How to make paneer (indian cheese)

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

Paneer is a type of soft, crumbly cheese native to India, although it is used in some parts of the Middle East as well. It is one of the most common cheeses used in Indian cuisine, and it has a simple, fresh, versatile flavor which makes it highly useful in an assortment of recipes. The cheese is traditionally made with cow’s milk, and it is readily available in many Indian markets. It is also very easy to make paneer at home.

The cheese is considered to be an acid set cheese, which means that the cheese is curdled and set with the assistance of an acid such as lemon or lime juice, rather than rennet and bacteria, as is the case with most cheeses. Paneer is also considered to be a fresh cheese, and it is never aged. In addition, since paneer has no rennet, it is safe for vegetarians to eat. Since it is made with whole milk, it is also very high in protein, making it a sound addition to a vegetarian diet.

One of the most famous dishes with paneer is palak paneer, a curry made with spinach and fried paneer. The cheese is often used in curries since it absorbs flavors very readily. When sliced into cubes and deep fried, the cheese tends to hold its shape very well. It can also be crumbled into a curry, taking advantage of the cheese’s naturally crumbly nature. The non-melting cheese appears in desserts and as a filling for stuffed foods and breads as well.

To make paneer, heat one half gallon (roughly two liters) of whole milk until it is almost boiling. Next, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, and stir the milk with a wooden spoon. The milk should start to curdle, forming a chunky white layer of curds from a thinner watery layer of whey. Add more lemon juice if this does not occur, and stir for several minutes. Next, line a colander with clean cheesecloth, and pour the curds and whey into the colander. The whey will drain off, leaving the curds behind. Twist the cheesecloth to squeeze additional whey out, and hang it over the sink for half an hour.

After the half hour has elapsed, twist the cheesecloth again to compact the cheese and drain more whey away. Hang the paneer for another half an hour, and then take it down and refrigerate it for several hours before use to compact it. Use the cheese within three days in Indian food or as a replacement for cheeses like ricotta.

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Here is our quick and easy recipe for how to make paneer (Indian cottage cheese) at home. This is a fresh-milk cheese, very similar to queso fresco, that’s used extensively in Indian cooking and can be eaten fresh, or fried up for a quick snack or cooked in curries. It’s a staple protein for vegetarians on keto and it’s also really delicious.

You can make a variety of dishes with this – think saag paneer, paneer tikka masala, tawa paneer, malai paneer… the possibilities are endless.

Keto paneer

I’m not sure why I’m saying Keto paneer because by it’s very creation, it’s Keto friendly. So many vegetarians are often confused about how they are going to get their protein in on Keto. Most vegetarians look towards lentils as their source of protein. However, lentils are a whole lot of carbs as well. Paneer is the answer. This dairy product is packed with protein and is full of good fats. Indeed, it’s the perfect solution for the protein problem.

I’ve made a wide variety of dishes using Paneer on the channel. From making Asian style dishes like chilly paneer to my famous Paneer Makhanwala. Of course, it’s awesome to use for Indian cooking (duh). It can even be used to make ‘western’ dishes like my lemon pepper paneer. For a lot of people making it at home can be a lot of work. If that’s the case, guy buy it on Amazon.

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

I mentioned when I shared my fragrant chicken curry that our household is quite a fan of curry, though these days less hot ones since our toddler doesn’t do chili.

We’ve fallen out of the habit of having spicier dishes as much ourselves since I don’t always want to make separate dishes. We make the odd exception, mind you, like Goan fish curry.

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

I also do like if a curry has enough depth of flavor to it that it doesn’t really need to be that spicy to truly taste it.

This paneer Makhani is a good case in point as the sauce is incredibly tasty, and while you certainly can add chili, as I have indicated, it works really well without any as well. And another added bonus is it is pretty quick and easy to make.

Even if you don’t think you are a fan of Indian food, I’d urge you to give this a try, it’s simply delicious.

