how to make paneer at home

how to make paneer at home with detailed steps and pictures. homemade paneer is very easy to make and you get soft paneer cubes which can be added in any indian curry or gravy or rice or a sweet based dish. this paneer recipe post details the method of making paneer quickly with plenty of tips to get soft paneer. 
4.87 from 51 votes

how to make paneer at home. making paneer is very easy and anyone can make it at home. i have been making paneer since ages now. i do not buy paneer from outside. at home, all of us prefer homemade paneer as it is fresh and no preservatives or additives are added.

how to make paneer

you can easily get soft and porous paneer from mithai shops. some of them even sell some types of special paneer like masala paneer, malai paneer. however, it is best to make paneer at home. as homemade paneer is more hygienic, fresh and suits the pocket as well !!!

below i have mentioned the description of paneer, the food acids required to make paneer and the tips to get best paneer. if you want you can directly jump to recipe

paneer indian cottage cheese

what is paneer

paneer is fresh indian cheese where milk is curdled by adding a food acid. paneer is also called as cottage cheese or chenna. paneer is not a fermented or cured product like other cheese varieties. paneer is a firm non-melting cheese. after curdling the milk, the coagulated milk shreds are collected in a muslin or cheesecloth and allowed to be hung or pressed with a heavyweight object. after cooling you get a block of cottage cheese which can be used for making a variety of paneer recipes.

unlike many other kinds of cheese in the world, the making of paneer does not involve rennet as the curdling agent thus making it completely lacto-vegetarian and providing one of the sources of proteins for vegetarians in india. paneer is also generally unsalted.

how to make paneer

this method of making paneer that i am going to write about is how i learnt it in my home science cooking classes. milk is boiled and then curdled by using an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, vinegar etc. once the milk is curded, the whey is strained and the coagulated milk solids are gathered in a muslin or cheesecloth. a heavyweight is kept on the curdled milk solids in the cheesecloth for 30 minutes. later after 30 minutes, you have a nice block of paneer ready. i have been making paneer ever since like this.

i don’t hang the paneer at all. after draining the whey just keep a weight on the paneer and it sets well after 30 minutes – there you go, your homemade paneer is ready.

i have already posted the method for making paneer in the microwave and this one can be helpful if you use microwave oven. this is the quickest method to make it. it won’t take more than 10 minutes. some years back i stopped using microwave for cooking or reheating. now i only use the method shared in this post to make paneer at home.

5 food acids that are used to curdle milk

  1. lemon juice or lime juice
  2. vinegar
  3. curd or yoghurt
  4. buttermilk
  5. citric acid

in the table below i have mentioned the name of 4 food acids that i use and also the kind of texture they produce. the amount that needs to be added in 1 litre of milk is also mentioned. please do note that the nature of the acid used and the quality of milk will curdle the milk faster or slower. i do not use citric acid when making paneer, but do use lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk and curd.

food acidpaneer textureamount to be added in 1 litre milk (approx)culinary uses
lemon juicesoft & firm3 to 4 teaspoonsin any paneer recipe
vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white vinegar)soft & firm2 to 3 teaspoonsin any paneer recipe
curd or yoghurtvery soft &
slightly firm
3 to 4 tablespoonsin paneer bhurji or paneer sweets like gulab jamun, kalakand, paneer barfi, sandesh etc
buttermilksoft & firm4 to 5 tablespoonsin any paneer recipe

tips to make best paneer at home

1. use full cream milk or whole milk. the milk can be raw or pasteurised. full cream milk yields excellent results just like it does for making homemade curd.

2. do not use toned milk for making paneer. the paneer won’t set when toned milk is used. do not use skimmed also for making paneer as it will give less quantity of paneer and make it hard.

3. always use good quality milk within its shelf period.

4. you can use any one of the four ingredients that coagulate the milk as mentioned in the above table : lemon juice, curd, buttermilk, vinegar. each of these will contribute their taste a little to the paneer you make. so do remember this. if you don’t like lemon or vinegar’s taste than add curd or buttermilk instead.

5. if there is lots of cream floating over the milk, then there is no need to remove it. the natural cream present in the milk makes the paneer soft.

6. once you add the lemon juice or vinegar than the milk will start to curdle. the milk has to completely curdle. you should be able to see the whitish or greenish whey.

7. once the milk coagulates or curdles completely than don’t boil it more. remove immediately and strain the milk as overcooking will yield hard and crumbly paneer once set.

