how to make paneer

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.

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 !!!

how to make paneer

Below I have mentioned the description of paneer, the food acids required to make paneer and the tips to get the 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.

How to make paneer

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

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!

STEP BY STEP PHOTOS ABOVEmany of my recipes have step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

How to make Paneer

4.91 from 51 votes
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 post details the method of making paneer quickly with plenty of tips to get soft paneer. 
how to make paneer recipe
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:2 mins
Cook Time:13 mins
resting time:30 mins
Total Time:15 mins
Course:main course
Cuisine:north indian
Servings (change the number to scale):200 grams paneer
(1 CUP = 250 ML)

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

boiling milk

  • 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

  • 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.

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.

NUTRITION INFO (approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
How to make Paneer
Amount Per Serving (200 g)
Calories 530
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Dassana Amit

Dassana Amitnamaste 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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250 comments/reviews

  1. 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.

  2. 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! 🙂5 stars

    • 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.

  3. What can we do with the whey we get after preparing paneer?
    Heard the whey is very nutritious. How long can the whey be preserved.

    • kavitha, you can use the whey in making chapatis, parathas, dals, gravies and even pulaos & biryanis. generally i add it to chapatis or gravies. i keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days only. just note that there will be a slight sour taste in any dish that you add the whey. it is due to the lemon juice/curd/vinegar added while making the paneer. so you can easily use in recipes where a faint sour taste is there, eg biryanis or some sour gravies or curries.

    • on the face both look same. but are not. chenna is the coagulated milk and paneer is the coagulated milk which has been set firmly. chenna is more moist than paneer.

  4. Hey dr Can u plz hlp me find a paneer recipie which i hd read it before bt iam nt able to find it , it was very simple with blanch tomatoes and milk to add plzzz hlp me find it

  5. I am from the Cayman Ishands ant find paneer at all, so I made my very own. It turned out great. Thank you for your help5 stars

  6. Hi,

    Tried to make paneer but after I put the lemon juice there is no coagulation. I end up with losts of small flakes of cream. I drain it using a muslin and put a weight on top of it .
    I obtain a paneer that is too soft and disolved itself into my gravy.
    Any tips?

    • fabrice, some more lemon juice added could have helped in proper coagulation. i feel that the whey has not been drained completely and this could be the reason that paneer dissolved into the gravy. keep a heavy weight. try again and let me know if you have any doubts.

  7. Hello mam,
    Twice I made paneer from 1 liter of milk I got 150gms of paneer,2day I made paneer from 2 liter of milk I got 300gms of paneer, I followed all the steps,Wat went wrong, why I always got less quantity?

  8. Hi… Whenever I make paneer it becomes too soft.. It breaks while cutting.. Not firm.. Why so? Where I hv gone wrong5 stars

  9. I used your recipe last night and I admit that it was SO EASY and SO GOOD that I’m amazed. Thank you for posting. I did use regular whole milk but I did have to have a tablespoon of vinegar, a bit more than you recommended. Turned out beautifully and super tasty. I’ll be making this all the time now because I love paneer and since I’m vegetarian this is a much better option that having tofu in recipes. Too much soy is not a good thing.5 stars

    • thanks for the positive feedback, beth. making paneer is very easy. yes sometimes the proportion of acidic agents like lemon juice o vinegar can be less or more depending on the quality of milk.

  10. I made paneer from cows milk. Its has come out really very good. And I used it for paneer tikka. I was lil worried as to whether it will hold the scewer or not but it was firm enough to hold.
    Thanks for sharing.4 stars

  11. I just made this paneer and it turned out excellent as do all of your dishes. I did add a bit of extra lemon juice to get all of the milk to curdle. I left mine to sit about 2 or 3 hours to help it fully drain.

    My husband is from India and I am American, and your blog is my go-to place when I am trying to learn a recipe he loves. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are always so shocked that I can make things like khandvi or paneer, but I really owe all my success to your blog!5 stars

  12. Thanks a ton. Tried it – came out pretty good.
    As the milk was boiling, I squeezed 1 big lime, but didn’t notice any curdling, so panicked and added half teaspoon of vinegar too. This worked!
    God bless.5 stars

  13. I tried it.
    The milk did not cuddle at all. I followed exactly those steps.
    Bring milk to boil add lemone juice and wait add more if necessary.
    It did not cuddle, only a fraction cuddled!
    Is the milk adultrated?
    That is very disturbing.

  14. Hi Dassana,

    I got married recently & have moved to UK. I enjoy enjoy experimenting with your recipes and infact my mom & I skype and try some of your dishes together 🙂

    Here I tried making paneer with whole fat milk, it comes out well till the last stage and is firm enough to be cut into cubes. However, when once I add it in any gravy (even at room tempertaure) it completely dissolves. Plz help!

    • thanks vidya for sharing your positive feedback. glad to know this. generally it happens because of the quality of milk. possibly there was lot of moisture in the paneer.

  15. Hi,

    where do we get this muslin cloth and after using making this paneer can we wash this cloth as we wash other normal cloth using the same detergentcoz we r putting edible paneer in it so is it safe??if not, then how do we clean tht cloth tobe used later.

    Thanks
    Teena

  16. I never thought that it was this easy to make your own paneer cheese! Thank you so much Dassana, for the recipe and the step-by-step methods. I will be making this asap, I can’t wait to try your delish paneer recipes. 🙂

  17. Hi! just wanted to know whether it is possible to store the whey in the fridge to use it later??

  18. i love ur website…receipes looks gr8…i am trying ur matar paneer receipe today…i live in Seoul…invited my veg friends…Thankz

  19. Found it, thanks!!! I can’t get paneer here, so I’ll try to makee it by myself for the recipes from your site 🙂 .

  20. Hi Dassana,
    I made paneer yesterday with 2 letters of powdered milk,and I got 250 grams of pale yellow creamy paneer.today I made paneer with 500 ml of fresh milk, and I got 50 grams of white creamy paneer..I used 1 tab spoon of vinegar for 1L of milk..thank you for the recipe..perfect method ..I clicked the picture of both paneer but I can’t upload here.5 stars