I call this Palak Paneer Mommy's Helper because it is a surefire way to get nutrient-rich spinach into kids without a complaint. The flash-cooking method helps preserve the vitamins, flavor, and rich color of the spinach. Cumin seeds add a subtle earthiness, and the creamy texture of cashews is the perfect replacement for traditional heavy cream, as it seamlessly balances the pureed sauce.
Palak paneer makes a healthy weeknight meal and is ready in 15 minutes with this easy Instant Pot recipe. I love this one-pot recipe to cook the spinach and then use an immersion blender to puree the sauce making cleanup super easy. Serve with steamed rice for a gluten-free meal or with hot parathas for a wholesome vegetarian meal! And if you love quick Instant Pot curries, try my Mushroom Masala and Aloo Gobi recipes for a perfect weeknight meal.
This quick Instant Pot recipe uses my mom's stovetop palak paneer recipe as a base. I stir in cashew cream, in the end, to make the curry rich and creamy. To make homemade cashew cream, simply blend cashews and warm milk (or water) to make a creamy, smooth paste.
NOTE: Heavy cream or unsweetened coconut cream can also be substituted for cashew cream.
What is Paneer
Paneer is fresh, unsalted cheese that is similar to cottage cheese. Paneer is made by curdling milk using lemon juice or vinegar and then separating the whey. All the excess water from the curdled milk solids is pressed out and then shaped to form soft cheese. Paneer is not aged and can be consumed right away. It adds a nice texture to curries, parathas, rice dishes, and desserts. Here is a recipe that shows how to make homemade paneer.
Where can I buy Paneer?
I would recommend Gopi Brand Paneer from Whole Foods, Costco, or Indian grocery stores. When buying Paneer make sure it does not have any additives. Remember milk and an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or vinegar are the only 2 ingredients needed to make paneer.
How to Store Paneer?
Homemade Paneer can be refrigerated for up to a week and can be frozen for extended shelf life. I usually cut the store-bought paneer into cubes and freeze any unused portions right away.
How to make Instant Pot Palak Paneer (step-by-step recipe)
Blend cashews with milk or water to make a smooth puree and reserve. Heat oil in the Instant Pot and add cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, and green chilies, and sauté for a minute. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes or until they become translucent. Add fresh or frozen spinach, water, and salt. Pressure cook for zero minutes if using fresh spinach, or pressure cook for 1 minute if using frozen spinach (photos 1 - 2).
Turn the Instant Pot off, by pressing the keep warm button. Quick release the pressure right away to avoid overcooking the spinach. Add ½ cup of water and carefully blend the spinach using an immersion blender. You may want to tilt the pot a little to avoid splattering (photos 3 - 4).
Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode. Add cashew cream/paste, garam masala, and paneer. Mix and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the curry is just heated through. Take out the inner pot on a hot plate to avoid overcooking (photos 5 - 6).
Enjoy with parathas, roti, or naan. For a gluten-free meal serve with basmati rice, brown rice, or veg biryani. A side cucumber salad or spicy cabbage salad will complete the meal.
How to store Palak Paneer
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days. You can also freeze palak paneer for up to 2 months. To reheat simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat in the microwave.
Tips To Keep Palak Paneer Green and Fresh
I often get questions about how my palak paneer looks vibrant green. Here are a few tips and tricks I always follow:
- Quick-release as soon as the pressure cooking cycle completes.
- Turn off the keep warm button as you do the quick release.
- Turn off the Instant Pot as you puree with the immersion blender. Take the inside pot out on a hot plate while pureeing and tilt the pot slightly to avoid splattering.
- Return the inner pot back to the Instant Pot housing, and add cashew paste, garam masala, and paneer. Cook on sauté for 1 to 2 minutes only or until the gravy comes to a gentle boil.
- Turn off the Instant Pot and take the inner pot out and keep it on a hot plate to avoid overcooking the spinach.
More Indian Recipes Using Spinach
- Spinach Khichri - Healthy one-pot meal cooked with rice, lentils, and lots of creamy spinach spiced with cumin, green chili, and a hint of garam masala.
- Spinach Dal - A staple in Indian homes, these creamy lentils have cumin, turmeric, garlic, and lots of fresh spinach.
- Chana Saag - chickpeas curry with spinach in a tangy onion-tomato sauce perfectly spiced with turmeric, cumin seeds, and garam masala.
- Spinach Sev - Crunchy savory snack made with gluten-free gram flour that is quick to make and utterly delicious as a snack or party starter.
To make an Indian Vegetarian Thali Meal here are my recommended recipes to make with Palak Paneer:
- Dum Aloo - curried baby potatoes in a tomato-based sauce
- Roti - thin rolled whole wheat Indian bread
- Dal & Rice - easy spinach dal with poi in pot rice cooked in the Instant Pot
- Cabbage Curry - quick and easy stir-fried cabbage
- Kothimbir Vadi - spicy cilantro cakes
- Beet Raita - cooling yogurt-based raita with cucumbers and beets
- Mango Shrikhand - dessert is a must with Indian meals and this one needs no cooking
The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook includes many such complete meal ideas for occasions like Indian parties, movie/game nights, or kid's parties!
