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Paneer Butter Masala (Instant Pot)

January 4, 2017

Here is a question I get asked a lot. What is the difference between Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala? They both taste similar so why the different names? As the name suggests, Butter Chicken is made with a LOT of butter. It is a popular dish from the state of Punjab in India. Chicken Tikka Masala is not made with butter. It is made with a lot of spices, cream and originated in the UK.  While they both taste great, I am more partial to Butter Chicken. I can make it quicker than Tikka Masala and it tastes just as good.

I decided to make Paneer Butter Masala instead of chicken. Why? I had paneer in the freezer and didn’t feel like going out to buy chicken. I also tried it in the Instant Pot. I decided to make it in my Instant Pot. If you do not have an Instant Pot, it is the best thing to have for cooking. You can purchase it here. The results were phenomenal. I got a full bodied sauce in less time than it would take to make it over the stove. Here is how I made it:

Add chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, garlic cloves, ginger, butter, raw cashews, kashmiri red chili powder, fenugreek leaves, turmeric powder, honey, salt and a mixture of milk and water to the Instant Pot. Don’t worry about how you chop the ingredients since we are going to blend it later.


Now create a spice pouch with cinnamon sticks, green cardamom, black cardamom, black peppercorns, cloves, and star anise using a cheesecloth. This is important so that the whole spices don’t get mixed in when we blend the sauce. Add that to the pot.

Set it to manual high pressure for 15 minutes.

After that is complete, let the pressure release naturally. Make sure there is no pressure left in your pot. Open it and retrieve the spice pouch.

Purée the contents of your pot with either an immersion blender or a regular blender. I used my vitamix.

Add it back to the pot. Set your pot to sauté. Once it gets warm, add your paneer.

Once your paneer is warmed through, serve with naan, rice or both.

Paneer Butter Masala (Instant Pot)

Print Recipe
Serves: 8 Cooking Time: 45


  • 1 lb paneer, cut in cubes
  • 2 lbs beefsteak tomatoes, chopped into big pieces
  • 1 lb onions, chopped into big pieces
  • 12 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 1 stick of butter (8 tbs), cubed
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tbs kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbs fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 4 tbs honey
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp green cardamom pods
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 tbs heavy cream
  • 1 tsp fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)



Add all gravy ingredients to the Instant Pot (or electric pressure cooker). If you do not have Kashmiri red chili powder, you can use paprika. You can omit fenugreek leaves but it will taste better with.


Add all spice pouch ingredients to a cheesecloth. Tie it up so that nothing falls out. Add it to your pot.


Close your Instant Pot and set it to manual pressure for 15 minutes.


Once the pressure is complete, let the pressure release naturally. Do not vent.


Wait until all the pressure has been released then open the pot and remove the spice pouch.


Use an immersion blender or a regular blender to purée the contents to a smooth creamy sauce.


If using a regular blender, bring it back to the pot and set it to sauté.


Once it is hot, add your paneer.


Heat until the paneer is heated through.


Garnish with heavy cream and fenugreek leaves.


*If you have a nut allergy, substitute 1/4 cup of cream for the cashews after you blend the ingredients.


  1. Very nice SM. You should see about getting some royalties from Apple for all the appearances the Watch made in these pics.

  2. I’ve made it earlier with quantities like 1 onion and 3 tomatoes for a 1 lb paneer ratio. It was delicious!This time I tried to follow your recipe to the T but I’m getting 10 tomatoes after weighing them on a scale. I’m not sure if all the ingredients will fit in to my 64 oz Vitamix jar- but I see in your picture that you’ve used the same jar. Could you share the approx number of tomatoes and onions you used a thinking maybe my kitchen scale is playing tricks). Thanks so much!

    1. I used about 10 Roma tomatoes and 2 medium sized red onions. I think I need to go back and specify that I used Roma tomatoes. They have less liquid. If your using regular tomatoes I would use 3-4 big ones. But if it came out perfect the first time around, I would stick to. that.

  3. If I wanted to add bell peppers with paneer to this gravy, when should I add the peppers to make sure they cook but dont get blended?

  4. Amazing recipe! I made it on two back to back evenings for dinner guests. Each time around, we barely had any leftovers and tons of compliments! Thanks!

  5. Tried this based on a recommendation and came out very well. I used a coffee filter as a cheesecloth for the spice pouch and it worked great. Tasted delicious with naan. Thanks!

  6. Is there an alternative ingredient for cashew? I usually give leftovers for kids school and it’s a nut free facility. Thanks!

  7. Tried it out yesterday and it came out really good and the process was really easy. Only thing was I didn’t have the cream. But it was still tasty.

  8. Hi! Can I prepare the same recipe omitting garlic? Also, if I need to prepare double the quantity, would I need to change the time on manual mode?

      1. Can we double this recipe in 6wt IP and would that be sufficient for a group of 25 people. And I made it once loved the taste of it 🙂

  9. I made this using your recipe. The best paneer butter masala I ever had. Better than restaurant one. The best part is, it hardly took any effort from my side. LOVED IT!!!

  10. I made this using your recipe. The best paneer butter masala I ever had. Better than restaurant one. The best part is, it hardly took any effort from my side. LOVED IT!!!

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About Me

I am a software test manager by day and a wife, mom and cook by night. Cooking is my hobby. I don't eat to live, I live to eat.

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