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How to make Palak Paneer- a popular Indian recipe made with cubes of cheese (paneer) gently simmered in a creamy spinach sauce infused with fragrant Indian spices. Make this in 30 minutes. Keto-friendly, Vegetarian & Gluten-free! Video!
And the wheel goes round and round, and the flame in our souls will never burn out. ~Rosanne Cash~
What is Palak Paneer?
Palak Paneer is very similar to Saag Paneer, but this recipe is slightly different, or so I was told while in India. In Hindi, palak means spinach, while saag is more general and means “greens” where a variety of different greens can be used.
No matter what you want to call it, you’ll love the flavor. The luscious creamy spinach sauce can be a vehicle for so many things. Instead of paneer, pair it with crispy tofu, chicken, fish or even roasted veggies! You’ll want to lick the bowl.
You’ll find a hundred uses, and trust me, you’ll want to mop up every single drop. Serve it with fluffy basmati rice or naan bread, or keep it low-carb with cauliflower rice. The best part?
The fragrant Palak Sauce can be made in under 30 minutes!
How to Make Palak Paneer | 60-Sec Video
How to make Palak Paneer
Saute onions, ginger, garlic until deeply golden. Add the spices along with frozen spinach and a little water.
NOTE: You know me, of course, I made this with fresh spinach leaves in the beginning, and yes you can do this too. But it’s hard watching a whole pound and a half of baby spinach wilt into practically nothing, and in winter, it just seems more cost-effective in winter to simply use frozen spinach. Up to you.
Then simply blend it up with yogurt and cashews until you have a silky smooth vibrant green, pureed spinach sauce. A blender works best here but feel free to use an immersion blender.
Now you have the fragrant Palak Sauce!
Pan-sear or fry the paneer until golden brown for delicious texture before simmering in the sauce. Go here to learn how to make your own homemade Paneer Cheese!
Or for a lighter version, use crispy tofu, chicken or fish!
Simmer the paneer in the fragrant Creamy Spinach Sauce until both sauce and paneer are warmed through, uncovered.
Serve! Palak Paneer is delicious with Indian Basmati Rice or Naan Bread!
A delicious simple feast, a delight for the senses!
Hope you love this restaurant style Palak Paneer recipe as much as we do, and please tell me below how you end up using it.
You may also like:
- Emerald Dal
- Indian Fried Rice
- Indian Shepherds Pie
- Frankies (Bombay Burritos)
- Naan Bread
- Indian Basmati Rice
Happy yummy week!Print
Palak Paneer (Paneer in Spinach Sauce)
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- Category: vegetarian main, main
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: Indian
Palak Paneer – Pan-seared Paneer is bathed in a smooth and luscious spinach sauce infused with Indian spices. An easy authentic recipe, perfect for weeknight dinners. This is an adaptable recipe, perfect for mixed households, see notes.
- one recipe for Paneer ( or 24 ounces store-bought paneer, or crispy tofu, or chicken, or roasted veggies)
- 3 tablespoons ghee
- one white or yellow onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons ginger, rough chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 1/2 –1 jalapeno or use 2 serano chillies, rough chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin ( ground or seeds)
- 2 teaspoons coriander ( ground or seeds)
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (optional)
- 10–12 ounces frozen spinach ( 1 1/2 lbs fresh BABY spinach, see notes)
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar or alternative
- squeeze lemon (optional)
In a large skillet, (a non-stick works great here) heat a few tablespoons oil or ghee and season the oil generously with salt and pepper. Pan-sear the paneer or crispy tofu until golden and crispy, and set it aside, covered with foil.
Wipe out the skillet, heat 3 tablespoons ghee over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic and chilies, and sauté until deeply golden and fragrant, stirring often, about 15 minutes, taking your time here.
Add the spices (coriander, cumin, garam masala and mustard seeds) and sauté 2-3 more minutes. Add the frozen spinach and cup of water, lower heat and simmer uncovered until the spinach is just thawed.
Place this in a blender, (see notes) topping it with the yogurt and cashews. Add the salt and sugar. Blend well, until silky smooth. If the mixture is too dry to blend, add just enough water to get the motor going. Taste, and adjust the heat by adding a little cayenne if you want more of a kick. Add a squeeze of lemon if you want it tangier.
