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Makhani Pasta

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Makhani Pasta or Makhani Sauce Pasta is a delicious Indian-style fusion pasta where your Italian pasta is tossed in a creamy buttery, spicy, and mouth-watering sauce. It is a vegetarian pasta dish, but it can also be made vegan. 

This fusion blend of classic Italian pasta and delicious Indian-inspired buttery (Makhani) sauce takes this pasta to a whole new level.

overhead shot of makhani pasta served in a grey ceramic dish and some garlic bread sticks on the side

Imagine the flavors of a creamy and delicious pasta that is tossed in Indian vegetarian makhani gravy sauce. This makhani gravy pasta is definitely bursting with creaminess and richness. It’s like you are relishing restaurant-quality meals at the comfort of your home.

It is a quick and easy to make 40-minute recipe. So if you got 40 minutes, then you can make this pasta from scratch — a quick and easy dinner is sorted. If you have the makhani sauce ready, then you can simply pull up this recipe in under 10 minutes. 

This phenomenal Indian-style makhani pasta recipe tastes so good and makes such a quick easy meal. It is also an ideal treat for romantic weekend dinners and lunches. Not to mention it is an excellent crowd pleaser recipe, so it can also be served for parties or get-togethers.

delicious creamy makhani pasta served on a grey ceramic bowl and some cilantro on the side

Made with simple ingredients! Plus, it is fairly simple to customize it according to your taste or dietary preferences. 

If you love Indian food then you must have had Indian buttery sauce aka makhani gravy in curries such as paneer butter masala (paneer makhani), or butter chicken (murgh makhani). 

Indian Makhani gravy is famous all over the world and everyone just loves this for its rich, creamy, and smooth texture and classic spicy flavors.

I cooked this makhani pasta using the traditional method of boiling the pasta and cooking sauce separately on a Stovetop, but it can also be made in your Instant Pot! This way it can be cooked in just 20 minutes. Pasta can’t get any simpler than this. 

You will get the step-by-step instructions on ‘How to make Instant Pot Makhani Pasta Recipe’ in the recipe box on this page.

Trying a pasta with Indian flavors? Sounds a bit strange, I get it. Trust me on this, you would definitely love amazing flavor blend of thie Indian style curry pasta aka makhani pasta. When you cook pasta in a buttery creamy and spicy gravy sauce, it gets marinated and becomes a pasta dish that is out of the world. 

Make it once and this flavor-bursting homemade makhani pasta recipe oozes with deliciousness. It will surely become your new go-to family dinner recipe. You will definitely fall in love with this delicious and filler pasta recipe. So are you ready to try this makhani sauce pasta recipe at home?

a female holding a fork with delicious creamy makhani sauce pasta

What are the reasons to love Makhani Pasta?

This easy, creamy, and delicious pasta has everything you want in a meal. It is because…

This Makhani Pasta:

✓ is simple and easy to make 

✓ is ready in under 40 minutes

✓ is so creamy, rich, and flavorful

✓ makes a delicious and satisfying meal

✓ is vegetarian and can also be made vegan

✓ can be made with any of your favorite pasta

✓ can be customized as your taste preference

✓ has a unique and delicious taste

✓ can also be made kid-friendly with little adjustments

✓ is also meal-prep and freezer friendly

✓ can also be made gluten-free

✓ is a comforting pasta dish loved by all age groups

✓ can also be packed in lunchboxes

What is Makhani Pasta?

Makhani Pasta or Pasta in Makhani Sauce is an Indo-Italian fusion pasta dish where Italian pasta meets Indian vegetarian buttery sauce. This melt-in-mouth pasta tastes spicy, flavorful, rich, and creamy. This is an instant pasta that can be made in a pan or instant pot.

In this dish, the word ‘Makhani’ means rich and buttery. Thus, a makhani gravy sauce has lots of butter and cream. This Indian sauce has a rich, smooth, and creamy texture, orangish color, and spicy and slightly sweet aftertaste. This is a versatile sauce that can be used in many dishes. 

What is Makhani Sauce made of?

Makhani Sauce is a rich, creamy, spicy, luscious, and delicious Indian curry sauce. It is one of the most famous Indian gravy sauces. It is prepared by sautéeing onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, cashew nuts, whole, and powdered Indian spices in a butter and oil mixture. After that, this mixture is blended with some water or milk. And lastly, it is cooked with cream and butter. 

closeup shot of makhani pasta in a grey bowl

What are the ingredients required for making makhani pasta?

