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.
Preparation for paneer makhani
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.
How to make paneer makhani
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.
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.
Tips to make paneer makhani
- 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 the same or use smoked paprika.
- 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
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 16 to 18 cashewnuts or blanched almonds
- 2¼ cups tomatoes or 400 gms
Other ingredients to make paneer makhani
- 2 cups paneer or 200 grams Indian cottage cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter (can use upto 2 tbsps)
- 2 green cardamoms or elaichi
- 1 inch cinnamon or dalchini (optional, but recommended)
- 2 cloves (optional, but recommended)
- 1 green chili (slit & deseeded)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste or crushed (or ¾ tsp ginger paste)
- ¾ to 1 ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust as needed)
- salt as needed
- ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (or haldi) (optional)
- 1¼ teaspoon garam masala (adjust as needed)
- ½ teaspoon kasuri methi (or fenugreek leaves)
- ¼ cup cream (adjust to suit your taste)
How to make the recipe
Preparation for paneer makhani
- 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.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
- 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.