Easy paneer puff with a crisp, flaky, and golden crust stuffed with a delicious paneer filling. These paneer puffs come together quickly using store-bought puff pastry!
Table of Contents
What is paneer puff?
Paneer puffs are delicious Indian savory turnovers made with puff pastry dough wrapped around a delicious paneer stuffing.
Puff patties are really popular in Indian bakeries. You will find a variety of them from veg, egg to meat puffs!
We love to indulge in these paneer puff turnovers on the weekends, usually on Sundays! A cup of coffee along with some warm puff, and that’s breakfast sorted!
Today, I’m sharing these vegetarian paneer puffs because they are equally delicious as the ones made with eggs and meat. Besides, anything with paneer just ought to be! Right?
Nothing beats homemade puff pastry, but it can be quite time-consuming with all that rolling, folding, and refrigeration time.
I hope to try my hands at making puff pastry from scratch someday from my Mom’s old recipe book. I will definitely share a post on it when I do!
But, today, I’ve used readymade puff pastry squares since they are easily available. In Mumbai, I get these puff pastry squares from the brand Unroll, through Big Basket online (neither of these are sponsored). Since they are pre-cut, it is ready to use saving me time and effort!
Why you will love this recipe?
This paneer puff;
☑ Is a cinch to make with readymade puff pasty sheets or squares
☑ Is the perfect finger food to serve for parties, potlucks, etc
☑ Can be made ahead by filling the pastry sheets and refrigerating for up to 2 days
☑ Is a perfect accompaniment to your evening tea and some chitter chatter :p
☑ Is very adaptable
For the paneer filling, you will need;
Paneer: I’ve diced the paneer (Indian cottage cheese) into small cubes coz that is how we prefer it in these puffs.
Aromatics: Onions, freshly minced ginger, and garlic. You could use readymade ginger garlic paste too.
Seasoning: I’ve seasoned this filling with basic spices like cumin seeds, Kashmiri chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala, salt, and pepper. You could add other spices like chaat masala, kasuri methi, etc!
Tomatoes and ketchup: I’ve used one medium-sized tomato. You can skip the tomato if you like. I’ve added ketchup just to add a little tang and sweetness, which is not that noticeable. You may skip it or add more if you like. Hot and sweet ketchup also works great here.
Herbs: Some finely chopped coriander leaves.
Cooking fat: I’ve used sunflower oil. Feel free to use your preferred cooking oil.
Puff pastry squares or sheets: You will need about 12 puff pastry squares or two sheets. Feel free to use homemade!
Other ingredients: You will also need some cream to brush the tops of the pastry and some sesame seeds which are optional. I’ve used a mix of white and black sesame seeds. You could also use kalonji (nigella seeds)! Both cream and sesame seeds are not pictured below.
How to make paneer puff at home – Step-by-step process
Step 1: Paneer filling
Thaw the frozen puff pastry squares or sheets in the refrigerator. I prefer to thaw it overnight if I’m making these puffs for breakfast.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and allow them to crackle. (Photos 1 and 2)
Next, add 2 cups of sliced onions, and saute on medium to medium-low heat until golden brown. (Photos 3 and 4)
Add 1 tablespoon of coarsely crushed ginger-garlic, and stir-fry until fragrant. (Photos 5 and 6)
Add diced tomatoes (1 medium tomato) along with ¾ teaspoon of table salt, mix, cover, and cook on medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. (Photos 7 to 10)
Remove the lid, and saute until tomatoes are mushy. (Photo 11)
Next, add 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili, 1 teaspoon coriander, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, and ½ teaspoon garam masala powders, mix well and saute for another 30 seconds. (Photos 12 to 17)
Add 1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup and mix well. (Photos 18 and 19)
Add ⅓ cup of water and mix well. (Photos 20 and 21)
When the mixture starts to bubble, add 200 grams of cubed paneer, mix gently, and cook for another 2 minutes on medium-low heat. (Photos 22 and 23)
Switch off the heat and add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and ¼ cup of finely chopped coriander leaves. (Photos 24 to 26)
Mix gently and set aside to cool down completely. This makes about 2¼ cups of paneer filling.
Step 2: Assemble the puffs
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 220° C (430° F) for about 10 minutes. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center of the puff pastry square. Do not overfill. (Photo 27)
Fold the pastry to form a triangle and press down the edges using your fingers. Seal the edges with a fork as shown in the pics below. (Photo 28 and 29)
Place it on the prepared baking tray. Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the filling and puff pastry squares. Make sure to space the pastries at least 1-inch apart since they will expand as they bake. (Photo 30)
Step 3: Bake
Brush the tops with cream or milk using a pastry brush and sprinkle some sesame seeds. (Photo 31 and 32)
In the oven
Bake at 220° C (430° F) for 20 minutes or until golden brown. (Photo 33 and 34)
In the air fryer
Place 3 assembled puff pastries in the air fryer basket and air fry at 180° C/350° F for 9 to 10 minutes. (Photo 35 and 36)
Transfer the puffs to a serving platter, and serve warm!
Serve warm paneer puff patties with some ketchup or sweet chili sauce or green chutney.
These are really good with a hot cup of tea or coffee!
These puffs are best enjoyed the day they are baked. They will lose their crispiness if left to sit for too long.
