Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
From my research and taste testing around in many restaurants, I feel that "Paneer Makhani", "Paneer Butter Masala" and "Shahi Paneer" taste more or less the same. The difference is in the prominence of spices added by different chefs. Call it whatever you please at the end of the day it is still a very rich creamy Indian side dish made with succulent paneer.
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
"Paneer Butter Masala" is pretty self explanatory - Masala denotes spices, cooked with butter and Paneer (Indian cheese). "Paneer Makhani" - where Makhani means cream and in cooking, generally denotes any rich gravy made with onions(optionally), tomatoes, butter and cream. And "Shahi Paneer" - where Shahi denotes Royalty, something fit for kings! And can there be anything less than cream, butter and rich nuts which can be served for a king? At the end of the day all these sound the same to me, with 'if-you-blink-you- might-miss" differences.
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
Though variations abound where spices are thrown in as per fancy and preference of the cook, but with such ingredients can it be any less delicious? After a lot of trials, this is the recipe I follow to make this dish. Along the way, I have learnt few trips and tricks which might help you too, the way it did for me.
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 4 people
  • 2 generous cups Paneer cubes
  • 1 large Onion,chopped coarsely
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cups Tomato Puree - see Tips
  • 2-3 Green Chillies, as per taste - see Tips
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic
  • 2 inch Ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin-Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Tandoori Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cashew paste see Tips.
  • 8-9 raisins - see Tips
  • 1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream (as needed for consistency)
  • salt to taste
  • Mint and cilantro to garnish - see Tips
1. Tomato Puree: Homemade Puree is recommended. But if using store bought, opt for low sodium variety. If that's not available then use only about 1/2 cup of the puree and carefully add salt only if required. Otherwise it results in a tangy taste thus spoiling the dish.

2. Green Chilli: You can instead use cayenne/red chilli powder. Sometimes when I don't have green chillies on hand I use dried red chillies like in this dish. Doesn't hurt the taste.

3. Cashew Paste and Raisins: Use them if making Shahi Paneer. Soak few cashew pieces in boiling water and grind into paste. You can saute the raisins in ghee and then add it to the gravy. Or just grind them along with the nuts. They provide subtle sweetness enhancing flavor. You can skip adding the sugar in that case or add only if necessary.

4. Mint:I personally find that Mint goes very well with rich dishes providing a fresh mouthfeel and also reducing the rich after taste. A combination of the herbs is my personal favorite where it helps to mellow down the richness.
1. Here is another tip which you might find useful. When buying store bought Paneer, I mostly place them in a bowl filled with boiling water for 10-15 minutes.
2. It helps to make it soft and also get rid of any impurities, if any. Drain it the water from the paneer and set aside.
3. In a skillet in 1/2 tsp oil, add the onion, chillies, garlic and ginger with a little salt. Saute until soft.
4. Transfer this mixture to the blender and blend it into a paste.
5. In the same skillet, add 3 tbsp of butter and then add the onion paste. Cook until butter/oil separates. If using cashew Paste add it along with this mixture now. or you can soak the cashew pieces in hot water and grind it along with the onion mixture.
6. Add the tomato puree and all the spices. Stir well and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the raw smell of the puree disappears. Add sugar and cook for another 5 minutes. You can at this point taste and see if you require additional salt. If yes, add more.
7. Drop in the paneer gently and give it a toss. Cook for another 2-3 minutes for the paneer to absorb the flavors.
8. Lower the heat to a simmer. Then add the heavy cream. Mix well.
9. If you want to use raisins, fry them lightly in ghee/butter separately and add it to this gravy. You can set some aside for garnish. I don't like sweet things in savory dishes and hence don't use them. Be careful to cook this in simmer before adding cream. Otherwise the heat will give it a curdle appearance!
You can garnish it with mint and cilantro if desired. Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe

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21 Member Reviews

By vandana on Nov 8, 2014

Thanks. I tried this recipe 3-4 times. it came out mouth watering each time.

