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 all your recipes are superb. I have a question for the paneer. Is there any substitute for whole milk? I want to prepare paneer but the problem is that whole milk is unavailable at my place. If you can help me. Thank you

  2. i am belongs to rajsthan and our family nobody try this ……………it’s thankful us
    cont.sanju ray at facebook 8290909391

  3. Hi,
    First, I LOVE your website!!!! You are both wonderful! My Grandfather was born in Goa but he died before I met him. I have always loved Indian food!
    Second, I just wanted to let you know that I did make this cheese from powdered goat milk and it came out great! I mixed both vinegar and lemon and got a VERY firm cheese (and probably added more than I was supposed to as I only eyeballed it). But I just wanted to share this, in case any one else was curious if it could be done!
    Also, do recommend any recipes from the Goa area? I would like to surprise my mother with one!
    Thanks
    Rachel

  4. Just a tip to my fellow viewers – If you find that your Paneer is very crumbly/soft, then next time try to increase the amount of lemon juice/vinegar. I’ve found that vinegar works much better than lemon juice, since I’ll probably have to juice 7-8 lemons to have enough of fresh lemon juice.

  5. Thank you so much! I thought that might be the case. I am also going to try pressing it before I run it through the food processor and see if that helps. Thank you for your kindness and to you and Hetal for sharing all your culinary wisdom!

  6. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I like very firm paneer so it helps me make good kofta dough and also for curries so that it stays intact without me having to deep fry it. However, even with adding flour and putting in the food processor, the paneer is quite soft. I let it drain for about 45 minutes, and make sure to get all the moisture out. The whey is greenish/yellowish, so I think I have done everything right, but for 1/2 gallon of milk, I need to add almost 1/2 cup flour or it has the soft consistency of cream cheese, which I don’t want. Any suggestions? I should mention that I use half and half, and not regular milk. Could that be the problem?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Taryn,

      OH boy! This is the first time we have someone upset that their paneer is too soft – what a wonderful problem to have! 😉

      The higher the fat content in the milk, the softer the paneer…so yes, the half and half is not helping. Use 2% or 1% milk to make the paneer.

      Having said that, if you make the paneer hard, it will not absorb any of the flavors of the gravy/dish and Paneer by itself does not have any flavor…

  7. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I like very firm paneer so it helps me make good kofta dough and also for curries so that it stays intact without me having to deep fry it. However, even with adding flour and putting in the food processor, the paneer is quite soft. I let it drain for about 45 minutes, and make sure to get all the moisture out. The whey is greenish/yellowish, so I think I have done everything right, but for 1/2 gallon of milk, I need to add almost 1/2 cup flour or it has the soft consistency of cream cheese, which I don’t want. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

  8. Hi!I went through your site n liked your recipe of paneer making.Can cornflour be used to make paneer stiff?Also can Hand mixer be used to blend paneer dough?

  9. Great recipe and video — thank you. Can you explain why the milk has to be boiled? I would like to know the chemistry to understand the purpose. I drink raw milk for the enzymes and bacteria so boiling it is something I don’t do unless required. Just like to understand the reasoning. Thank you!

  10. Hiii hetal
    In indiana we only get pasturised milk so i wanted to know weither paneer can be made or not. Because of this i am unable to make so many receips

  11. Thanks for the recipe & the video was very helpful. I needed to figure out a use for nearly a gallon of milk that was just starting to go off (it was organic was I didn’t want to throw it out). Since it was 1% milk, I added about a third a carton of cream that I had in the fridge to add some creaminess. Also place kitchen paper towels under the block when it was being compressed to soak up extra fluid from the cloth.

    I did add the flour and teaspoon of salt & some jeera (figured if I was going to make this, then it needed to be different from store bought paneer). Since I’m not partial to paneer, the tester was my spouse – who said it was soft & creamy even after being pan fried (he said the store bought stuff is rubbery by comparison).

    Overall paneer is easy to make but just requires a bit of effort. I would try this again and make a larger batch so I could freeze a stock of it.

    1. Hi Minx,

      Thanks for the feedback. Yes, it is a bit time consuming but works out way cheaper and tastier than store bought. You are wise to make a large batch…same amount of effort :).

