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Air Fryer Paneer

Try this hassle-free recipe for air fryer paneer and enjoy crispy on-the-outside paneer with melt-in-your-mouth texture. Toss the paneer tikka in curry or pair it with a salad or steamed rice. You can also serve the crispy paneer kabobs as a grab-and-go appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce.

Air fryer paneer on a plate with jeera rice.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

What is Paneer?

Paneer is a fresh, non-aged soft cheese common in Indian cuisine. Make paneer by combining milk and an acid (such as lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid). The milk separates into curds and whey, and you can press the curds into a square or rectangular shape. Fresh paneer has a mild, crumbly texture that turns golden brown when heated, making it a perfect addition to dishes like palak paneerpaneer tikka masala, and matar paneer.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Tandoori Marinade: The tandoori marinade is a combination of full-fat plain Greek yogurt, ginger garlic paste, chopped onions, lemon juice, and warm spices like kosher salt, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, homemade garam masala, and Kashmiri chili powder. 
  • Paneer: Paneer is a staple in Indian cuisine, and you can find it in the specialty cheese section of most mainstream grocery stores. I usually buy mine at Costco, though not all locations carry it. The best place to find it is local Asian or Indian grocery stores. My favorite is the Gopi brand paneer, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can always make homemade paneer.

Additions and Substitutions

  • I love tandoori masala, but you can experiment with the paneer flavor using different marinades and spice blends. Try making paneer 65 or  chili paneer with more of an Indo-Chinese marination. You can also season the paneer with my Slap Ya Mama Seasoning recipe, parmesan cheese and salt, or turmeric and black pepper. 
  • For extra-crispy paneer, coat the chunks of paneer in spiced gram flour
  • Make it a complete meal or colorful appetizer by threading the skewers with paneer and vegetables like onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers. 
  • You can eat the air fryer paneer as is or warm the leftover marinade in a saute pan and add two tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of heavy cream or yogurt to make paneer masala or a quick paneer makhani.

Tools Used to Make this Recipe

Make this easy recipe for air fryer paneer using a food processor, mixing bowl, wooden skewers, and an air fryer. Air fryers are the perfect way to cook paneer, regardless of model. They circulate hot air to cook. I used an Instant Pot Vortex Air Fryer with a large basket.

How to Make Air Fryer Paneer

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Soak the wooden skewers in water and set them aside. Then, cut the paneer into 1-inch cubes.

Paneer cut into cubes.

Step 2: Combine ingredients for tandoori masala in a food processor and process until smooth. Then, add it to a large bowl with the paneer pieces. Set it aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Paneer in a mixing bowl with tandoori marinade.

Step 3: Preheat the air fryer to 400℉ (204℃). Then, thread the marinated paneer cubes onto the soaking wooden skewers and sprinkle them with kosher salt.

Paneer cubes threaded onto skewers.

Step 4: Line the skewers into the air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook for 6 minutes, flipping the skewers halfway through.

Paneer skewers lined into an air fryer basket.

Expert Tips

  • Soak the wooden skewers in water before using them in the air fryer. Depending on the size of the wooden skewers, you may need to cut them to size with kitchen shears.
  • This step is optional, but you can marinate the paneer for at least 30 minutes for added flavor.
  • Before adding the paneer to the wooden skewers, carefully shake off the excess marinade – so it doesn’t fall into the air fryer.
  • If you end up with leftover paneer, cook the skewers in batches, lining the skewers in a single layer in the air fryer basket, which results in crispy paneer.  
  • If using frozen paneer, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and pat them dry before marinating and following the cooking time in the recipe card below.

If you enjoy this meal, try one of these Indian recipes!  

Air fryer paneer on a plate with jeera rice.

How to Serve Paneer Kabobs

Serve the paneer skewers as a tasty appetizer with green chutney, serrano crema, or raita. Or you can make it a complete meal by pairing the paneer with long-grained basmati rice, avocado cucumber tomato salad, biwaz, or kachumber salad. The paneer tikka also tastes delicious with warm naan or paratha.

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Store the leftovers in an airtight container the fridge for 3-4 days, making them perfect for weekly meal prep
  • Thaw: Defrost the paneer in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat: Warm the leftover paneer in the air fryer at 350℉ (176℃) for 2-4 minutes.
  • Repurpose: You can use the leftover paneer tikka to fill a kati roll made with homemade paratha.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many minutes should we cook paneer?

I tried making the paneer in the air fryer at different temperatures during the recipe development process. Cooking the paneer at lower temperatures for longer resulted in rubbery cubes of paneer, and no one wants that. For best results, I recommend using a higher heat of 400℉ (204℃) for 6 minutes.

Can I make this recipe in the oven?

Sure thing. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204℃) and line a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack or parchment paper. Line the skewers onto the wire rack and roast for 10 minutes. I recommend broiling the paneer on low for 1-2 minutes if you want crispy edges.

More Tandoori Recipes:

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Air fryer paneer on a plate with jeera rice.

Air Fryer Paneer

Tressa Jamil
Try our easy air fryer paneer with homemade tandoori masala! You can serve the crispy, tender paneer as a tasty main dish or appetizer.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 64 kcal
Ingredients
  
Instructions
 
  • Soak the wooden skewers in water and set them aside. Then, cut the paneer into 1-inch cubes.
  • Combine ingredients for tandoori masala in a food processor and process until smooth. Then, add it to a large bowl with the paneer pieces. Set it aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400℉ (204℃). Then, thread the marinated paneer cubes onto the soaking wooden skewers and sprinkle them with kosher salt.
  • Line the skewers into the air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook for 6 minutes, flipping the skewers halfway through.
Notes
Expert Tips 
  • Soak the wooden skewers in water before using them in the air fryer. Depending on the size of the wooden skewers, you may need to cut them to size with kitchen shears.
  • This step is optional, but you can marinate the paneer for at least 30 minutes for added flavor.
  • Before adding the paneer to the wooden skewers, carefully shake off the excess marinade – so it doesn’t fall into the air fryer.
  • If you end up with leftover paneer, cook the skewers in batches, lining the skewers in a single layer in the air fryer basket, which results in crispy paneer.  
  • If using frozen paneer, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and pat them dry before marinating and following the cooking time in the recipe card.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 64 kcal | Carbohydrates: 5 g | Protein: 2 g | Fat: 4 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g | Cholesterol: 5 mg | Sodium: 420 mg | Potassium: 127 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 2 g | Vitamin A: 542 IU | Vitamin C: 4 mg | Calcium: 61 mg | Iron: 0.5 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating