Palak Paneer Recipe

5 from 2 votes
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Creamy restaurant-style Palak Paneer recipe with the TASTIEST sauce. Try this easy spinach curry and find out why my Indian family loves it!

Palak Paneer in pan

Why You’ll Love This Easy Palak Paneer Recipe

I promise this Easy Palak Paneer will be a hit at your table. My half-Indian kids are obsessed. It’s super mild and packed with flavor.

Truly the only way I’ve managed to get my three little boys to eat a massive bag of spinach.

My 8-year-old is reading over my shoulder and says, “oh yeah, that’s delicious!” followed by “wait, why did you call us *little* boys?”.

(It was so much easier to talk about them before they could read.)

Palak Paneer and Butter Paneer recipes with naan.

What is Palak Paneer?

Palak Paneer is a classic Indian dish where paneer (Indian cottage cheese) cubes are simmered in a smooth, spicy spinach gravy (which is what a sauce is called in India).

This dish blends the mild, creamy texture of paneer with the earthy flavors of spinach, creating a balanced and nutritious meal.

It’s loved for its delicious combination of textures and tastes making it a staple in Indian homes.

Palak Paneer Ingredients

Here’s What You Need

For this Easy Palak Paneer recipe, you’ll need a mix of fresh ingredients and spices. Let’s break it down.

Palak Paneer Recipe Ingredients

Getting the ingredients right is key to the dish’s flavor. Here’s what each brings to the table:

  • Paneer Cubes: This firm cheese doesn’t melt, making it perfect for soaking up flavors. Here’s my recipe for homemade paneer but store-bought paneer can be found at a regular grocery store or any indian grocery stores.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds a tangy brightness to the paneer.
  • Kosher Salt: Enhances the overall taste of the dish.
  • Spinach: You can use fresh spinach leaves, boxed baby spinach, or frozen chopped spinach.
  • Vegetable Oil: Used for sautéing, it brings the spices and vegetables together.
  • Onion: Adds sweetness and depth to the sauce.
  • Ginger: Offers a warm, peppery flavor.
  • Garlic cloves: Bring a pungent, aromatic quality.
  • Turmeric Powder: Gives a beautiful color and a mild, earthy aroma.
  • Cumin Seeds: Introduce a nutty, spicy flavor. Ground cumin works too.
  • Fenugreek Powder or Curry Powder: Adds complexity and a hint of bitterness.
  • Garam Masala: A couple teaspoons garam masala adds warmth and depth.
  • Cayenne Pepper or Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder: Brings heat to the dish.
  • Diced Tomato: Offers acidity and moisture.
  • Heavy Cream: You can add a couple of tablespoons at the end, for a touch of creaminess.
A package of paneer.

Variations and Substitutions

This Palak Paneer recipe is pretty flexible. Feel free to tweak it:

  • Vegan options: Swap paneer for tofu to make it vegan. Coconut milk or cashew cream can replace heavy cream for a vegan drizzle.
  • Greens: Use kale or mustard greens for a different taste, or try my Saag Paneer recipe.
  • Like it spicy?: Add 1-2 green chilies with the garlic if you like heat.
  • Pan-fried paneer: For more flavor and a golden exterior on your paneer, quickly pan-fry it on medium heat in a bit of ghee or a combination of butter and oil.

Grab these Tools

Having the right tools makes the cooking process smoother:

  • Food Processor or Blender: Essential for pureeing the spinach.
  • Large Pot: Needed for sautéing and simmering the sauce.
  • Measuring Spoons: For precise spice and ingredient amounts.
  • Knife and Cutting Board: For chopping the paneer and vegetables.
  • Immersion Blender: An alternative to the food processor, for blending in the pot.
Paneer Cubes in plate

How to Make Easy Palak Paneer: An Easy Guide

Making Palak Paneer at home is simpler than you might think. Let’s dive into the steps.

Prepare the Paneer

First things first, let’s get the paneer ready:

  1. Marinate the Paneer: Mix paneer with lemon juice and a bit of salt. Let it sit while you work on everything else. For even more flavor, try my method for how to marinate paneer with spices.
Adding tomatoes to palak paneer sauce.

Prepare the Sauce

The sauce is where all the flavors come to life:

  1. Sauté Onions and Spices: Cook onions until golden, then add ginger, garlic, and the rest of the spices.
  2. Add Tomato: Throw in the diced tomato and cook it down a bit.
  3. Blend with Spinach: Combine this mixture with the spinach puree in a blender.
Blend Spinach

Finish the Palak Paneer Recipe

Bringing it all together for the final simmer:

  1. Combine and Simmer: Return the sauce to the pot, add the paneer, and simmer until everything is heated through.
adding paneer cubes in gravy

Trick for Bright Green Color and Less Bitterness

If you want your Palak Paneer to have a vibrant green color (vs a more yellow-y green) and a less bitter greens flavor, here’s what to do:

  • Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place spinach in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over it and stir until wilted. Best part is that this works for fresh OR frozen spinach. 
  • Drain in a colander and transfer it immediately to a bowl of ice water to shock it.
  • Drain once more and transfer it to a food processor or blender to puree with the onion and tomato mixture.
Soaking spinach in cold water

How to Serve This Easy Palak Paneer Recipe

Serve Palak Paneer hot, straight from the stove. Here’s how to enjoy it at its best:

Adding heavy cream to palak paneer

Toppings for Easy Palak Paneer

Beautify your Palak Paneer with any of these toppings:

  • Cilantro: A sprinkle adds freshness.
  • Cream: A drizzle on top for extra richness.
  • Lime or Lemon Wedges: For a tangy zing on the side.
Palak Paneer with cream topping

Side Dishes for Easy Palak Paneer

This dish goes well with a variety of sides:

Naan with Palak Paneer

FAQs About Palak Paneer

Just skimming through? Here are some quick answers to the commonly-asked questions.

Is Palak Paneer really healthy?

Yes, Palak Paneer is healthy. It’s packed with protein from paneer and vitamins from spinach. Just watch the oil and cream to keep it lighter.

What is the difference between Saag and Palak Paneer?

The difference between Saag and Palak Paneer is comes down mostly to the greens used. Saag refers to greens in general, while Palak Paneer specifically uses spinach. See this article on Saag Paneer vs. Palak Paneer for all the differences in ingredients, preparation and nutrition.

Why is my Palak Paneer bitter?

Palak Paneer can turn bitter if the spinach is overcooked. Blanching spinach briefly helps prevent bitterness.

Do you fry paneer before adding to curry?

Frying paneer before adding it to the curry is optional. It adds texture but isn’t necessary for flavor.

Should paneer be cooked before eating?

Paneer can be eaten raw or cooked. Cooking enhances its flavor and texture in dishes like Palak Paneer.

How do you soften paneer before cooking?

Soak paneer in warm water for a few minutes to soften it before cooking. This makes it more tender.

How do you make spinach taste less bitter?

Blanching spinach briefly in boiling water and then shocking it in cold water can reduce bitterness.

How do you remove bitterness from Palak gravy?

To remove bitterness from Palak gravy, add dairy like cream or yogurt.

Is saag made of palak?

Saag can be made of palak (spinach) but also includes other greens like mustard leaves, making it a broader category.

Below are few more tasty paneer recipes to try

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5 from 2 votes

Easy Palak Paneer Recipe

Creamy restaurant-style Palak Paneer recipe with the TASTIEST sauce. Try this easy authentic spinach curry and find out why everyone loves it!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 
 

For Paneer

  • 12 oz paneer cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp kosher salt divided use

For the Spinach Curry

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb spinach fresh or frozen
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds or 1 tsp ground cumin powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp curry powder or fenugreek
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or kashmiri chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ cup diced tomato
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 lb spinach fresh or frozen
  • Drizzle of heavy cream optional
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Instructions 

Prepare the paneer:

  • Place paneer in a bowl and stir in lemon juice and ½ tsp of the salt. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Prepare the sauce:

  • Heat oil in a large pot on medium. Add onion and ½ tsp of the salt. Cook it until it’s soft and golden.
  • Add ginger and garlic. You want them fragrant, which takes about a minute.
  • Now, add the cumin, garam masala, curry powder, cayenne and turmeric powder. Cook this mixtture for another minute, until fragrant.
  • Add tomato and cook for another minute. Add water and remaining 1 tsp of salt; bring to a simmer.
  • Add spinach in batches, letting one handful wilt before adding another. (If using frozen spinach, just put a lid on the pan and wait for it to thaw.)
  • Carefully transfer this mixture to the blender (or use an immersion blender). Puree until smooth.

Finish the curry

  • Transfer the sauce back to the pan and bring it to a simmer.
  • Add the paneer and stir gently to combine. Simmer until paneer is heated through. Add a drizzle of cream, if desired.

**For blanched spinach variation (see notes)

  • Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water.
  • Place the spinach in a large, heat-proof bowl. Pour boiling water over the spinach and let it stand until the wilted.
  • Pour into a colander to drain, then immediately scrape into the ice bath.
  • Once cooled, drain the spinach again, pressing out any excess moisture using a spatula, and discarding ice cubes. Add the drained spinach to the blender with the tomato-spice mixture.

Video

Notes

**Blanched Spinach Variation
If you want your Palak Paneer to have a bright green color (as pictured) and/or less bitterness, you can blanch it and shock it in ice water after wilting it.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 1283mg | Potassium: 864mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 10741IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 569mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. Yoopergirl says:

    5 stars
    Made this recipe last night it was surprising delicious. I even made my own paneer.

    1. Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD says:

      That’s amazing! I’m so happy to hear it.

  2. Jess says:

    5 stars
    Made this recipe last night and the whole family loved it! Will definitely make it again.