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Paneer Tikka – Air Fryer, Oven or Grill

Paneer Tikka is a popular Indian Barbecue Paneer Recipe. Make restaurant style Paneer Tikka in an air fryer, oven, stovetop, or outdoor grill using my easy recipe.

Chunks of marinated paneer ( Indian cottage cheese), colorful sweet peppers, and onions grilled or air fried to perfection ! Use it as an appetizer or delicious main meal.

Pinterest image with text overlay for paneer tikka which is Indian Cheese Kabab recipe with instructions to make it using air fryer , oven or grill.

Low carb – Keto Friendly Indian Food

Paneer is a versatile Indian non melting cheese that can be used in multiple ways to make low carb satisfying meals.

It is a great vegetarian protein + calcium source for non meat eaters. Paired with colorful veggies, this tikka recipe makes a wholesome and balanced meal.  Each serving of this tikka is 10 gm of carbs and 18gm of plant protein.

Besides this paneer tikka recipe, we also love Paneer Makhani, Paneer Jalfrezi and Instant Pot Palak Paneer. All these are wonderful Indian curry recipes.

Traditionally, paneer tikka is cooked in a tandoor oven. My EASY recipe imparts classic authentic North Indian Tikka flavors while using modern cooking techniques.

Make restaurant-style Paneer Tikka Skewers with three simple and easy cooking methods that use air fryer,  grill or oven to make this scrumptious recipe.

Paneer Tikka which is Indian cottage cheese kabab made in air fryer and on the grill. It is served with several garnishes and chutney dip.

Party Appetizer

Kabob skewers are absolutely loved when served at parties as an appetizer ( called starters). For more Indian party appetizer recipes try Kutchi Dabeli, Masala Papad and Mushroom Pastry Puffs.

A note on cooking time

Even though this recipe shows 45 minutes or more for cooking time, I want to point out that actual cooking time is only 10-15 minutes.  Rest of the time is to marinate the paneer which is totally hands-off.

While the paneer is marinating, you can do multiple other things. I usually soak the skewers, prepare rice and do other meal prepping.

You can also marinate the paneer up to a day in advance.  The longer it marinates, the better it tastes. So if you plan it ahead of time,  you save tons of time.

A black serving plate with three skewers of paneer tikka pieces along with cucumber and chutney served for party appetizer.

Serving Suggestions

The recipe makes dry tandoori paneer tikka. I like to serve it with various dips for finger food appetizers. Mint cilantro chutneyAvocado Cilantro Lime Dip and Greek Tzatziki Sauce are excellent pairings.

You can also serve it as a hearty vegetarian meal.  Put it over warm naan or steamed basmati rice along with creamy potato salad for a satisfying main course meal.

You can make an excellent fusion meal out of Grilled Paneer Tikka. Serve it along with a warm comforting bowl of soup like Creamy Tomato Soup or Creamy Mushroom Soup. Or on the bed of a beautiful Fig Arugula Salad or Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad.8

Air Fryer Paneer Tikka

Air Fryer is my favorite appliance to make non-fried, no oil Indian food. Recipes like baingan bhartaBharvan bhindi ( stuffed okra ) or tindora stir fry come out exceptionally good using an air fryer.

Air fryer circulates dry hot air while food is cooking. Paneer tikka cooked in an air fryer archives the perfect grill texture and flavors in no time.

Don’t have an air fryer? No worries! I have included instructions on how to make paneer tikka in the oven or on an outdoor or stovetop grill as well.

Paneer tikka is Indian barbeque kabab recipe made with marinated cheese, veggies and spices. It is served on skewers for a party appetizer or main meal.

Ingredients

Here are the key ingredients and my notes:

Paneer– I used store bought Paneer. It is easily available in Indian grocery stores, at Costco and Whole Foods. You can use fresh or frozen paneer to make this recipe. Thaw it completely before using.

Yogurt – Yogurt makes an excellent marinade base. I prefer Greek yogurt since it’s thick and creamy. You can also use plain full fat yogurt.

SpicesGaram Masala, Kabab Masala, ginger garlic paste and red chili powder are the main spices I use. Kashmiri chili powder gives a beautiful red color which becomes golden orange when mixed with white yogurt.

For this recipe, I love to add kabab masala. It adds a great depth of flavor with a smoky earthy taste. Shan Kabab Masala is my favorite. It is available in most Indian and ethnic grocery stores as well as on Amazon.

Lemon juice, Oil and Salt – Lemon juice helps in tangy taste and softening the paneer. Just a tablespoon of cooking oil gives nice moist texture. Use salt as a tenderizer and as needed.

Detailed Instructions

Marinate Paneer and Veggies

  1. Cut the paneer into 1-inch cubes. Cut the peppers into 1-inch pieces. Cut the onion lengthwise and separate the petals.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl add yogurt, lemon juice, ginger garlic paste, turmeric, salt, red chili powder, garam masala, and kabab masala. Mix all the ingredients together to make the marinade.
  3. Add cut paneer, peppers, and onions to the marinade. Mix well so the marinade coats the paneer, peppers and onions well.
  4. Cover the bowl and allow it to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
  5. If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water. It prevents them from burning while grilling or air frying.
  6. Carefully thread the marinated paneer, peppers and onions on to the skewers. Leave some space between each piece so it evenly cooks from all angles.

Process step collage showing how to marinate paneer to make tikka.

