The best restaurant-style Tandoori Paneer Tikka at home. With the marinated paneer and crispy vegetables, it this Indian appetizer is packed with lots of flavor. Enjoy paneer tikka with this easy recipe to make in the air fryer, oven or grill!
One of our favorite appetizers to order when we go to Indian restaurants is Tandoori Paneer Tikka and Chicken Tikka Kebab, and with good reason. It's the most popular Indian appetizer in India and Indian restaurants worldwide.
Whenever we go camping, this paneer tikka is the most popular item for the vegetarians, and the kids. I have become the go-to person to marinate the paneer for grilling!
So I've been exploring methods to make my favorite tandoori paneer tikka easily at home for my family, and this recipe to make it in the air fryer or oven wins hands down.
What is Paneer Tikka?
A favorite Indian appetizer: Tandoori Paneer Tikka is low carb & keto-friendly. It's made with paneer pieces, bell peppers, and onions marinated in yogurt and spicy spices before being cooked to perfection. Skewers were traditionally grilled in a tandoor oven.
Furthermore, this paneer Tikka dish is quite adaptable. You can add your favorite veggies to the skewers, and you can even prepare a huge batch when doing your weekly meal prep and eat it all week! So here's my Quick and SIMPLE alternative, which takes only 10 minutes to prepare in an air fryer.
Why use Air fryer for Paneer Tikka?
For many Indian cuisines, an air fryer is a terrific device. Dry heat is required for recipes like tandoori paneer tikka, and the air fryer delivers the proper texture and taste in no time.
Don't have an air fryer? Don't worry! I'll also share how to make paneer tikka in the oven.
Why You'll love this recipe
✓ It is effortless and quick to prepare.
✓ Healthier alternative
✓ The right texture and flavor.
✓ Restaurant-quality appetizer at home
Paneer (Indian cottage cheese): This is the main ingredient - paneer. It can be found in Indian food stores or Costco. To make a vegan-friendly version, replace the paneer with tofu and use vegan-friendly yogurt.
If you can find Haldirams brand paneer at your local grocery store, I highly recommend it.
If using frozen paneer, thaw it before using in this recipe. You can see it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw it.
Vegetables: I used two colorful bell peppers and a red onion sliced into cubes. Mushrooms and zucchini can also be used.
Yogurt: Plain greek yogurt creates a richer marinade that coats the paneer and vegetables in flavor. If Greek yogurt isn't available, thick whole milk yogurt will work too. Before adding all of the spices, whisk yogurt until smooth.
Spices: The marinade is unquestionably the core of the dish. It enhances the flavor and taste of the dish, and the herbs are crucial. I'd suggest adding all of the spices you'll need: Garam masala, red chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder, and salt.
Ginger and garlic: Use freshly minced or grated. You can also use ginger and garlic paste.
Dried fenugreek leaves: Also known as Kasuri methi, gives the dish a delicious aroma. If you don't have them, it is okay to skip them.
Lime juice: For the most delicate flavor, use freshly squeezed lime juice.
Garnish: lime wedges, chaat masala, and onion rounds
Skewers: I used bamboo skewers. To avoid burning the skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before putting them together. If you have a batch of stainless steel or metal skewers on hand, you can use them without soaking them.
How to make?
Paneer Tikka Marinade
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, Kasuri methi, lime juice, and salt. Mix it all well.
Now add paneer, bell peppers, and onion to the bowl. To coat, toss everything together thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours after covering the bowl with plastic wrap for a deeper flavor.
When you're ready to cook using a skewer, alternate between threading paneer, bell peppers, and onion on the skewer. Prepare the remaining skewers in the same way.
Air Fryer Method
Now Let's Air fry them.
Grease the air fryer basket lightly.
In an air fryer, arrange the Paneer skewers. Cook for 5 minutes at 180 degrees or 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turn the paneer sticks and cook for another 5 minutes, then serve.
Squeeze some lime juice on tip. If you like, sprinkle some chaat masala for extra flavor. We love to serve this paneer tikka with cilantro chutney.
How to cook Paneer Tikka in the Oven?
Follow the same steps till the marinade. Then preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now using parchment paper or foil, line a baking pan. Place a rack on top.
Place the skewers on the rack, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the paneer is roasted.
To obtain the char markings, turn on the broiler in the Oven and broil the paneer tikka for 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on the paneer as it broils to prevent it from burning.
