how to make paneer | method to make soft paneer at home

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how to make paneer recipe

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. 

4.84 from 54 votes
total time:
15minutes

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 !!!

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

in this post, i have shared the method of making paneer on the stove top and in a pan. i have already posted the method for making paneer in the microwave. this one can be helpful if you use microwave oven for your cooking and you want the paneer to be made quickly. 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.

this method of making paneer that i am going to write about is how i learnt it in my home science cooking classes. this one is quick and once the milk is curded, then 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.

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 like:

  1. shahi paneer
  2. paneer tikka masala
  3. kadai paneer
  4. paneer bhurji
  5. paneer pasanda

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.

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 get best paneer

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.

how to make paneer recipe
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paneer | homemade paneer (indian cottage cheese)

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. 
course main course
cuisine north indian
prep time 2 minutes
cook time 13 minutes
resting time 30 minutes
total time 15 minutes
servings 200 grams paneer
rough calories per serving 530 kcal
author dassana

ingredients (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 paneer | homemade paneer (indian cottage cheese)

boiling milk for making paneer

  1. boil milk in a heavy saucepan or pan on a medium-low flame. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  1. when the milk starts boiling, add the lemon juice or vinegar. begin to stir. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

making paneer

  1. gather the muslin edges tightly and place it back on the strainer keeping it in on a plate or a tray.

  2. 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.

  3. some more whey will be strained when you place the heavyweight object. so remove the whey from the plate. 

  4. after 30 to 40 minutes the paneer will set. 

  5. once warm or cooled cut paneer into cubes or any shape.
  6. 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.
  7. homemade paneer stays fresh for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. you can slice the paneer later and use it any recipe.

recipe notes

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

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

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

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 like:

how to make paneer

dassana
Founder, Designer, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer ||

i started vegrecipesofindia.com in feb 2009. it is a pure vegetarian blog and shares recipes with step by step photos that will help you to make delicious and tasty vegetarian food easily.

i am passionate about cooking from childhood and learnt cooking from my elders. having 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 trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.


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243 comments/reviews

  1. Hi Dassana, May I know where you bought your muslin cloth from? The one I’ve got is not as good. Thanks ?

    • Welcome Ranjini. I bought it from a local clothes shop.

  2. First, I’m loving this website. I’ve made several recipes and have loved EVERYTHING! Regarding paneer, in the U.S. we use ounces, quarts, and gallons. Would a liter be about the same as a quart?

    • thanks a lot michele. 1 litre is approx 1 quart (1 litre = 1.05 quart). so you can easily use 1 quart of milk.

  3. I did it and it’s perfect! I’m so happy because I will be able to cook many more recipes from your blog! I’ve tried a lot already and they were all successful and I’m proud of myself because I hate cooking except Indian recipes(I’m french) because it’s so easy and colorful and tasty! And I’m a vegetarian too. Next step, I want to try naan bread!
    Thank you so much for your blog and your hard work!

    • thats nice stephanie. thanks for such a lovely comment. indian cooking is colourful and tasty too as you mention. i am a fan of french cooking. though just tried a couple of recipes. do try naan and i hope you will like it.

  4. Wonderful recipe for job holding women’s. ……it’s helps very much???

    • thanks sahana.

  5. hello dassana
    i tried making paneer using ur recipe several times…first few times it came out well but now the milk does not curdle even after adding a bowl full of curd….i end up adding all curd , lemon and vinegar…then only the whey separates but the result is a crumbly paneer….not with a gud taste….i have tried all combinations and separately as well…but same result everytime….where am i going wrong

    • deepti, either use only lemon or curd. avoid mixing curd and lemon or vinegar. firstly the milk has to be boiling hot, when curd or lemon juice is added. secondly keep extra curd or lemon juice or vinegar on the kitchen top, in case the milk does not curdle. when i prepare paneer from 1 litre of milk, i use about 1/4 cup curd. if using lemon juice, then 2 to 3 teaspoons works for me. same is with vinegar. also once you add the vinegar or lemon juice, then stir very well. if the milk does not curdle, then add 1 teaspoon more of the vinegar or lemon juice. hope these tips help.

      • Thanks for the prompt reply… I always boil the milk…. And add much more than the required amount of curd or lemon juice but milk does not curdle…. Only then I try combinations…. But then it becomes crumbly… Don’t know wat the problem is?

        • welcome deepti. its due to the quality of milk. so what i suggest is keep some lemon juice or vinegar handy. stir very well once you add the lemon juice or vinegar or curd.

  6. please tell the answer

    • i have already replied. please refresh the page.

  7. will it harm our health?

    • a slight burn does not do any harm.

  8. while boiling milk if milk had burn a little at bottom; so can we made paneer of that milk?

    • if the milk does not have the burnt smell, then you can make paneer. if the burnt smell is there in the milk, then the paneer will also get the burnt aroma.

  9. Thank you for such an easy paneer recipe! There is no point to buying paneer, I agree. I made this twice, once with nonfat/skim milk, the second time with whole milk. Skim milk yielded much less paneer, and it was harder. I had to grate it with a microplane (to use in another recipe) and it took a long time. Whole milk gave much more paneer, and it was so much softer!

    I also used a regular thin dish cloth, not a special muslin or cheesecloth, and it turned out fine. Squeezing it tight yielded a firmer paneer. Less pressure created a softer paneer. Thank you for your spot-on recipes as always! 🙂

    • thanks anjali for this detailed comment. agree on all the points you have mentioned. skimmed milk does give lesser paneer. any thin cotton cloth can be used. its not necessary to use muslin or cheesecloth. yes squeezing tightly, gives a firmer paneer and less pressure creates a softer paneer.

  10. What type of milk did you use in this recipe

    • here i have used packet milk.

      • Toned or full cream or pasteurised milk??

        • full cream milk. even pasteurized will do.

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