8. a way to keep the paneer soft in the fridge is to soak the paneer block in water in a bowl and keep in the fridge. this way the paneer does not become hard. alternately you can also soak the paneer in warm water after you have removed it from the fridge.

homemade paneer recipe

whey from paneer

after making paneer, a greenish colored whey is left which is very rich in nutrients. instead of discarding the whey, you can use it in various recipes. do note that the taste of the acid agent used will be felt in the whey. example if lemon juice has been used to curdle milk, some sourness will be felt in the whey and will also be felt in the recipe dish that you will be adding it to. you can easily refrigerate the whey for some days and use it later too.

culinary uses of whey left after making paneer

1. add this nutrient-rich whey for kneading dough of breads like chapati, paratha or even a baked whole wheat loaf or any baked bread.

2. you can even add the whey while making cake batters or cookie doughs.

3. you can even add the whey in dals like dal fry or dal tadka

4. even pulao and biryani taste good with the whey added. for making veg biryani, add whey in the vegetable gravy instead of water.

5. add the whey in fruit smoothies, juices and even soups.

6. whey can also be added in any gravy or curry.

7. you can even make pasta based dishes with the whey.

8. a non-culinary usage of whey is adding it to your plants. but just mix the whey with some water and then add to the plants. on occasions, i add the whey mixed with water to the plants.

this is one of my early posts which i had shared in the year 2012. i have now updated it with better pictures.

few more diy recipes!

how to make paneer

4.87 from 51 votes
Prep Time:2 mins
Cook Time:13 mins
resting time:30 mins
Total Time:15 mins
how to make paneer at home with detailed steps and pictures. homemade paneer is very easy to make and you get soft paneer cubes which can be added in any indian curry or gravy or rice or a sweet based dish. this paneer recipe post details the method of making paneer quickly with plenty of tips to get soft paneer. 
how to make paneer recipe
Course:main course
Cuisine:north indian
Servings:200 grams paneer
Calories:530kcal

INGREDIENTS FOR how to make paneer

(1 CUP = 250 ML)

ingredients

  • 1 litre full fat milk or full cream milk
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar or 3 to 4 tablespoons curd or yogurt

materials required

  • cheese cloth or muslin or a thin cotton napkin
  • some bowls and a heavy weight

HOW TO MAKE how to make paneer

boiling milk for making paneer

  • boil milk in a heavy saucepan or pan on a medium-low flame. 
  • stir occasionally so that the skin does not form on the surface and also so that the milk does not get burnt from the bottom.
  • meanwhile, take a pan or a bowl. place a strainer on the pan. line the strainer with clean muslin or cheesecloth or cotton napkin. you can even line the pan directly with the muslin.

adding food acid for making paneer

  • when the milk starts boiling, add the lemon juice or vinegar. begin to stir. 
  • the milk has to curdle completely. stir the milk when it is curdling so that the curdled milk does not stick to the base of the pan.
  • sometimes you will see the milk has curdled partly but no watery whey can be seen. in this scenario also add 1 to 2 teaspoons more of the food acid and stir again. you should see the greenish colored whey in the milk.
  • after the milk has curdled completely and you see the greenish whey, switch off the flame and then immediately pour the entire mixture in the strainer lined with the muslin, cheesecloth or cotton napkin.
  • carefully gather the edges of the muslin as the coagulated milk mixture will be very hot. whilst doing more of the whey will be strained.
  • run some clean fresh water on the gathered muslin all over.

making paneer

  • gather the muslin edges tightly and place it back on the strainer keeping it in on a plate or a tray.
  • keep a heavy weight on top of the muslin or cheesecloth for 30 to 40 minutes. use a heavy object having 500 to 600 grams weight. you can even hang the muslin for an hour if not using a heavyweight object.
  • some more whey will be strained when you place the heavyweight object. so remove the whey from the plate. 
  • after 30 to 40 minutes the paneer will set. 
  • once warm or cooled cut paneer into cubes or any shape.
  • you can also refrigerate the paneer. keep it in an air tight container or immerse the paneer block in a bowl of water and keep in the fridge.
  • homemade paneer stays fresh for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. you can slice the paneer later and use it any recipe.

