Homemade Paneer – Indian Cheese

Paneer is an Indian cheese which is used in many recipes for appetizers, main courses and desserts. It does not melt when heated. Paneer is very easy to make at home. Try this easy to follow recipe.

Ingredients:

Whole Milk – 8 cups (1/2 gallon)
Lemon Juice – 1/4 cup

Method:

1. In a medium pot, bring Milk to a boil.
2. Slowly add Lemon Juice to the milk while continuously stirring.
3. Within 10-15 seconds, Milk should start to separate from the whey.
4. The milk is completely separated when the whey is a light greenish color.
5. Switch off the stove and let the pot sit for a few minutes.
6. Line a colander with cheese cloth or thin cotton cloth and place it over a large bowl.
7. Pour milk solids and whey into the colander.
8. Take opposite ends of the cloth and tie together lifting the cloth out of the colander.
9. Using a large spoon placed across the top of a jug, hang the cloth with the paneer from the spoon handle. The paneer bundle should be hanging inside the jug.
10. After approx 30 minutes, remove the bundle from the jug and open it. Untie the knot and fold the cloth over smoothly across the paneer.
11. Place a heavy weight on top of the paneer for approx 30 min.
12. Open the cloth and cut paneer to desired size cubes.

Tips:

1. Vinegar can be used in place of Lemon Juice to separate the milk from whey.
2. Save the whey as it can be used to knead chapatti dough or as a stock for soups and curries. If you won’t be using it immediately, freeze it for later use.
3. For making tikkas or a firmer paneer, add 1/2 Tbsp of all-purpose flour to the paneer after hanging it and knead it like a dough. Flatten the paneer out onto a baking dish, keep it in the fridge for about an hour and then cut it into cubes.
4. Salt can be added to the paneer after the hanging process. Knead it as mentioned above in step 3.

155 thoughts on “Homemade Paneer – Indian Cheese

  1. Hi
    is baking sheet or aluminium foil same?
    Thank you so much for the wonderful tip for making firmer paneer.
    regards

    1. Hi there,
      Baking sheet is a flat tray (with none or very low edges).Aluminum foil is a flexible sheet of aluminum and does not have a solid (stiff) base….

  2. Hello,

    I was wondering if the fat from the milk when it gets spoilt be used for paneer, i mean when we are not intending to make paneer and due to heat or whatever reason the milk surprisingly goes bad. My mum normally makes bhurji out of it but i hate that bhurji. unless you have a cool recipe for bhurji as well.

    Thank you for your help in advance.

    1. Hi Priti,

      The paneer made from the milk that has gotten spoilt has a very distinct flavor. I have to say that I do make paneer but use it in dishes where paneer is not the focus and gets masked by other ingredients (vegetables or spices). I would not suggest you use that paneer to make Ras Gullas or Ras Malai or any other dessert.
      As for Paneer Burji, I just love that dish because everytime I make it, it’s so different! I never follow any measurements or recipes. I use what I have in the fridge and what I really need to use up (before it goes bad πŸ˜‰ ). I have made burji with obscure things like Sambar powder or with Spring Onions….! My family loves paneer and it’s very forgiving dish πŸ™‚

  3. Hello, Is there another product we can substitute paneer with, or cheese like substitute… say like “cottage cheese” perhaps. thanks.

    1. Hi Rob,
      The big advantage of paneer is that it does not melt when it’s cooked. If you do want the look (and can compromise on the flavor), use tofu (firm – so it does not break). It looks the same and tastes good but is different. Unfortunately, no good substitute for Paneer πŸ™

  4. hie hetal and anuja…

    Love all your recipes…..you guys have made me a good cook!

    I had a doubt….you said you knead it in a food processor…do u knead it with the normal blade(the one we use to cut vegetables) or a special dough blade…or does your processor have a knead mode?
    thanks. keep posting recipes…can you post some broccoli recipes?

    1. Hi Asha,

      You can use the regular chopping blade…it works great. Add in a tablespoon of all-purpose flour (for paneer from one gallon of milk) into the food processor while kneading for firm paneer.

      1. thanks for the prompt reply hetal ji!
        I tried it yesterday but skipped the kneading coz i wasnt sure…it turned out ok…some parts were a little crumbly…i guess the longer you leave it under the weight,the firmer it becomes…:)
        and i repeat you guys are amazing!