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

What does paneer taste like?

Paneer is a kind of firm, mild cheese used in Indian cooking. It doesn’t have that much of a taste since it is not salted or aged, but works well in cooking. It works really well when served with rich, flavorful sauces.

Does paneer need to be cooked?

No, you can eat paneer just as it is. However, given it’s very neutral flavor, I’d say it works best when is curries and other similar dishes.

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

What’s the difference between paneer Makhani and paneer butter masala?

You may have come across paneer Makhani as paneer butter masala before – they are the same thing. “Makhan” means butter in Hindi and is part of what gives this dish it’s rich flavor.

The Makhani sauce in this dish is made with butter, pureed tomatoes, cream and then in many cases cashew nuts as well as various flavorings.

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

I have adapted a few recipes I found and simplified the process to make the version below which is still pretty authentic to the Punjabi original and, as I say, truly delicious. Even hardened meat eaters will happily dig in (even if it is alongside a meat curry as well).

There’s not really too much to say on the process of making this as it’s fairly straightforward. You can see how it all comes together in the short video.

Tips for making paneer Makhani

  • Make sure you have chopped your ginger and garlic a bit before you puree, just to make sure they have a head start at breaking up and mixing through.
  • Then, once you put the pureed tomato mixture in the pan, make sure you stir it fairly regularly so it doesn’t stick and burn.
  • Finally, once you add the cream it is best not to cook it too vigorously but unlike yoghurt, it is a lot more stable so won’t separate out so don’t worry too much.

Really, though, it’s pretty easy and is so tasty you’ll wonder why you didn’t make it before!

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

I have this habit of going all overboard with curries as I can never decide my favorite, and so when I made this paneer Makhani earlier in the week I also made a chicken curry, particularly for my son, and an eggplant curry.

These were served up with rice and bread – we often have naan but this time I saw some nice-looking parathi. All of them were great and we had tons of leftovers, but that’s one of the best things like dishes like this – they are also great the next day, or cold for lunch.

This paneer Makhani is full of flavor – rich, comforting and yet so easy to make too. Perfect for any night.

First add the milk and cream in a sauce pan, mix it well and then turn on the stove & bring into boil.
In the mean time, keep the colander lined with cheese cloth and lemon juice ready.
Once the milk & cream mixture starts to boil, turn off the heat and then add the lemon juice slowly and stir.
Once the milk curdles completely, immediately pour into the colander and keep it under cold running water for few mins and then squeezes out the water completely.
Next gather all the paneer & try to shape as square and cover with cheese cloth.
Now for resting the paneer, this is what i have used, take a plate and steamer plate. Place the steamer plate upside down over the plate.

How to make Paneer Paratha

How to make Paneer Fried Rice

Then place the paneer on it, again place another plate on the paneer and put some heavy weight(i have used hand motor & pestle) on it. The whole setup helps to shape the paneer and the excess water is drained through the steamer plate and collected in the bottom plate. Leave it aside for 3-4 hrs or overnight at refrigerator.

Indian street food is brimming with so many flavours, spices and the goodness of finding that ultimate food fix that’s delicious and quick to rustle up. A Bombay sandwich is definitely high up on my list! There are so many […]

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

I’m all for shortcuts when time is of the essence! Tinned tomatoes, tinned chick peas and also freezing ground pastes to quicken my meals and use shortcuts which would still give me the traditional flavour I crave in Indian meals.

Although when you look at making something homemade with just TWO ingredients (Yes TWO!) and tastes all the more better for being homemade it would be far too tempting not to try. For years I have been making homemade paneer/Indian cottage cheese; a very relevant part of an Indian vegetarian diet all across the subcontinent. Paneer is quick to cook and more importantly soaks in spices in curries and marinades really well. It is a mild flavoured cheese with a crumbly texture but holds its shape in gravies when cooked. And perfect to grill or even used in salads.