RECIPE TIPS

tips on making soft paneer at home

  1. first and foremost use good quality milk. again full cream milk yields excellent results just like it does for making homemade curd.
  2. three ingredients that coagulate the milk. you can use any one of them: lemon juice, curd or vinegar
  3. each of these will contribute their taste a little to the paneer you make. remember this. if you don't like lemony or vinegar taste than add curd instead.
  4. if there is lots of cream floating over the milk, then there is no need to remove it. the natural cream present in the milk, makes the paneer soft.
  5. once you add the lemon juice or vinegar than the milk will start to curdle. the milk has to completely curdle. you should be able to see the whitish or greenish whey.
  6. once the milk coagulates/curdles completely than don't boil it more. remove immediately and strain the milk.
  7. the overcooking  will yield a hard paneer once set.
  8. a way to keep the paneer soft in the fridge is to soak the paneer block  in water in a bowl and keep in the fridge. this way the paneer does not become hard.
  9. alternately you can also soak the paneer in warm water after you have removed it from the fridge.
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how to make paneer at home

boiling milk

1. take a heavy saucepan or a pan. rinse it with water first. then add 1 litre milk in it.

how to make paneer

2. switch on the burner and begin to heat milk on a medium-low flame.

how to make paneer

3. stir occasionally so that the skin does not form on the surface and also so that the milk does not get burnt from the bottom.

how to make paneer

4. meanwhile assemble the following. take a pan or a bowl. place a strainer on the pan. line the strainer with clean muslin or cheesecloth or cotton napkin. you can even line the pan directly with the muslin.

how to make paneer

5. let the milk come to a boil and it should start foaming and rising.

how to make paneer

adding food acid for making paneer

6. at this point, add the food acid – lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk or curd. if using lemon juice, you can add 3 to 4 teaspoons. for vinegar, add 2 to 3 teaspoons. for curd, add 3 to 4 tablespoons or more. for buttermilk add 4 to 5 tablespoons. the amount of food acid to be added will depend on the quality of milk and the strength of the acid in the food acid ingredient.

how to make paneer

7. after adding the lemon juice, stir and the milk will begin to curdle.

how to make paneer

8. the milk has to curdle completely. stir the milk when it is curdling so that the curdled milk does not stick to the base of the pan.

how to make paneer

9. if the milk has not yet begun to curdle then add one more teaspoon. the milk should completely curdle. sometimes you will see the milk has curdled partly but no watery whey can be seen. in this scenario also add 1 to 2 teaspoons more of the food acid and stir again. you should see the greenish colored whey in the milk.

how to make paneer

making paneer

10. after the milk has curdled completely and you see the greenish whey, switch off the flame and then immediately pour the entire mixture in the strainer lined with the muslin, cheesecloth or cotton napkin.

how to make paneer

11. carefully gather the edges of the muslin as the coagulated milk mixture will be very hot. whilst doing more of the whey will be strained.

how to make paneer

12. run some clean fresh water on the gathered muslin all over.

how to make paneer

13. secure the edges of the muslin tightly and place it back on the strainer keeping it in on a plate or a tray.

how to make paneer

14. place a heavy weight on top of it for 30 to 40 minutes. i have used my stone mortar. use a heavy object having 500 to 600 grams weight. you can even hang the muslin for an hour if not using a heavyweight object. some more whey will be strained when you place the heavyweight object. so remove the whey from the plate.

how to make paneer

15. after 30 to 40 minutes the paneer will be ready. open the cheesecloth or muslin. the paneer will be set. i used 1 litre of milk and got 200 grams of paneer. if you keep the weight for a longer time, you will get a firmer block of paneer. for a soft texture in the paneer, just keep the weight for 30 to 40 minutes only. you can use a rolling board or a heavy wooden board also.

how to make paneer

16. you will see a beautiful block of cottage cheese all set which can be used in any paneer recipe.

how to make paneer

17. now you can use the paneer in the dish you want or you can refrigerate it. if planning to refrigerate, then remove the paneer block and keep it in an airtight steel box. paneer stays good in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. you can slice the paneer later and use it any recipe.

how to make paneer

18. the collected whey can be added to chapatis or rice or veggies. you can also cool it and mix it with some water and add to your home or garden plants.

how to make paneer

19. later chop paneer into any shapes or sizes you want. you have fresh homemade paneer ready cubes in different shapes and sizes to go with any of the indian curries or dishes.

how to make paneer


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dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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248 comments/reviews

  1. Thank you for this and all other recipes. I am a regular reader of your recipes and the effort you put into description is laudable. I always search on this site for the recipe I want and follow your instructions. The alternative options you give are also very useful and practical. 👌🏼👌🏼

  2. I tried making paneer for years. But I never succeded in making it with lemon.
    I used a chemical acid (allumen) before but I had the impression it was not totally good for health.

    Your recipe is fantastic. I never had better paneer than this one. The description is perfect. I am so happy to have paneer again… now I can try all your wonderful recipes with it. Thank you!

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