  12. Hi Hetal & Anuja,

    I love your website! Can you tell me approx how many gms does the above mentioned quantity of milk yield…Thanks

    1. Hi Devika,

      8 cups of whole milk (or 1/2 gallon) will yield approximately 10 ounces or 285 grams of paneer.

  13. Thanks for this. Could you suggest what is “malai” paneer that is often sold in markets or served in restaurants? Also, how to make it and which recipes to use in?

    Thanks, you are doing a great job!

    Cheers
    Amit

  14. hello mam,

    palak paneer is really fantastic. one thing i would like to appreciate is u use very less oil for all ur recipes. love ur website. thanks.

    Radha.

  15. Hello mam,
    Palak paneer is really fantastic.. one thing i would like to appreciate is u use very less oil in all ur recipes.. love ur website. thanks.

    ->Radha.

  16. Hi, a quick tip for those who, like me, would like their paneer without the lemony tase:

    You can also use buttermilk for curdling. I usually use 500 ml of buttermilk for 2 litres of milk (sorry, metric kitchen in Germany 😉 – just remember 1 part buttermilk and 4 parts milk). Bring to another boil after adding the buttermilk and it will separate just fine.
    I also read somewhere that you can use yoghurt, but have not tried it yet.

  17. RE: how to address the problem of crumbling paneer

    1: follow tips from SMTC; i.e.; use whole milk, drain, add flour, etc.

    2: Knead it until it stops crumbling and becomes more of a homogeneous mass.

    3: Press it into the flat tray or tupperware and put in the fridge for an hour or so. Then cut into pieces and store in water in the fridge or freeze.

    4: THE ADDITIONAL TIP: do not add OIL to the frying pan. Dry fry the paneer in a heavy base pan. It already has a lot of fat and will not burn instantly. Turn it so that all the sides will brown. This way the paneer will not melt or crumble when fried; will not use excess fat to cook; and will form a firm crust with a soft interior.

    I hope this helps! 🙂

  18. Hi thank you for this easy recipe! But when I was making it the curdling ended up in a powdery texture and was not making big lumps. I kept adding more lemon juice but what do you thik was the problem? The milk didnt boil enough before I stared adding or wasnt I using enough lemon juice? I ended up adding almost 1/2 cup of lemon for 8 cups of milk!

    Thank you!

  19. Hi Hetal, thank you again. we had everything right i think except the amount of time to drain. Should we press it before kneeding then after a bit of time under a weight then kneed?
    thanks so much for your help.
    Stephen

    1. Hi Stephen,

      I would pour the paneer and whey into a colander lined with cheese cheese. Let is sit for a few minutes (until safe to handle) and then gather up the corners of the cheese cloth and twist to form a ball of paneer (hanging). Keep twisting the cloth so that it tightens the ball and squeezes out the excess liquid. Be careful as the whey may still be hot. Once most of the liquid is out, open up the cheese cloth and re-arrange the paneer so that it sits flat on the cheese cloth. Using the excess cloth on the sides, cover the entire paneer with the cloth. Now, place this covered paneer in between some thick kitchen towels and place a heavy weight over the top. Let it sit for about an hour. Now, the paneer is ready to knead and form into a flat shape to be cut.

  20. Hi Hetal and Anuja,
    we made this paneer recipe by following all the steps. The cheese formed and was of good consistency when we put it in the fridge. However, when we tasted after cooking peas paneer, its consistency was a mushy or pasty result. is this how it is supposed to be? what did we do wrong? thanks for all the wonderful cooking information. My wife and i really enjoy it.
    stephen

    1. Hi Stephen,

      No, paneer should not be pasty. It might be that enough of the whey did not drain out. Different recipes for using paneer call for either frying or sauteing it first or adding it directly. In your case, if you still have some left over, you may want to give it a quick stir fry or deep fry before using it.

