Go Back
+ servings
Paneer tikka masala close up

Paneer Tikka Masala

This paneer tikka masala recipe is restaurant-quality vegetarian Indian food, made at home! With tons of authentic flavor, thanks to a couple key steps, this is real-deal takeout... or even better!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword curry, meatless, vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 607kcal


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


For the Paneer

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter, ¼ cup
  • ½ of one medium white onion diced
  • 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
  • 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


  • In large bowl, thoroughly combine oil and spices for paneer. Place paneer in bowl and coat completely with oil-spice mixture. Set aside.
  • Heat ghee in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes.
    Cook your onion, ginger, garlic, and chiles until toffee colored
  • Add serrano chile, garlic, and ginger. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture achieves a nice toffee color, approximately 20 minutes. Add drops of water periodically as needed if mixture starts to dry out or stick.
  • Add garam masala and paprika. Stir well. Cook until fragrant, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add more water as needed to reduce sticking.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, then transfer mixture to blender. Blend until smooth, then return sauce to skillet.
  • Add sliced bell pepper, fenugreek, and salt.
  • Simmer mixture until caramelized and paste-like, approximately 5-10 minutes on medium-low heat. Mixture will be thick and pepper slices will be softened.
    Simmer the tomato-pepper mixture until thick, caramelized, and paste-like
  • While mixture simmers, heat 1 tablespoon oil in another large skillet over medium heat.
  • When oil is hot, add cubed paneer to oil and sprinkle a big pinch of salt on top. Pan-fry until golden brown on a couple of sides, approximately 3-5 minutes. Homemade paneer will need less time, store-bought paneer can handle 5 minutes. Transfer cooked paneer to plate.
  • Add cream to sauce mixture and stir until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Add paneer to sauce and squeeze juice of one lemon quarter on top. Stir well. Add more lemon juice to taste.
    Sauteed paneer in a skillet
  • Serve over basmati or cauliflower rice with naan. Top with plenty of chopped cilantro.


  • Make it Vegan: Instead of heavy cream, use a plant-based half-and-half, like Ripple Plant-Based Half & Half. Use firm tofu instead of paneer.
  • Make it Keto: Skip the onion and use a keto-friendly tomato sauce. Pass on the naan and use cauliflower rice, or serve the paneer tikka masala on its own.
Recipe yields approximately 6 servings. Nutritional values shown reflect information for one serving, not including rice or naan. Macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands of ingredients used.
To determine the size of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed, then weigh the entire recipe when finished. Divide the total weight (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by 6. Result will be the weight of one serving.


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