Make sure to not overcook, as the paneer gets hard and chewy.
Outdoor Grill Method
Spray oil generously on the heated outdoor grill or line it with aluminum foil and spray with oil. This helps to avoid the paneer from sticking to the grill.
Place the skewers on the grill, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the paneer is roasted and has char marks on the edges. Make sure to turn the paneer skewers half way through.
Stovetop Grill Pan Method
Typically paneer tikka is made in a tandoor or oven. But if you dont have them, then you can make on a griddle or grill pan on stovetop too.
Spray the pan with some oil. Then line the skewers. Cook from all sides until they are golden and charred on the edges.
Tips for Making the Best Paneer Tikka
- Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. Marinating the paneer for longer gives it more time to absorb the flavors from the spices and soften.
- Make a large batch of this marinated paneer and store it in the fridge for later use or meal prep for the week.
- To make a vegan-friendly version, replace the paneer with tofu and use vegan-friendly yogurt. You can also make this recipe with veggies such as mushroom and zucchini for a vegan version.
- You can cook the marinated paneer and vegetables straight in the air fryer basket if you don't have skewers. Before cooking, be careful not to overcrowd the pan and spray some oil.
How to Serve Tandoori Paneer Tikka?
- Serve with lime wedges and red onion as garnish. Serve as an appetizer with a side of Mint Cilantro Chutney for dipping. Sprinkle some chaat masala.
- Add the paneer tikka bites to a salad
- Make a wrap with lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and Mint Chutney.
- Add it to this butter paneer sauce for a quick and tasty curry in minutes.
- Serve with saffron rice and raita for a hearty lunch or dinner.
Yes, it is ideal for weekly meal preparation. Marinate the paneer and veggies and have them ready for cooking. Then it takes just 10 minutes to make in the air fryer.
If needed, you can also cook the Paneer Tikka and refrigerate. You can store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.
*After the cooked paneer is cooled down, it can become hard. So I highly recommend to enjoy this appetizer fresh when cooked.
Store Paneer Tikka in an airtight container with a cover or an airtight gallon-sized freezer bag for optimum results.
Paneer tikka is indeed high in protein, veggies, and calcium. It has a modest fat content, but beneficial fats keep you full and satisfied.
Hope you enjoy this easy Tandoori Paneer Tikka recipe.
Looking for more paneer recipes, check out my popular recipes:
Paneer Tikka (Air Fryer, Oven & Grill Recipe)
- 1 lb Paneer cut into 1.5-2 inch cubes
- 1 cup Red Onion cut into 2 inch cubes, layers separated
- ½ cup Green Bell Pepper cut into 2 inch cubes
- ½ cup Red Bell Pepper cut into 2 inch cubes
- Lime wedges to garnish
- Onion rounds to garnish
- Chaat masala optional
- ½ cup Plain Yogurt greek (also called hung curd)
- ¾ tablespoon Ginger grated
- ¾ tablespoon Garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon Lime juice
- 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder mild, adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon Ground Turmeric (Haldi powder)
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder (Dhaniya powder)
- 1 teaspoon Salt adjust to taste
- ½ tablespoon Dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi)
- Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix well. Add the paneer, red onions and bell peppers. Mix to coat on each side with the marinade. Let it rest for anywhere between 30 minutes to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- When ready to cook thread the marinated paneer, peppers, and onions in the skewers alternating between each.
- Lightly grease the air fryer basket.
- Arrange the paneer sticks in the air fryer. Cook at 180 degrees or 360F for 5 minutes.
- Turn the paneer sticks and cook for 5 more minutes, then serve.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Now using parchment paper or foil, line a baking pan. Place a rack on top. Place the skewers on the rack, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the paneer is roasted.
- To obtain the char markings, turn on the broiler in the Oven and broil the paneer tikka for 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on the paneer as it broils to prevent it from burning.
Stovetop Grill Method:
- Spray a heated grill pan with some oil. Then line the skewers. Cook from all sides until they are golden and charred on the edges.
Outdoor Grill Method:
- Spray oil generously on the heated outdoor grill or line it with aluminum foil and spray with oil. This helps to avoid the paneer from sticking to the grill.
- Place the skewers on the grill, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the paneer is roasted and has char marks on the edges. Make sure to turn the paneer skewers half way through.
Garnish & Serve
- Squeeze some lime juice on top. If you like, sprinkle some chaat masala for extra flavor. We love to serve this paneer tikka with cilantro chutney.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.