easy and tasted great. Thanks Swasthi!
Glad to know Jane
I like this recipe, but I think the dish comes out a bit smoother if you cook the tomatoes a little before making the puree! This is especially useful if your blender or food processor does not puree a smooth sauce, and you do not want to strain the tomatoes.
Yes you are right but that doubles the cook time because you have to boil, cool, blend & again bring it to a boil. I use Indian grinders which perform very well for this kind of blending. Thank you!
Absolutely love this dish. Tastes so authentic and super simple to make! This is my third time making it and I look forward to it every time. Thanks for this recipe!!
It was just perfect!!! Have tried your other recipes too Shwati👌
Glad to know Rekha
Wow. I rarely write reviews, however, I was compelled to rate this recipe. Some recipes you follow and they never really come out how you want them to based on your previous experience of having it. I had Paneer Makhani in a restaurant for the first time and was blown away with the delicate flavours of this dish. I followed this recipe to the precise instructions and it was on point. Absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing. The only change I made was using Greek yogurt instead of cream as I didn’t have any.
So Glad you like this. Thank you so much!
Just made this and I have to say, this is the best Paneer Makhani recipe I’ve made yet 🙂 Seriously restaurant quality <3 Thank you so much for the hard work you put into this website 🙂
Glad you like it. Thank you so much for leaving a review.
The only change I did, was to fry the paneer in oil first until they were slightly golden on the edges. Then added it to the gravy it helps to keep the paneer firm and tastes better.
Love this recipe! I end up adding a lot more of the spices but I’ve come back to this recipe again and again! Generally, this website is great for Indian recipes!!
I always used to make your paneer makhni recipe and its always gets nice…your recipes are very easy, less ingredients and tasty…
Glad you like the recipes.
I’m so stoked to find this recipe! I can’t believe I managed to make something so nice so easily.
I really appreciated the pictures too, it definitely helped me follow along.
OMG so delicious and easy to make!!
Totally Delicious!! So easy to follow the recipe instructions. This is definitely going to be a regular favourite meal in our home!!
Glad to know Kim
Swasthi, even better this time. Cooked the masala down to the consistency of the paste you showed in the pictures which i did not quite achieve last time. A much deeper flavour this time, where last time it had a little ‘green’ tinge from the tomatoes. Absolutely fantastic!! Glad I made a double batch of the gravy 🙂 More for the crew to watch the again tomorrow with your vegetable kurma.
Yes you are right. Glad to know it turned out good. Thank you so much for leaving a comment.
Swasthi, just an update. I cooked this again last night with your Ghee rice, though this time with a 400g can of Mutti Polpa (pureed tomatoes) to replace fresh tomatoes. Had to add maybe a 1/4 cup of water to loosen it up in the early stage but it worked out just fine (again:))
Thank you so much for sharing this. It will help the other readers.
Great recipe and blog! Way to go with all the detailed instructions and photos, they really help making it the right way.
We skipped the sugar and cream altogether to make it a little healthier, and it still tasted amazing.
Thanks for sharing your recipes, we are inspired now to try out more Indian cooking 🙂
Glad to know it tasted good! Thank you!
This was outstanding! We loved it.
Hello Swasthi, if I was to make this to step 11, then refrigerate and complete later, then how long might it stay fresh in the refrigerator? Also, could it be frozen for later use?
It keeps good in the refrigerator for 2 days and for 2 months in the freezer. I haven’t tried freezing it beyond that. To retain the best flavors, refrigerate or freeze it within 2 hours of cooking. Cool down immediately and freeze in glass containers. Hope you all enjoy it.
Hi. I cannot find a way to print out the recipe – is it possible to do? Thanks, Kim
Great recipe. Thanks so much. Tried it last night and the family loved it!
Glad to know!
I just happened to stumble upon your blog Swasthi and I must say that I’ve tried the Paneer Makhani recipe and Chana masala. These dishes have been highly appreciated and loved by my family. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Keep up the fantastic work!
Glad to know your family loved the food. Thank you