Palak Paneer Cigars

Savory creamy palak paneer wrapped in crunchy phyllo, these Palak Paneer Cigars are the perfect appetizer for your next gathering. Keep reading for the recipe and tutorial!

Palak Paneer Cigars

Palak Paneer Cigars

Bite-sized phyllo cigars, baked to perfection, offer a versatile canvas for various fillings. From sweet to savory, these delightful tubes can hold so many surprises. While I have a fondness for classic Indian appetizers like samosas and aloo puffs, I very much enjoy infusing innovative twists into these traditional dishes, creating fresh opportunities for enjoyment. 

Palak Paneer Cigars

Interesting Apps

Break the monotony of the same old appetizer routine by introducing Palak Paneer Cigars. Wrap flaky phyllo pastry around a delicious blend of palak, paneer, and creamy cheeses to craft these impressive treats. Everything gets elevated with a sprinkling of nigella seeds, adding an earthy, aromatic dimension that takes these cigars to new heights. Plus, earn bonus points for their convenience – prepare them in advance for seamless hosting!

Palak Paneer Cigar Ingredients

Menu Ideas

What makes this recipe truly exceptional is its versatility. Whether you’re entertaining guests or just want something different for dinner, these cigars work perfectly as an appetizer or even paired with salad as a vegetarian main. The preparation is straightforward, and the result is nothing short of gourmet. Put a twist on the traditional palak paneer and make these cigars, your kitchen will be filled with the warm aroma of freshly baked pastry, and your guests will love these. 

Palak Paneer Cigars

Make ahead

Experimenting with preparation, we successfully made a batch in advance and froze them. I highly recommend doubling the recipe and freezing the extras – a smart way to ready yourself for gatherings and efficiently utilize any extra phyllo pastry. Simply freeze them on a baking sheet, then transfer gently into a resealable container once frozen. When needed, bake directly from frozen for a convenient and delicious solution.

Palak Paneer Cigars

Working with Phyllo

For those unfamiliar with working with phyllo, be aware that it can be a bit challenging! The ultra-thin sheets are delicate and prone to breaking, so having extras is wise. Prepare a damp towel to cover your stack of phyllo sheets as you work, preventing them from drying out. The pastry tends to dry rapidly, so keep it covered with a slightly damp clean dish towel to maintain its pliability for successful rolling. Once you get the hang of rolling you’ll be able to whip these up in no time. 

Palak Paneer Cigars

Palak Paneer Cigars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Savory creamy palak paneer wrapped in crunchy phyllo, these Palak Paneer Cigars are the perfect appetizer for your next gathering.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 16 cigars
  • 16-20 phyllo pastry sheets
  • ½ cup onion; finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon ginger + garlic; even blend of fresh grated ginger root and garlic cloves
  • 2 cup packed spinach; chopped
  • 2 Serrano chiles; finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon haldi; turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon jeera powder; cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1½ cup paneer; grated or crumbled
  • ½ cup low moisture mozzarella; grated
  • 4 oz cream cheese; softened; half a block
  • ½ teaspoon salt; adjust if needed
  • 1 tablespoon kalonji; nigella seeds
  • 1½ tablespoon oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter; for brushing
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Warm oil in a pan on medium heat. Sauté onions until translucent and add ginger + garlic paste. Cook for 30-45 seconds allowing them to toast up before adding chopped spinach and chopped chilies. Sauté and cover for 2 minutes until the spinach wilts.
  3. Add salt, haldi, jeera and garam masala before turning off the heat and bringing the mixture down to room temperature.
  4. In a bowl combine spinach mixture with softened cream cheese, grated paneer, mozzarella cheese. Mix well, taste for salt, adjust if needed.
  5. Melt the butter and spread a phyllo sheet on the counter with a long wide end facing you. Brush the top half with melted butter. Now fold it in half, gently smoothing out any air bubbles and brush with butter.
  6. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of your filling in a line, about a half inch from the sides and bottom of your rectangle. Fold both the left and right borders in about half an inch and then tightly roll everything up.
  7. Arrange your cigars on a baking sheet, seam-sides down, as you make them. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle on kalonji (nigella seeds). Bake the cigars for 20-23 minutes; until they're browned and crispy. Let them cool for a few minutes before enjoying.
A one pound box of phyllo pastry usually has 20-24 sheets in a roll

To make ahead freeze the rolled cigars on baking sheet, then transfer gently into a resealable container once frozen. When needed, bake from frozen.

To make smaller cigars fold the pastry once more and use half of the suggested filling for the cigars. 




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