By Nandini on Jul 11, 2012

Hey I tried this recipe twice once without cashew and one with cashew paste both were amazing and very easy to husband who is not fond of much paneer loved it and one of family friends who loves paneer went ga ga over it and enjoyed the dish....though i liked both but i prefere the one without cashew paste as I found it tasted better.

Read All 21 Reviews →


By Sheetal on Apr 12, 2015

I tried this recipe and it turned out really good! I didn't have Cardamom so I substituted it with Cinnamon and it was just like the Makhani Paneer you get in hotels! Thank you so much for your recipe! :-D

By Good Old Paneer Makhni on Mar 6, 2015

[…] Cottage cheese or paneer, as better known in India, is not well accepted in my household. We are too carnivorous to give paneer its due respect! I was also not too keen to cook up a paneer dish until recently when my father-in-law freaked out on a casually made paneer preparation. So today I consciously made the traditional ‘paneer makhni’ to impress him once again! This particular recipe is adapted from Chef in You. […]

By CountryOven on Feb 23, 2015

Can You Please Tell Me how To make a Paneer at home.

By Mons on Dec 7, 2014

Hi i made Paneer Makhani according to your way for potluck and everyone like this dish thank u........thank u so much for sharing yummy n tasty recipe.

By Irina on Nov 6, 2014

This looks so delicious! I am going to try your paneer makhani today, looks very easy to follow. Thank you.

By Pashmina on Oct 22, 2014

Loved the tip to put paneer into boiling water first! And the addition of cashew butter and sans sugar just made this dish divine. Can't wait to make it for Diwali party this weekend!

By riya chaudhary on Oct 11, 2014

i love this dish and i tried it at home it's taste really good: )

By Anisha on Sep 12, 2014

Hi, can you please tell me how to make Tandoori Masala? :roll:

By Low cost low carb on Jul 7, 2014

[...] on this recipe. I made paneer earlier in the day then decided to make this not realizing that I had neither [...]

By N Kumar on May 12, 2014

:) mast hai :)

By N Kumar on May 12, 2014

:) hi its good recipe. thanks for tips :)

By Shifa Lodhiya on Mar 29, 2014

Super awesome and easy..... have just cooked it! To be served in lunch! Cannot wait.... Thank you so much for the lovely recipe

By Ami on Mar 25, 2014

This recipe has earned me so many compliments, I thought I have to share the credit with you. Thank you so much for this reciple..friends, family and office colleagues have all loved it equally :)

By Jas on Feb 28, 2014

Amazing recipe have made it many times and is loved by the fam. Is it possible to substitute the paneer for chicken to make this a non veg dish?

By Vee on Feb 10, 2014

This is a really good recipe, the only thing it's missing for me is fenugreek, but hum, good one

By Madhavi on Feb 9, 2014

Best Recipe for Paneer Makhani... Really Restaurant standard...!! 8)

By Neha on Feb 5, 2014

Thank you so much for this recipe! :-D To be honest, I usually don't login in websites and give comments but I couldn't resist this time! My family loved it! Wonderful recipe!

Thank you for making this cook extremely happy :) I am glad your family enjoyed it --DK

By sakshi on Feb 4, 2014

I am going to make it today.please let me know where can i find heavy cream and tandoori masala. Thanks...

By Alex on Jan 31, 2014

This came out absolutely AMAZING!!! the whole family who usually turns their nose up to curries LOVED it! its rich not too spicy, I took another persons advice and added Kasuri Methi, I also added Cayenne, only 1 tea of salt, omitted the sugar, used Cashew butter, and barely a tiny pinch of Garam Masala! thanks so much for this recipe!!!

By Nagadeepa mahesh on Nov 7, 2013

Thanx a lot!!!! Good instructions & pics .This reciepe beats the restaurant & tastes too good!!!!!

By Patsy on May 19, 2013

This dish is wonderful! Thank you for sharing it!!

