Paneer Butter Masala in Instant Pot | Paneer Makhani

March 30, 2018 (Last Updated: April 18, 2019)

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.
Print Pin Discuss Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 372kcal
Author: Spice Cravings

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. block of paneer cubed in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or light olive oil or ghee
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste (1 inch ginger, 6 cloves garlic, pulsed/grated)
  • 14 oz. (1 can) diced tomatoes or 3-4 ripe Roma tomatoes, pureed. (canned is better for this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 2-3 teaspoons Garam Masala depending on your spice preferences
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder

Add after cooking

Instructions

  • Turn Instant pot on SAUTE. Turning saute will warm everything through while we assemble the recipe, and reduce the pressure building time. Add oil, ginger garlic paste, tomato sauce and spices. I puree diced tomatoes, but you can also use ripe tomatoes and puree them. Stir well. Close the lid. Cancel SAUTE. Pressure cook for 4 minutes on Manual/pressure Cook. Vent set to Sealing position.
  • Manually release the pressure by turning the vent to ‘Venting’ position (QR). Open the lid after the pin drops. Add paneer cubes, dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi), sugar and heavy whipping cream (or coconut milk), and turn on SAUTE. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, till paneer softens and sauce thickens to your liking. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Video

Notes

This recipe was made and tested in a 3qt and 6qt Instant Pot pressure cooker. 
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: 372kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 759mg | Potassium: 253mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 24.3% | Vitamin C: 14.6% | Calcium: 39.7% | Iron: 8.3%
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Low Carb, tofu
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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Jacob
    November 9, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Love Paneer and love butter masala. Got to try this.

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