  5. Hi Ladies!

    I just finished watching your video–fantastic instructions, as well as tips and tricks! I have a few questions:

    Is it possible to double the recipe without any problems? Can you add salt before it is finished draining and after you add the lemon juice/vinegar?, or is it better to add after it has sat?

    1. Hi Jackie,
      Sorry for the delay. Yes, you can double up the recipe. If you do want to pre-salt it, we suggest you add it to the milk right before you add the lemon juice. A lot of the salt will drain away with the whey. That is why we add salt after the whey is out of the way.
      Hope that helps.

  6. Hi Hetal

    When i use the paneer i have frozen earlier, do i need to soak it in water after defrosting it? will it become too rubbery id i dont?

    Thanks
    Fatema

    1. Hi Fatema,

      Heating/cooking the paneer makes it soft. If you want to fry it and use it – fry it and then soak it in water for 5-10 minutes, gently squeeze the water and add it to your paneer. This trick ensures super soft paneer πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Anuja and Hetal,

    I used half a gallon of whole milk to make paneer, and ended up with 5 and 1/2 cups whey and what looked like not a lot of paneer. Was this amount normal? The only thing I did differently was to add salt before the lemon juice.

    Anna

    1. Hi Anna,

      We are sure you are shocked, it does make a small amount! Basically Paneer is the fat content in the milk. Thant is why a little bit is good πŸ™‚

    2. I know you asked this question about a year ago but thought id just share my input.. if the whey did not completely separate that cud be the reason you did not get enough paneer. if the whey still looks milky, it means u still have some fat left it.. make sure your milk is boiling when you add lemon juice.. the whey needs to be greenish in color.

    1. Hi Lajja,

      Food processors and blenders/mixie/grinders work differently. Food processors work without the use of liquid and the blades actually rotate things from bottom to top. Blenders will just grind a the very bottom and the top doesn’t go down unless there is liquid present. A mixie will not work to make dough.

      1. Hi Hetal,

        Thanks for prompt reply. But, I am back with few doubts. I made paneer yesterday, came out very well. But, I think I did something wrong while storing it. I stored into fridge after all the process you mentioned, then cubed it(after storing for 1 hour in fridge), and here I think I went wrong. I cubed it into too small pieces. and also, I stored in fridge in a bowl of water, even though I was going to use just after 2 hours.

        So, eventually when I fried the paneer in a pan, it didn’t maintain original shape at all. Was I supposed to squeeze paneer between my hands to remove excess water before frying? Or, was I supposed to leave it in a fridge for a few more hours before keeping it in a bowl of water?

        Please advice………. (Amazing how I keep having new doubts everyday πŸ™‚ )

        Thanks.

        1. Hi Lajja,

          After all the whey has drained out, you can add just a bit of all purpose flour and knead the paneer like dough (it will help retain it’s shape). Once smooth, flatten it out in a baking sheet and keep it in the fridge for about an hour. Take it out and cube it. You really do not need to store it in water if you are using it up within a day or two. You can also freeze it.

  8. A recipe I have calls for making a lassi by blending yogurt, cottage cheese, and flavoring (dates and coriander).

    Is the paneer you making here the same as ‘cottage cheese’?

    1. Hi John,

      We have not come across a lassi recipe that uses cottage cheese (or in this case, paneer). Many people refer to paneer as cottage cheese, but it tastes very different than the cottage cheese that is available at American grocery stores. The recipe you have may be someone’s personal rendition of lassi so we’re not sure which one (paneer or cottage cheese) they mean. We do have a video for lassi you can try out. Here is the link: https://34.233.61.50/beverages/lassi.html

  9. Hi Anuja and Hetal,
    What would happen if you added the salt to the boiling water? Would it affect the paneer adversely? Just thought it might be easier to add salt in the beginning but I don’t want to mess it up.

    1. Hi Judy,

      We have not tried adding the salt while boiling but would think that most of it would be lost when the paneer is strained from the whey. I usually run my paneer through the food processor to get a firmer texture so mixing the salt in later is not a problem.

  10. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    thanks for this home-made paneer recipe.
    I tried this today and had the same problem like few others did. My Paneer crumbled when i fried it or just soaked it in water. I did use a little maida too. Other than kneading it with maida is there any other mistake/step that could have caused this? The paneer taste was heavenly,though:-) .

