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What is Butter Paneer?

Mmmm… paneer butter masala. Is there a more simple, classic and comforting Indian dish?

Butter Paneer Masala, also often called Shahi Paneer or Paneer Makhani, is simply the vegetarian version of India’s cult classic Butter Chicken. Most Indian restaurants even use the same rich, creamy tomato-y sauce for both dishes (Butter Paneer and Butter Chicken). This easy butter paneer recipe is seriously one of the best and truly a favourite in our home.

Paneer is simply a fresh Indian cheese kinda sorta similar to cottage cheese, feta or halloumi.

It is chewy, milky, a little “bounce-y”, and super addictive.

Is it obvious? I adore paneer to an extent that borders on irrational.

In Butter Paneer, paneer is quickly simmered in an insanely delicious sauce made with tomatoes, cream and rich spices. It sucks up the rich, buttery sauce and makes the world a better place.

My Butter Paneer recipe includes ground almonds, which imparts richness and flavour (and even a pleasant texture, if your blender is not super high-powered).  Serve it with naan or hot basmati rice, and make more than you think you’ll need 😉

I have a Vitamix which is why my sauce is super-smooth and paler orange in colour – pureeing tomatoes in it lightens the hue more than it would with a lower-power blender, because more air is whipped in.

butter paneer masala in a bowl with chapati

Where to Find Paneer

Paneer is quite easy to make at home – it’s made simply by adding lemon juice to boiled milk, then straining and pressing.

If you want to DIY, you can hop on over to my homemade paneer recipe here – How to Make Paneer at Home: My Foolproof Step-by-Step Guide.

If you’re looking for a quicker option, not to worry – it’s pretty easily accessible in most well-stocked grocery stores, and definitely any Indian grocer.

If not making it myself, I look for a package with minimal additives (like carrageenan, guar gum, etc.).

butter paneer masala in a bowl with fresh cilantro

How to Make Butter Paneer

Making homemade butter paneer really only requires a few simple steps.

Here’s how to make easy butter paneer:

  1. Caramelize onions in a saucepan or dutch oven. This is where an important part of the flavour is developed, so take your time.
  2. Stir in garlic, ginger and some Indian spices. Warming the spices gently for a few moments develops them more deeply and makes them more fragrant.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and almonds and simmer. This step allows them to soften and the flavours to meld.
  4. Add cream and blend the mixture. Puréeing the sauce creates a creamy, dreamy smooth and rich gravy.
  5. Add sauce back to pan to simmer and add paneer. It only takes a few minutes to simmer gently and before you know it, the paneer will be full of creamy rich flavour.

If you haven’t noticed, love vegetarian Indian food.  You know this already if you’ve been hanging around here for a while (and if you have, thank you! I <3 you!).  My hubby is Indian, so exploring India and Indian food has been a long-time passion. To that end, here’s a few more of my love-filled, and flavour-packed creations I think you may like.

More Vegetarian Indian Recipes

Coconut Curried Lentils

Best-Ever Creamy Malai Kofta

Easy Samosa Potatoes

Authentic Homemade Indian Chai

Easy Butter Paneer Masala

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 4
Dinner
Indian

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds plus more for topping
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 400 grams paneer cut in cubes
  • Chopped cilantro and sliced optional, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Heat butter over medium heat in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Add onions and slowly cook until golden, about 20 minutes, reducing heat if they are getting crispy or browning quickly. This is an important flavour-building step, don't rush it!
  • Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in garam masala, paprika, cinnamon and salt; cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes and almonds; cook 2 minutes, then add cream and carefully puree using an immersion blender (or standing blender, but do it in batches or the steam will blow the top off).
  • Return sauce to saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Gently stir in paneer and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.  Top with cilantro and additional almonds, if desired.

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Becks
8 years ago

What a touching story! Kind people always warm my heart. There aren’t that many of them left. I also lol’d at 
his head bobbling in the peaceful Indian gesture that means “yes”, “no”, “maybe”, “hello”

Is that the ambiguous head nodding “outsourced” described?

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  Becks

That would be the same bobbling 🙂

DawnK
DawnK
8 years ago

Wow, that must have been so scary! I’m glad everything turned out all right in the end!

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  DawnK

Thank you, Dawn!

Dani
8 years ago

that is one adorable dog you have. I’m glad it all turned out okay. 

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  Dani

Thanks, Dani.

