How to Make Paneer

Step by step instructions on how to make Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) at home!

Making paneer at home is easier than you think!

fresh homemade paneer placed in a blue color bowl

 

Paneer, the most famous Indian vegetable which actually is not a vegetable yet 5 out of the 10 options on the vegetarian menu in an Indian restaurant will have paneer on it.

If you love Indian food, then I am sure you must be very well aware of paneer. I have a lot of paneer recipes on the blog and be assured that there will be more in the future.

What is Paneer?

Paneer is Indian cottage cheese made by curdling the milk.

You can either curdle the milk with vinegar or lemon juice. You can also use yogurt.

Once the milk is curdled, you collect the cheese in a muslin cloth and then let it set until it’s firm.

And that’s about it! Seriously, it’s that easy to make paneer at home.

Paneer is used in a number of curries in India, the popular ones being palak paneer, kadai paneer, matar paneer.

Why to Make Paneer at Home?

But you do get paneer in stores so why should you bother making it at home?

In India, we go get good paneer from outside. It’s fresh and tasty however it’s totally a different story in the US.

We get paneer here at Indian grocery stores and I do buy it sometimes when I am in a rush or have to cook for a large batch.

But more often that not, I prefer making paneer at home. And you should be doing the same! Because making paneer at home has several advantages.

✓ its fresh and free of preservatives

✓ you can make organic paneer at home using organic milk

✓ not to forget homemade paneer is soft & super delicious

I hope I have convinced you to make paneer at home now!

knife cutting a block of freshly made paneer placed in a muslin cloth

 

How to Make Paneer

As I mentioned before, you only need 2 things to make paneer.

Milk: use whole milk to get best results. You can make paneer using 2% milk also but if you want nice paneer cubes, I recommend using whole milk.

Curdling agent: which can either be vinegar or lemon juice or yogurt. I always use vinegar when I want firm block of paneer.

However, if I am curdling the milk to make paneer (chena) to make sweets like rasmalai, then I use lemon juice or yogurt. They give softer paneer which is preferred for desserts.

Tip: If you want creamier paneer, add some heavy cream(around ¼ cup per liter of milk) to the milk while you are boiling it.

The basic process is pretty simple, you boil the milk and then add the curdling agent until the milk begin to separates.

Then use a muslin cloth to drain the water and collect the paneer. You then need to let it set and for that you have to apply pressure on the freshly prepared paneer.

These days you can find paneer press online. But an easy way to do it is to apply pressure using a heavy object.

Few things that you can use- mortar & pestle, heavy books, can of beans, cast iron pan.

I hope you guys find this guide on how to make paneer useful! Let me know if you try it out.

Method

1- Add milk to a heavy bottom pan on medium heat.

2- Let the milk come to a boil, stir often so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

3- Once the milk has come to a boil, turn off the heat and start adding vinegar (or lemon juice), little at a time.

4- At one point, the milk will curdle and you will see the whey separate. At that point, stop adding the curdling agent and wait for 5 minutes so that the milk curdles completely.

step by step picture showing how to make paneer at home

5- Drain the curdled milk into a muslin cloth.

6- Rinse the paneer with cold water so that the final paneer doesn’t have any taste of vinegar.

7- Bring the ends of muslin cloth together and squeeze as much water as you can.

8- Then flatten the paneer (wrapped inside the muslin cloth) and place it on a flat surface. Then place a heavy object on top for it to set.

I placed a plate and then placed mortar & pestle on top. Leave it undisturbed for 1 to 2 hours.

step by step picture showing how to make paneer at home

Once the paneer is set, remove it carefully from the muslin cloth and cut into cubes.

Use paneer in any of your favorite recipes like this butter paneer! Yum!

slab of homemade paneer placed in a muslin cloth

If you’ve tried How to Make Paneer Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in 2013.

How to Make Paneer

fresh homemade paneer placed in a blue color bowl
Manali
Step by step instructions on how to make paneer at home. Making homemade paneer is easier than you think! It tastes so much better than store bought.
5 from 2 votes
Cook Time 15 mins
Resting Time 1 hr
Total Time 15 mins
Course Sides
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 153 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 liter whole milk
  • 1-1.5 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • Add milk to a heavy bottom pan on medium heat.
  • Let the milk come to a boil, stir often so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the milk has come to a boil, turn off the heat and start adding vinegar (or lemon juice), little at a time.
  • At one point, the milk will curdle and you will see the whey separate. At that point, stop adding the curdling agent and wait for 5 minutes so that the milk curdles completely.
  • Drain the curdled milk into a muslin cloth. Rinse the paneer with cold water so that the final paneer doesn’t have any taste of vinegar.
  • Bring the ends of muslin cloth together and squeeze as much water as you can.
  • Then flatten the paneer (wrapped inside the muslin cloth) and place it on a flat surface. Then place a heavy object on top for it to set. I placed a plate and then placed mortar & pestle on top. Leave it undisturbed for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Once the paneer is set, remove it carefully from the muslin cloth and cut into cubes. Use paneer in any of your favorite recipes.

Notes

  1. I prefer using vinegar to curdle the milk as I feel it results in a more solid block of paneer.
  2. Start by adding only 1 teaspoon of the curdling agent. Add 1 more teaspoon only if the milk doesn’t curdle and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon only if it still doesn’t curdle.
  3. For creamier paneer, add 1/4 cup heavy cream to the milk while boiling it.