This pasta is made with some basic ingredients that are easily available. Makhani Pasta recipe basically needs two sets of ingredients, one set for pasta and the other for pasta sauce.

You will need the ingredients below for making pasta:

Pasta

You can use any fine-quality pasta of your choice. In this recipe, I used penne pasta.

Salt & Olive Oil

Water

For making makhani sauce, you will need the ingredients below:

Butter: 

For this recipe, you can use both salted and unsalted butter. You can even use homemade ghee for making makhani sauce.

Oil: 

Olive oil tastes best in this recipe, but you can also use any other vegetable cooking oil.

Whole spices:

I have used a bunch of whole spices, they add a nice aromatic touch to this makhani sauce. The whole spices I have used in this recipe are green cardamom pods, black peppercorns, cloves, and dried red chilies.  

Onion:

Yellow onion tastes best in this makhani sauce. 

Tomato:

You can use any type of tomatoes for this makhani sauce recipe. If you want, you can also swap fresh tomatoes with canned tomatoes or tomato puree.

Ginger & garlic:

Ginger and garlic are a must in the curry gravies. This is because they add a nice flavor to the Indian curry sauce. I used roughly chopped ginger and garlic here, but you can also use homemade ginger garlic paste.

Herbs: 

I only used fresh cilantro in this recipe. You can also use Italian herbs, oregano, or fresh basil.

Cashew nuts & cream:

In this recipe, cashew nuts and fresh cream both are added for a rich and creamy texture. You can replace cream with homemade milk cream (malai). 

Powdered spices: 

A curry base is all about a delicious spice blend. This makhani sauce uses the basic spice powders which are coriander powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, Kasuri methi, and salt. 

Optional add-ons: 

I added bell pepper and cherry tomatoes for extra punch and texture. You can also use any other vegetables of your choice. You can even add some meat such as chicken, lamb, or shrimp to this makhani pasta recipe.

makhani pasta served in a grey ceramic dish

How to Make Makhani Pasta?

Making Makhani pasta is simple and easy. To make this pasta, you need to boil pasta and prepare Makhani Sauce. That’s it. This is how it is done briefly.

Step 1: Cook Pasta according to package instructions.

Step 2: Make makhani sauce.

Step 3: Toss pasta with makhani sauce. Done.

For a detailed list of Makhani Pasta recipe ingredients and step-by-step photo and video instructions, please see the recipe box on this page.

How to make Makhani Pasta in the Instant Pot?

This pasta can easily be done in the Instant Pot. This is how you make makhani pasta in the instant pot in 4 simple steps:

Step 1: Add all the makhani gravy ingredients (except bell pepper, cherry tomato, cream, and cilantro) along with 1 cup of water to the instant pot, and sauté.

Step 2: Pressure cook, and then blend.

Step 3: Add pasta and pressure cook again.

Step 4: Mix pasta with butter and cream. Done. Serve with garlic bread or chili cheese toast.

For a full list of Instant Pot Makhani Pasta recipe and step-by-step photo and video instructions, please see the recipe box on this page.

a hand holding cheese flakes over a delicious makhani pasta bowl

How to boil pasta perfectly?

Always cook pasta according to package instructions. Boiling pasta till al dente is advised if you are going to cook pasta with the sauce. Also, some recipes call for rinsing pasta. When rinsing, make sure that you use cold water. Never rinse pasta with warm or hot water. Also tossing warm pasta a few drops of olive oil makes them non-sticky. So it is highly recommended for the pasta recipe where you are using cooked cooled pasta.

How to make vegan Makhani Pasta?

This recipe makes vegetarian makhani pasta. To make it vegan, you need to swap butter with margarine and cream with vegan dairy-free cream such as coconut cream, cashew cream. You can also use almond puree or paste. 

How to Make Makhani Pasta gluten-free?

This recipe uses regular pasta, but the makhani sauce used in this recipe is gluten-free. To make this makhani pasta gluten-free, all you need to do is to replace the regular pasta with any of your favorite gluten-free pasta varieties. Just adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions and follow the rest of the recipe.

How to store leftover Makhani Pasta?

There are very rare chances that you will have some leftover pasta. But if you have some leftover makhani pasta, then you can store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Just reheat it before serving.