By Recipes I want to try | Why I got fat, and what I'm doing about it on May 9, 2013

[...] Paneer makhani (I have a package of paneer ready to go.) Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Categories Uncategorized [...]

By CJ on Apr 25, 2013

Thank you so much for this recipe! I just got back from my first trip to India this past Saturday and the paneer dishes were my favorites. I liked them so much I decided to give them a try at home and this is the first one I'm trying. BTW - it goes GREAT with the Atkins style diet (I'm just substituting the sugar)! I'm also trying my hand at homemade paneer - mainly because I live in an area where they would have no idea what I was talking about if I asked them if they had it in stock. Yes, I had to also purchase the seasonings online because they certainly don't sell masala in my stores.

By Been cooking! | me and India on Apr 13, 2013

[...] make one but since I was in the zone, I knocked together a chicken makhani, recipe adapted from here which if I’m honest I did dip my finger into a couple of times (oops, hope that doesn’t [...]

By saviona on Mar 25, 2013

fab recipe!!! extremely easy to follow n you get an amazin dish in no time..

By elisabeth on Mar 15, 2013

I'm usually not the type to comment but this was just so good I had to say something! Tastes just as good as in restaurants--the first time I made this I loved it so much I made it again the next night. It's also delicious with tofu.

By MANJU on Mar 2, 2013

:) superb dish.I tried it tastes good......... :-P

By Mandy on Feb 26, 2013

hi, thanks a tonne for the recipe. I made it with slight changes.. Added 1 bay leaf, 4-5 cloves, 4-5 black pepper corns and one black cardamom instead of readymade masala. Even though I didn't add any cream whatsoever, it tasted really yummy. Best compliment came from husband that it tasted better than any place he had ever had the same dish including any 5 star hotels... :)

By Shanthi on Feb 13, 2013

You are right..Shahi paneer..paneer butter masala..paneer makhani..all look the same, taste almost same..have similar recipes.. :roll: Your recipe looks good..would try it..Thanks

By Shahi Paneer {with homemade Naan bread} | Zeeki's Kitchen on Feb 9, 2013

[...] Shahi Paneer [...]

By sneh on Jan 21, 2013

can u give the recepie of tandoori masala please

By roopa on Dec 31, 2012

Hi dhivya, I cudnt join thru my android phone, to become a member of chef in you, hence couldn't click on the I made this recipe thing. I made it and it tastes heavenly as this is the first time I was using cashew paste in any of my dishes though I have heard it's awesome. Thank you for the step by step pics, and paneer soaking tip. I modified a little bit by adding kasuri methi and using pizza sauce (ran out of tomatoes), and dry red chilli, and omitting tandoori powder (didn't have it handy) and using whole milk instead of cream.....I am now gonna use this base for not just paneer, thanks to you !

By Abhishek on Dec 15, 2012

Great and yummy dish.... cooked with the instructions and almost was of the same taste as in restaurants. Thanks for the recipe.

By rmn on Dec 13, 2012

hi! can you please tell how to make the purée at home?

By Jennifer on Nov 28, 2012

This looks delicious! Do you have a recipe for tandoori masala? If not do you think these ingredients might approximate the flavor--maybe equal parts cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, with smaller amounts of garlic, ginger, cardamom and saffron? Thanks for the great recipes!

I dont have a recipe posted in the site currently. Typically a tandoori masala has a vast assortment of spices blend together. You can see the spices here : Tandoori Masala. Store bought works pretty well for recipes. The thing with Indian food is it works quite well with any spice in most of the cases. You can use the spices you mentioned and it will impart a different taste which I am sure will be good enough (provided you use the spices in harmony). But yes, it might certainly taste different from this recipe :) --DK

By Radhika on Nov 12, 2012

This is the best recipe ever! I made it over the weekend for our Diwali get together and it was a huge hit. I made it with the store bought tomato puree and cashews (just a few (7-8) does the trick) but it was the bomb! I knew I could cook but didn't know I could cook so well :wink: Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe, definitely recommended. I brought leftovers to work today and a person passing by whispered "that smells really good!" On a side note for other readers: My father-in-law does not eat onions and I made the same recipe w/o onions, could not tell any difference in the flavor.

