Learn how to make my delicious palak paneer Instant Pot recipe! This popular north Indian vegetarian dinner is absolutely perfect and so easy to make in the Instant Pot. Get my secret ingredient to make the best Instant Pot palak paneer, learn the difference between palak paneer vs saag paneer, and more. This spinach paneer Instant Pot recipe is low carb, keto, gluten free, and vegetarian.
What is palak paneer? Authentic palak paneer is a dish of Indian cottage cheese and spinach from North Indian cuisine. You may have had this Indian curry at your favorite Indian restaurant or as a frozen microwave meal.
If you haven’t tried homemade palak paneer, though, I think you’re really missing out. The flavor of this palak paneer pressure cooker recipe is out of this world. You might just want to skip the takeout after you try this pretty and veggie-filled dish.
I am a huge fan of using the Instant Pot for Indian cooking. It streamlines the cooking process and makes life so much easier. This palak paneer in Instant Pot is totally a game changer.
By the way, did you know that this recipe could also be called Instant Pot saag paneer? However, not all saag paneer Instant Pot recipes can also be called palak paneer. (Learn why in the FAQs below!)
You don’t just get recipes and nutrition info here. I’m also dishing up some fun food facts today so you’ll win at trivia night. Hahaha
- ⭐ Instant Pot Palak Paneer Benefits
- 🥘 Instant Pot Palak Paneer Ingredients
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make Palak Paneer (Instant Pot)
- ️⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
- 🌡️ How to Store Palak Paneer
- 🥣 What to Serve with Palak Paneer
- 📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Instant Pot Recipes
- 👩🏾🍳 More Indian Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
⭐ Instant Pot Palak Paneer Benefits
Why make Instant Pot palak paneer? There are so many advantages to this delicious Indian Instant Pot recipe! Here’s a few for you:
- Helps the family eat more veggies: If you have cheese-loving kids, this easy palak paneer recipe might be a good way to increase their vegetable intake. My son likes this veggie-packed dish!
- Easy palak paneer: You only need one pot (the Instant Pot!) to make palak paneer. We’re doing everything in it, from making homemade paneer, to blanching spinach, to heating the palak paneer. This makes the cleanup super easy!
- Healthy palak paneer: Is palak paneer healthy? Yes, cheese is rather high in saturated fat, but overall, I would consider palak paneer a nutritious dish. You’re getting a lot of healthy whole foods here, lots of veggies, and the bone-building nutrients in paneer.
- Simple ingredients: Unlike some Indian recipes, the ingredients in palak paneer can mostly be found in regular U.S. grocery stores. (Note: you will probably have to order my secret ingredient online to make the BEST palak paneer ever. IMVHO the trouble is well worth it.)
- Vitamins and minerals: I alluded to this earlier but palak paneer is loaded with health-promoting nutrients. Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C... oh, and don’t forget the fiber!
- Special diet friendly: Palak paneer fits many special diets, including low carb, keto, gluten free, and vegetarian. (I’ve even got tips to make Instant Pot palak paneer vegan below!)
- DELICIOUS: This has seriously got to be one of the tastiest ways to eat a bunch of spinach. If you’ve got a picky eater that dislikes salads, see if they’ll eat their greens in palak paneer instead. So much yum here!
🥘 Instant Pot Palak Paneer Ingredients
What do you need to make palak paneer in the Instant Pot? Here’s the round up:
- Instant Pot Paneer
- Fresh baby spinach
- Diced tomato
- Garlic cloves
- Fresh grated ginger
- Finely chopped jalapeno
- Ghee (clarified butter)
- Diced onion
- Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- Garam masala
- Dried coriander
- Heavy cream
- Fresh lemon
- Fresh chopped parsley (optional garnish)
- Cooked basmati rice (optional, for serving)
Don’t let the long list keep you away- many of these ingredients are easily found in most major supermarkets. (Find specific quantities of all ingredients in the recipe card at the end of the post.)
