Paneer Tikka Masala
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This Paneer Tikka Masala recipe is a vegetarian Indian meal of restaurant quality that you can make at home!

This is the real-deal takeaway, with loads of original flavor thanks to a couple of important measures… or perhaps even better!

Why Is This Recipe So Delicious?

Paneer Tikka Masala Delicious
Food: Paneer Tikka Masala (Source: Healthy Nibbles)
  • This is a fantastic vegetarian variation of the popular chicken tikka masala recipe. It’s also simple to make vegan by using firm tofu and vegan half-and-half instead of heavy cream.
  • Serve paneer tikka masala with naan and basmati rice (or cauliflower rice) for a hearty, gratifying, and delicious meal that you’ll want to prepare again and again.
  • No shortcuts allowed! We’re all about maximizing flavor, which means cooking marinated, pan-fried (or grilled, or air-fried) paneer in a rich, tomato-based masala sauce.

Important Ingredients

Masala Garam — This spice blend can be found in a number of Indian recipes, and with good reason… IT’S OUTSTANDING.

It’s a fine powder made from cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, mace, peppercorns, and bay leaves.

Paneer – The star of paneer tikka masala is paneer!

This Indian cheese is created from cooked milk curds. It’s soft but doesn’t melt completely, making it ideal for grilling or pan-frying. You can use store-bought or manufacture your own in this recipe.

Chef’s Advice

  • Cut the paneer into whatever size cubes you like. You may need to pan-fry the paneer in two batches, depending on the size of your skillet. If you do, keep in mind that the second batch will likely take less time to cook than the first because the pan will already be hot!
  • Love spicy food? If you like, you can make your paneer tikka masala even spicy! The recipe calls for 1 serrano chile sans seeds, which has a moderate heat level. For a medium temperature, use one serrano chile with seeds; for a hot temperature, use two serrano chilies with seeds.
  • In step 9, be careful not to overcook the paneer. If you do, it will be difficult! Homemade paneer takes 2 to 3 minutes to prepare, whereas store-bought paneer takes 4 to 5 minutes.

Paneer Tikka Masala

Preparation time: 10 minutes
1 hour to cook
1 hour and 10 minutes total

This paneer tikka masala recipe is a vegetarian Indian meal of restaurant quality that you can make at home! This is a real-deal takeaway… maybe even better! It has plenty of authentic taste thanks to a couple of important steps.


For the Paneer

  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 16 ounces paneer cubed

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter, ¼ cup
  • 1 serrano chile seeded, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper seeded, sliced into strips
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
  • ½ of one medium white onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 ¼ – 1 ¾ cups heavy cream see Notes for vegan
  • 1 lemon quartered

For Serving

  • basmati rice or cauliflower rice
  • naan
  • fresh cilantro chopped


  • Large bowl
  • Large skillets (2)
  • blender
  • Plate

Instructions For Paneer Tikka Masala

Paneer Tikka Masala Vegan
Food: Paneer Tikka Masala (Source: Healthy Nibbles)
  1. Combine the oil and spices for paneer in a large mixing basin. Place the paneer in a bowl with the oil-spice mixture and coat well. Place aside.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the ghee over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Garlic, ginger, and serrano chile Reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture has a lovely toffee color. If the mixture begins to dry out or stick, add a few drops of water as needed.
  4. Garam masala and paprika are added last. Stir thoroughly. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until aromatic. To prevent sticking, add more water as needed.
  5. Blend the mixture after adding the tomato sauce. Return sauce to skillet after blending until smooth.
    Fenugreek, salt, and sliced bell pepper
  6. On medium-low heat, cook the mixture until it is caramelized and paste-like, about 5-10 minutes. The mixture will be thick, with softened pepper pieces.
  7. Cook until the tomato-pepper sauce is thick, caramelized, and paste-like.
  8. When the oil is heated, add the cubed paneer and a generous teaspoon of salt. Cook in a pan until golden brown on both sides, about 3-5 minutes. Homemade paneer will take less time to prepare, whereas store-bought paneer will only take 5 minutes. Place the cooked paneer on a platter.
  9. Stir in the cream until the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  10. Squeeze the juice of one lemon quarter over the paneer and serve. Stir thoroughly. To taste, add extra lemon juice.
  11. With naan, serve over basmati or cauliflower rice. Lots of chopped cilantro on top.


  • Use a plant-based half-and-half, such as Ripple Plant-Based Half & Half, instead of heavy cream to make it vegan. Instead of paneer, use firm tofu.
  • Make it Keto-friendly: Use a keto-friendly tomato sauce instead of onions. Use cauliflower rice instead of naan, or serve the paneer tikka masala on its own.

This recipe serves around 6 people. The nutritional information indicated is for one serving, not including rice or naan. The macros may differ slightly based on the ingredients used.

Prepare the recipe as directed, then weigh the completed product to calculate the size of one serving. Multiply the total weight (not counting the weight of the food container) by 6. The weight of one serving will be the result.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 607kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 59g, Saturated Fat: 35g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 185mg, Sodium: 443mg, Potassium: 145mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1482IU, Vitamin C: 27mg, Calcium: 431mg, Iron: 1mg, Net Carbs: 7g