      1. Hi Hetal and thank you. Is it possible to use too much lemon juice. WHy i ask is that when i added the lemon juice and i made a mistake of adding it all at once like a dummy, the paneer curdled into very small blobs of paneer-like the size of rice. if we use more lemon juice will the curdling be more significant? when we put it through cheese cloth it formed but was of the aforementioned consistency. do you think pressing it next time would remove the water. not giving up on this one.
        stephen

        1. Hi Stephen,

          We have never had the problem of too much lemon juice and putting it in all at once should not affect the outcome either. We usually just pour from the bottle, a little at a time, until we see the curdling happening. Some people mix water with lemon juice before adding it, but we are not sure what the benefit is. Was the whey a clear greenish color? If not, it is possible that all of the milk fat did not separate properly from the whey. And yes, you can squeeze out the water by pressing it. Some even place the paneer (still covered in the cheese cloth) between some thick towels or newspapers and press it down with a heavy weight (for about an hour or two) to remove all the moisture.

  21. Hi Hetal,
    Could u please let me know whether I need to put the cheese into the baking tray wrapping with cheese cloth or without, after kneading the paneer with al purpose flour (maida)?
    Is there also need to soak the paneer in warm water to avoid crumbling?
    What is the best procedure to get the firm paneer for the preparation of Shahi paneer without changing in taste?

    Thanks
    Regards
    Arif

    1. H Arif,

      No, it is not necessary to keep the paneer wrapped in cheese cloth while you are pressing it into a baking tray. However, be sure to cover it with a plastic wrap or foil so that it doesn’t dry out in the fridge as it is forming. To get really firm paneer, you can add 1 Tbsp of all purpose flour/maida while you are kneading the paneer. It will make the paneer firm. No need to soak in water.

  22. Hi!
    Thanks for posting this tutorial on Paneer!

    I made some today for the first time, and I’m not sure what happened.

    I left it to drain for 30 mins and even squeezed it a little to help it along.
    Then I kneaded in the flour, but it still seemed very sticky.
    was it too wet? Not kneaded enough?
    I put it in the fridge for a few hours and it’s still like cream cheese. If this happens again how do you think I can fix it?

    Thank you so much!!

    Lil

    1. Hi Lily,

      If the paneer is sticky, then it still has too much moisture. The only thing I can think of is to add a little more flour. Please note that the taste and texture will change.

      1. Hi Hetal,

        I got the same issue…my paneer turned out sticky. Tried to get the moisture out by hanging it for about 5+ hours now. It looks like a nice dip for crackers or something. I added 1/2 tbsp of maida and a few herbs but still no firming up, not even crumbling. I am wondering if I added the acid too soon, before the milk comes to a rolling boil. Anyway, do u have any words of wisdom. How abt freezing??? Thought of adding more maida, but imagine putting maida into cream cheese…ya, its that sticky. If nothing i’m going to use it like a cooking cream or something for Pasta. I’m sure it will still taste good.

        Pls advise….

        Biiig Fan 🙂

        1. Hi BF,

          Once the paneer becomes too soft, there is not much you can do about it (unfortunately). The adding of the acid too soon should not be the problem unless your milk did not fully separate. If the whey was greenish and clear (and not milky looking), then the process is fine. Maybe you can try to put some cheese cloth around it and put it between some newspapers with a heavy weight over the top.

  23. I made paneer with milk that has gone bad (lots of milk). But somehow it had a string like appearance (this had not happened to me before). And when I tried to make Bhurji out of it, it melted(!!!) and clubbed together like a whole mass 🙁
    Can you tell me what would have gone wrong (or have I made a mozarella cheese accidentally :-)))

    1. Hi Aruna,

      I’m not sure what you came up with but we don’t recommend using spoiled milk to make paneer. Usually, the paneer will have an off taste. Homemade mozzarella is made with rennet (a type of enzyme).

  24. Love your healthy cooking. Many recipes are diabetic friendly, too! Maybe you could start a diabetic section to your site. Thanks for all you do.

    1. Hi Kim,

      No, we have not tried making paneer with anything other than regular milk. Sorry. Maybe one of our other viewers can help.

  25. I love your website and all the videos. I’m new to Indian foods and am excited to learn about them. I tried making Paneer with unsweetened soy milk as I am vegan. It turned out just great! I’m sure I’l be making this a lot as it makes a great substitute for the dairy cheeses I’ve been missing.

    1. Hi Joan,
      Thanks for your feedback. We are sure it will be useful information for our other vegan viewers and folks who are lactose intolerant.
      Cheers!

  26. hi..
    this is faria,

    y u r not replying to me..? u replying to everyone not me y..? plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz reply me soonnnnnnnnnnnn…….