Thank you so much.. Nothing gets the cook in me going than a thoughtful feedback :) --DK

By Sumathy on Oct 17, 2012

:-P I made for this my children. came out well..just the 3 green chillies was hot for my next time I will use maybe just 1 gChilli or use red chilli and see..I look up your site often :wink:

By Maria on Sep 10, 2012

I am making this tonight, I am a new vegetarian, my hubby is Indian and I am Mexican so it will be a GREAt way to show off some nice indian cooking lol thanks!!

By Dj on Aug 28, 2012

I want to know if you need to fry the paneer before adding them or just add them raw.

I havent fried them --DK

By Anuradha on Aug 22, 2012

Hi, Do you skin the tomatoes before you make the purée? Or just purée the tomatoes whole?

You skin the tomatoes before pureeing --DK

By sameera on Aug 15, 2012

I cannot wait to make this..! You present the dishes is such a great way that it looks so simple... I soooooo love cooking now.. Thanks to you... :) that's the first thing I log on in the mornings now to decide for the the day.. :-D keep it coming...

An excellent way to open my page and see this in the morning. Thank you :) --DK

By Megan on Aug 13, 2012 make this! And then EAT it! Thank you so much for the lovely blog and photos. Great work! Will let you know how it turns out!

By Spondita on Jul 31, 2012

I made this recipe, and it turned out to be good. Thank you.

By Aadila on Jul 25, 2012

Hi please could i have the shahi paneer recipe ?:) :wink:

By ariel on Jul 19, 2012

Love the pictures on your site, if I am remaking something I hardly need to read teh recipe again. I just look at the pictures. Plus, I hardly have to summarize the recipe in a notepad for easy remake later. Great Effort! Thanks

Thank you Ariel :) --DK

By RS on Jul 17, 2012

Excited to try it tomorrow! Also, can you please tell me what kind of dslr and lenses do you use for pictures? Thanks! <3

By Farwah on Jun 24, 2012

:-D I loved it. My sibling ate it too and enjoyed it. Thanks for the recipe.

By Paneer Makhani « Whim & Wanderlust on Apr 3, 2012

[...] Makhani (recipe adapted from Chef In You) What You [...]

By Kashmira on Mar 10, 2012

:-D amazing.... i am surely gonu make it tom.

By simran on Mar 8, 2012

Amazing recipe ! 8) everyone loved the dish :) .. it really yamiiiiiiiiiiiiii.... :)

By Reeves on Feb 19, 2012

Definitely something I'll be trying. I love paneer, so much I even buy the Indian boxed stuff when I'm in Malaysia to bring back to Thailand with me. It's not perfect, but it hits the spot but, of course, homemade is much better :-P

By Nicole on Feb 18, 2012

Oh man, this was so good! I've tried to make shahi paneer before and it just tasted flat. I think the cashews are key, so thanks for that. Mine didn't have enough tang of tomato, so I think I'll add more next time. Or use fresh (I only had canned on hand). Thanks for posting. Also, your photos are gorgeous.

By Leena on Feb 14, 2012

Thanks for the delicious recipe. We enjoyed it today

By SRIHARI on Feb 8, 2012


By Meena on Feb 3, 2012

Real real happy that i found your website! I tried the recipe and it turned out so so well! But my paneer are not whole, they teared here and there. Your tips on how to keep the paneer in full whole shape please.

By Angel_A on Feb 2, 2012

Hey amazing recipe! I tried it couple of weeks ago, my Husband and family absolutely loved it!! Thank you so much for an abs delicious recipe! I also added dry Methi (Fenugreek) leaves, it tastes really authentic :)

By Yes, he picked Indian food. No, he doesn’t have a fever. « Sugar, come sit a spell. on Jan 30, 2012

[...] a small helping of almost every dish that was on the buffet including a lentil curry, lemon tofu, panir makhni and tandori chicken. I can’t complain about any of the dishes that I tried. They were [...]

