Authentic Saag Paneer Recipe
This Saag Paneer Recipe is based on a classic Indian dish featuring tender paneer cheese immersed in a creamy fresh spinach sauce infused with aromatic spices! Serve with naan or rice for a full meal that is ready in just 15 minutes!
Why We Love This Saag Paneer Recipe
There are so many reasons to love homemade saag paneer. A healthy vegetarian favorite, this creamy, spiced, spinach curry is commonly enjoyed in Indian cuisine.
This creamy Saag Paneer Recipe is great as a meal or a featured component of one. If you are a spinach lover like me, you will certainly want to add Creamy Saag Paneer to your recipe files.
It is a quick and easy meal served over rice or with a side of naan. Our quick and easy Saag Paneer Recipe, like any classic dish, can vary from kitchen to kitchen. Differing greens, spices, and ingredients are part of its charm.
What is Saag Paneer?
“Saag” refers to the spiced aromatic greens, most often spinach. Paneer is a mild fresh cheese made from whole cow’s milk; it’s like Indian cottage cheese.
Paneer is easy to make yourself, and can also be found in grocery stores and Asian markets. I like to marinate the paneer in coconut oil, turmeric, and salt to give it a stunning golden color and a delicious boost of flavor.
Saag paneer tastes of pure comfort. It is soft in texture and loaded with flavor, with the added texture of the mild cheese! Make it spicy by adding extra chillies or more cayenne pepper!
Ingredients You Need
- Spinach – fresh spinach works great or your favorite leafy greens
- Garlic and Ginger – both add aroma and flavor
- Serrano Chili – for a bit of spice
- Spices – Garam Masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt
- Ghee – substitute with butter
- Coconut Milk – canned coconut cream
- Coconut Oil
- Paneer – buy it at the store or make it at home
How to Make Saag Paneer
In a small bowl, toss paneer cubs, coconut oil, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and half the salt. Marinate while preparing the vegetables.
Chop, grate, and/or cut up all vegetables. If serving over rice, prepare the rice per package instructions.
Let a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry and toast one side of the paneer cubes, remove them from the pan, and set aside.
Place the onions in the same skillet and sauté the onions in ghee for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and serrano chile. Sauté for 2 more minutes.
Stir in the spices, remaining salt, spinach, 1/2 cup of water, and simmer for about 5 minutes until the water is evaporated and spinach is tender.
Stir in the coconut milk and lemon juice. Finally, return the paneer to the pan to warm.
Serve over basmati rice or with naan. Garnish with tomatoes, green onion, and Serrano chilies if you like!
Get the Full Printable Spinach Curry Recipe + Video Below!
Indian-inspired creamy saag paneer can be served as a meal with rice or naan, or you can serve it with additional Indian-inspired dishes to have a full spread! Here are some of my personal favorites:
- Basmati Rice
- Saffron Rice
- Naan Bread
- Low-carb Cauliflower Rice
- Broccoli Rice
- Aromatic Indian Rice
- Tandoori Chicken Skewers
- Chicken Madras Curry
- Instant Pot Butter Curry Chicken
Tips & Tricks
- The fresher your ingredients, the better the flavor! I prefer to use fresh spinach as opposed to frozen spinach for this reason. If you are going to use frozen spinach, make sure to thaw and drain it first.
- Don’t use expired spices! It is also important to use fresh spices for maximum flavor. Check the expiration dates on your spices before using them!
- Use a food processor! To finely chop the spinach, the food processor is the most effective. If you don’t have one, you can chop the spinach by hand!
- Garnish your saag paneer with tomatoes, green onions, and extra serrano chili for spice!
Frequently Asked Questions
Definitely! Follow the instruction to sear the cheese cubes and aromatic vegetables on the stovetop first, and then place all of the ingredients in the slow cooker on low for 2-3 hours or on high for 1-2 hours!
Honestly, that is up to you! It depends on how much Serrano chili you use. You can add just half of a chili when cooking, and then the people who like really spicy saag panner can add some fresh chili to their own portion!
Technically, no. You can throw in the cubed paneer at the end of the cooking process to warm it up, but the marinating and searing adds a lot of flavor! I don’t recommend skipping it!
You might have heard of palak paneer but don’t know the difference between palak paneer and saag paneer! They are quite similar, but saag paneer can be made with a mixture of leafy greens like spinach, mustard greens, and fenugreek leaves. Whereas palak paneer is made strictly with spinach!
A good substitute for paneer would be tofu, since it has a similar texture and light flavor! I have never made this recipe with tofu, but it would be a great option for a vegan saag paneer.
More Comforting Recipes to Try
- Paneer Tikka Masala
- Chicken Souvlaki
- Chickpea Curry Recipe
- Thai Green Chicken Curry
- Classic Thai Fried Rice
Creamy Saag Paneer Recipe
- 1 pound fresh spinach leaves finely chopped (a food processor works great for this)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger root
- 1 serrano chili, diced
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided in half
- 1-2 pinches cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoon ghee, or butter
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted or fractionated
- 12 ounces paneer, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- In a small bowl, toss paneer cubes, coconut oil, turmeric, cayenne pepper and half the salt. Marinate while preparing vegetables.
- Chop, grate, and/or cut up all vegetables. If serving over rice, prepare as per instructions.
- Set a large skillet over medium heat. Toast one side of the paneer cubes, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Place the onions in the same skillet and sauté onions in ghee for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and serrano chili. Sauté 2 moreminutes.
- Stir in the spices, remaining salt, spinach, 1/2 cup of water, and simmer for about 5 minutes until the water is evaporated and spinach is tender.
- Stir in coconut milk and lemon juice. Finally return the paneer to the pan to warm.
- Serve over basmati rice or with naan. Garnish with tomatoes, green onion and serrano chilies if you like.