Paneer Butter Masala in a brass serving dish.

Paneer Butter Masala

  • Author: Kristen Stevens
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Curry
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian


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!

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  • 2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted tomatoes are great in this recipe!)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cashew butter (can sub almond butter)
  • 12 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)


  1. 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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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