Kristina
8 years ago

I am holding my dachshund Basil SO TIGHT right now, as I read this story. I am so glad you are all safe! the unwavering and instant help from a stranger gives me hope.

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  Kristina

Give him a squeeze from me too! 🙂 

@lynneux
@lynneux
8 years ago

I’m so glad you’re both Ok! Reading this brought me to tears, and brought back the terrifying day I watched my @ZooeyNuggs bounce off the front tire of a car and bolt into rush hour traffic on West Georgia Street. Something spooked her, she yanked, her leash slipped my hands and off she went. She was only six months old, in complete shock and I don’t know how I didn’t get hit by a car as I chased her, screaming, through traffic. In this case, my ‘Happy’ was a trio of VPD officers who happened to be making an arrest at Thurlow and Georgia. Hearing my screams, they turned, saw Zooey coming and all three seemed to dive for her. Somehow one of them came up with her leash.

I so feel for you–I have never felt such terror, and this was before we’d been together years like we have been now. I couldn’t imagine losing her. So, so thankful that everything turned out Ok. *hugs*

bee zettl
bee zettl
8 years ago

I only came here for the cinnamon bun recipe but I read this and I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. I am so glad Oliver is fine and that there are people out there willing to help, to get their hands dirty and take risks for strangers. 

And what a handsome fella he is – it makes me laugh, though, I have a 1 year old Cocker girl and always get asked whether she’s a setter: http://www.flickr.com/photos/beezzzkneez/6987018277/ Looking at that second photo she could be Oliver’s short-legged sibling!

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  bee zettl

Forget sibling, that could be oliver himself when he was a puppy! So cute! I’ve never seen a redheaded cocker! She is adorable 🙂

Aubrey
8 years ago

I only just read this post (usually your blog is a daily read for me!) I am so glad for you that someone rescued Oliver! Our fur-babies really do mean the world to us don’t they? Hugs for you and wet-nose kisses for Oliver! Have a great Canada Day!

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  Aubrey

Thank you so much, Aubrey – for both the daily read and for the hugs!! :’-)  

Cjvegas
Cjvegas
8 years ago

just saw your post and cried the whole time I read it. I was so hoping at the end only good things were going to come of this. The brave person you are inspired Happy to help you. So good to hear that all ended so well and the deed of another helping  another is to make one believe in kindess and goodness.

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  Cjvegas

Thank you, Cjvegas 🙂

Kris
Kris
8 years ago

What a terrifying ordeal! I was in tears reading this story and thinking of my own little munchkins at home. I’m so glad your little guy is ok. A toast to Happy tonight.

aprilaakre
aprilaakre
8 years ago

wow this was really hard to read without crying. I am so glad you are both ok.

Tildatoo
Tildatoo
8 years ago

Wow, we’re still crying here. You never know who will step in to help. Thank goodness (& Happy) that you and Oliver are safe. 

Reciperenovator
Reciperenovator
8 years ago

So very glad this had a happy ending, and that an angel appeared when you needed him.

Kizz Robinson
Kizz Robinson
8 years ago

I hope all kinds of wonderful things happen for that man. I’m blubbering here at my desk and so glad you got your boy back.

Debbie Kelly
8 years ago

 Obviously he knew as you & I .a dog is mans best friend and worth everything to save,So glad your pup is ok!!!! What a story!!! Glad it had a happy ending

amberpagewrites
amberpagewrites
8 years ago

Wow. I’m fighting back tears here. That is a wonderful story. It’s nice to know good humans still exist.

Deb
Deb
8 years ago

thank God for Happy, if karma is real his is golden.  My heart was in my mouth reading your story, again, thank God for sending you Happy

Becks
8 years ago

What a touching story! Kind people always warm my heart. There aren’t that many of them left. I also lol’d at 
his head bobbling in the peaceful Indian gesture that means “yes”, “no”, “maybe”, “hello”

Is that the ambiguous head nodding “outsourced” described?

DawnK
DawnK
8 years ago

Wow, that must have been so scary! I’m glad everything turned out all right in the end!

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  DawnK

Thank you, Dawn!

Dani
8 years ago

that is one adorable dog you have. I’m glad it all turned out okay. 

DawnK
DawnK
2 years ago

Wow, that must have been so scary! I’m glad everything turned out all right in the end!

Jennifer Pallian
2 years ago
Reply to  DawnK

Thank you, Dawn!

