Palak Paneer: the effortless recipe for a healthy Indian dinner

Total time: 45 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist
1 1/4 cups
baby spinach, washed and drained, with stalks and stems removed
4 cups
2 tbsp
green chilies
onions, chopped
3/4 cup
tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup
garlic ginger paste
1 tsp
8 to 10
salt to taste
Garam masala
1/2 tsp
fenugreek leaves
1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds
1/8 tsp
green cardamom pods
1 small piece

Palak paneer is a delicious, healthy Indian dish that's popular worldwide. Made with paneer, Indian cottage cheese, and spinach, which is called palak in Hindi, it's a wonderful vegetarian dish with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.

Palak paneer is easy to make and perfect for a quick healthy dinner during the week. You can serve it with rice, bread, or serve palak paneer with a salad. Whichever way you choose to enjoy it, you're sure to love this flavorful spinach dish.

What is Palak Paneer?

Palak paneer is a delicious Indian dish made with paneer, or Indian cottage cheese, and spinach (palak) in a spiced tomato gravy. It differs from saag paneer in that saag paneer can be made of various greens while palak paneer only uses spinach. Saag paneer is made with cream, while you'll occasionally get palak paneers with yogurt in them.

Palak Paneer Ingredients

To make palak paneer, you'll need a few essential ingredients like paneer cubes (Indian cottage cheese) and palak, or spinach. Baby spinach is the best type of spinach for this recipe. You'll also need an array of herbs and spices including ginger garlic paste, garam masala, fenugreek leaves, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.

Green chilis will add some heat to the dish, and you'll also need onions and tomatoes which will give your palak paneer a savory, slightly tangy flavor. Finally, blending a few cashews into the dish will give it a lovely creamy texture and a subtly nuttiness.

How to Make Palak Paneer

Your first step when making palak paneer at home is to make a spinach puree. To do this, saute the chilis, cashews, and spinach in oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove it from the heat and let it cool down, then blend it with an immersion blender. Set the spinach to the side, then add a little more oil to the pan and fry the spices. Once the spices become aromatic and are sizzling in the pan, stir in the onions and cook them until they turn golden brown.

Fry the ginger garlic paste, then stir in the tomatoes and saute them until they turn soft and break down. Season the mixture with garam masala, then pour in the water and cover the pan. Cook the mixture until the onions turn soft then lower the heat and stir in the fenugreek and spinach puree. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the paneer cubes, and serve.


Tips for the Best Palak Paneer

Baby spinach is the best type of spinach for making palak paneer. Using young, tender spinach leaves will give your palak paneer a sweeter flavor. If you use more mature spinach leaves, your palak paneer might turn out slightly bitter. Leave out the stalks and stems of the spinach. They will contribute bitterness which is undesirable in this recipe.

For a creamier dish, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of cream to your palak panner.

To make vegan palak paneer, substitute the paneer for tofu.

Blanch your spinach before cooking it.

Adding cashews is optional, but it gives the palak paneer a creamier texture. You can use cream instead of cashews to achieve the same thicker texture.

Fresh baby spinach will always give your palak paneer the best flavor, but you can use frozen spinach if that's what you have on hand.

For an even quicker way to make palak paneer, you can cook it in an Instant Pot. Once everything has been sauteed, seal and cook the palak paneer on high for 1 minute, then do a quick release. Stir in the paneer, and serve.

What to Serve with Palak Paneer

Serve your palak paneer with basmati rice, pilau, or fresh bread like naan, roti, chapati, or paratha. You can also serve it with a cucumber and tomato salad.

How to Store Palak Paneer

Place palak paneer in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze your palak paneer for up to 1 month.


Heat oil in a pan and fry the chilies, cashews, and spinach for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the spinach wilts. Let the mixture cool, then add ¼ cup of water and blend with an immersion blender.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil with 1 tablespoon of butter or ghee in the same pan used to cook the spinach. Saute the cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves, and cumin seeds. Once sizzling hot, add the onions and cook for several minutes until they begin to brown.

Stir in the ginger-garlic paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and salt and cook until they begin to turn soft and break down.

Stir in the garam masala and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in ¾ cup water and cover the pan, cooking until the onions become soft.

Turn the heat down and stir in the fenugreek and pureed spinach. Let the mixture come to a bubble and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the paneer, turn off the heat, then serve.


After washing the spinach, make sure to let it drain well. You can pat it dry if necessary. If you don't the dish will have a lot of excess moisture in it.

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