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

When it comes to lababdar and tikka masala curries, it is hard to say which one is better! This article isn’t about which one is best, but rather how they compare to one another. 

Paneer lababdar vs paneer tikka masala, let’s take a look at both! 

Paneer Lababdar vs Paneer Tikka Masala: How Are They Similar?


The two dishes are similar in terms of the spices used in each. Let’s take a look at what is included in these dishes. 

Paneer Lababdar Paneer Tikka Masala
Coriander seedsCoriander seeds 
Kasuri methiPaprika powder
Garam masalaGaram masala
Cumin seedsCumin seeds 
Turmeric powderTurmeric powder

As you can see from the table above, the majority of the spices used are exactly the same, with minimal additions of others. 

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Une publication partagée par DelhiWalaFood (@delhiwalafood)


It is also fair to say that the color of each curry is similar as both can be established as red or orange. This is due to the use of tomatoes or tomato paste. 

Paneer Lababdar vs Paneer Tikka Masala: What Are The Differences?

Now we have discussed the similarities, it is worth exploring the differences between the two. So let’s get to it! 


Tikka masala is typically smooth or ‘runny’ in texture due to the creamy tomato-based sauce. One of the reasons why this dish is so popular is because people love to mop up the leftover sauce with delicious Indian bread!

Paneer lababdar, on the other hand, is quite chunky and is thicker in consistency due to the gravy base (which we will show you how to make further down!).


Is paneer lababdar spicy? It is certainly spicier than a tikka masala as the recipe includes dried Kashmiri chilies and some people like to add chopped green chilies into the mix. However, you can make a dish as spicy or as mild as you please. 

Paneer tikka masala can almost be described as a creamy gravy and is one dish that is most popular with children. The addition of cream or yogurt creates a tangy but mild taste. 

If you enjoy masala dishes, you may want to read about the differences in our article about paneer lababdar vs shahi paneer.

Paneer Lababdar vs Paneer Tikka Masala: The History Behind The Dishes

The word ‘Lababdar’ is used to describe a desirable, creamy dish. It is thought that this word is of Mughal origin and that this is where the influence comes from. You will find this delectable dish on most, if not all, Indian menus. This firm favorite can be cooked with chicken, beef, or lamb, making it extremely versatile. 

It is thought that tikka masala was originally created in Glasgow by a Pakistani chef, who put his own twist on the sauce. After a customer complained his meal was ‘too dry’, the chef apparently added chicken chunks to a base of tomato soup to create what is now known as tikka masala! Whether this is totally true or not, who knows? We do like this theory, though! 

To find out the difference between paneer masala vs paneer tikka masala, click here! 

How Is Each Dish Served?

Paneer lababdar and paneer tikka masala dishes are often served during special occasions and celebrations. These versatile dishes are popular amongst adults and children of all ages. Both curries can be served with authentic Indian side dishes such as: 

  • Saffron rice
  • Jeera rice
  • Steamed rice
  • Cumin rice
  • Basmati rice
  • Roti / Naan bread
  • Flatbreads

It can be said that tikka masala dishes, in particular, are popular with young children as they are not as spicy as other authentic curries. 

What Is Paneer Lababdar Made Of?

Why not put your cooking skills to the test and cook your very own paneer lababdar for your friends and family. Here’s how to do it. 


1 tsp cooking oil

1 cup paneer cubes 

1/2 tsp cumin seeds 

1 tsp coriander seeds

1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder 

1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste

1/2 cup onions

1 chopped green chili (optional) 

1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves

3/4 teaspoon sugar (optional) 

Splash of fresh cream (optional)

2 tablespoons coriander leaves (optional)


1. Heat the oil in a pan before adding the dried spices. Stir for a minute or two before adding the onions, green chili, and ginger-garlic paste. 

2. Sauté over medium heat before adding the ripe tomatoes and a cup of water. Allow cooking for a further 2-3 minutes. 

3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes before blending. 

4. Transfer the blended tomato-onion paste into a pan and allow to cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. 

5. Add the chopped paneer, fresh cream, and coriander leaves. Serve immediately. 

For more information about how to make an authentic paneer lababdar, take a look at this video.

What Is Paneer and Why Is It Used In Indian Dishes?

Paneer, or Indian cottage cheese, is an acid-set cheese made from cow or buffalo milk. It is a popular meat-free alternative to use in curries, and together with spices and other vegetables, it makes for a succulent dish. Paneer is mild in taste and crumbly in texture. 

With over 75% of Northern Indians classed as vegetarians, it’s no wonder why paneer is used in so many Indian meals. 

Find out the difference between paneer lababdar vs kadai paneer by clicking here! 

Can I Make a Vegan Version?

Yes absolutely. Creating vegan versions of each of these dishes is so simple – and the best part is, they taste just as good! So, what ingredients will you need to switch? 

Although paneer is a vegetarian product, it isn’t vegan as it is the product of animal milk (cow’s or buffalo’s). Therefore, this can be swapped for tofu. If tofu isn’t your favorite alternative, why not switch the paneer for vegetables. 

Mushrooms are commonly used in many meat-free dishes due to their meaty texture. You can also add sweet or white potatoes. 

For the milk or cream, feel free to use any dairy-free product. These days, there are a huge variety of plant-based products available in most major supermarkets. Cream substitutes such as coconut cream are ideal if you are looking to use vegan products but still desire a beautiful, creamy curry. 

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