Deb
Deb
8 years ago

thank God for Happy, if karma is real his is golden.  My heart was in my mouth reading your story, again, thank God for sending you Happy

Tildatoo
Tildatoo
8 years ago

Wow, we’re still crying here. You never know who will step in to help. Thank goodness (& Happy) that you and Oliver are safe. 

Debbie Kelly
8 years ago

 Obviously he knew as you & I .a dog is mans best friend and worth everything to save,So glad your pup is ok!!!! What a story!!! Glad it had a happy ending

Becks
8 years ago

What a touching story! Kind people always warm my heart. There aren’t that many of them left. I also lol’d at 
his head bobbling in the peaceful Indian gesture that means “yes”, “no”, “maybe”, “hello”

Is that the ambiguous head nodding “outsourced” described?

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  Becks

That would be the same bobbling 🙂

bee zettl
bee zettl
8 years ago

I only came here for the cinnamon bun recipe but I read this and I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. I am so glad Oliver is fine and that there are people out there willing to help, to get their hands dirty and take risks for strangers. 

And what a handsome fella he is – it makes me laugh, though, I have a 1 year old Cocker girl and always get asked whether she’s a setter: http://www.flickr.com/photos/beezzzkneez/6987018277/ Looking at that second photo she could be Oliver’s short-legged sibling!

Jennifer Pallian
2 years ago
Reply to  bee zettl

Forget sibling, that could be oliver himself when he was a puppy! So cute! I’ve never seen a redheaded cocker! She is adorable 🙂

Kristina
8 years ago

I am holding my dachshund Basil SO TIGHT right now, as I read this story. I am so glad you are all safe! the unwavering and instant help from a stranger gives me hope.

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  Kristina

Give him a squeeze from me too! :-) 

@lynneux
@lynneux
2 years ago

I’m so glad you’re both Ok! Reading this brought me to tears, and brought back the terrifying day I watched my @ZooeyNuggs bounce off the front tire of a car and bolt into rush hour traffic on West Georgia Street. Something spooked her, she yanked, her leash slipped my hands and off she went. She was only six months old, in complete shock and I don’t know how I didn’t get hit by a car as I chased her, screaming, through traffic. In this case, my ‘Happy’ was a trio of VPD officers who happened to be making an arrest at Thurlow and Georgia. Hearing my screams, they turned, saw Zooey coming and all three seemed to dive for her. Somehow one of them came up with her leash.

I so feel for you–I have never felt such terror, and this was before we’d been together years like we have been now. I couldn’t imagine losing her. So, so thankful that everything turned out Ok. *hugs*

Aubrey
2 years ago

I only just read this post (usually your blog is a daily read for me!) I am so glad for you that someone rescued Oliver! Our fur-babies really do mean the world to us don’t they? Hugs for you and wet-nose kisses for Oliver! Have a great Canada Day!

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  Aubrey

Thank you so much, Aubrey – for both the daily read and for the hugs!! :’-)  

aprilaakre
aprilaakre
2 years ago

wow this was really hard to read without crying. I am so glad you are both ok.

Cjvegas
Cjvegas
2 years ago

just saw your post and cried the whole time I read it. I was so hoping at the end only good things were going to come of this. The brave person you are inspired Happy to help you. So good to hear that all ended so well and the deed of another helping  another is to make one believe in kindess and goodness.

Jennifer Pallian
2 years ago
Reply to  Cjvegas

Thank you, Cjvegas 🙂

Dani
2 years ago

that is one adorable dog you have. I’m glad it all turned out okay. 

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  Dani

Thanks, Dani.

Reciperenovator
Reciperenovator
2 years ago

So very glad this had a happy ending, and that an angel appeared when you needed him.

Kris
Kris
2 years ago

What a terrifying ordeal! I was in tears reading this story and thinking of my own little munchkins at home. I’m so glad your little guy is ok. A toast to Happy tonight.

Kizz Robinson
Kizz Robinson
2 years ago

I hope all kinds of wonderful things happen for that man. I’m blubbering here at my desk and so glad you got your boy back.

amberpagewrites
amberpagewrites
2 years ago

Wow. I’m fighting back tears here. That is a wonderful story. It’s nice to know good humans still exist.

DawnK
DawnK
2 years ago

Wow, that must have been so scary! I’m glad everything turned out all right in the end!

Jennifer Pallian
2 years ago
Reply to  DawnK

Thank you, Dawn!