When I tell dining clients and foodie folks at demos/ cookery classes how easy it can be to make your own a lot of them are surprised. Understandably so; most people would think it would be tricky to make at home. But this is super simple and even more delicious when added to Indian curries! Give it a go…

Just a few things to remember while making Paneer;

You will need creamy whole milk and I tend to get milk from farm shops; creamier the milk the better the paneer

You can also use vinegar instead of lemon juice

The leftover whey that is strained is full of goodness and can be used to make Naans, breads or even added to curries

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

Once refrigerated Paneer will last up to a week and can be frozen too.

Method

Line a sieve with a cheese cloth or muslin over a bowl. In a heavy bottom saucepan bring the milk to a boil on a medium heat. This will take up to 25-30mins but don’t be tempted to turn the heat higher. As the milk starts to rise turn the heat to a low setting, stir well and add 2 tbsp lemon juice a little at a time. Keep stirring on a low heat for 30-40 seconds; you can see it will begin to curdle and separate from the whey. If after this time it doesn’t start to curdle add the extra tablespoon of lemon juice.

Turn the heat off and strain the mix into the muslin over a bowl (you can save the whey if you wish). Run cold water and wash the milk solids to rid off the remaining whey. Gather the muslin and squeeze out as much water from it. Twist and flatten it. Sit it on a plate and place a heavy weight over it to set for 1 hour. Unwrap the paneer cut into bite size cubes and add to your favorite curry or refrigerate in an air tight container.

Introduction: How to Make Paneer, the Indian Cheese

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

By antoniraj Follow

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

Cheese is made by coagulating the milk which separates curd and whey from milk.Traditionally Rennet, a coagulating agent, is used for this. Rennet is an enzyme extracted from the stomachs of baby calves or baby lambs when they are on a milk-only diet. In India most people do not eat cheese made with rennet. Instead we use a vegetarian method to make cheese, which is very popularly known as Paneer.

This instructable will guide you on how to make Indian Cheese, which is very simple and does not require many ingredients.

Step 1: What You Need.

  • A suitable vessel to boil the required amount of milk. Here I have taken a vessel of about 2 litres capacity for boiling one litre of milk
  • A strainer
  • Another vessel to hold the strainer in which the whey will be collected
  • A cheese cloth or any other suitable material to filter out the whey. Sterilize the cloth in boiling water for few minutes before using.

Step 2: Lemon Juice

We will use Lemon juice instead of rennet to coagulate the milk. Juice from one medium sized lemon is enough to coagulate half a litre of milk. So we need juice from two lemons for one litre of milk.

Extract juice from one lemon and remove the seeds from the juice. We will use another one if required.

Step 3: Boil the Milk

Take one litre of milk in the vessel and keep it over medium heat. Heat till the milk starts to boil.

Step 4: Add Lemon Juice

  • Once the milk starts to boil, put off the flame.
  • First add the lemon juice from one lemon into the boiling milk
  • Stir with a ladle and see whether the milk is properly coagulated. The third picture shows that the milk is partially coagulated.
  • Add more lemon juice in increments and stir well.

You can see in the last picture that the curd and whey has separated after adding juice from two medium sized lemons.

Step 5: Strain Out Whey

  • Place the strainer over the vessel to collect the whey
  • Spread the cheese cloth over the strainer
  • Pour the curdled milk over the cheese cloth. Most of the whey will be filtered out and the curd will be collected over the cheese cloth
  • Spread some salt over the curd and mix well

Step 6: Add Weight to Strain Out Excess Whey

  • Now fold the cheese cloth over the curd
  • Press with your fingers to remove as much whey as possible, mostly from the edges.
  • Place a weight over the folded cheese cloth. Here I have used a container filled with about two and a half litres of water.
  • Leave it overnight so that all whey will be drained out from the curd.

Step 7:

After about 12 hours you can unfold the cheese cloth and remove Paneer. You can store it in the fridge for a week, If you do not wish to use it now.

