Paneer Bhurji is a popular North Indian dish made with crumbled paneer (Indian cottage cheese), onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, and spices. This quick and easy paneer bhurji recipe (scrambled paneer) is a delicious vegetarian side dish that is soft, creamy, and ready to serve in 20 minutes. It pairs well with bread, and pav for breakfast or with flatbreads like roti, paratha, and naan for lunch or dinner.
In this post, sharing how to make the Punjabi Style Dry Paneer Bhurji recipe with step by step photos and video.
Paneer is a great source of proteins for vegetarians. I love paneer and could probably eat it almost every day especially if it is as quick, easy and delicious as this Paneer Bhurji.
It is one of my go-to vegetarian dishes to make for my kid's lunch box too. It's the perfect kind of recipe when you want something quick and delicious.
What is Paneer Bhurji
Paneer Bhurji is a spicy and easy paneer dish made by stir-frying crumbled paneer with onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, and Indian spices.
Bhurji means scrambled and paneer is Indian cottage cheese in English so paneer bhurji literally means scrambled paneer or scrambled cottage cheese.
Think of it as the vegetarian version of Indian-style scrambled eggs which is also known as Egg bhurji or Anda bhurji in Hindi.
Paneer bhurji is typically made with fresh paneer which gives it a soft and moist texture. I often have frozen paneer stacked in my freezer so I'm sharing how you can still make soft paneer bhurji using frozen paneer. Don't forget to read all the tips.
This paneer bhurji is a quick, easy protein-packed meal that gets done in 20 mins making it perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even for lunchbox.
Paneer: It is also known as Indian cottage cheese. A freshly made paneer is recommended for making bhurji but you can also use storebought (fresh or frozen). If I'm using frozen paneer, I prefer Haldiram's paneer. Thaw it to room temperature then soak in hot water until soft and it's as good as fresh paneer.
Oil and butter: Highly recommend making bhurji in both butter and oil or just butter for a rich flavor.
Spices: Regular Indian spices like cumin seeds, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder (great color, mildly spicy), garam masala, coriander powder, salt, and Kasuri methi. All these are available on Amazon or in Indian grocery stores.
Aromatics - Onion (yellow or red), green chili, ginger, and garlic. These ingredients add a great base level of flavor.
Tomatoes: I like to use Roma tomatoes that have a nice thick flesh and fewer seeds.
Bell pepper - I have used green bell pepper (capsicum) which adds a nice crunch to the soft scrambled paneer and lends a great flavor. You can also add green peas if you like.
Lemon juice: The acidity of the lemon juice helps to balance out the creamy paneer.
Cilantro: To add freshness and flavor.
Please refer to the recipe card for exact measurements of ingredients.
How To Make Paneer Bhurji (Step by Step Method)
1 - In a pan, heat oil and butter. Once hot and butter has melted add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle.
2 - Then add onions and saute till translucent (don't brown the onions).
3 - Stir in the green chilies, ginger, and garlic. Cook till the raw garlic smell goes away.
4 - Add the tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes.
5 - Add the bell pepper and cook till the tomatoes are soft.
6 - Stir in the spices - turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, salt, and saute for another minute or two.
7 - Add in the crumbled paneer, mix well and cook on low heat for 1-2 minutes.
8 - Crush Kasuri Methi between your palms and add along with lemon juice, and cilantro. Mix well. Mildly spicy and easy Paneer Bhurji is ready!
Alternately you can serve it with bread, pav, or toast for a quick a filling breakfast or brunch along with chai or coffee.
I also love using paneer bhurji as a filling for wraps, dosa, sandwiches, and quesadillas to pack for kid's lunch box.
With Pav Bhaji Masala - for that Mumbai street style bhurji, add Pav Bhaji Masala (a teaspoon or to taste) along with other spices.
Matar Paneer Bhurji - add fresh or frozen green peas along with bell pepper.
With Spinach (Palak) - add finely chopped spinach leaves for that boost of green and to make bhurji healthy.
With Gravy - to make Paneer bhurji gravy, add ¼ cup tomato puree along with the rest of the ingredients and cook before adding the crumbled paneer. Add water to adjust the consistency to your preference.
Use fresh homemade paneer for that soft fluffy Paneer bhurji. Alternately store-bought fresh or frozen paneer can be used too.
If using store-bought paneer, soak it in a bowl of hot water for 20-30 mins or until soft. Thaw frozen paneer to room temperature before soaking or increase the soaking time.
Highly recommend making bhurji in both butter or ghee and oil or just butter for the richer flavor.
You can add more veggies like colorful bell peppers, green peas, carrots or greens like spinach and fenugreek leaves to make bhurji more healthy and colorful.
Do not overcook the paneer to prevent it from turning dry and chewy.
Adjust the spice levels to your preference by adjusting the number of green chilies and red chili powder.
You can also add Pav Bhaji Masala for that Street Style Paneer Bhurji.
Frequently Asked Questions
Paneer is made from milk so as it is, this dish is not suitable for vegans. However, you can substitute paneer for crumbled tofu, which has a similar texture, to make this a plant-based meal.
This dish is best served as soon as it's made, but If you do have leftovers, keep them covered in the fridge for 2-3 days and reheat in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave until warm. Serve it with Indian flatbreads like roti or paratha or use it as a filling for your sandwiches, wraps, dosa, or quesadilla.
Yes, this dish is completely gluten-free so it's an ideal choice if you or anyone in your family has an intolerance or allergy.
Yes, you can skip onion garlic from the recipe and keep the rest of the ingredients, and process the same. To make it Jain, skip ginger too.
More Paneer Recipes
Hope you enjoy this Easy Paneer Bhurji Recipe !! If you give this recipe a try, please rate by clicking stars ⭐️ on the recipe card. Thank you ❤️! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s cooking in my kitchen!!
- 360 grams paneer crumbled, see notes
- 1-2 tablespoons oil
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 medium red onion finely chopped (approx 1 cup chopped)
- 1-2 green chillies finely chopped, adjust to taste
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger minced
- ½ green bell pepper chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes finely chopped, (approx 1 cup chopped)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 1 tablespoon kasuri methi
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice adjust to taste
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves finely chopped
- If using store-bought paneer, soak it in a bowl of hot water for 20-30 mins or until soft then crumble it and keep aside. Similarly, first, thaw frozen paneer to room temperature before soaking or increase the soaking time.
Making Paneer Bhurji
- In a pan, heat oil and butter. Once hot and butter has melted add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle.
- Then add onions and saute till translucent (do not brown the onions).
- Stir in the green chilies, ginger, and garlic. Cook till the raw garlic smell goes away.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the bell pepper and cook till the tomatoes are soft.
- Stir in the spices - turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, salt, and saute for another minute or two.
- Add in the crumbled paneer, mix well and cook on low heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Crush Kasuri Methi between your palms and add along with lemon juice, and cilantro. Mix well. Spicy and easy Paneer Bhurji is ready!
Update Notes: This post was originally published on Oct 1, 2015, but was republished with, step-by-step instructions, new photos, tips, and a video in May of 2022.