  27. Hi Anuja and Hetal
    Thanks for your response. Last time I made Paneer as I mentioned, it crumbled. I did use regular milk, but somehow never came out and used it to make crumbled paneer curry. I tried it again and Voila it was great. Thank you/

  28. Hi..!..
    Anuja n hetal,
    I love ur recipes n my hbby also..
    Thanx alot..for easy recipes.. I want one more recipe..
    The black forest cake recipes with video.. Please
    can u e-mail me.. Please please.. My kids like black forest cake.. Please

  29. SALUDOS:

    LAS FELICITO PORQUE SON UN EXITO. EXCELENTES RECETAS Y FACILES DE PREPARAR. LES PREGUNTO, EL QUESO PANEER ES EL QUE CONOCEMOS COMO QUESO BLANCO O DEL PAIS? Y SI SABEN COMO PREPARAR QUESO CREMA ESTILO PHILADELFIA Y QUESO MOZARELLA. SIGAN DELEITANDONOS CON SUS FABULOSAS RECETAS.MUCHAS GRACIAS.

  30. Hello Ladies
    I made paneer yesterday and it started to crumble. I did read about the all purpose and food processor, but just kept it in a conatiner hoping that once it hardens, I will get the shape. However, it did not. Where do you think I might have gone wrong? If at this point, I make it in the food processor, will it turn out okay. If not, I did see a few recipes that you made with grated paneer, but I would love the cubes. PLEASE HELP. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Sue,

      You can still put it in the food processor and give it a whirl. Once softened, press it into a baking tray or dish and let it sit in the fridge for an hour. Then, you can cut it into cubes.

    2. Hi Sue,
      Sorry about the delayed response.
      What kind of milk did you use? Usually the paneer made with skim milk is dry and has a tendency to crumble due to the low fat content in the milk. You can use it in dishes that call for crumbled or shredded paneer now but next time do the all-purpose trick right after you make it so it’s easy to knead and kneads into a smooth texture.
      Hope that helps 🙂

      1. I made paneer today with 2% milk (I am very skeptical of using whole milk :O). They turned out to be pretty good and resulted in almost the same quantity as you guys made with whole milk. I did have to add in 1 tsp of maida to knead it into a dough (it’s a great tip!!) since I thought it was not as hard as it is supposed to be. Initially I kept it covered under a heavy pot for a while and later transferred it to the freezer for about an hour. I could nicely cut them into pieces and they didn’t crumble! 😀

    1. Hi Niki,

      You can store paneer in the freezer for up to 4 months. Be sure to use a freezer style bag so it doesn’t get freezer burn.

  31. after 30 mins still water was there in the paneer. should i knead it with maida and again fold the cloth and put weight on top of that. thanks

    1. Hi SWA,

      If the water is still there, you can just gather up the sides of the cloth and squeeze it out. You should not put maida in and then put the weight. The maida can go in when you are ready to knead it.

      1. hi,
        i kept the paneer for 30 mins till all the water was gone. Then i put a weight on it and i got a nice block of paneer. should i again crumble this block and knead it with maida.
        OR
        once all water goes after 30 mins of hanging i should then knead with maida and keep paneer in the fridge. This way i am skipping the weight putting part. I dont know the right process to make the paneer firmer

        1. Hi Swa,

          If you want really firm paneer, hang it for 30 minutes and then knead with the maida. Once smooth, press it into a baking tray or any flat tray and keep it in the fridge for an hour before cutting it into pieces. You can use the weight method if you don’t plan on kneading it.

  32. You you could make changes to the post name title indian recipe, cooking videos, How to make Homemade Paneer – an Indian cheese recipe video by Show Me The Curry to something more suited for your subject you write. I loved the blog post still.

  33. Yesterday I made mung daal and rotlis… turned out really well. Today am making paneer… I boiled a litre of milk (unfortunately it was low fat but I was too excited to wait until I got whole milk).. and fingers crossed its working. I wait for the water to drain out. I wonder when I;ll know I have waited enough. 1 ltr of milk – low fat, has made so little paneer but in a country where you cannot buy any I sure hope it works!

    1. Hi Sunshiney,

      Although it is possible to make paneer with low fat milk, the texture of it will be a little “chewy”. It works best with whole milk.

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