Methi (AKA dried fenugreek leaves) is my secret ingredient to make Indian food taste AMAZING. If you’ve never cooked with methi, you are in for a treat! Find it at Indian grocery stores or on Amazon, but don’t skip it!
Garam masala is similar to curry powder but without the turmeric. The garam masala blend I use contains cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, black pepper, and coriander. Some blends will use a slightly different combination of spices, which will, of course, impact the flavor of this dish.
Here's the kitchen equipment you need to make palak paneer in an Instant Pot:
- Instant Pot
- Wooden spoon
- Food processor
I use a Crock-Pot Express 6-Quart Pressure Cooker to develop my Instant Pot recipes. Other Instant Pots, such as the Ninja Foodi, should work with this recipe too. If your pressure cooker is small, you may need to blanch the spinach in batches.
Don’t use metal utensils with the Instant Pot. A wooden spoon is less likely to scrape up the pot.
You can use an immersion blender or food processor to blend the palak paneer sauce. I prefer to use a food processor because an immersion blender may scratch the Instant Pot if you’re not careful.
🔪 How to Make Palak Paneer (Instant Pot)
Let’s do this thing! If you’re making palak paneer entirely from scratch, make the Instant Pot Paneer first. It will need time to chill so it can be cut into neat cubes.
Next, fill the Instant Pot about halfway with water. Put the pot on high sauté and allow it to come to a boil. It will take 10-15 minutes.
Put the baby spinach in the boiling water and let it blanch for 2-3 minutes. Quickly drain the spinach in a colander, plunge the spinach in cold water, then drain again. This stops the cooking process quickly so the spinach retains its vibrant green color.
Put the spinach, chopped tomato, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, water, methi, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt, and cream in a food processor. Blend until you get a smooth gravy. You may need to stop the food processor to scrape down the sides with a spatula if ingredients are sticking.
Next, chop the onion into ⅛-inch dice (0.3 cm). Put the ghee and the onion into the Instant Pot on high sauté.
Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. It will take 10-12 minutes. Now add the blended sauce into the pot.
️⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long do you cook palak paneer in the Instant Pot? Heat palak paneer for 2-3 minutes on the “high sauté” setting of the Instant Pot. Stir it constantly to heat, gently stirring in the paneer cubes at the end of the cooking time.
If too much water is evaporating from the sauce, you can stir in an additional ¼ cup water. Serve the palak paneer with rice and lemon wedges, and garnish with parsley (if desired). Enjoy!
You might have noticed that we pressure cooked the paneer but not the sauce. Pressure cooking turns the spinach a dull color and takes longer. (The pressure cooker needs time to build pressure in addition to cooking time.)
Because we aren’t pressure cooking the sauce, you could also make it on the stovetop. I’ve made this palak paneer in a skillet and it turned out wonderfully.
🌡️ How to Store Palak Paneer
Keep leftover palak paneer in an airtight container. You can keep palak paneer in the fridge for up to 3-4 days or freeze it for longer storage. If serving with rice, freeze or refrigerate the rice separately from the palak paneer.
Let frozen palak paneer thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave. You can reheat individual servings of palak paneer in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Heat it in a microwave-safe bowl, and cover it with a paper towel to prevent splatters.
🥣 What to Serve with Palak Paneer
What side dishes go with palak paneer made in an Instant Pot? In general, palak paneer is served with rice or Indian bread. Here are some foods that go with palak paneer:
- Basmati rice or Jasmine rice (white rice or brown rice varieties)
- Cauliflower rice (to keep it low carb)
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One serving of Instant Pot palak paneer has 419 calories, 10.8 grams net carbs, and 16.4 grams protein. This information does not include any rice or other side dishes you choose to add.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). After adding the rice (or naan bread), Instant Pot paneer makes a nice moderate calorie meal. Compared to restaurant-style palak paneer, this recipe is significantly less oily. With all of the fat from the delicious cheese, though, this is far from a low-fat dish.