    1. Hi Karunya,

      Kneading it with maida should have fixed the crumbling problem. Did you let the water strain out for enough time? When you kneaded it, did all the little grains disappear and become a smooth dough? After you knead it, you can press it not a baking sheet and cut it into cubes.

      1. Hi Hetal,
        Thank you for your reply.
        I think there was a problem in kneading since the grains were still there and it was not a smooth dough.
        I shall make another attempt in making paneer πŸ™‚ .

  11. Hi there,

    I just made the paneer this way, but it doesn’t taste like store-bought… I wonder if it will taste the same
    (as restaurant like) if I actually cook with it and let it sit the gravy… It tastes milky…thats all.

    1. Hi Aarthi,

      Paneer does have a milky taste (after all, it is milk fat). Sometimes, restaurants mix maida (all-purpose flour) while kneading the paneer. It can alter the taste a bit but it helps to hold the shape.

  12. Hi…Can i use this paneer to make Pistachio Sandesh? I bought ricotta cheese from the supermarket b4 realising tht it is not the same as paneer!

    Susanna,
    Perth, Australia

  13. Greetings ,
    I tried this ages ago and after the water was drained from hanging I added a level tsp of garlic salt , mixed it well and then pressed it . The result was a really nice creamy garlic cheese which was great on crackers or toast .
    Using goats milk resulted in a less firm cheese though for some reason .
    Great site .

  14. Hi,

    This is a wonderful thing to learn. Thank you for sharing it with us. I was wondering if this will melt like regular cheese or no?

    Thank You

    1. Hi Eyveneena,

      Unlike other cheese, Paneer does not melt and that is the beauty of it! It will hold it’s shape (unless you mash it) even after cooking!
      πŸ™‚

  15. Hello ladies

    Thanku so much for wonderful site..learned so much from ur site… i always tried to make paneer at home bt never got success. Actualy my paneer got scramble when i try to make either shahi paneer or try to grill..bt now i got the idea to add flour.. tell me can i use corn flour for binding it? thnx in advance

    1. Hi Rajni,

      We’ve heard of people using corn flour, but have never tried it ourselves so cannot give you an appropriate opinion about it. If you try it, we’d love for you to share your feedback.

  16. Hi Ladies-
    You run a fantastic website, as I have learned so much about indian cooking. Thank you! My question is, when making paneer, is it possible to substitute sheep or goat’s milk? I have allergies to cow milk & products. Thank you very much!!
    Susan

  17. that’s beautiful,once i made paneer,but it didn’t come out properly but then when i tried ur recipe.it came out good.thank you.you guys are doing very good job

  18. To the folks who had questions around crumbly paneer, one thing you need to be sure about doing is that you drain out the water from the paneer when it is still hot. If you wait till it is cool, it will already form the crumbles which will never quite stick firmly together again. Something I learned the hard way πŸ™‚

  19. I made paneer according to your instructions. It turned out perfect…however, I made them into big slices and freezed them. I was just reading in one of the comments above, I should have cubed them before freezing…..NEED HELP!!! what should I do now?

    1. Hi Seema,
      Don’t worry! When you are ready to use the paneer, defrost them as needed and cut them to desired size and shape and use.

      I, infact freeze part of the paneer in cubes and part in slices, just incase I need bigger peices for something:) So you are a step ahead…

      1. How would you defrost the paneer….just thaw in the freezer? How long?? Thank you for the reply for my previous question!!

        1. Hi Seema,

          You can transfer the paneer from the freezer to the refrigerator the day before or in a bind, just put the bag in a bowl of hot water.

  20. Hi Simon,

    Paneer on it’s own is pretty mild in flavor. It really needs other spices to enhance the flavor. Unless you crumble it, it may be hard to use it in a sandwich.

  21. Hi Magpie,

    You can store paneer in the refrigerator in a tightly closed container for about a week. Any longer, just put it in a freezer ziploc bag. It is easier to use later if you cube it first before freezing.

  22. Hi Rubinder,

    You can add all-purpose (maida) flour to the paneer as soon as all of the water or whey has drained out while hanging, usually about 30 mins to an hour. You add very little flour, just about 1 heaped tablespoon per gallon of milk used for the paneer. Sprinkle it on the paneer and start kneading it like dough. It will take a little effort by hand so we suggest using a food processor if you have one. It does indeed knead like dough. You will hardly notice the flour but the binding effect is very good for firmer paneer. Good luck!