Can I make Makhani Sauce in advance?

Yes, you can certainly do that. It’s the beauty of this sauce that it turns even more flavorful after a couple of days. When you have a party at home, then simply make this makhani curry paste prior to the gathering. You store it in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days in an air-tight container. 

When you want to make this pasta, then boil your pasta and heat it with a buttery sauce. Your makhani pasta will be ready in just 10 minutes.

What type of pasta is best for making a Makhani Pasta recipe?

Makhani pasta recipe can be made with many types of short pasta. Below are the pasta options you can choose:

  • Penne

  • Rigatoni

  • Fusilli

  • Elbows

  • Rotini

  • Farfalle

  • Gemelli

  • Ziti

  • Manicotti

Can I freeze makhani sauce?

Yes, the freezing makhani sauce is possible. To freeze, transfer the makhani sauce in a freezer-safe container or a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 2 months. When you want to use it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and use it in your pasta or curry dishes.

 overhead shot of makhani pasta served in a grey ceramic dish

What are the Pro Tips, Tricks, and Variations to make the best Makhani Pasta?

Tip 1. To make paneer makhani pasta, add paneer cubes to the makhani gravy sauce. You can also toss cooked pasta with butter paneer

Tip 2. This is a vegetarian makhani pasta recipe, but you can also make chicken makhani pasta by swapping vegetables with shredded chicken.

Tip 3. I have added bell pepper and cherry tomatoes to this makhani sauce. Adding vegetables is optional, so if you don’t want any vegetables then feel free to omit them.

Tip 4. I added vegetables directly to the gravy, but can also toss the vegetables in butter before adding the makhani sauce to the pan.  

Tip 5. You can also add other vegetables such as broccoli, mushroom, onions, beans, or corn kernels to this makhani pasta recipe.

Tip 6. I didn’t add any oregano or Italian herbs to this makhani sauce pasta recipe, if you like, you can add oregano or Italian herbs to this makhani pasta recipe.

Tip 7. If for some reason, your pasta thickens after cooling, then you can add some water or milk to the pasta while reheating it.

Tip 8. To reheat makhani pasta, either microwave it for 1 minute on high settings or reheat it in a pan.

Tip 9. I used 15% cream in this recipe, but for a richer taste, you can also use heavy cream.

Tip 10. I used white pasta, but you can also use whole wheat or gluten-free pasta for making this makhani pasta recipe.

Tip 11. If you don’t have Kashmiri red chili powder, then feel free to replace it with regular chili powder. You can also use cayenne pepper. 

Tip 12. If you don’t want it too hot, then you can reduce the amount of dried red chilies. Or you can also skip adding dried chilies.

Tip 13. I have used water for blending onion tomato mixture. If you like, you can also use milk instead of water.



Makhani Pasta [Recipe]

Recipe Image
Makhani Pasta or Makhani Sauce Pasta is a delicious Indian-style fusion pasta where your Italian pasta is tossed in a creamy buttery, spicy, and mouth-watering sauce.
★★★★✰
(Rating: 4.9 from 8 reviews)

Prep time 🕐 Cook time 🕐 Total time 🕐
40 mins
Category ☶ Cuisine ♨ Serves ☺
Side Indian 4
Nutrition Info ⊛ Serving size ⊚
297 calories 1

INGREDIENTS

For boiling pasta
  • 8 oz or 2 cups pasta, I used penne
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups hot boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
For Making Makhani Sauce
  • 1 + 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, I used olive oil
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 6-7 peppercorns
  • 6-7 cloves
  • 3 Kashmiri dried red chilies
  • 2 medium-sized onions, diced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1-inch ginger, roughly chopped
  • 10-12 cashew nuts
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup + 1 cup + 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Kasuri methi
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar, optional
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (coriander leaves), chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