One way you could reduce the fat and calories is to use skim milk to make the paneer. Another way to make low calorie palak paneer is to skip the rice or bread. Make it a low carb palak paneer with cauliflower rice instead.
To add more energy to the meal (higher calorie palak paneer), add a condiment. One family member sweetened his dish up with a little mango-ginger chutney, which he said was a nice touch. You could also add some yogurt-based raita, which would add more protein.
Speaking of protein, this vegetarian palak paneer is on the low end for protein. To make your meal more filling, consider adding more protein. You could add yogurt, as suggested above, or add a glass of milk on the side.
You could also add more paneer to this recipe. Palak paneer is pretty flexible and can be customized to your needs and tastes.
Saag paneer refers to a dish of leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc.) and cheese. Meanwhile, palak paneer means specifically that the dish is spinach and cheese (NOT other greens). All palak paneer is saag paneer but not all saag paneer is palak paneer.
Yes, you can make this recipe with defrosted frozen spinach instead. However, the color and flavor will not be as good as when you use fresh spinach. I originally made this a palak paneer with frozen spinach recipe, but modified it because I liked the fresh version better.
With a few simple substitutions you can have palak paneer that is vegan. Use extra-firm tofu instead of paneer, cashew cream instead of whipping cream, and vegan butter instead of ghee.
Yes, this is a keto Instant Pot palak paneer with only 10.8g net carbs per serving. To keep this palak paneer low carb, serve it with riced cauliflower instead of regular rice or bread.
Maintaining the intake of excess calories relative to your needs leads to weight gain, not a specific magical food. That said, if you tend to overeat delicious, cheese-packed palak paneer, it could potentially help with gaining weight. (You could also choose never to eat palak paneer and gain weight with different foods.)
👩🏻🍳 Other Instant Pot Recipes
Looking for more things to cook in the Instant Pot? Try one of these recipes for the Instant Pot next:
- Instant Pot Yogurt
- Instant Pot Grape Leaves (Dolmas)
- Turkey Wild Rice Soup (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)
- Pressure Cooker French Fries
👩🏾🍳 More Indian Recipes
Love Indian cuisine? Here are some more recipes for Indian food for you:
Also, you might want to check out this Indian Instant Pot Cookbook!
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Palak Paneer Instant Pot Recipe
- 6-8 ounces Instant Pot paneer (170-227 grams; I used 6 ounces)
- 12 ounces baby spinach (340 grams)
- 8 ounces fresh tomato, chopped (227 grams)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½-1 jalapeno, seeded, finely chopped (or keep the seeds for more heat)
- ¼ cup water
- ½ tablespoon methi
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- salt, to taste
- 3 tablespoons cream
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 6 ounces onion (170 grams; 1 medium onion)
- parsley, finely chopped (optional for garnish)
- 1 fresh lemon, cut into wedges (optional for serving)
- cooked rice, roti, paratha, or naan bread (for serving)
- Fill the Instant Pot about halfway with water. Put the pot on high sauté and allow it to come to a boil. It will take 10-15 minutes.
- Put the baby spinach in the boiling water and let it blanch for 2-3 minutes. Quickly drain the spinach in a colander, plunge the spinach in cold water, then drain again. This stops the cooking process quickly so the spinach retains its vibrant green color.
- Put the spinach, chopped tomato, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, water, methi, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt, and cream in a food processor. Blend until smooth. You may need to stop the food processor to scrape down the sides with a spatula if ingredients are sticking.
- Chop the onion into ⅛-inch dice (0.3 cm). Put the ghee and the onion into the Instant Pot on high sauté. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. It will take 10-12 minutes.
- Now add the blended spinach mixture into the Instant Pot. Heat it for 2-3 minutes on the “high sauté” setting of the Instant Pot, stirring constantly (add a little water if it's getting too dry). Gently stir in the paneer cubes at the end of the cooking time.
- Serve the palak paneer with rice or bread and lemon wedges, and garnish with parsley (if desired). Enjoy!