Keto Paneer Makhani is an Indian vegetarian dish made with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and a mild spicy tomato sauce. Keto Paneer Makhani is typically made in restaurants but this recipe is easy to make at home and is low carb and gluten-free.
Paneer Makhani is a creamy, rich and tasty North Indian dish with paneer, tomatoes and cream with a blend of mild spices. Mouthwatering delicious, flavorful and easy to make. We have made a few tweaks to make this more keto-friendly.
This smooth and creamy dish is great for a main but can be served with a side dish too if you are having an Indian food feast.
I found this so delicious that I was annoyed with myself for not making this more often. It's easy to make and full of flavor and I preferred mine to any restaurant we have visited.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.
What is Paneer?
Paneer is also referred to as Indian cottage cheese but is very different to the lumpy cottage cheese in the supermarkets! Paneer is a firm cheese made from milk. It's texture is firm enough to be fried but it still has a slight softness with it not being tough in texture.
Paneer can be to vegetarians as to what chicken is to meat eaters. It's easy to eat and there's many dishes in that it can be used either in chunks, shredded or sliced as burgers. You can make your own paneer or buy it in blocks in supermarkets.
Carbs in Paneer
If you are wondering whether paneer is OK for a keto diet, the answer is a happy yes. Especially for us vegetarians as a 100g serving of paneer has just 1g net carbohydrates and 7g protein.
Paneer is also a vegetarian friendly cheese as it's not made with animal rennet.
What is the difference between Paneer Makhani and Paneer Butter Masala?
These two dishes are very similar with cubes of paneer being cooked in a creamy and spicy tomato gravy. Traditionally, ground cashews are used in the sauces for thickness but we have omitted this to keep the carbs lower.
Paneer Butter Masala can often be made with chopped tomatoes and a cashew puree and is slightly spicier than Paneer Makhani. Paneer Makhani has a spicy tomato pasted sauce cooed in butter and heavy cream.
Keto Paneer Makhani Ingredients
The spices can always be tweaked to your own flavors as you taste test. We added a red pepper for a bit of crunch to this dish but it's entirely optional as it's not normally featured in a traditional paneer makhani dish.
This is such a simple dish to make you will want to play with it for other vegetables, not just paneer.
Toss the paneer cubes in the spices and marinade
Saute the onion and garlic
Add paneer, tomato and heavy cream
Serve with keto roti or naan bread
Once you obtain the spice mixture you like you can play around with this dish to your liking.
- Butter - Ghee can be used instead.
- Onion- Omit it for a dish without onions (and it reduces the carbs)
- Ginger - try freshly grated in place of ground ginger
- Fenugreek leaves - this can be found in a few original recipes so add away!
Once you make this dish you will want to add your own flair to it. The spices are mild so for extra heat you may want to increase the chili heat but a few other ideas are:
- Spinach - add fresh baby spinach when you are cooking the paneer.
- Jalapenos- for more heat, add a chopped jalapeno
- Onion - remove the onion for an onion-free keto Indian dish.
Can you make this keto vegan?
Although this dish is a dairy based recipe, you could make this vegan by substituting the paneer with firm tofu and the heavy cream with coconut cream. We've not tried this version yet though!
Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an air tight container. I find it better the next day and it can be reheated on the stove or in the microwave. Because it has cream in it, reheat this dish slowly.
If you want to freeze this dish, remember that it has heavy whipping cream it it, which can spilt when defrosted. I've not tried freezing this yet.
This creamy dish is best served with keto roti or keto naan bread. We enjoy this dish as a main but you could serve it as a side dish with other keto Indian foods for a large gathering.
A side of cauliflower rice or Palmini rice also goes well with this dish.
More low carb vegetarian recipes
Keto Paneer Makhani
- 10.5 oz paneer cut into cubes
- 1 medium red pepper (optional) cut into squares
- 1 small onion peeled & finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
- 1 ½ tablespoons tomato puree
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger ground
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cumin ground
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- In a large mixing bowl, add the spices and lemon juice and mix together.
- Toss the paneer cubes and pepper in the spice mix and marinade in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Heat the butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes, until soft.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the marinated paneer and pepper and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally for an even cook.
- Spoon in the tomato paste and heavy cream. Stir well and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Serve with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley.
YOUR OWN NOTES