Cooking Paneer Tikka in Air Fryer

  • Lightly spray or brush the air fryer basket with oil. Line the skewers inside the air fryer basket. Spray some oil over them.
  • Cook for 5 minutes at 360° Fahrenheit (180° C). Turn the skewers, spray lightly with oil and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Process step collage showing four major steps involved in making paneer tikka in air fryer.

Grilling Paneer Tikka on Outdoor or Stovetop Grill

  • Preheat the grill. Brush the grill with some oil. Place the skewers on the grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, turning a few times so it chars and cooks well from all angles.
  • Remove from the grill. Serve immediately with chutney and garnishes. Enjoy!

Making Paneer Tikka in Oven

  • Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees Fahrenheit. Put the skewers on a baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit and broil the skewers for 3-4 minutes. This gives a nice blackened char on the top.
  • Remove promptly and serve with desired garnishes. Enjoy!

Several skewers of golden orange grilled kabab filled with paneer, veggies and spices served on ridged plate.

Pro Tips

For the best tasting and EASY paneer tikka, follow these easy tips

  • Marinate the paneer for at least 30 minutes or even overnight for deep flavors.
  • If using frozen paneer, make sure to thaw it completely before marinating.
  • To thaw the paneer simply keep it in the refrigerator overnight. You can also keep it at room temperature or in warm water for an hour.
  • Use only full fat or Greek yogurt to marinate the tikka mix. Low fat yogurt will leave the water in marinade and it will not stick to the pieces.
  • Typically bright red tikka at restaurants comes from added red food color. I do not like using food colors. So bright golden orange it is.
  • The longer you marinate, the flavorful and juicy your Paneer Tikka will turn out to be. So I prefer overnight marinade.
  • I used only onion and colorful sweet peppers in the skewers but other sturdy veggies like zucchini,  eggplant,  mushrooms and baby corn also work.
  • Do not thread the pieces on skewers too close. If you do so, the sides that touch the other piece don’t cook properly. Leave some space between each piece so everything cooks well and evenly.
  • Also, do not overcrowd the skewers in the air-fryer basket or while grilling. Leave enough space between each skewer.
  • This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.

Three skewers of paneer tikka served with chutney.

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Paneer tikka is Indian barbeque kabab recipe made with marinated cheese, veggies and spices. It is served on skewers for a party appetizer or main meal.

Paneer Tikka Recipe - Air Fryer, Oven or Grill

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Learn to make best Tandoori Paneer Tikka using an air fryer, oven or on the grill. This recipe makes restaurant style Punjabi grilled paneer appetizer.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound paneer cut into 1-inch cubes - about 4 cups
  • 1 cup sweet bell peppers cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large onion cut into 1-inch cubes

For Marinade

Useful Kitchen Items

Instructions

Marinate the Paneer and Veggies

  1. Cut the paneer into 1-inch cubes.  Cut the peppers into 1-inch pieces.  Cut the onion lengthwise and separate the petals.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl add yogurt, lemon juice, ginger garlic paste, turmeric, salt, red chili powder, garam masala, and kabab masala.  Mix all the ingredients together to make the marinade.
  3. Add cut paneer, peppers, and onions to the marinade. Mix well so the marinade coats the paneer, peppers and onions well.
  4. Cover the bowl and allow it to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
  5. If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water. It prevents them from burning while grilling or air frying.
  6. Carefully thread the marinated paneer, peppers and onions on to the skewers. Leave some space between each piece so it evenly cooks from all angles.

Making Paneer Tikka in Air Fryer

  1. Lightly spray or brush the air fryer basket with oil. Line the skewers inside the air fryer basket. Spray some oil over them.
  2. Cook for 5 minutes at 360°F (180° C). Turn the skewers, spray lightly with oil and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Grilling Paneer Tikka on Outdoor or Stove Top Grill

Preheat the grill. Brush the grill with some oil. Place the skewers on the grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, turning a few times so it chars and cooks well from all angles.

Making Paneer Tikka in the Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees Fahrenheit. Put the skewers on a baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit and broil the skewers for 3-4 minutes. This gives a nice blackened char on the top.
  3. Remove promptly and serve with desired garnishes. Enjoy!

Notes

Marinate the paneer for at least 30 minutes or even overnight for deep flavors.

If using frozen paneer, make sure to thaw it completely before marinating.

To thaw the paneer simply keep it in the refrigerator overnight. You can also keep it at room temperature or in warm water for an hour.

Use only full fat or Greek yogurt to marinate the tikka mix. Low fat yogurt will leave the water in marinade and it will not stick to the pieces.

Typically bright red tikka at restaurants comes from added red food color. I do not like using food colors. So bright golden orange it is.

The longer you marinate, the flavorful and juicy your Paneer Tikka will turn out to be. So I prefer overnight marinade.

I used only onion and colorful sweet peppers in the skewers but other sturdy veggies like zucchini,  eggplant,  mushrooms and baby corn also work.

Do not thread the pieces on skewers too close. If you do so, the sides that touch the other piece don't cook properly. Leave some space between each piece so everything cooks well and evenly.

Also, do not overcrowd the skewers in the air-fryer basket or while grilling.  Leave enough space between each skewer.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 Skewer
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 882mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 18g

Nutritional values are provided as a courtesy and the values are approximate. The values will change depending on the exact ingredients, measurements and brands used. As always, for specific health issues and dietary requirements please consult medical professional.

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