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Instant Pot Palak Paneer

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Palak Paneer is a popular North Indian dish made with paneer cheese (an Indian fresh farmer’s cheese) and simmered in a rich flavorful sauce of spinach and aromatic spices. This simple instant pot version is a delicious meatless meal the whole family will love.

bowl of palak paneer next to instant pot

Palak is a fresh cheese that is similar to cottage cheese. The excess water is then pressed out and the cheese is shaped to form a soft cheese that you can easily cube. You can find it in your local Indian grocer, and you can also find it at Whole Foods and Costco. 

Palak Paneer is a great comforting meal that uses this fresh non-melting cheese and smothers it with a vibrant and flavorful spinach sauce. It can also be called “saag paneer”, although technically that recipe is made with a variety of different kinds of dark leafy greens, and for Palak Paneer we are just using spinach.

This Instant Pot recipe  is a full flavor (but not intense) dish that is perfect for weeknight meals. It’s easy, it’s quick, it has a beautiful vibrant green color, and it’s packed with flavor and nutrients that parents and kids alike can love. And the cubed cheese becomes soft and creamy! Its seriously dreamy!

What more can you ask for?

Other kid friendly Indian recipes:

overhead view of bowl of palak paneer with cream and onions on top, flatbread beside

Tools Needed:

To make this recipe you need two main tools, beyond your ordinary measuring cups and things.

  • Instant Pot. I used a 6 quart for this.
  • Immersion Blender to blend the sauce.

Ingredients needed

This recipe is great because you don’t need a large assortment of ingredients. Here is what you need:

  • Spinach – I like to use fresh baby spinach but you can also use the bigger leaves. Frozen spinach works in a pinch, but I find it adds too much extra liquid to the recipe.
  • Paneer – You can find this at your Indian grocery, but I have also found it at Whole Foods, Costco, and well stocked grocery stores in their refrigerated sections. You can also make your own homemade paneer. Cut it into cubes before cooking.
  • Butter
  • Spices – You need both cumin seeds (affiliate link) and ground cumin, garam masala (affiliate link), and ginger and garlic.
  • Green Chilies – I like to use a small can of the mild diced green chilies (the ones you find in the Mexican section of your grocery store) because these are perfectly kid friendly. You only need 1 teaspoon, so save the rest in the freezer!)
  • Onion – Use a white onion, minced small
  • Salt – any kind you have on hand
  • Yogurt – A plain, unsweetened whole milk yogurt works best.
  • Flour – to help thicken the sauce. All purpose is perfect! 
  • Lime juice – to help brighten the flavors. Use one from a fresh lime, not the jarred stuff. 
  • Heavy Cream to add on top.
palak paneer with onions in pink bowl

How to make this recipe

For the full set of directions, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below:

  1. Set the instant pot on the SAUTE function and let it heat up. Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter.
  2. Add in cubed paneer and sauté it for 2 minutes or until it turns light golden brown. Take it out and set it aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of butter in the same pot and add cumin seeds (affiliate link) along with chopped ginger, garlic, green chilies, and onions. Sauté until the onion changes color to light brown then add cumin powder.
  4. Next mix all-purpose flour in yogurt and add it into the onion mixture. Mix well.
  5. Add spinach along with ½ cup water and salt.
  6. CANCEL the SAUTE button.
  7. Close the lid and pressure valve. Select the PRESSURE COOK button on HIGH PRESSURE and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Once the pressure-cooking cycle is over, quick release the pressure by manually moving the valve from SEALING to VENTING position. (BE CAREFUL! ITS HOT!)
  9. Open the lid carefully.
  10. Add remaining ½ cup water and blend into a smooth paste using an immersion blender. I find this easiest to do if you carefully remove the pot insert and place it on a hot pad on the counter. Then tilt the pot to one side (please use an oven mitt!) and place the immersion blender in the sauce.
  11. Select the SAUTE button.
  12. Add garam masala (affiliate link), lime juice, and paneer cubes and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
  13. Finally add fresh cream, mix it and CANCEL the SAUTE button.
  14. Garnish with cream and serve hot with Rice and/or flatbread.
steps to make palak paneer

Recipe Tips

Use these tips to help keep your palak paneer as vibrant green and flavorful as you can:

  • Use the quick release valve as soon as the pressure cooking cycle completes to prevent the sauce from cooking too much.
  • Turn the Instant pot off while you puree the sauce with the immersion blender.

How to serve this to your family

Serve this with homemade rice – I suggest Jeera Rice if you are looking for something beyond plain white rice. You can also serve it with homemade naan!

Storing Leftovers

Leftovers can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. You can also freeze it for up to 2 months. 

Reheat leftovers in the microwave until warm.

spoon with paneer and green spinach curry sauce

How to make this kid friendly 

YES! Palak Paneer can be kid friendly!  This meal is flavorful but isn’t intense. It has pleasing soft and creamy textures, and a beautiful color. Serving it with already  kid-friendly flatbread and rice and offering some fruit on the side make this an easy win.

Dinner conversations with kids

Try these dinner conversation starters when you serve this:

  • What do you think of this cheese? What does it remind you of? 
  • How else do you think this cheese would be good?
  • What other food is as colorful as this?
  • What else could we serve with this meal to add different colors

Read more about how to explore the sense of taste with your kids.

Interested in adding more Indian inspired recipes into your family’s repertoire? Try out my Indian Foodie Family Passport Kit!

palak paneer in bowl with cream and onions

Try these other easy Instant Pot recipes:

Food tastes better when its shared! If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and rate below!

Yield: 4 servings

Instant Pot Palak Paneer Recipe

overhead view of bowl of palak paneer with cream and onions on top, flatbread beside

Palak Paneer is a popular North Indian dish made with paneer cheese (an Indian fresh farmer’s cheese) and simmered in a rich flavorful sauce of spinach and aromatic spices. This simple instant pot version is a delicious meatless meal the whole family will love.

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

Ingredients

  • 1 lb spinach washed and cleaned
  • 2 cups paneer, cubed
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon green chilies, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Set the instant pot on the SAUTE function and allow it heat up.
  2. Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the pot.
  3. Add in the cubed paneer and sauté it for 2 minutes or until it turns light golden brown, turning occasionally. Take it out and set it aside.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of butter in the same pot and add cumin seeds, chopped ginger, garlic, green chilies, and onions. Sauté until the onion changes color to light brown then add cumin powder.
  5. Next mix together the flour and yogurt and add it into the onion mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Add the spinach along with ½ cup water and salt.
  7. CANCEL the SAUTE button.
  8. Close the lid and pressure valve. Select the PRESSURE COOK button on HIGH PRESSURE and cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Once the pressure-cooking cycle is over, turn off the Instant Pot. Quick release the pressure by manually moving the valve from SEALING to VENTING position. Be careful, the steam is very hot!
  10. Open the lid carefully.
  11. Add the remaining ½ cup water and blend into a smooth paste using an immersion blender.
  12. Select the SAUTE button.
  13. Add the garam masala, lime juice, and paneer cubes and let it simmer for just 2 minutes.
  14. Finally add fresh cream, mix it in, and CANCEL the SAUTE button.
  15. Serve and garnish with cream.

Notes

You can store the PALAK PANEER in an airtight container for 4 days in the refrigerator or around 3 months in the freezer.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 436Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 1119mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 7gSugar: 5gProtein: 20g

Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements.

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