You can discard the whey. However, our pet dogs like the whey and we feed it to them.

Step 8: Use Paneer to Make Delicious Dishes

Paneer can be grated or cut it into cubes as required and used to make delicious Indian dishes like Paneer Butter Masala, Mutter Paneer (Peas & Paneer), Palak Paneer (Spinach with Paneer) etcetera.

We made Paneer Butter Masala with this which you can see in the last picture. I am posting another instructable on how to make Paneer Butter Masala soon.

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

Paneer is an Indian cheese made by curdling milk using heat and acid. It's made quickly, typically within an hour or two, and has the unique property of not melting when heated.

Fast Facts

  • Made from: Cow's milk or buffalo milk
  • Origin: India
  • Texture: Firm, squeaky
  • Aging: Not aged
  • Color: White
  • Rind: None

What Is Paneer Cheese?

Paneer is a fresh cheese used in a wide variety of Indian recipes, made by heating and then curdling milk using acid. It’s very mild and milky in flavor, white in color, and its texture is soft, spongy, and squeaky. This texture helps it to absorb the flavors of sauces or marinades. It can be made from cow’s milk or buffalo milk, either pasteurized or raw, and can be made from whole, skim or reduced-fat milk.

Paneer is a non-melting cheese. Since paneer is made using heat and acid, instead of rennet, to curdle the milk, it changes the way the milk proteins are bound together. When paneer is heated, it doesn't melt, but holds its shape, allowing it to be simmered, fried or grilled without liquefying. In fact, rather than melting, heating paneer causes the milk proteins to bind together more tightly, squeezing out any remaining water. Heating for too long can cause paneer to turn rubbery.

How Paneer Is Made

Unlike cheeses made with rennet and live cultures, which require extended aging in conditions where the humidity is carefully controlled, making paneer is a simple process that takes only a few hours from start to finish and can easily be done at home.

The first step is to bring two quarts of whole milk to a rolling boil, and let it boil for two minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently to ensure the bottom doesn't burn. While the milk is boiling, add two tablespoons of lemon juice to one cup of water. Once the milk has boiled for two minutes, remove it from the heat, add the lemon juice solution and stir gently. Within seconds, you'll start to see lumps of white milk protein separating from a thin, greenish liquid called whey. At this point, chilled water is added, which slows the cooking and ensures that the paneer will be soft.

Now the mixture is poured through a strainer lined with cheesecloth or muslin. Some cooks like to save the whey to use in other recipes, such as making a flatbread called chapati. Next, the cloth containing the curds is loosely gathered and washed with cold water by dipping it in a succession of bowls until the liquid appears clear. This helps reduce the sourness of the cheese.

Finally, the cloth is twisted tightly to squeeze out the liquid, the curds are formed into a flat disc, which is then pressed by placing a heavy object such as an iron pan on top of it. Within 30 minutes to two hours, the cheese is ready to eat.

Substitutes

Paneer is in a category of fresh, non-melting cheeses, so if you want to substitute something else for paneer, it’s best to use another cheese of this same type. Examples include queso fresco, haloumi, farmer cheese, or a mild feta cheese with the brine rinsed off. You could even substitute cubes of firm tofu.

In Indian cuisine, paneer is usually cut into cubes before using it in dishes. Because it is a non-melting cheese, it can be grilled, fried and cooked on skewers over open flame without losing its shape. It is frequently added to curry dishes such as palak paneer, which is a spinach curry with paneer, and paneer makhani, which is a tomato-based curry with paneer. Paneer pakora is cubes of paneer coated in a chickpea flour batter and then deep-fried. Paneer tikka is made by marinating cubes of paneer in yogurt and spices then cooking it on skewers along with vegetables, and then cooked in a clay oven.

