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Instant Pot Palak Paneer

Instant Pot Palak Paneer is a flavorful Indian curry dish of Paneer (Indian farmer’s cheese) simmered in a delicious sauce of spinach and aromatic spices.

Overhead shot of a metal bowl filled with Instant Pot Palak Paneer

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It’s a delicious and satisfying a delicious vegetarian meal when served with rice, nan, paratha, or roti. It’s one of my favorite Indian recipes.

A while back, I posted an easy Palak Paneer recipe for cooking on the stove top and using my recipe for Homemade Paneer. This easy Instant Pot Palak Paneer takes just 15 minutes to make in the pressure cooker. The result is just as flavorful and has the same luscious bright green color.

low angle shot of a bowl of palak paneer in front of an Instant Pot

What is Paneer and where can you get it?

Paneer is a fresh Indian cheese (Indian cottage cheese), similar to farmer’s cheese. You can buy paneer in any South Asian or Indian grocery store or online.

For this Instant Pot Palak Paneer recipe, you can use homemade paneer or buy paneer at an Indian or South Asian grocery store or online.

Homemade paneer is softer, creamier, and less dense than the store-bought version. If you use store-bought paneer, it’s best to soak it in hot water for about 15 minutes before draining and cooking.

To make this Instant Pot Palak Paneer, the cubed paneer is first lightly browned in oil and then simmered in a spinach-based sauce with punchy Indian spices.

What’s not to love? The flavor is rich and creamy. Cooked into the curried spinach sauce, it becomes tender and, although it seems impossible, even more creamy.

overhead shot of ingredients needed to make instant pot palak paneer

What ingredients do you need to make Instant Pot palak paneer?

Some Indian curry dishes require long lists of spices that you may or may not have in your pantry, especially if you don’t cook Indian food frequently.

This one is simpler and requires only a couple of spices, Indian paneer, and other simple ingredients like spinach, garlic, and yogurt. (Note that the complete ingredient list with measurements is included in the recipe card below.)

  • Butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • Store-bought or homemade paneer cubes
  • Cumin seeds and ground cumin
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh garlic
  • Green chilies like jalapeno or serrano peppers
  • Onion
  • All-purpose flour
  • Plain whole-milk yogurt
  • Fresh spinach
  • Kosher salt
  • Garam masala
  • Lime juice
  • Heavy cream (or use coconut milk or cashew cream)

What Is Garam Masala?

Garam masala is a spice mixture similar to curry powder. While the curry powder we are able to buy in US supermarkets contains turmeric, giving it a yellow color, garam masala does not.

Garam masala can be from a number of different spices, but usually includes cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, mace, and nutmeg.

The great thing about using a spice mixture like garam masala is that you get the flavors of many different spices, but you only have to purchase one bottle.

Keep in mind that seasoning mixtures like garam masala sometimes contain salt and sometimes don’t. Check the label and if yours contains salt, be careful how much more salt you add to the dish. Start with a little and add additional salt as needed.

How to Make Instant Pot Palak Paneer

This Instant Pot Palak Paneer recipe is quick and easy to make. Here’s how (note that step-by-step instructions are included in the recipe card below):

  1. Use the saute function to brown the paneer pieces in the Instant Pot.
  2. Brown the onions along with the cumin and aromatics in the Instant Pot also using the saute mode.
  3. Add yogurt, flour, spinach, salt, and a little water to the Instant Pot and pressure cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Quick release the pressure, then add a bit of additional water and then use a hand blender or a regular blender to blend until smooth.
  5. Select the sauté function and heat the pot again and add garam masala, lime juice, and the browned paneer and bring to a simmer.
  6. Stir in the cream and serve hot.

Can you make vegan palak paneer in the Instant Pot?

Yes! You can substitute coconut oil for the butter, extra firm tofu for the paneer, and coconut milk or cashew cream for the heavy cream to make a vegan version. You can make vegan palak paneer in the Instant Pot following the same instructions as below with these substitutions.

What do you serve it with?

A saucy dish like Instant Pot Palak Paneer begs for bread or rice to soak up the deliciousness. Serve this with warm naan, roti, or paratha, or serve it ladled over jeera rice or basmati rice.

I love to make a big Indian meal and include this Instant Pot Palak Paneer along with other Indian curries, Instant Pot Biryani, Chicken 65, or Tandoori Chicken, and a cooling Cilantro Yogurt Chutney or Raita.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SAAG PANEER AND PALAK PANEER?

You may see dishes with these two names listed on the menu at your favorite Indian restaurants. The two dishes are similar. The big difference is that saag refers to any type of leafy greens (kale, chard, mustard greens, or collard greens as well as spinach leaves), while palak is spinach.

low angle shot of a bowl of palak paneer

More vegetarian recipes you’ll love

Yield: Serves 4

Instant Pot Palak Paneer

low angle shot of a bowl of instant pot palak paneer

Palak Paneer is a classic Indian vegetable curry made by simmering paneer (Indian cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese) in smooth, flavorful spinach sauce. Palak paneer is easy to make, and super quick when you use the Instant Pot. Enjoy it with rice, parathas, or roti.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter, divided (or use ghee or coconut oil)
  • 2 cups cubed paneer
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chile, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 pound spinach
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cream, plus additional for garnish (or use coconut milk)

Instructions

  1. Set the instant pot on the sauté function and let it heat up for a few minutes. Add ½ tablespoon of the butter and let it melt. Add the paneer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cheese begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the cheese to a plate or bowl.
  2. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pot along with the cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, chile, and onion. Sauté until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ground cumin.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and yogurt and then add it to the pot, stirring to incorporate.
  4. Add the spinach along with ½ cup water, and salt.
  5. Turn the Instant Pot off by pressing the “cancel” button. Cover the pot with the lid and turn the valve to the sealing position. Select cook on high pressure for 2 minutes.
  6. Once the pressure-cooking cycle is over, turn the pot off and quick release the pressure.
  7. Open the lid carefully and add ½ cup water and then use an immersion blender to blend to a smooth paste.
  8. Select the sauté function and heat the pot again. Stir in the garam masala, lime juice, and the browned paneer and let the mixture simmer for 2 minutes.
  9. Turn the pot off again and stir in the cream.
  10. Serve hot, garnished with additional cream, if desired, with rice, parathas, or rotis.

Notes

1.Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

2. You can freeze Instant Pot Palak Paneer for up to 3 months.



Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 315Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 63mgSodium 899mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 4gSugar 5gProtein 16g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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By on September 28th, 2021

About Robin Donovan


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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