Paneer Lababdar vs Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer Lababdar vs Paneer Butter Masala: Everything You Need To Know

Paneer is an Indian cottage cheese used in an array of delicious Indian dishes. This versatile dairy product acts as a star ingredient in many flavorful curries.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the battle between paneer lababdar vs paneer butter masala. Read on to learn more about the similarities and differences between the two. But before that, let us look at their origins.

Paneer Lababdar vs Paneer Butter Masala: The History

Here is a brief history of both the dishes.

Paneer Lababdar

Paneer Lababdar

This delicious dish was originally a Mughlai dish and is often served Punjabi-style in restaurants. It is immensely popular in North India and is often served with local flatbreads such as naan and roti. 

Paneer lababdar is gluten-free and vegetarian, making it a firm favorite amongst those turning to a plant-based diet.  

Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer Butter Masala

With its creamy gravy and melt-in-the-mouth chunks of paneer, this dish is thought to date back to the 1950s in Delhi. According to legend, it was served as a Punjabi dish in the Moti Mahal restaurant

Paneer butter masala is a staple Indian curry that is popular during special occasions, including parties and wedding celebrations. With its sweet aroma and tangy, rich flavor, it is usually served with naan, jeera rice, basmati rice, or plain steamed rice.

People often wonder about the difference between paneer butter masala vs paneer tikka masala.  

Paneer Lababdar and Paneer Butter Masala: Are They The Same?

If a dish of paneer lababdar and paneer butter masala were placed in front of you, it would be hard to tell the difference. 

However, these famous Indian curries are not the same. So what is the difference between paneer butter masala and paneer lababdar? 

Read on to find the answer. 

What Is The Difference Between Paneer Lababdar and Paneer Butter Masala?

difference between paneer lababdar and paneer butter masala

Both contain paneer and appear similar in color and scent. But there are certain differences between the two.


One notable difference is their texture. Paneer lababdar gravy has a much thicker consistency as chopped onions are added to the mixture. This forms a much chunkier base for the paneer.

On the other hand, paneer butter masala is a creamy curry with a velvety texture. The addition of heavy cream and an extra dollop of butter give this a succulent, smooth gravy base. 


Many chefs choose to use grated paneer as well as cubes before adding to a paneer lababdar. This provides the curry with extra texture, which people seem to enjoy. However, in a paneer butter masala, only chunks of paneer are added to the gravy base. 


Kashmiri dried red chilies are used to add some heat to a delicious paneer lababdar. On the contrary, a paneer butter masala is much milder which is why it is a favorite amongst children.


A paneer lababdar is typically spicier because cloves, cinnamon, and cardamoms are added in their whole form. This is where the dish gets its kick! Whereas an authentic paneer butter masala should be spicy but not too overpowering. 

Paneer Lababdar vs Paneer Butter Masala: How do The Ingredients Differ?

See for yourself! Below is a table stating the ingredients used in both recipes. As you will see, some are the same but it is the addition of spices that make each dish taste so different.

Paneer LababdarPaneer Butter Masala
Cashew nutsCashew nuts
Green CardamomsButter
ClovesGaram masala
Turmeric powder, Cumin, Ground coriander, Red chili powderRed chili powder, Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

How to Make Homemade Paneer Lababdar

Making your very own paneer curry is easier than you think. As long as you have all of the ingredients, you really can’t go wrong. Who knows, you may be an expert at cooking restaurant-style North Indian paneer curries and just not know it! So throw on your cooking apron, and let’s get to it! 

1. In a small pan, add a cup of fresh tomatoes, a handful of cashew nuts, a small piece of ginger, 4 garlic cloves, 1-2 cardamom pods, and 1/2 cup of water. Fry over medium heat. 

2. Simmer until the tomatoes have softened or until the water reduces. 

3. Allow the mixture to cool for 4-5 minutes before adding to a blender jar. Blend the contents until it forms into a smooth paste and keep it aside.

4. Pour some oil of your choice into a pan (ghee or butter is recommended to lock in flavor). Add one bay leaf and leave to heat up. 

5. Add 1 cup of finely chopped onions and simmer until golden brown. 

6. Take the tomato cashew paste and pour it into the pan. Stir occasionally until glossy. You will find the fat starts to push to the sides. 

7. Now, you can play around with the consistency, adding water until it arrives at the standard you desire. 

8. Throw in your spices: 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder, red chili powder, and cumin. 

9. Lastly, add the paneer chunks and garnish with kasuri methi, garam masala, fresh coriander leaves, and a spoonful of fresh cream. 

How to Prepare Paneer Butter Masala Beforehand

Watch this video for tips on how to prepare an authentic paneer butter masala.

If you are preparing to entertain guests, the last thing you want is to be running around like a headless chicken at the last minute. So why not take it upon yourself to prep your main earlier in the day. 

To do this, simply prepare the butter masala gravy but do not add the cream or chunks of paneer. Once it has cooled completely, simply place it into airtight containers and refrigerate it until needed. This way, all you have to do is reheat the contents and add your cream and paneer. You can thank us later! 

Other Paneer Dishes

Paneer is a versatile ingredient used in many Asian curries. If you would like to test out some new recipes, check out the links below:

Paneer butter masala vs kadai paneer.

Malai paneer vs paneer nanak.

How to Preserve Paneer Lababdar and Paneer Butter Masala

Both curries will last for up to 3 days when stored in an air-tight container in a refrigerator. However, if you have made a huge batch, you can also freeze it.

Freezing comes in handy if you struggle to find the time to cook a wholesome meal for the family. This way, you have already reduced any cooking time in half! 

For an even tastier dish, freeze only the gravy base. While you can do the same with paneer, it never tastes as good as when cooked fresh. 

Paneer Lababdar vs Paneer Butter Masala: Vegan Options

These types of popular Indian cuisine are vegetarian, but the addition of cheese, cream, and butter most definitely makes them not vegan.

You’ll be pleased to know that every animal product can be substituted. For example, paneer can be changed to tofu or other vegetables. Mushrooms are also popular in vegetarian dishes due to their meaty texture. 

The cream can be swapped for non-dairy alternatives, or if you’d rather skip it altogether, you can simply add more cashew nuts. Butter can also be substituted with oil or another plant-based product. 

Cashew nuts can be replaced with poppy, sunflower, or even melon seeds! Try experimenting with your own replacements to see what you come up with. Don’t be shy. Give it a try! 

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