By Parvinder kaur on Jan 30, 2012

Amazing recipe! sersly bot vadiya so yummy.... :-P

By Parvinder kaur on Jan 30, 2012

Amazing recipe!bot vadiya sersly..i liked it :-P

By DEEPTI on Jan 21, 2012

paji tusi to kamal kita si.DIL NU CHU GAYA SI.changa hai ji .CARRY ON.... :wink:

By naaz on Jan 21, 2012

wow ! it was yummy !! :mrgreen:

By Masha Antonia Rodrigues on Jan 9, 2012

Amazing recipe! Everyone loved the dish. Nice write-up too! Thank You Dk

By Amy U on Dec 25, 2011

I'm really lucky to have stumbled upon your website.Ur recipes not only look elegant but are very simple to make.And they do turn out to be just like in the pix.Delicious.Im a very motivated cook now thanx to u and ur website

By Anna on Dec 19, 2011

Where do I get heavy cream? I prepare this dish and never once it comes like the picture --leave alone the taste. I will try it with heavy cream this time around. Thanks for all your recipes --I have your website in my favorites bar now.

By Mohit on Dec 4, 2011

I made this for my family and it was a big hit! Definitely a recipe worth saving

By Bogu on Nov 25, 2011

Hi, I'm a European girl married to an Indian man. I cook Indian food everyday, I learned a lot from my mother-in law. I has been looking for a new recipes and thats how I found your website. I have already tried a few your recipes and they are awesome!! I'm really impressed. Shahi paneer was mouth-watering, most delicious I have ever eaten :) Thanks.

By sindhu on Aug 13, 2011

Thanks..we loved it..

By padmini on Jul 23, 2011

Dear Dk, I visit your blog often and have tried many recipes. All of them have been a success. thanks for wonderful step by step pics and recipes......keep the good things coming..... :)

By Lakshmi on Jun 2, 2011

turned out just yummmm...on my dinner table right now. Thx for the recipe

By Ankush on May 22, 2011

i appreciate your way of explaining with the help of pictures :)

By Paneer Makhani and Home-made Naan « Soph n' Stuff on Mar 7, 2011

[...] (Adapted from Chef In You) [...]

By Angie on Feb 14, 2011

My husband and I made this for dinner and WOW, it knocked our socks off! To help with the calories, we used non-fat greek yogurt instead of heavy cream. The sauce came out a little thick, so we added the only thing we had on hand, which was non-fat Keifer. While this might sound crazy, the recipe was rich, thick and delicious! Next time, we're going to try greek yogurt with a dash of non-fat milk instead. Using cubes of firm tofu instead of cheese would also help with calories. Also, I highly recommend adding the cashew butter, it was amazing!

By NP on Feb 3, 2011

My apology, i have one more question. What is cumin-coriander powder? is it cumin powder and coriander blended together?

yes it is :)

By NP on Feb 3, 2011

Hello DK.. your website is great. Thank you so much for all the recipes. Could you tell us what kind of Tandori Masala you used? Which brand? I am in Boston and I have never bought or used Tandori masala before. It would be great if you could help me add the best brand of Tandori Masala to my spice rack. Thank you so much, NP

I generally do not use Tandoori Masala in my cooking. This one is from my friend whose mother sent homemade powders from India :) So I do not have any personal pref.

By Twinsy Rachel Abraham on Sep 20, 2010

Hi DK, have been following ur blog for a while now, but this was my first try. I shud say that it came out fingerlickingly gud :lol: the detailed recipe was really helpful.. My next try is gonna be khaman dhokla.. will let u know :)

By swa on Aug 6, 2010

have u posted the low calorie version of this

Not yet - but u can easily make this one by replacing butter with oil (use like 1 tsp or so), use low fat milk instead of heavy cream. If you get low calorie paneer (made from low fat milk), then it would be even better

By Dips on Aug 4, 2010

hey DK.... i luv paneer and make paneer based sabzis all the time....especially for this one i add a tspn of dried kasoori methi leaves .... it gives it a great flavour......have recently found ur site and find it very helpful ,all ur recipes seem simple to make and the pics help a lot ... thanks ....