Boil Pasta
  1. Add hot water to a pan and let it come to a boil. Once water is boiling, add salt, and pasta to the boiling salted water and stir well.
  2. Image of the cooking step-1-1 for Makhani Pasta
  3. Cook until al dente or cook the pasta according to package directions. Keep stirring occasionally. Take a bite or cut pasta from the center. If the center of the pasta is soft yet remains slightly firm to cut or bite then it is ready.
  4. Image of the cooking step-1-2 for Makhani Pasta
  5. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water, you will need it later in the sauce. Now drizzle it with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Toss well and keep it aside. Coating cooked pasta with oil prevents them from sticking to each other.
  6. Image of the cooking step-1-3 for Makhani Pasta
Make Makhani Sauce
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a pan over medium heat.
  2. Image of the cooking step-2-1 for Makhani Pasta
  3. After that, add green cardamom, black peppercorns, cloves, dried red chilies, diced onions, garlic cloves, and chopped ginger to the pan.
  4. Image of the cooking step-2-2 for Makhani Pasta
  5. Along with it add cashews and diced tomatoes. Stir everything well. Saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Image of the cooking step-2-3 for Makhani Pasta
  7. Now, add coriander powder, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, garam masala powder, and salt.
  8. Image of the cooking step-2-4 for Makhani Pasta
  9. Mix everything well and saute for about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir again. Let it boil for 1 minute.
  10. Image of the cooking step-2-5 for Makhani Pasta
  11. Now cover and cook for about 6-7 minutes. After that, uncover the pan and add Kasuri methi. Mix again and cook for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat and keep it aside to cool at room temperature.
  12. Image of the cooking step-2-6 for Makhani Pasta
  13. Once cooled, add the onion-tomato mixture to a blender jar. Also, add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan and stir. Now, add this water to the blender and blend until smooth.
  14. Image of the cooking step-2-7 for Makhani Pasta
  15. Add this onion tomato paste to the pan. Also, add reserved pasta water to the blender and shake well. Now, add this water to the pan. Stir everything well. Then, add bell pepper and mix well.
  16. Image of the cooking step-2-8 for Makhani Pasta
  17. After that, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir again and cook for 2 minutes. After about 2 minutes, add the fresh cream and mix.
  18. Image of the cooking step-2-9 for Makhani Pasta
  19. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, and then add fresh cilantro, and cherry tomatoes. Mix again and let it cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  20. Image of the cooking step-2-10 for Makhani Pasta
  21. Then add cooked pasta and toss well to combine. At this point, you can add some sugar and salt if needed. Let the pasta heat through. Turn off the heat.
  22. Image of the cooking step-2-11 for Makhani Pasta
  23. Transfer makhani pasta to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro and some cheese. Serve makhani pasta hot with garlic or any herb bread or toast of your choice.
  24. Image of the cooking step-2-12 for Makhani Pasta
How to make Makhani Pasta in Instant Pot
  1. Press the saute button on the Instant Pot. Once it displays hot, add butter and oil to the inner pot of your instant pot.
  2. Image of the cooking step-3-1 for Makhani Pasta
  3. After that, add green cardamom pods, black peppercorns, cloves, onions, ginger, garlic, cashews, and tomatoes. Sauté for about 1 minute. Then coriander powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, salt, Kasuri methi add 1 cup of water. Mix well and let it boil for 1 minute.
  4. Image of the cooking step-3-2 for Makhani Pasta
  5. Cover the instant pot with a lid, set the valve to SEALING position. Press the MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK button and cook on (high pressure) for 6 minutes. NPR (Natural pressure release) for 8 minutes. Once the pin drops, open the lid. After that, blend to make a smooth purée using an immersion blender.
  6. Image of the cooking step-3-3 for Makhani Pasta
  7. Now, add the pasta, bell pepper, and water. Do not stir after adding pasta. Cover the instant pot with a lid, set the valve to SEALING position. Cook on manual or pressure cook (high pressure) for 5 minutes. After it's done cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and after that, quickly release the pressure.
  8. Image of the cooking step-3-4 for Makhani Pasta
  9. When the pin drops, open the lid and stir everything. Press the saute mode. After that, add cream, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Serve makhani pasta hot!
  10. Image of the cooking step-3-5 for Makhani Pasta

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NOTES:

  1. To make paneer makhani pasta, add paneer cubes to the makhani gravy sauce. You can also toss cooked pasta with butter paneer.
  2. This is a vegetarian makhani pasta recipe, but you can also make chicken makhani pasta by swapping vegetables with shredded chicken.
  3. I have added bell pepper and cherry tomatoes to this makhani sauce. Adding vegetables is optional, so if you don't want any vegetables then feel free to omit them.
  4. I added vegetables directly to the gravy, but can also toss the vegetables in butter before adding the makhani sauce to the pan
  5. I have used both oil and butter for making makhani sauce. However, if you only want to use the butter then replace oil with the same amount of butter.

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