Air Fryer Paneer is a great snack, appetizer, or side dish. With just a bit of effort, you can enjoy the most flavorful, warm, melty cheese ever. It is especially delicious on top of a salad for a great vegetarian entree.
Paneer cheese is one of our favorite things in Indian food. Being able to throw a hunk of cheese on the grill or in the air fryer and not have it melt into nothingness is pretty amazing.
I first tried tandoori paneer tikka recipe from our local Indian take-out joint on top of a salad with grilled onions and peppers and a spicy cilantro sauce. Back then it was hard to find locally so when Costco started carrying it a couple of years ago I jumped for joy. Now we could have all the paneer we desired.
What is Paneer?
Here is an official description of this great cheese:
Paneer (pronounced [pəniːr]) or Indian cottage cheese is a fresh acid-set cheese common in the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) made from cow or buffalo milk. It is a non-aged, non-melting soft cheese made by curdling milk with a fruit- or vegetable-derived acid, such as lemon juice. - Wikipedia
The most important part of that description is the words 'non-melting'. That means you can cook paneer in many (delicious) ways. Such as paneer tikka masala, grilled paneer, or paneer makhani!
Paneer is also one of the easiest cheeses to make at home. If you want to give it a try check out the tutorial here.
How to Make Air Fryer Paneer
We use the air fryer attachment for our electric pressure cooker but any air fryer will work.
Step One: Preheat the air fryer to 400.
Step Two: Cut skewers to fit in your air fryer basket.
Step Three: Put the paneer cheese cubes on the wooden skewers and drizzle with oil and sprinkle with seasoning.
Step Four: Cook in a single layer for 6 minutes or until warm, soft on the inside, and crisp on the outside. You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
What Spice Blend Should I Use?
We made half of our air fryer paneer tikka kabobs with a Tandoori Masala and the other half with a traditional Garam Masala. You can use any Indian flavored spice you enjoy or just use salt and pepper.
The one thing to remember is that if your spice blend does not have added salt you will want to add some. Paneer is very mildly salted as far as cheese goes and added salt really increases the flavor.
Other Flavor Options
Ginger Garlic Paste - Brush some garlic ginger paste on the paneer cubes after putting them on the skewers.
Red Chili Powder - Want some heat? Add some red chili powder to the spice blend you choose.
Dried Fenugreek Leaves - Traditional to Indian cooking you can add some crushed dried fenugreek to your spice blend.
Cilantro Marinade - One of our favorite methods is to use marinated paneer in this recipe. Simply marinate it in a cilantro lime sauce before cooking it.
What if I don't have an Air Fryer?
Grill: You can grill the paneer on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes on each side.
Fry: Pan fry the cheese for about 2 minutes on each side over medium-high heat.
Oven: Bake at 450 for 7-8 minutes.
How to Serve Paneer Kabobs
Our favorite way to serve these is on top of a light green salad with a cilantro avocado dressing. You can serve them as a vegetarian entree with grilled or roasted vegetables or as a party appetizer.
For a great option serve the air fryer paneer with a cilantro chutney to dip.
- 14 oz paneer
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon masala spice blend
- 1 teaspoon salt optional
- Preheat the air fryer to 400.
- Cut wooden skewers small enough that they fit into your air fryer. Place the paneer cubes on the skewers. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the seasoning and salt.
- Cook the paneer for 6 minutes or until the inside is warm and the outside is crispy.