By sunita sil on Aug 2, 2010

hi dk today again i made this for breakfast with fried paneer cubes and i must say it came out so so so so so tasty i cant tell you dear as i had added paste of dhania also and my husband relished it, thanks for the recipe

By Sunita on Jul 16, 2010


By Sunita on Jul 16, 2010


By Sunita on Jul 16, 2010


By Aswathy on Jul 12, 2010

simply loved the tip of putting the paneer cubes in boiling water to make it paneer is always a bit hard..this is going to be my husband's lunch dabba tomorrow..with the peas hell with the diet..hahaha..

By India’s Tandoori « Los Angeles Restaurants – daily la restaurant reviews from all over Los Angeles. on Jun 28, 2010

[...] of their specialities are the Saag Paneer which is a rich blend of spinach and cheese, The Tandorri Chicken, and the sweet pistachio yogurt. [...]

By Cooking home food on May 23, 2010

Hi: I see this is an old post and many others have already tried his recipe. I am seeing it for the first time. I must say I appreciate your Paneer Makhani recipe but I don’t understand the language. However when I look at the recipe ingredients and explanation, it is veggies with cheese. This is really home made and that is what we usually do.We have a similar one here on our list but we have parsley instead of cardamom powder. You see Oriental and Western recipes have so many things in common.

By fatima on May 17, 2010

Hi, thanks for sharing this yummy reciepe,everyone enjoyed it here...

By Tyler on May 3, 2010

Wow, well played. I look forward to cooking this at home - thanks for sharing!

By Sig on Apr 18, 2010

Haha, those who live in glass houses... :) I am not going to judge you as my diet has gone horribly wrong this time :) This gravy looks amazing! of course I'll have to sub paneer with something else.

By Meenu on Apr 15, 2010

One of my friend suggested to boil the onion and then make the paste. This removes the raw smell of onion from the dish too.

By mrs mansoor on Apr 15, 2010

:-P :-P :-P hey man good way of puttg out ur recipe.its simple and easy to understand.every body at home loved it,they found a new chef in me

Thank you so much :) :) --DK

By Brett Sutcliffe on Apr 10, 2010

Oh may god it is amazing. The source looks so rich and nice presentation with the mint leaves.

By Deepa G Joshi on Apr 7, 2010

mmmm yummy..looking at the click itself makes me crave for it..I can actually smell the aroma.. :)

By Bharathy on Apr 6, 2010

Paneer cubes immersed in hot water, lightly sauteed Onions which are coarsely chopped,addition of heavy cream, Will def keep the points in mind :)...Thanks for sharing this Classic recipe, girl!Love the pictures..:)look at those mint leaves topping the curry!! Wow!!!

By Priya on Apr 6, 2010

My favourite, makes me hungry..

By nags on Apr 5, 2010

Quite different from how I make it but end result looks the same :)

By sayantani on Apr 5, 2010

he he I loved the opening lines of your post....the same thing happens to me too. the makhani gravy looks awesome...creamy and rich like the ones from restaurants. bookmarked.

By Divya on Apr 5, 2010

My favorite--with butter naan on the side.For the same reasons,I have not had this combo for some time now.I can't have rotis with this to save calories,if having it has to be with butter naan:).So I am praying to the weight-scale God..hope to have it soon!!

By Sailaja Damodaran on Apr 5, 2010

Excellent with Naan........

By Soumya on Apr 5, 2010

Paneer Makhani looks so yummy. As u said i am drooling and enjoying it rit here..As me n dh r both on diet.But it looks perfect and inviting.