Because of its spongy texture, paneer will readily absorb the flavors of the spices and other ingredients it's cooked with. Sometimes the cubes are fried before adding them to a dish, and cooks often hold the fried paneer in water to ensure that they don't dry out.

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

Storage

The best way to store paneer is in a container filled with water. Keeping the paneer submerged in water prevents it from drying out and turning rubbery when heated. A fresh paneer can be stored in water, in the refrigerator, for up to a week. For best results, change the water every 2 to 3 days.

Paneer Recipes

Paneer is used widely in Indian cooking. Here are a few traditional Indian recipes featuring paneer cheese.

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

Next month it will be one year since Indian Simmer came into existence and in this short span of time, I am so blessed to have touched so many people and their lives in some way. It sometimes surprises me when I think of how appreciative everyone has been of what I’m doing here and I get overwhelmed when I read your emails and messages. Sometimes with a kind word of appreciation, sometimes with a critique and sometimes with a request. Recently one such request came from @everynothing (her real name is Tricia, just so you know!) and she requested that I share my recipe for Matar Paneer. And being a lazy bum that I am, I mulled over it for quite a while. Finally, I picked it up yesterday. As soon as I started working on it, I knew that I have to make paneer at home – because I know what store bought tastes like! I had attempted this a few times before and every time it had turned out “not so pretty”. My search for the paneer holy grail took me to Radhika’s blog where she had shared her own method. I tried it and that was the first time my paneer tasted like “paneer”.

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

For those who are not familiar with paneer, it is a type of cheese very common in Indian cuisine and is a good source of protein. But unlike most of the cheeses it doesn’t need rennet for coagulation. Instead, a form of food acid is added to hot milk which helps in the curdling process. The common food acids used are lemon, vinegar or yogurt. The curdled milk is then collected in a cheese cloth, hanged for sometime for all the excess water to drip out and then also pressed under weight for a few hours to squeeze the remaining water out (this also gives a firm shape to paneer). This might sound like a lengthy process, but it is so worth it! Now, making paneer at home is not exactly rocket science but there are a few subtle things/tips that I’ve realized can make or break the deal. So let me list them real quick before sharing the actual recipe.

Deal breaker tips in the process of making paneer at home:

  1. Try stirring the milk with a plastic spatula while heating it. Stirring will prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom. But if some milk still sticks to the bottom and burns, a plastic spatula will not scratch the bottom and spoil the whole milk.
  2. Stop the cooking process as soon as the milk curdles. I add ice to the milk. This way your paneer won’t come out rubbery.
  3. Don’t hang your paneer for too long. Take it off as soon as water stops dripping.
  4. The fat % in the milk doesn’t really change the way it tastes, the type of acid used DOES. But the taste variance is so minute that I can’t really tell a difference.

How to make paneer (indian cheese)

Ingredients:

1/2 a gallon of milk (equals 1.8 liters)
3 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

You will also need:
3-4 cups of ice
Cheese cloth

Method:

Boil milk in a thick bottom pan. Stir it from time to time to keep it from sticking at the bottom.
Once the milk is boiling, turn off the heat and add lemon juice while stirring it continuously.
It will take just a few seconds for the milk to curdle and that’s exactly the time you have to stop the cooking process, so add ice to the pot.
Let it sit for about a minute and then strain it through strainer lined with cheese cloth. Once again wash the collected cheese with cold tap water (this helps wash that extra lemony flavor).
Take all the sides of the cheese cloth and tie them together. Hang it somewhere to let the extra liquid drip off (place an empty bowl below it for the liquid to collect).
Once the liquid (or whey) stops dripping, take out the cheese and make a big ball of it. Wrap again with the cheese cloth. To press the cheese and give it a shape, place it over a chopping board and put a heavy pan or pot over it. (I usually use my wrought iron pan and to add more weight I put a few cans of beans on top of it).
Let it sit for an hour or so.
In an hour you’ll have your homemade paneer which you can use to make all kinds of things. I made Matar Paneer with mine!