Dani
2 years ago

that is one adorable dog you have. I’m glad it all turned out okay. 

Becks
2 years ago

What a touching story! Kind people always warm my heart. There aren’t that many of them left. I also lol’d at 
his head bobbling in the peaceful Indian gesture that means “yes”, “no”, “maybe”, “hello”

Is that the ambiguous head nodding “outsourced” described?

Tildatoo
Tildatoo
2 years ago

Wow, we’re still crying here. You never know who will step in to help. Thank goodness (&#38 Happy) that you and Oliver are safe.&#160

Kristina
2 years ago

I am holding my dachshund Basil SO TIGHT right now, as I read this story. I am so glad you are all safe! the unwavering and instant help from a stranger gives me hope.

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  Kristina

Give him a squeeze from me too! :-)&#160

Debbie Kelly
2 years ago

&#160Obviously he knew as you &#38 I .a dog is mans best friend and worth everything to save,So glad your pup is ok!!!! What a story!!! Glad it had a happy ending

DawnK
DawnK
2 years ago

Wow, that must have been so scary! I’m glad everything turned out all right in the end!

Jennifer Pallian
2 years ago
Reply to  DawnK

Thank you, Dawn!

Deb
Deb
2 years ago

thank God for Happy, if karma is real his is golden. &#160My heart was in my mouth reading your story, again, thank God for sending you Happy

Becks
2 years ago

What a touching story! Kind people always warm my heart. There aren’t that many of them left. I also lol’d at&#160
his head bobbling in the peaceful Indian gesture that means “yes”, “no”, “maybe”, “hello”

Is that the ambiguous head nodding “outsourced” described?

Jennifer Pallian
2 years ago
Reply to  Becks

That would be the same bobbling 🙂

@lynneux
@lynneux
2 years ago

I’m so glad you’re both Ok! Reading this brought me to tears, and brought back the terrifying day I watched my @ZooeyNuggs bounce off the front tire of a car and bolt into rush hour traffic on West Georgia Street. Something spooked her, she yanked, her leash slipped my hands and off she went. She was only six months old, in complete shock and I don’t know how I didn’t get hit by a car as I chased her, screaming, through traffic. In this case, my ‘Happy’ was a trio of VPD officers who happened to be making an arrest at Thurlow and Georgia. Hearing my screams, they turned, saw Zooey coming and all three seemed to dive for her. Somehow one of them came up with her leash.

I so feel for you–I have never felt such terror, and this was before we’d been together years like we have been now. I couldn’t imagine losing her. So, so thankful that everything turned out Ok. *hugs*

Aubrey
2 years ago

I only just read this post (usually your blog is a daily read for me!) I am so glad for you that someone rescued Oliver!&#160Our fur-babies really do mean the world to us don’t they? Hugs for you and wet-nose kisses for Oliver!&#160Have a great Canada Day!

Jennifer Pallian
8 years ago
Reply to  Aubrey

Thank you so much, Aubrey – for both the daily read and for the hugs!! :’-) &#160

Dani
2 years ago

that is one adorable dog you have. I’m glad it all turned out okay.&#160

Jennifer Pallian
2 years ago
Reply to  Dani

Thanks, Dani.

bee zettl
bee zettl
8 years ago

I only came here for the cinnamon bun recipe but I read this and I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. I am so glad Oliver is fine and that there are people out there willing to help, to get their hands dirty and take risks for strangers.&#160

And what a handsome fella he is – it makes me laugh, though, I have a 1 year old Cocker girl and always get asked whether she’s a setter:&#160http://www.flickr.com/photos/beezzzkneez/6987018277/ Looking at that second photo she could be Oliver’s short-legged sibling!

Jennifer Pallian
2 years ago
Reply to  bee zettl

Forget sibling, that could be oliver himself when he was a puppy! So cute! I’ve never seen a redheaded cocker! She is adorable 🙂

Cjvegas
Cjvegas
2 years ago

just saw your post and cried the whole time I read it. I was so hoping at the end only good things were going to come of this. The brave person you are inspired Happy to help you. So good to hear that all ended so well and the deed of another helping&#160 another is to make one believe in kindess and goodness.

Jennifer Pallian
2 years ago
Reply to  Cjvegas

Thank you, Cjvegas 🙂

aprilaakre
aprilaakre
2 years ago

wow this was really hard to read without crying. I am so glad you are both ok.

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