Whether you're looking for a low carb appetizer or a deliciously crispy vegetarian main dish, this easy recipe for Air Fryer Paneer is sure to satisfy your cravings. Made with just a few simple ingredients and ready in less than 15 minutes. This simple recipe is naturally gluten-free, keto, and high in protein.
This crispy and flavorful Air Fryer Paneer is a favorite game-day snack or appetizer in our home. My husband was reluctant to try it, as he had never tried paneer before, but he soon became its #1 fan after trying just a few bites!
What is Paneer?
Paneer is a simple cheese that is often made with milk and an acid (such as lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid). The acid causes the milk to separate into curds and whey. The curds are then pressed into a square or rectangular shape.
Paneer is a very common ingredient in Indian cuisine and is a fantastic source of vegetarian protein. It can be seasoned and cooked on its own, or as an ingredient in a flavorful Indian curry. This popular cheese is very similar in texture to queso blanco, queso panela, halloumi, and even tofu!
Why You'll Love This Recipe:
- It's naturally high in protein and low in carbs, making it the perfect healthy snack.
- You can make it in the air fryer in less than 10 minutes - meaning crispy perfection is just moments away!
- This recipe is naturally gluten-free, low-carb, keto, and fairly low in calories too!
- It's a delicious appetizer that can easily become a vegetarian main when served over a salad or a rice bowl.
- Paneer: This can often be found in the specialty cheese section, although in some stores it is in the regular cheese section. It is purchased in blocks that typically range from 8 ounces to 16 ounces in size.
- Oil: You'll need a neutral-flavored oil to help the seasonings stick to the paneer cubes. I've tested both olive oil and avocado oil with great results.
- Seasonings: This recipe is super flavorful thanks to the seasonings used. You'll need smoked paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, and turmeric. If you want a little something spicy, you could add in some cayenne pepper.
- Salt: Most brands of paneer are not very salty, so you will need to add some salt to amplify the other flavors.
- Air Fryer: You can use whatever brand of air fryer you have, although time will have to be adjusted a bit as some models cook more quickly than others. All of my recipes are tested in a Ninja XL air fryer.
How to Make Air Fryer Paneer
This recipe is SO easy to make. You're going to be shocked at how quickly it comes together!
To start off, add the oil and seasonings to a large bowl, then mix well to form a paste.
Once the seasoning and oil is well combined, cut your paneer into 1" cubes and add them to the seasoned oil. Toss well to coat.
Add the paneer cubes to an air fryer basket that has been preheating to 400ºF for at least 3 minutes (or according to your manufacturer's instructions).
Cook the paneer for 5-8 minutes. You will know it is done when it's crispy on the outside, yet still spongy when squeezed between two fingers.
Remove the paneer using a pair of tongs, and serve it immediately. I like to spear 2-3 cubes on a toothpick or bamboo skewer for a nice presentation.
Variations and Substitutions
Oil: I have tested this recipe with olive oil and avocado oil, and both versions tasted great! Alternatively, you could use any neutral-flavored oil that also has a higher smoke point. I think melted ghee would be exceptionally delicious!
Paneer: I think this recipe would work well with halloumi or tofu, but I haven't tested it myself yet to be sure.
Garam masala: Substitute the spices for 2 ½ teaspoons of garam masala.
Curry: Substitute the spices for 2 ½ teaspoons of curry powder.
- If you really want to up the flavor, you can allow the paneer cubes to marinate in the seasoned oil for 15 minutes, or even a few hours if you keep them refrigerated. This is also the perfect way to make them ahead if you're expecting guests.
- Feel free to double or triple the batch. Just make sure to work in batches so there is plenty of room in the basket during the cooking time. This ensures each paneer cube will have a crispy exterior.
- Get creative and try different seasoning blends! Garam masala and curry powder are flavorful variations, but you can try various seasonings and spices to get your perfect flavor combo.
More Low Carb Air Fryer Snacks
- Air Fryer Pepperoni Chips
- Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers
- Air Fryer Mini Pepper Nachos
- Air Fryer Roasted Almonds
Air Fryer Paneer
- 12 ounce package paneer cut into 1" cubes
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- Cut the paneer into cubes that are approximately 1” in size.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400ºF (204ºC) for at least 3 minutes, according to your manufacturer’s instructions.
- Add the avocado oil (or olive oil) to a large bowl, along with the paprika, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and salt.
- Stir the spices and oil together to form a paste.
- Add the paneer cubes into the oil and seasoning mixture, and toss well to coat the paneer in the seasoned oil.
- Place the paneer into the air fryer in a single layer and cook for 5-8 minutes. If possible, shake the basket halfway through cooking.
- Remove from the air fryer and serve immediately. Spear onto skewers if desired, or serve with toothpicks.
- Garam masala: Substitute the spices for 2 ½ teaspoons of garam masala and maintain the measurement of salt.
- Curry: Substitute the spices for 2 ½ teaspoons of curry powder and maintain the measurement of salt.
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