  23. Hey Ladies!

    I’ve been making paneer for years and enjoyed watching your video. My question is about making paneer tikkas/firmer paneer. I didn’t read the instructions properly and waited a day with the paneer in the fridge before kneeding in the flour and pressing it into a pan. It’s really crumbly. I’ll probably end up making dry paneer subji out it.

    Exactly when do I add the flour and will it really be like a dough? Will it adhere to the paneer because of the wetness?

  24. Hello. You ladies are so beautiful and the paneer is delicious. I am trying to learn more about Indian cuisine. Thank you so much!

  25. Hi Kat,

    Once the paneer separates from the whey, you place it in the cheese cloth and let all of the water go out (press it). Once all of the water is gone, you add the salt and knead it. When the paneer is smooth, you can press it into a baking sheet and keep it in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up. Then, you can cut it into cubes.

  26. Hi! I love your website!

    I have a question about the paneer:

    After you add the salt and knead it, do you still need to press it for 30 min? It says to put it in a baking dish for an hour before cutting into cubes but it doesn’t say anything about pressing it.

    Thank you!

  27. Hi!
    I tried your recipe and the cheese was very crumbly.. it didn’t come together well. Granted I made it on the other side of the world, in Slovakia, and I’m wondering if different quality of milk can be the problem. Do you have any advice? Thanks!

  28. Hi Karen,

    To make paneer that doesn’t crumble, you have to knead it like dough. You can do this very easily in a food processor or by hand (but it takes a lot longer). One other trick is to sprinkle a little all-purpose flour (maida) on the paneer before kneading. It will act as a binding agent. You can use about 1 Tbsp per 1 gallon of milk.

  29. Hi there, wonderful site. I have a problem with the paneer. It always seems to be really crumbly when I make it myself. Do you have an idea what to do to make it a little smoother? Thank you!

  30. hello ladies

    thank you for the recipies, i love indian food and my children love beryani rice. would you please post the biryani rice with lamb thank you very much. and also recipies for paneer .

  31. Hi PearTree,

    Honestly, we have never tried it. It seems kind of strange and we can’t imagine how it will turn out. We’d stick to whole milk if we were you.

  32. Can you make Paneer with reconstituted whole milk powder? Also, I love your web/youtube site. My husband is from SriLanka and I get very excited when I can make him food that is similar to what is eaten back home.

    Thanks again
    PearTree

  33. Hi,

    I can’t seem to find an e-mail address to get in touch with you. Love your site and would like to have a chat with you regarding it and my site http://www.foodari.com.

    Perhaps you would be good enough to drop me contact details to the enclosed e-mail address.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Jonathan

  34. wow i had no idea paneer was so easy to make!

    i love your site and videos, keep up the great work.

    looking forward to trying this recipe.

    thanks!

  35. G-nome,
    You can bring the milk to a boil using either high or medium heat. If you do use the high heat option, stir the milk very frequently, making sure to scrape the bottom. Either way, make sure you keep stirring.

    For some reason if the milk does burn, pour it into another pan (without scraping the bottom) and continue boiling.

    G’Luck!

  36. I love paneer, and tried to make some but where am I going wrong here – the milk always seems to burn and the cheese tastes nasty.

    Any tips greatly appreciated

    G-nome

  37. Hello hetal,
    i tried your few recipes they were so yummy and easy to make,,great job,as u explain everything so well..i’ve question that if i want to save your recipe video in my pc what could i’ve to do as i wanted to make this paneer..so i’m thinking to make a file on my desktop then it’s soo easy to start at any time as it takes time in loading..thankyou so much,,plz replyme,i really appreciate that.
    Thanks again.Samreen.

  38. Hi Vikas,

    Eight cups of milk will make enough paneer to serve 8 people (if you are making for example, palak panner)- approx 14 oz or little less.

  39. hi didi,

    first ofall ur all recepies r so easy,vry testy,yammy it’s really great & u also seen all video so after we saw any receipe on video so it’s vry easy to make.

    i had made a panner & made vry vry soft. so, thanx vry mutch seen this recepi.

    thank u

  40. HI SW,

    Yes, paneer is a great source of protein and also fat. Unfortunately, there is not a non-fat or low-fat version available. Using milk with a lower fat content will not make the paneer low-fat but it will reduce the quantity of paneer produced.

  41. Can non fat milk be used? basically, paneer is a great source or protein, but also fat — so just wondering if there is a way to take out the fat from it. Thanks!

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