Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer Butter Masala is one of the most popular vegetarian curries in Indian cuisine. Paneer (Indian cottage cheese cubes)  is dunked in a rich and creamy tomato gravy and served along with roti (Indian breads) or Flavored rice. It is one of the commonly found item in a restaurant menu.

I am presenting a restaurant style Paneer Butter Masala with step by step instructions. This has always been a crowd pleaser. Tomato paste is the key in this recipe. I have tried using freshly made tomato puree but for some reason the sour taste in the canned tomato paste gives this dish a unique flavor. So please try to use tomato paste to achieve the right taste. Enjoy this dish and let me know your comments.

Cooking time: 45 minutes

No. of servings: 4 to 5

Spice level: 2.5 out of 5


  • Fried paneer – 250 g (or 8 oz)
  • One big onion chopped
  • Tomato paste – one 6oz can (170 grams)
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
  • Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) – 1 tsp
  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Butter – 1 tbsp
  • One small bay leaf
  • Shahi jeera or black cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Cardamom – 1
  • cinamom stick – 1″
  • Fresh cream – 1 cup
  • Salt to taste

Method of Preparation:

Heat oil in a pan and saute onions until translucent. Remove from heat and let it cool. Grind it to a fine paste. Heat a tbsp of butter and add bay leaf, shahi jeera, cinnamon stick and cardamom. Add ground onion paste.

Add ginger garlic paste and saute for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, salt and turmeric powder. Stir everything together and let it cook for 5 minutes.

Add half of the tomato paste from the can, mix well. Add the rest of the paste  little at a time, check for the right amount of sour taste and add more. I added a little more than 3/4 th can of tomato paste.

Cook this mixture until the the raw smell of the spice and tomato disappears. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

In between, if you are using fresh paneer, fry them in a tsp of oil and add it to a cup of warm water and let it sit for 3 to 4 minutes. Then strain it. You can also use frozen fried paneer.

Add heavy cream to the onion tomato gravy and bring it to a boil. Finally add fried paneer, crushed kasoori methi and a cup of water or more if required. Let it cook for 5 to 8 minutes and turn off the stove.

:) Serve hot with Roti or Basmati rice.

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34 Responses to Paneer Butter Masala

  1. Sadhana November 6, 2009 at 2:39 am #

    Hi Nithu dear, I tried this dish for chapathi… was so delicious and my husband told that it tasted yummy than the hotel ones….Thanx for the recipe :-)

  2. mahes January 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    can u pls tell me the size of tomato can

    • Nithu January 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

      It is a 6 oz (170 gram) can. Thanks for mentioning. I have also updated the recipe.

      • lakshmi March 25, 2013 at 6:04 am #

        can you please mention how much tomato instead of can ?

      • Nithu March 26, 2013 at 11:02 am #

        Canned tomato paste is very tangy and thick. So you can use pureed tomatoes twice or thrice the amount. Allow the gravy to become thick and follow the rest of the procedure.

      • anthitha April 23, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

        Hi,I made this last night and was a instant hit. Is there a particular brand of canned tomato puree that you recommend? Cuz i always feel the ones i get here taste sweet. Thanks!

      • Nithu June 2, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

        Hi anthitha, I use hunt’s brand or the one from trader joe’s ( local market). Thanks for your comments.

  3. Laci March 26, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    I just made this for dinner tonight. It was incredible!! I made it exactly how your recipe said. We ate it with basmati rice and naan and it was restaurant quality, maybe even better. Thank you!!

    • Nithu April 17, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

      Thank u Laci and Manas.

  4. Manas April 16, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    It is awsome.

  5. Nisha April 22, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    Hey Nithu, of some butter paneer masala pictures and recipes that i was searching and seeing today, yours seems to have the best color and texture. Just thought of letting you know. I haven’t tried the recipe though, will do one of these days :)

    • Nithu June 2, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

      Thank u Nisha.

  6. Dhilip June 2, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    Hey Nithu,

    I tried this and it came very good. I have a question, how do we make it as a smoky flavor ?


    • Nithu June 2, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

      If you grill the paneer over a charcoal grill and add it to the gravy then may be u can achieve the smoky flavor.I have never done it before. Just a thought. Thanks Dhilip.

  7. Pallavi N June 18, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    I’m learning how to cook and I tried your recipe. It was simple to follow and the outcome was delicious! They say we eat with our eyes first, and I must add that that photograph looks tempting. Thank you.

    • Nithu June 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

      Thank u Pallavi.

  8. Roopa June 27, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    hi nithu.,,i tried ur recipe and it turned out well @ first ( i didnt use shahi jeera )…thank you very much for sharing it……bt i have a doubt ,,.2nd time i used shahi jeera ( i used black cumin seed,as i googled it was given that shahi jeera is same as black cumin) ….bt it turned out bitter……,can u please clarity what exactly is shahi it same as black cumin?????

    • Nithu June 29, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

      Thanks Roopa. And about the shahi jeera, I have never experienced the bitter taste. It is black cumin which looks more like jeera. It is generally confused with Nigella Sativa which has a bitter taste.
      Also if you roast the shahi jeera in oil for a long time, it may give you a bitter taste.

      • Roopa July 1, 2013 at 9:49 am #

        thanks nitu for replyng …..i also want to knw whthr ‘kalongi’ is same as nigella seeds?

      • Nithu July 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

        I think Kalonji and Nigella are the same.

  9. Roshni Krishnan July 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    I made it yesterday!!
    I was very much satisfied about the Outcome, and this is my first Shot!
    Thank you so very much, you made my Day! ^_^

    • Nithu July 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

      Thanks Roshni. So happy for u.

  10. sonu July 9, 2013 at 12:05 am #

    Hi the colour of butter paneer is red yellow. How its u have put some colour in it.

  11. sonu July 9, 2013 at 12:08 am #

    The colour of butter paneer is red yellow .How its u have put some color in it.

    • Nithu July 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      Hi Sonu, the color of the gravy came from the tomato paste.

  12. Mankesh Chhabra September 23, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    Hey Nithu, Just two words – “Killer Recipe”. Me & my wife just loved it. We have been searching for a recipe like this for a long time and now after eating this, we feel our search has handed. Excellent taste & texture.

    • Nithu September 24, 2013 at 1:04 am #

      Thanks Mankesh. I am so glad u found the right recipe and it happens to be mine.

  13. Rishi September 24, 2013 at 1:49 am #

    Best Recipe and easy to cook, Thanks Nithu for this Recipe.

    • sugandha October 6, 2013 at 10:19 am #

      I have noted your recipe and will try it tomorrow …
      I want to know that can we add paste of kaju…for good texture and taste

      • Nithu October 6, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

        Hi Sugandha, since I have added heavy cream (which gives a rich and creamy gravy) I haven’t added cashew nut paste. But you can add it.


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