Instant Pot Palak Paneer


Palak paneer that takes minutes to make!

I am sharing the EASIEST palak paneer recipe with you guys – and it is perfection. It’s delicious, tastes like the real deal, and is literally a dump and go recipe.

How is this possible? Two words:

Onion Masala

Yup! It’s all thanks to my handy dandy pre-made onion masala! I tell you, onion masala is magic. It’s the answer to eating homemade Indian food on busy weeknights. It’s how you can whip up a meal for guests at the very last minute. Onion masala can basically work food miracles.

If you haven’t heard about this stuff, then I’m guessing you’re a new reader – if so, read all about onion masala here. I share recipes here on the blog that call for exact amounts of onion masala, which you can make in bulk in advance. You can check out some of my onion masala recipes here.

I think most of the comments, emails, and DMs I get these days are about how this masala is changing your lives, lol (seriously). It really is a game-changer. Since having my second little dude, the only Indian food I make these days is with my previously frozen pucks of masala. No time or energy to cook down onions and tomatoes daily… besides, who wants to do that anyway, right?

What is Palak Paneer?

Palak paneer is a popular north Indian dish that you’ll find on every Indian restaurant’s menu. Palak means spinach, and Paneer means cheese. Paneer is typically called “Indian cottage cheese” and is also known as “farmer’s cheese” in the US. You can definitely make your own paneer at home (I know, I know. I need to share a recipe for that), but I almost always buy store-bought paneer. It’s just a lot more convenient – my Costco sells 2 huge packs of Gopi Paneer for a great price – I usually freeze one pack as soon as I buy it, and it lasts for a long time.

Palak Paneer vs Saag

Palak paneer is similar to saag, so if you’re a fan of my instant pot saag recipe, then you will love this one too! There are differences between these two recipes.

Saag can be made with any greens/a mix of greens, whereas this is a “palak saag” – made with just spinach (palak means spinach). Also, in my Punjabi saag recipe, I don’t use any tomatoes. For this palak saag, I’m using my onion masala, which has tomatoes.

Both are great in their own way – so if you try them both, you’ll have to let me know what you think!

Instant Pot Palak Paneer

Instant Pot Palak Paneer

4.97 from 28 reviews
Pin Recipe Print Recipe
Servings 5 -6
Cuisine Indian


  • 1 pound spinach leaves rinsed
  • ½ cup frozen onion masala
  • ½ teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Heavy cream optional

To make Paneer:

  • 1 tablespoon ghee or oil if pan-frying
  • 1 block of paneer or desired amount, cut into cubes


  • Add the rinsed spinach to the instant pot, then place the frozen cubes of onion masala on top along with the spices.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 2 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure.
  • Remove the lid and use an immersion blender to puree the contents of the pot.
  • Stir in heavy cream if desired – you can use  as much or as little as you’d like (this will also lighten the color and be more “restaurant style”). Or top with ghee instead.
  • Taste the palak and adjust salt to your preference.
  • You can stir the cubes of paneer directly into the palak on sauté mode until the paneer is warmed through OR you can take an extra step and pan-fry the paneer separately.

To Pan-Fry Paneer:

  • Heat ghee/oil in pan and add the paneer cubes in a single layer. Shallow fry them on all sides until golden brown, adding more oil if needed (I find it easiest to do this in a non-stick pan. If using stainless you will need more oil).
  • Mix the paneer into the palak and enjoy!


  • Make sure to rinse the spinach even if it is pre-washed. The little bit of water clinging to the leaves is enough to get the instant pot to start. Do not add more water to this! The spinach leaves will also release water as the pot comes to pressure. If you add water, the dish will be way too watery, trust me. I’ve tested this palak paneer many times in my instant pot and it always turns out perfect!
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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Recipe Rating


  1. Julia says

    Thank you so much Ashley!