Nutrition

Calories: 153kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 7gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 107mgPotassium: 330mgSugar: 12gVitamin A: 405IUCalcium: 283mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword homemade paneer, how to make paneer
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37 thoughts on “How to Make Paneer

  1. Hi Manali
    Thanks for the lovely recipe..
    Just wanted to have an idea .. how much paneer can be made with a litre of milk?

  2. Manali, you are my saving grace! My colleague gave me her recipe for making paneer, but I left the company, and now I’ve lost the recipe. Do you think I can make paneer using skim milk, or does it have to be whole milk?

  3. 5 stars
    will try to make this recipe at home .very easy method.. Thank you so much dear.
    Keep posting more videos .

  4. Thanks manali for easy recipe wanted to make paneer masala but bcz of not having panner at home i wanted how to make paneer in easy way and faster thanks to you for your recipe. Keep posting more easy ideas that we can get easily at home

  5. Never hesitate to make a recipe because you don’t have a specific tool many years I used a linen towel to squeeze veggies whatever nothing like the original press a heavy cast iron pan don’t have that a gallon of water,sorry I get side track love the cheese your recipe easiest , I always salt and use a little cream

  6. Hi! I had a quick question. In both steps 3 and 4, you write that we should turn off the heat. Could you please clarify at what stage I should actually turn it off? Just got an insanely large bag of spinach and I can’t wait to make some palak paneer!

  7. Tried making paneer (found on a different site) for mutar paneer (used your recipe). The flavor was very good, thank you for your recipe, but the paneer was too soft; it didn’t hold its shape in the sauce. I made it with lemon juice and pressed it with a plate in the fridge overnight. I’d like to try again. What is the most critical factor to getting firm paneer? Using vinegar? Or pressing with something heavier?

    1. Using a vinegar definitely helps and pressing with a heavy object. Put a cast iron skillet like thing on top of the paneer and use vinegar to curdle the milk.

    1. fresh paneer is best kept in a bowl with fresh water. It should be submerged in that water. Keep the bowl refrigerated. Should be okay for 3-4 days. You can change the water everyday to keep it fresh.

  8. Hello Manali, I tried my 1st paneer and it was a failure. I used 1.75L of 3.25% milk with 0.25L of 18% cream. After boiling, I added white vinegar until it curdled. I rinsed it 3 times and pressed it in the refrigerator for 3.5 hours. There was around 10 lbs of weight on top. However when it was cubed and cooked in a curry (like I usually do with store bought paneer), it fell apart into little kernels. Please advise. Thank you.

    1. Hi Ian, looks like the paneer had to be pressed more. First drain it in a cheesecloth and squeeze as much water as you can and then press with a heavy object like a iron skillet. Since you added cream, you should have got a nice firm block. Try again and see! having said that homemade paneer is not as firm as store bought usually since there’s no added preservative but nonetheless it shouldn’t have fell apart into kernels.

  9. Hi Manali

    Thanks for this. Been trying to make paneer at home for some time and have achieved the best results thanks to your recipe. I do have a few queries though :).

    I made 2 batches. First using vinegar which turned out fine but a bit too firm. The 2nd batch I used lemon to curdle, which was much softer and to my liking but was tangy.

    Though I rinsed the paneer made with vinegar before setting it, I didn’t rinse off the paneer made with lemon. So my questions are:

    Would rinsing help to remove the tangy flavour if I use lemons?

    I had boiled 2 litres of milk and had to squeeze 2 lemons to get it to curdle properly. Is that too much lemon juice?

    Would it have helped if I would have stirred the milk after squeezing 1 lemon? Because it started to curdle after 1 lemon but after 5 minutes I realised it had not curdled completely. So does it help to stir when adding the curdling agent (lemon/vinegar/yoghurt) or should one not stir the milk at all at this stage?

    Do lemon and yoghurt give the same softness and consistency to the paneer?

    Lastly can I use Greek yoghurt to curdle?

    Sorry for so many questions 😄.

    Hope to hear from you.

    Thanks

    Vikram

    1. 1. Yes rinsing would help remove lemon flavor.
      2. There’s no thing like too much lemon juice or vinegar, you stop at the point where milk curdles- simple rule.
      3. I usually stir as I squeeze the lemon juice/vinegar. It distributes the juice throughout the milk.
      4. Lemon and yogurt both result in similar softness. I usually use yogurt when making rasgullas because then you don’t have to rinse the chena.
      5. I wouldn’t recommend greek yogurt, it might lead to super soft chena. Maybe use it while making chena for sweets but not when making paneer.

      1. thanks so much for your response .. will keep your points in mind .. next recipe i’m going to try of yours is the punjabi chana .. sounds and looks yum 🙂

  10. Hi!

    Love your recipes. Made paneer tonight with whole milk, cream added, using vinegar to curdle. I’m not totally sure how much vinegar I used because the Notes section referred to adding teaspoons, while the Ingredients section referred to adding tablespoons. In the end I think I did at least 1 tablespoon. I pressed for 2+ hrs with cast iron skillet.

    Paneer tastes good but is quite soft. I suspect it will disintegrate when I add it to curry. Do you think I should’ve boiled the milk longer? Or added more vinegar? Is there something to look for to know you’ve achieved the right consistency before straining it?

    Thank you!!

    1. tablespoon is correct, the note is only about adding the curdling agent slowly, 1 teaspoon as a time. You added the right amount. Homemade paneer is always softer than what you get in stores since it’s preservative free. But it should not disintegrate . Try adding some heavy cream to the milk next time, that might result in a more firm block of paneer. There’s no right consistency, once the whey separates, that’s when you strain.

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