Paneer butter masala is a dreamy vegetarian curry recipe. It's a straightforward recipe to make, and the sauce's flavor is similar to butter chicken sauce, without the meat, of course. You'll love it!

Complete the meal with a side of perfect basmati rice and some tandoori cauliflower. And if you love paneer recipes, also try our easy palak paneer!

Paneer Butter Masala in a brass serving dish.

Paneer butter masala

Paneer butter masala is much like butter chicken – only it's made with paneer instead of chicken. We've based the recipe on our popular easy butter chicken recipe. The sauce is rich, creamy, and has perfectly balanced flavors.

The buttery soft cubes of paneer swimming around in the flavorful curry gravy are a match made in heaven.

How to make restaurant-style paneer butter masala

You don't need to go to a restaurant to enjoy your favorite paneer curry recipe! You can make it at home in less than 30 minutes by following our easy recipe.

  1. Start by cooking the onion, garlic, and ginger until they're very well-browned. You want them to be so dark that they look almost burned.
  2. Now add the spices to the pan (you'll get them ready to go in a small bowl while the onion cooks.)
  3. Next, the tomatoes and water go into the pan and you scrape the bottom to remove any little bits stuck on from cooking the onions.
  4. Pop the cashew butter into the pan (no need to stir it) then transfer everything to a blender. Blend until the sauce is creamy and smooth then pour it back into the pan.
  5. All that's left to do is season the sauce and put the paneer into the pan to warm. So easy!

Full recipe in the recipe card below.

6 pictures showing how to make paneer butter masala.

Ingredients in this paneer butter masala recipe

  • Onion, garlic, and ginger sautéed in a little oil.
  • A can of tomatoes – fire-roasted for bonus points.
  • Cashew butter – much easier to blend than traditionally used whole cashews.
  • Ground spices – we use chili powder, cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, and cardamom.
  • Salt and brown sugar – to taste.
  • Cream – only if you want it to be extra creamy and rich.
  • Paneer – cut into bite-sized cubes.

Paneer butter masala variations

  • Add 2-3 cups of your favorite diced veggies and cook them in the sauce.
  • 1 cup frozen peas, added with the paneer.
  • Make it spicy by adding cayenne powder.
Making Paneer Butter Masala in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

Can you make butter masala without cream?

You sure can! While heavy cream (whipping cream) does add richness to the curry, it is still a delicious recipe if you leave it out.

How long does paneer butter masala last?

This curry recipe will last for 4-5 days in a covered container in your fridge. Reheat it gently over low heat and add a splash of water if you notice the curry getting too thick.

Can you freeze paneer butter masala?

Yes! This recipe freezes very well. Let it cool completely then transfer it to freezer-safe containers and store it in your freezer for up to six months.

Paneer Butter Masala in a white bowl with a side of rice.

What to serve with paneer butter masala

A side of basmati rice or cauliflower rice is almost mandatory with any curry recipe. And some warm naan is wonderful for dipping in the sauce. If you'd like to serve this paneer butter masala as part of a bigger feast, here are a few other curry recipes you could include:

A bowl of Paneer Butter Masala and basmati rice.
A bowl of Paneer Butter Masala and basmati rice.

Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer butter masala is a dreamy vegetarian curry recipe. It's a straightforward recipe to make, and the sauce's flavor is similar to butter chicken sauce, without the meat, of course. You'll love it!

If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!

4.99 stars (50 ratings)
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes are great in this recipe!
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cashew butter, can sub almond butter
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Optional: ½ cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces (350 grams) paneer, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • Cilantro, to serve

The Spices

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala, can sub curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Seeds from 4 cardamom pods, omit if you don't have this

Instructions 

  • Heat the butter in a large skillet or medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and cook until the onion is very well-browned, about 10 minutes.
    2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil, 1 large onion, 2 tablespoons chopped ginger, 4 cloves garlic
  • While the onion is cooking, add the spices to a small bowl. When the onion is well-browned, add the spices and let them cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and water to the pot and scrape the bottom to remove any stuck-on bits.
    14 ounce can diced tomatoes, ½ cup water, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon garam masala, ½ teaspoon turmeric, Seeds from 4 cardamom pods
  • Add the cashew butter then carefully transfer everything to your blender. Blend on high until smooth then pour the curry back into the pot. Season to taste with salt and, if using, the sugar. If you find the curry too thick, add another ½ cup of water.
    2 tablespoons cashew butter, 1-2 teaspoons salt, Optional: 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Add the cream, if using, and the paneer to the pot and warm it on medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes. Cover the pot to prevent splatters. Serve with a little cilantro over the top.
    Optional: ½ cup heavy cream, 12 ounces (350 grams) paneer, Cilantro
Serving: 1 serving = ¼ of the recipe, Calories: 390kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 71mg, Sodium: 827mg, Potassium: 355mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 603IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 472mg, Iron: 2mg
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Paneer Butter Masala in a brass serving dish and the recipe title on top of the picture.