    I used a combo of what I had- fresh baby spinach, frozen chopped spinach and two types of fresh kale. Added a couple tablespoons of half and half and a bit of butter when blending. So delicious!

  2. Lisa says

    5 stars
    I make this a lot and I love it thanks for the easy recipe. I’ve used mustard greens, spring mix, Swiss chard. All delicious. I’ll use tofu as fake paneer as well

  3. Kate says

    5 stars
    A great, quick recipe. We added a teaspoon of Kashmiri Chili to give it a little heat (could maybe do with even a little more).

  4. James Eng says

    5 stars
    Our family loves your recipes. Some of the best Indian food I’ve had…I think because we made it and homemade is more special. Thank you for taking the time to create and publish your knowledge.

  5. Becca says

    5 stars
    Just Wonderful!! I used 2 bags of frozen spinach and 2 cubes of your recipe for onion marsala which is wonderful, fried the paneer , I had to add cream as it was very thick due to all the water be used up for processing!!!

  6. Siobhan says

    5 stars
    I didn’t use an instant pot, just my regular pot on the stove using frozen spinach. I puréed the spinach. It is a great recipe. I followed the recipe to the letter and I wouldn’t change a thing.

  7. Siobhan says

    5 stars
    I didn’t use an instant pot, just my regular pot on the stove using frozen spinach. It is a great recipe. I followed the recipe to the letter and I wouldn’t change a thing.

  8. Gael says

    5 stars
    One of my favorite dishes. Recipe looks really easy to make and looking forward to trying it but impossible to get paneer. Live very remotely. Is there a cheese that can be substituted?

    • Marilena says

      It is actually really easy to make paneer! I’ve made it with milk and buttermilk. You’ll need some cheesecloth. Google it for lots of recipes.

  9. Kiran says

    5 stars
    This actually rates 10 out of 5!!! It was amazing. Heavenly. So easy to make. Enjoyed it with homemade naan and finished with a piece of kalakhand made with Ashley’s recipe. In a food coma right now! 😋

  10. Kats says

    Tasty and Yummy, yup these words for palak. Straightforward and easy recipe with power packed ingredients, palak and panner. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Jaya says

    Tried this recipe Ashley.It turned out tasty.Saved a lot of time.I could go to my workout after turning IP on. 🙂
    Thank you

  12. Hetal says

    5 stars
    Absolutely loved this easy version of Palak Paneer. I had the onion masala on hand so cooking this dish in the instant pot was super quick and delicious. Thank you, Ashley 🙂

  13. Mini says

    5 stars
    Hello! I simply love all your recipes. It’s made cooking soo much more easier abd fun. I’ve tried lots of your recipes and love every single one of them. I finally gave and made a batch of onion masala to simplify it further.

  14. Preetha says

    4 stars
    Hey, thanks for the recipe! I thought it was very flavorful. I do have a few questions and I’m wondering if you could share your best practices.

    1. It turned out a bit liquidy. It’s probably the type of spinach I used. I used baby spinach. Is that ok? Or, should I be using regular spinach leaves?
    2. Also, I rinsed the leaves quite a bit. Perhaps It was dripping more than it should? Any best practices with regard to rinsing spinach?
    3. Do you chop the leaves in any way? I didn’t see any instructions to that effect. So, I was wondering if it may be good to do that.

    Otherwise, the flavor turned out great. The only thing is – I had to add a bit more salt (just a personal preference). Thanks, Ashley!

  15. Saroj Ganeshan says

    5 stars
    Saaroj Ganeshan

    very easy to make the palak paneer. I enjoyed the video. I would like to know from where we can buy the container to freeze the onion masala? Thank u

  16. Deepa Whipple says

    5 stars
    Why isn’t this recipe talked about more?? This might be my absolute favorite of yours. I always keep your onion masala on hand. This is literally the easiest thing to make. And it looks impressive, but it’s almost like not even cooking. Ha, all the glory with none of the hard work. Love it!!

