How to Make Paneer (Indian Cheese)

Paneer is a type of unripened cheese popular in the Indian subcontinent. It is called for in many Indian recipes and sometimes, may not be available at your supermarket. Fortunately, it is easy to make and since it does not require the use of rennet, it's completely vegetarian.


  • 1 L of 3.8% whole cow milk
  • 3-4 tbsp of an acid; lemon juice is used in this example but you can substitute with lime juice, vinegar or leftover whey from a previous batch of paneer.


  1. Image titled Make Paneer (Indian Cheese) Step 1 preview
    Bring the milk to a temperature just below boiling then turn off the heat. It should be about 80`C.Temp(176 f).
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    Add lemon juice or citric acid, 5 ml (one teaspoon) at a time, stirring the milk after each addition until the milk separates; the solid curds part from the green and watery whey.
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    Allow the curds and whey to cool for half of an hour (or until still warm, but at a temperature you can handle), then strain the mixture through a cheesecloth in a strainer. Rinse the curds with fresh water. You may wish to save some or all of the whey; it can be used to make your next batch of paneer, producing a slightly more tender cheese than lemon juice.
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    Wrap the cheesecloth around itself in order to squeeze out moisture from the curds. The more you squeeze, the firmer the resulting paneer shall be.
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    Shape the paneer, into a block and wrap it tightly with the cloth. By putting a cutting board or something heavy and flat on top of the paneer, you can force out more moisture, and shape it into a firmer block, suitable for slicing and frying. To get a more rectangular shape, tie a knot and place the cheesecloth bundle in a box without closing it. Place something heavy like a pile of books or a brick on the cheesecloth to press down and give the cheese the box's shape. The longer you press the cheese, the firmer it gets. Not all Indian dishes requires cheese to be made into solid blocks. Stuffed Paneer Naans for example require cheese to be loose.
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    Soak the block of cheese in chilled water for 2-3 hours This is optional, as the intention is to improve appearance and texture.
  7. Image titled Make Paneer (Indian Cheese) Step 7 preview
    Use as directed in your recipe.


  • The more fat content in the milk, the better output. Paneer made from a high fat content milk will be tastier.
  • Add salt or sugar to the milk before adding lime juice to get your desired taste.
  • Paneer maker can be used to get the paneer cubes.
  • A softer version of this cheese can be substituted in some but not all recipes calling for farmer's cheese or ricotta.
  • You may end up adding more than 15 ml (1 Tbsp) of the acid before the curds separate from the whey.
  • A clean piece from an old white t-shirt, without printing or silk screening on it, also works well as a substitute for cheesecloth.
  • If cheesecloth is not available, use a cloth diaper (nappy) instead.
  • You can also use Greek yogurt instead of lime juice.


  • Keep stirring the milk while it's becoming hot to prevent it from getting burnt at the bottom.
  • Zero fat or skim milk does not work out well with this method.
  • You may boil it longer while stirring it continuously if the curdle does not happen
  • Do not use old or spoiled milk to prepare the paneer

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy bottom pan which can hold up to 1.5 to 2 L
  • cheesecloth
  • Something heavy to weigh down the cheesecloth

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