Paneer Butter Masala in Instant Pot | Paneer Makhani

March 30, 2018 (Updated: November 9, 2019) By Aneesha |

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An easy Instant Pot pressure cooker recipe for Paneer Butter Masala, or Paneer Makhani, a popular Indian vegetarian delicacy.  Made with Indian cottage cheese (paneer), simmered in tomato puree, Indian spices, and finished with a touch of heavy cream.

A bowl of paneer butter masala, also known as, paneer Makhani, made in the Instant Pot pressure cooker.

Paneer Butter Masala or Paneer Makhani, literally means paneer cooked in a buttery rich sauce.  Paneer is a firm Indian cottage cheese.  It’s a vegetarian variation of the popular north-Indian dish called Butter Chicken.

I use fresh or store bought paneer (Indian cottage cheese), and simmer it in tomato puree, seasoned with toasted and ground garam masala.  A touch of heavy cream brings this dish to life.   The original paneer masala dish was created in the 1950s by the chef of a super popular restaurant in New Delhi, called ‘Moti Mahal Delux’.

Paneer Butter Masala/Paneer Makhani is vegetarian variation of Butter Chicken. Start with paneer, Indian cottage cheese, and simmer it in tomato puree, season with toasted and ground garam masala and finished with a touch of heavy cream #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie

Traditional Butter Masala Recipe versus Quick & Easy One-Pot Recipe

The traditional Paneer Butter Masala recipe involves one extra step.  You have to marinate the paneer in yogurt and garam masala, grill it, and then simmer it in a tomato-cream sauce.

But in this curry recipe, I skipped that step (see video recipe below) and made it a dump and start one-pot recipe using my Instant Pot pressure cooker, with the same incredible taste. The key is cutting paneer into small, bite-size cubes so that they absorb the flavors of the sauce, and, a little extra garam masala to compensate for the flavors lost in skipping the marination.  This is one of the tastiest, and most requested Indian vegetarian recipes by my kids.

Click here to see my other simple dump and start one-pot recipes.

Is Paneer Makhani the same as Paneer Tikka Masala?

Instant pot paneer butter masala or paneer makhani is vegetarian variation of Butter Chicken. Start with paneer, Indian cottage cheese, and simmer it in tomato puree, season with toasted and ground garam masala and finished with a touch of heavy cream #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie
Paneer Butter Masala
Paneer Tikka masala- Instant pot
Paneer Tikka Masala

In most Indian restaurants, the most popular vegetarian entree is Paneer Butter Masala or Paneer Makhani.  It’s very similar to Paneer Tikka Masala, which was a variation of this recipe, created in the UK.

Everyone has their take on both these Indian recipes, but to me, the big difference is the use of onion. To make the Tikka Masala curry I start by sautéing onions with tomatoes and aromaticsWhereas, I skip the onion when making the Butter Masala or the Makhani curry.  I also add more garam masala in the Tikka Masala curry. That makes it a bit more spicier than the Makhani Curry.

Serving Suggestion for Paneer Butter Masala / Paneer Makhani

Spinach rice with Instant pot paneer butter masala or paneer makhani is vegetarian variation of Butter Chicken. Start with paneer, Indian cottage cheese, and simmer it in tomato puree, season with toasted and ground garam masala and finished with a touch of heavy cream #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie


Paneer Butter Masala/Paneer Makhani goes great with naan, roti and any preparation of basmati rice.  I like to pair this rich and creamy curry with Spinach Rice.  The buttery soft spinach and aromatic basmati rice compliment this Paneer Butter Masala really well.   It feels like a restaurant style Indian meal, in the comfort of my home.  I also pair it with Cumin Rice sometimes and the combination is simply delicious!

Click here for Spinach Rice recipe!

Spinach rice, palak pulao, instant pot spinach pilaf

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A bowl of paneer butter masala, also known as, paneer Makhani, made in the Instant Pot pressure cooker.

Paneer Butter Masala | Paneer Makhani in Instant Pot

An easy Instant Pot pressure cooker recipe for Paneer Butter Masala, or Paneer Makhani, a popular Indian vegetarian delicacy.  Made with Indian cottage cheese (paneer), simmered in tomato puree, Indian spices, and finished with a touch of heavy cream.
4.49 from 27 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 298kcal

Ingredients

Add after cooking

  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream OR, Full-Fat Coconut milk for dairy Free option
  • 1 tablespoon kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar or honey or agave syrup, adjust to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro for garnish

Equipment

Instructions

  • Turn on SAUTE. Wait for the pot to get hot, takes about 30 seconds. Add butter or ghee, minced ginger and garlic, and saute for 1 minute to cook off the raw flavor. Cancel Saute.
  • Add water and deglaze any brown bits that may have stuck at the bottom. Add tomato puree and spices. Stir and lock the lid. Select Pressure Cook/Manual and cook for 4 minutes at high pressure, on sealing mode.
  • When cooking is complete, manually release the pressure by following your cooker directions (Quick Release). Open the lid after the pin drops.
  • Select Saute. Add paneer cubes, dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi), sugar and heavy whipping cream (or coconut milk) and stir. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, till paneer softens and sauce thickens to your liking. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with cumin or spinach rice.

Video

Notes & Recipe Tips

Recipe Tips for Paneer Butter Masala:

  1. Tomatoes: Ripe tomatoes are critical to the taste of this recipe. If using fresh, use bright red ‘ripe’ tomatoes, preferably plum/Roma tomatoes.  Alternatively, diced or crushed tomatoes work well too. I prefer them over tomato sauce, which tends to be more tart.
  2. Paneer: If using frozen paneer, for best results, thaw it overnight in the fridge. For an authentic taste, it is important to simmer the sauce till the paneer softens.
  3. Make it Vegan: You can make this recipe vegan by replacing butter with any clear oil, and heavy whipping cream with coconut cream.  Instead of paneer, add cooked chickpeas or extra-firm tofu.
  4. Kashmiri Red Chili powder: I add this Indian spice for its vibrant color and mild heat.  If you cannot find it, substitute with equal amount of regular paprika.
  5. To Freeze this dish, skip the heavy cream and cool completely. Transfer it to an airtight container and freeze for up to 4 weeks. To reuse, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, bring it to a simmer on the stove or Instant Pot, add heavy whipping cream and simmer for 2-3 minutes. 
  6. This recipe was tested in a 3qt and 6qt Instant Pot pressure cooker. If using an 8qt size pressure cooker, add 1 cup water. You may have to simmer for a few extra minutes towards the end to cook it off. 
If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 607mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 971IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 317mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: instant pot paneer butter masala, instant pot paneer makhani, paneer butter masala, paneer butter masala recipe, paneer makhani
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HEY! NICE TO MEET YOU!

Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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