  17. Sharon says

    I made this with fresh spinach the first couple of times but now I always use frozen chopped spinach. This is an incredibly fast and delicious recipe!

  18. Vidya says

    This is my dish when we go to a restaurant. And now that I’ve tried this recipe, I’ll never have to order it again! So easy AND delicious, I eat it on its own (carb free). My question is: can you double the recipe on the IP? The spinach will cook down and fit, will I be crowding the fresh spinach on and cause issues?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Vidya, that’s so great to hear! I’m glad you liked this so much 🙂 I haven’t tried doubling it but getting the spinach to all fit might be tricky. If you can do it, I don’t think it’ll cause an issue while cooking.

  19. Karen says

    5 stars
    I’ve always been reluctant to make Indian food, my favorite cuisine, feeling somewhat intimidated. Despite this, I made palak paneer with this recipe last night and LOVED it! It tasted as good, if not better than my favorite restaurant! Thanks so much for sharing this! My daughter said she could eat it every night!

  20. Bhavani says

    5 stars
    I have been making palak paneer from last 10yrs and this is the first time ever I made it super fast and easy .. onion masala is a time savior and it was like a breeze to make it in Instant Pot by following your recipes..

  21. Lucy says

    5 stars
    About a month or two ago I made your onion masala in my Breville pressure cooker (same recipe/directions), and because of that magic onion masala in little pods in my freezer, I now make palak paneer once a week. In minutes! My whole family loves it. I use a pound of spinach, same everything else and add 1/2 cup of cream or half&half at the end and no cayenne because otherwise it’s too spicey for my 3 year old and voila. Soooo good. Thank you!

  22. Haley Henderson says

    5 stars
    Wow ! Another amazing onion Masala recipe for the books! This one was amazing and by far better than the same dish I’ve had in a restaurant. A few edits- I sauteeded two diced onions in a spoonful of ghee before adding the other ingredients- since my boyfriend is a little Leary of spinach. Also instead of paneer – we deep fried tofu and added that. It was incredible. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THESE AWESOME RECIPES 😍

  23. Claire says

    Can I make the onion masala and do this recipe without using a pressure cooker / instant pot? Is the onion masala able to be cooked just on stovetop?


  24. Purvi says

    Hello, I’m interested in trying out this recipe but I’m wondering how to adjust the cook time if I reduced it half. That is, if I only wanted to use a half a pound of spinach, would I have to lower the cook time? Also, is it okay to cook a smaller quantity using a 6qt instant pot? Thanks in advance!

  25. Farah says

    Hi there. I really appreciate your recipes. Thank you for so diligently posting them. I was wondering if I could use Tofu instead of Paneer for this recipe. And, if Tofu can be use, how would I modify the instructions. Thank you.

  26. Sashaa says

    5 stars
    Omg this has got to be one of the best palak paneer recipes I’ve ever come across!! This is true authentic flavour in its entirety!! Thank you for making Indian cooking so joyful again!! 😊

  27. Sindhu says

    5 stars
    So easy!!! I cannot believe how easy this was to make, with no compromise in taste. Served when guests came over, everyone loved it.

  28. Sejal says

    I got a burn notice and the IP shutoff after giving the warning for a few minutes. This happened before reaching pressure – the float valve hadn’t even risen yet. When I opened the IP the spinach had shrunk in volume but there was no water in the pot. Any suggestions on how I can get the recipe to work? I used pre washed baby spinach so there was no water clinging to it when I put it in the IP.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Ah, I will add an update to the post to make it more clear – I always rinse the spinach (even when pre washed) so even just that little bit clinging to the leaves helps. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Veronica, it’s hard to give an accurate portion size for Indian dishes as there is typically more than one item served during a meal. Portions can vary also depending on the amount of paneer you add – you can add as much or as little as you want. Hope that helps.

  29. Sapna says

    Can you add the individual ingredients of the onion masala and the quantities that would work with this recipe? Thank you!

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