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30 minute saag paneer

30 minute saag paneer - a creamy, spicy vegetarian spinach and cheese curry in less than half an hour!

I am a creature of habit. I’m not the kind of person who opts for something new and unusual on a menu – I’m much more likely to go for something I’ve had and enjoyed before. Why choose something you might not like, when you can have an old favourite instead? So for me, Indian food pretty much always means saag paneer.

Spinach + cheese = heaven. Why would you go for anything else?

30 minute saag paneer - a creamy, spicy vegetarian spinach and cheese curry in less than half an hour!

This saag paneer took me about 30 minutes to make because, if I’m honest, I can be quite slow in the kitchen and it takes me forever to chop an onion (…should I be admitting this as a food blogger?). I know the ‘proper’ way to do it, but it still takes me ages – and it doesn’t help that I get distracted every few seconds and stop to do something else, like jotting down the recipe or cuddling the dog. If you’re some kind of onion chopping ninja and you have an attention span of more than 30 seconds, you could probably get your saag paneer on the table in more like 20 or 25 minutes. Perhaps we should have a saag paneer-off.

30 minute saag paneer - a creamy, spicy vegetarian spinach and cheese curry in less than half an hour!

However long it takes you, this saag paneer is really easy to make. I used frozen spinach because it’s really convenient, and it also gives the texture I wanted. You could use fresh spinach instead if you prefer, but it may end up looking slightly different. If you have a big bag of fresh spinach in the fridge though, it is a great way to use up the whole lot in one fell swoop.

Saag paneer is a really simple curry, with only a few major ingredients. The creamy paneer is an amazing contrast to the spicy spinach (drooling a little as I type this…). It can either be served as a side dish or as a meal in its own right, with rice or naan bread for dipping. Either way, it’s delicious.

30 minute saag paneer - a creamy, spicy vegetarian spinach and cheese curry in less than half an hour!

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

30 minute saag paneer

Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main meal
Servings: 3
Author: Becca Heyes


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 225 g paneer cheese, diced (~ 1 2/3 cups when diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger puree
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 500 g frozen spinach (~ 4 cups)
  • 1 tbsp creme fraiche (I used half fat)


  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and add the sliced onion and diced paneer. Cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until the onion is soft and the paneer is starting to turn golden brown.
  • While the paneer is cooking, start to defrost the spinach in a bowl in the microwave. Don't worry if it's still a little bit icy - I cooked mine for about 3 minutes.
  • When the onion and paneer are ready, add the garlic, ginger, spices, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for one more minute to toast the spices.
  • Next add the tomato puree and maple syrup, then the defrosted spinach (including any liquid). Mix well and cook for 5 more minutes, until everything is piping hot. You can add a dash of water if the mixture seems too dry (though the creme fraiche will loosen it up a bit too).
  • Remove from the heat, and stir through the creme fraiche. Serve warm.



Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/3 of the recipe.

Frozen spinach is also perfect for making my healthy spinach dip – it gives a brilliant texture!

Healthy spinach dip

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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 27th of January 2021

Would this work without the maple syrup? I can’t stand the stuff and unlikely to ever have it in but I really want to make this! 

Becca @ Easy Cheesy Vegetarian

Friday 29th of January 2021

Yep! :)

Janet Nolan

Saturday 28th of December 2019

Love Saag Paneer- this recipe is great . Probably not true to a proper paneer but I added a red chilli for a an extra kick . Yummy

Becca @ Easy Cheesy Vegetarian

Wednesday 1st of January 2020

Thanks Janet! :)

Dawn Marie Fay

Thursday 22nd of August 2019

Excited to try this.😀

Becca @ Easy Cheesy Vegetarian

Monday 30th of September 2019

Let me know how you like it! :)

Nora Chavez - Punjabi Desi Foods

Thursday 6th of December 2018

I heard that this was an absolutely delicious dish, and I am curious. Isnt it wonderful that there are so many ways in the world to make food. Is your recipe hot? meaning you put red pepper or hot palak? This Indian dish combines fresh spinach and ricotta in a creamy palak paneer. Use paneer if you can find it! It is absolutely wonderful with basmati rice or naan.

Erin Barrett

Friday 27th of October 2017

Can I substitute ginger powder for puree? If so ... what is the conversion rate? Thank you!

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

Wednesday 1st of November 2017

Sure! I'm not too familiar with ginger powder but maybe start with 1/4 tsp and you can always add more if needed?