Did you enjoy this easy recipe? Try these vegetarian Indian Instant Pot recipes.
Instant Pot Palak Paneer
- 15 raw cashews **
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 to 2 teaspoon hot green chili minced
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped fine
- 1 lb spinach baby spinach works the best, or use chopped frozen
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups paneer cubed
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Add cashews to milk and blend together to make a smooth paste. Keep aside. Note: Double up milk and cashews if your blender blades are not low and if the paste does not turn out smooth. Making a larger portion can help with bigger blender jars and you can freeze the extra for next time.
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute mode and heat ghee. Add cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, and green chili. Saute for a minute. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes stirring a few times. Add spinach, salt, and water. Close the Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing.
- For frozen spinach - Pressure cook on (Hi) for 1 minute
- For fresh spinach - Pressure cook on (Hi) for 0 minute
- Quick-release and turn off the Instant Pot
- Serve hot with rice or parathas. For a low carb option serve with caulilfower rice
- Quick-release as soon as the pressure cooking cycle completes
- Turn off the keep warm button as you do the quick release
- Make sure that the Instant Pot is turned off as you are pureeing with the immersion blender. Take the inside pot out on a hot plate while pureeing. As you may need to tilt the pot to avoid splattering
- Return the inner pot back to the Instant Pot housing, and add cashew paste, garam masala, and paneer. Cook on sauté for 1 to 2 minutes only or until the gravy comes to a gentle boil
- Turn off the Instant Pot and take the inner pot out and keep it on a hot plate to avoid overcooking the spinach
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Thanks. You sautéed the onion for only 2 mins. It is way less than normal pan. Do onion get sauté faster in ip?
You don’t need to sauté as much as they soften during pressure cook cycle
Shilpa Batra says
When you say For fresh spinach – Manual(Hi) for 0 min, can you please explain this better, I am new to the instapot.
Press Pressure cook button and adjust down until you see "0". What this means is that the Instant Pot will come to pressure and then stop cooking. You can then quick release and open. Perfect to make a bright green colored palak paneer.
Stacey S says
Made it for dinner. So easy, fast, and so good! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Thank you for the feedback!
You don’t have to fry the panner??
Hi Swathi, I never fry paneer. It stays soft and yummy.
Can almond milk be used, instead of regular milk?
Any substitute for cashews?
Heavy cream or coconut cream works well too.
I put the paneer in boiling (water and milk liquid for 3 minutes or so
This really makes the paneer soft
Thank you for the tip.
Do you have any alternative suggestions if we don’t have an immersion blender?
You can use blender.
I don't have Kosher salt, is table salt ok? If so, how should I measure it?
yes! Add to taste.
Thank you for this! I had tried making palak sauce on the stovetop several times and found it to be a hot, tedious mess. This method is faster and absolutely delicious. It's a comfort food I make for friends who aren't feeling well, and for myself whenever I get the craving--which is often.
Pearl Madabhushi says
Can I freeze the palak curry base without losing the bright green color?
Yes, Thaw in the fridge and do not over heat while reheating. It won't be same color but pretty close
FL Cat says
Made this tonight. Very tasty. I actually for the cream so I added half and half. I actually like it better without it. Can't wait to try it with the cashew milk (didn't have cashews so I didn't do that part). I think the cashew milk will be the perfect touch.
Bijal james says
Made this today. So quick and so yummy. I used coconut milk instead of cashew cream. Amazing recipe. Thanks Archana.
Pooja Khirasaria says
Have been making Palak Paneer, but this recipe just helped me make it even better. I was frying the paneer but without frying it was delicious. Also, did not use instant post and still came out so good.
Nandini Bhartiya says
Great recipe !! Can’t wait to try more 🙂
Salima Ali says
The recipe is absolutely delicious! I did need to add more salt at the end to adjust the taste! Other than that it was great! Thank you.
The best ever
Teenage son loved it too.. ur an awesome cook
Loved it.. had many so many versions before which called for several spices, addition of tomatoes..
Was skeptical if this will turn out good, given how easy it was...but definitely the best tasting palak paneer I have tried...
I love to bring out the flavors of the main ingredient!
Anvita Patil says
Just so WOW and such a great recipe after a busy work and school day! Thank you so much and I am a big fan!
Thank you Anvita!
How could I modify this recipe to make without an instant pot?
You can use my stove recipe - https://ministryofcurry.com/palak-paneer/ for guidelines.
Love how quick easy and simple to follow this recipe is and was enjoyed equally by my picky eating teen niece and husband. Thank you
So glad that your niece and husband enjoyed it too!