Leftovers: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Freeze: You can also freeze assembled and unbaked paneer puffs for up to 3 months. Just pop it in the oven when you feel like having some, or when you have to entertain unexpected guests!
Skip the cream wash and sprinkling of the seeds. Follow these steps to freeze;
- Place the assembled puffs on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Freeze until hard, about 2 hours.
- Wrap each frozen puff in cling film and place them in a freezer-safe bag. Label the bag with the contents and date.
- When you are ready to serve, brush them with the cream and sprinkle some sesame seeds, bake them straight from frozen. Add about 5 to 6 minutes more to the cooking time, keep an eye out!
Reheat: Reheat puff from the fridge in the oven at 180° C (350° F) for 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through. You could also reheat them in the air fryer at 180° C/350° F for 2 to 3 minutes. Avoid reheating in the microwave as it will make the puff soggy.
Avoid caramelizing onions on high heat: Caramelized onions form the base of this filling. Make sure to cook on medium to medium-low heat. Cooking on high heat will lend a bitter taste and ruin the flavor of the filling.
Make sure the puff pastry is cold: If puff pastry dough becomes too soft after assembling them, chill in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes so that they firm up a bit. This allows the fat to re-solidify in the dough. Puff pastry dough should be cold when it hits the oven in order to rise and get crispy, flaky puffs!
Avoid opening the oven door: Do not open the oven door for the first 15 minutes. Opening the oven door prematurely will cause the steam to escape which is important for the rise of the puffs. It will cause the puffs to deflate and you will end up with a flat pastry.
Baking temperature: Puff pastry needs to be baked at a high temperature to create sufficient steam for the dough to rise. However, with the air fryer, avoid using high heat because it can cause the puffs to burn or brown quickly while the insides remain uncooked. The temperature specified in the instructions works perfectly. You can always check what works for you by testing a single puff rather than ruining the entire batch.
Use the air fryer for a few puffs: If you just need to make 2 to 3 puffs, I suggest using the air fryer. That way, you can avoid preheating the oven and your kitchen!
Make ahead: You can assemble the puffs and refrigerate them for up to 2 days in an airtight container. Or place them on the baking tray and cover them loosely. Bake them straight away from the fridge.
Cream/milk wash: Brushing the puffs with cream gives them a nice shine and an even color as compared to just using milk. So, I suggest you use cream! You can also use oil, melted butter, or melted ghee. If you consume eggs, then brush these puffs with egg wash.
Don’t have puff pastry? Then use this paneer filling to make sandwiches, bread rolls, paratha, wraps, pizza pockets, as a topping for pizza, or quesadillas! All these are great options for your kid’s lunch box.
Paneer bhurji filling: You could use scrambled paneer instead of small paneer cubes.
Add vegetables: You can add some vegetables like finely chopped carrots, green peas, bell peppers, corn, mushrooms, or leafy greens like palak, etc to this paneer filling.
Cheese: You add some grated cheese over the filling.
Tofu: Vegans can swap the paneer with tofu and vegan puff pastry sheets.
Have you made this recipe?
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Paneer Puff (Oven & Air Fryer)
- 12 (5 inch) puff pastry squares or 2 sheets of puff pastry, 660 grams
For the paneer filling
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 cup sliced onions, 200 grams
- 1 tablespoon coarsely crushed ginger garlic, 15 grams
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 1 large tomato finely chopped, about 85 grams
- ¾ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 tablespoon ketchup optional
- ⅓ cup water
- 200 grams diced paneer cubes approx 1¾ cups
- 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
- ¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tablespoon cream
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, I used a mix of white and black sesame seeds
- Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat.
- Thaw the puff pastry squares or sheets in the refrigerator.
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and allow them to crackle.
- Next, add sliced onions, and saute on medium to medium-low heat until golden brown.
- Add coarsely crushed ginger-garlic, and stir-fry until fragrant.
- Add diced tomatoes along with salt, mix, cover, and cook on medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove the lid, and saute until tomatoes turn mushy.
- Next, add Kashmiri chili, coriander, black pepper, turmeric, and garam masala powders, mix well and saute for another 30 seconds.
- Add tomato ketchup and mix well.
- Add water and mix well.
- When the mixture starts to bubble, add cubed paneer, mix gently, and cook for another 2 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Switch off the heat and add lemon juice, and finely chopped coriander leaves. Mix gently and set aside to cool down completely. This makes about 2¼ cups of paneer filling.
Assemble the puffs
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 220° C (430° F) for about 10 minutes. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center of the puff pastry square. Do not overfill.
- Fold the pastry to form a triangle and press down the edges using your fingers. Seal the edges with a fork.
- Place it on the prepared baking tray. Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the filling and puff pastry squares. Make sure to space the pastries at least 1-inch apart since they will expand as they bake.
- Note: If the pastry gets too warm,soft, and sticky, refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes to firm up.
- Brush the tops with cream or milk using a pastry brush and sprinkle some sesame seeds.
In the oven
- Bake at 220° C (430° F) for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
In the air fryer
- Place 3 assembled puff pastries in the air fryer basket and air fry at 180° C (350° F) for 9 to 10 minutes.
- Transfer the puffs to a serving platter, and serve warm!