Palak paneer is a classic vegetarian dish from north India, made with fresh spinach and cheese, seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic and garam masala.
Palak paneer makes a healthy weeknight meal and is ready in 15 minutes with this easy Instant Pot recipe! No boiling hot water or using your food processor to puree the spinach. Cook it all in one pot and let the immersion blender do its magic. Serve with steamed rice or hot parathas for a wholesome vegetarian meal!
What is Paneer?
Fresh, unsalted cheese that is similar to cottage cheese. Paneer is made by curdling milk using lemon juice or vinegar and then separating the why. All the excess water from the curdled milk solids are 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. Check out my homemade paneer recipe.
How to Store Paneer?
Homemade Paneer can be refrigerated up to a week and can be frozen for extended shelf life. If buying paneer from a store, I usually cut it into cubes and freeze any unused portions right away.
Where can I buy Paneer?
I would recommend Gopi Brand Paneer from whole foods 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.
So, I have been making this stove top recipe for years now. It is my mom’s healthy recipe, without any cream, cooked with homemade ghee and paneer! I have changed the original stovetop recipe a bit here to make it more creamy using cashews soaked in warm milk. Make sure to puree the cashews to a smooth creamy paste for a creamy luscious curry. Heavy cream or unsweetened coconut cream can also be added in the end to make the dish more creamy and mild.
Step by step Palak Paneer Recipe:
- Blend cashews with milk or water to make a very smooth puree and reserve. Heat oil in the Instant Pot and add cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, green chilies and saute for a minute. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes or they start to become translucent. Add fresh or frozen spinach, water and salt and pressure cook for zero minutes (fresh spinach) or 1 minute (frozen spinach) (photos 1 – 2).
- Press the keep warm button and quick release the pressure right away to avoid overcooking of the spinach. Add 1/2 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 sauce comes to a gentle boil. Take out the inner pot on a hot plate to avoid overcooking. Enjoy with parathas, naan or steamed rice (photos 5 – 6)!
PRO tips to keep the palak paneer looking green and fresh:
- 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 puree 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, 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.
Here is a quick video for this EASY Palak Paneer Instant Pot recipe:
If you enjoyed this Palak Paneer recipe, check out these EASY and delicious vegetarian Instant Pot curries:
- Aloo Gobhi – Spiced Cauliflower and Potato curry
- Dum Aloo – Baby potatoes cooked in creamy tomato cashew sauce
- Chana Saag – Chickpeas with fresh spinach
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- 1 LB spinach fresh or frozen, chopped
- 2 cups paneer cubed
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion chopped fine
- 1-2 tsp hot green chili minced
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp ginger minced
- 15 cashews
- 4 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp garam masala
- Salt to taste or 1 tsp
- Add cashews to milk and blend together to make a smooth paste. Keep aside.
- Turn IP to saute mode. Once the hot sign displays add ghee. Add cumin seeds, ginger, garlic and green chili. Saute for a min. Add onions and cook for 2 mins stirring a few times. Add chopped spinach, salt and 1 cup of water. Close IP with pressure valve to sealing.
- For frozen spinach - manual(Hi) for 1 min
- For fresh spinach - Manual(Hi) for 0 min
- Quick release. Turn IP to Saute(Less), this will stop the spinach puree from splattering all over.
- Add ½ cup of water(optional) and blend to make smooth paste using immersion blender. Add cashew paste, garam masala and paneer. Gently stir everything together. Serve hot with rice or parathas.
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Hey there! I am a techie turned recipe developer, cooking instructor, and food blogger. I love food and enjoy developing easy and healthy recipes for busy lifestyles. I live New Jersey with my husband and two sons.