Paneer Butter Masala (Paneer Makhani in the Instant Pot)

paneer curry over rice in a plate

Soft cubes of Indian cottage cheese in a finger-licking’ nutty-buttery sauce!




  1. Turn your instant pot to saute and add half the butter.
  2. As soon as the butter melts, slide in the onions, tomatoes, cashews, ginger and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes only.
  3. Add the powdered spices and salt. Add 1/4 cup water if the masala gets too dry and cook for 2 minutes. Cancel saute.
  4. Secure the lid, make sure the steam release handle is sealed, press the pressure cooking button (high) and set the timer for 4 minutes. Release steam after 10 minutes.
  5. Open the cooker and puree the cooked masala using an immersion blender. It doesn’t matter if the masala is hot, immersion blenders can handle the heat.
  6. Press saute again and add the remaining butter, sugar and cream. Cook on normal heat for 10 minutes. Cover with a glass lid if the sauce splatters too much. The sauce will get darker and shinier as you cook it. This is an indication that it’s done. Cancel the saute mode.
  7. Add the cubed paneer and mix well. Garnish with the green leaves of your choice and serve with naan bread or rice.

Pot in Pot Rice

  1. Just before pressure cooking the masala in step 4 above, wash and soak one cup Basmati rice in one and a quarter cup water in a steel container that will fit inside the instant pot inner liner.
  2. Place the trivet that came along with your cooker in the inner liner. Position the steel container with the rice and water on top of this trivet. Now pressure cook normally (step 4).
  3. When you open the pot, both the paneer butter masala and the rice will be cooked. All you need to do is remove the trivet with the rice on it and follow the rest of the directions from step 5.


  1. Kashmiri chilli powder is a mild variety of red chilli that has a very pleasing natural red color. If you don’t have it, use normal chilli but don’t omit the paprika for color.
  2. Garam Masala is available in Indian stores but you can make your own too. Grind together 2 black cardamom (seeds only, outer skin removed), 5 green cardamom, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 bay leaf and 10 cloves. Use as required and store the rest in a small jar.


Keywords: paneer butter masala, Indian cottage cheese curry, paneer makhani