The sauce will seem slightly salty at first but once you add the paneer, it will soak up the salt.
Place the blended spinach sauce back into the pan uncovered, on med-low heat. (Covering it will lose the lovely vibrant color ). Warm it up gently and slowly, stirring often so it doesn’t burn. Add the pan-seared paneer and continue cooking until the paneer is warmed just warmed through.
Enjoy this over Fluffy Basmati Rice, with Naan Bread, over Quinoa or cauliflower rice.
Blending: If you like more “chunky sauce” rather than a smooth creamy spinach sauce , feel free to only blend half of the spinach mixture.
Make the flavorful spinach sauce and serve it over anything you like- perfect for mixed households where some want vegan, some want meat. It is tasty over roasted cauliflower, pan-seared chicken or fish, tofu, roasted veggies, etc. Get creative!
FRESH SPINACH: Use baby spinach, mature spinach may make it bitter. Make sure to separately (it may too much to manage in the onion pan) or in batches, and add it to the onion-garlic mixture. You need about 1 ½ -2 cups wilted.
- Serving Size: -with 4 ounces paneer in each serving.
- Calories: 331
- Sugar: 5 g
- Sodium: 444.3 mg
- Fat: 24.3 g
- Saturated Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 12.9 g
- Fiber: 2.8 g
- Protein: 16.4 g
- Cholesterol: 19.2 mg
Keywords: Palak paneer, saag paneer, best palak paneer recipe, indian spinach sauce, spinach sauce, paneer in spinach sauce, how to make saag paneer, difference between palak paneer and saag paneer
What does the cashews add to the recipe? Is it flavor, texture? We have a nut allergy and would like to see if I should be trying to substitute with something else or just omit from the recipe all together. Thanks!
Hi Carle- we use cashews to give it the creaminess- you can sub yogurt, coconut milk, or cream if you prefer. Just add to taste. 🙂
Wonderful! 2nd time making since the first time many years ago.
I was generous with the olive oil. I use Dahi (indian homemade yogurt). I imagine it’s very tasty with rice.
Great to hear and happy you enjoyed this!
I forget to check 5 stars!
Awww…thanks Robin- always appreciated!
One of my most favorite recipes on the blog! Absolutely divine. I could bathe in this. And everyone in the family loves it. Completes with the best Indian restaurants we’ve visited anywhere.
Ahaha! Thanks so much- one of my favorites too!
Made for the first time to put over tofu we made in the air fryer- so yummy. Thanks for teaching me about the difference between saag and palak. As always, appreciate your recipes.
Thanks so much Chris!
We really liked this recipe. We were generous with our measurements for the spices, otherwise we made no alterations. Ours was not as smooth or vibrant green as your pictures, but it was still pretty. This will definitely go into our dinner rotation, especially as a vegetarian option!
Great to hear Paula! Thanks so much!
This was absolutely delicious! My picky 6 year old love it. And the recipe was easy to follow.
Thanks Julie, so glad you all enjoyed!
An easy and tasty meal, perfect substitute for a takeaway.
Glad you enjoyed!
Loved this panak paneer recipe!!! Anything with creamy spinach just makes me incredibly happy…
Just when making the paneer, I misread the recipe as I live in Europe and I used a liter of milk instead of a gallon… Lots of time for a tiny bit of paneer 😂😂😂 won’t happen again, though
Oh no! Sorry about that Julia!
Oh, not your fault at all 😉 we enjoyed every tiny bit :::::))))
So excited to try this because I have wanted a recipe that uses frozen spinach, and your recipes are good. My question is what would be a good cashew sub because of nut allergy. I suspect the cashews give it some body. Any suggestions? Thanks
How about coconut milk?
I can’t eat cashews, so I substitute an equal amount of raw sunflower seeds or raw pumpkin seeds. They’re not quite as creamy as cashews but are an acceptable substitute.
Lovely recipe Sylvia I have tried many many of your recipes and they all turn out lovely! My kids used to love only restaurant North Indian dishes. Being a South Indian, I could never capture that. But with your recipes, my kids are enjoying home food 😊 Thank you!!
Awesome and great to hear!
Any idea how much ginger garlic paste I could sub for the fresh ginger and garlic?
I’d use 3-4 tablespoons!