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How to Make Homemade Paneer Cheese- An Essential Ingredient in Vegetarian Indian Cookery

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Paneer cheese

Homemade paneer cheese is best!

Try this paneer cheese and you’ll never go back to store bought!


Do you remember that old nursery rhyme about little Miss Muffet sitting on her tuffet eating those curds and whey? Of course you do. My grandmother must have read it to me hundreds of times as a kid and I remember wondering what the heck the girl was eating. Well the curds bit is what we use to make Indian paneer cheese and the whey – it goes down the sink

Paneer is similar in flavour to cottage cheese and it can be purchased in Indian markets and some good grocery stores. The thing is, I personally feel it tastes best on the day you make it. Packaging it up in plastic and sending it to shops to be sold doesn’t do it any favours! If you want the best paneer cheese, you are going to have to do it yourself!

The good news is it couldn’t be easier. Paneer is a simple unripened cheese that is made by coagulating milk with lemon juice or vinegar. I prefer lemon juice which is how I make this essential part of many Indian vegetarian dishes.

The whole process of making Paneer cheese takes about four to five hours but actual cooking and preparation time is only a few minutes. Are your ready?

You are about to become a professional Indian cheese maker!


INGREDIENTS for homemade paneer cheese


12 cups (2 litres) milk
6 Tablespoons lemon juice strained


Pour the milk into a large heavy based sauce pan and bring to a boil. Be sure to stir the milk with a wooden spoon to ensure it doesn’t burn to the bottom.

Reduce the heat to low and add the lemon juice. Stir the juice in and then turn off the burner as pieces of curd begin to form on the top.

The curds will continue to form. If they don’t, turn the heat back on to low for a few second and then turn it off again.

Once all of the curd has separated from the whey, line a colander with a piece of clean cheesecloth or muslin and pour the curds and whey into it.

Bring the sides of the cheesecloth or muslin up at the sides and give the curds a good squeeze before tying it all up nice and tight like a bag.

Run some cold water over the bag of curds to remove any remaining whey.

Hang the curds in the muslin from your kitchen tap and allow to hang there for about four hours. The liquid whey will continue to drip out of the fresh paneer cheese.

Now, remove the paneer from the tap and place it in the muslin on a clean surface. Place a baking tray on top of it and weight it down with some tins. Let it rest under the weight to form a block of paneer.


Paneer cheese is very popular in Indian vegetarian curries


You can now cut the block into cubes to eat on its own or use in your Indian recipes of choice.

I hope you enjoy this easy recipe. Compare homemade paneer cheese to store bought and you will never go back!


Monday 2nd of November 2020

Dear Dan I tried making paneer with disastrous results, and I cannot buy it here at all (Turkey) but can get halloumi easily. On Wednesday I am planning to make a small batch of your curry base sauce, a prawn Rogan josh and Bombay aloo. One of the few things I miss here is an Indian takeaway, I have not been to England for so long and just need an Indian restaurant meal so much! I was hoping to visit for Christmas but I don't think it will happen now! One of my favourite starters is paneer tikka, dry spiced, served on a skewer with onions etc. Would cubes of halloumi work?

Thank you for your help!

Also, if you know of a place in the Bodrum area where I could get a British Indian restaurant experience, please share!


Dan Toombs

Monday 2nd of November 2020

Hi Anne If all you can get is halloumi I would definitely use that, I think it would be fine. I am afraid I don't know Bodrum at all as I have never been to Turkey. Thanks Dan


Thursday 27th of October 2011

you probably have this recipe if not give it a whirl its lovely winter comfort food and if you leave out the coconut milk its low fat too Although we had it trinnidad at carnival time and it was still great in the hot sun best wishes


Thursday 27th of October 2011

Will be having a whole day cooking (joy) next week Im going to do 2 of your chutneys and the paneer dish along with a batch of the basic sauce.Alongside my soup making marathon which includes a soup served at carnival in trinnidad which has a scotch bonnet in it ! Im afraid I chicken out and use dried chillies. thanks for your recipes will let you know how i get on best wishes

Dan Toombs

Thursday 27th of October 2011

Thanks Maggie

I'm really looking forward to hearing from you. Please let me know if you have any questions.


Tuesday 25th of October 2011

Hi Dan, does the milk have to be full fat ? (im watching calories) also could i grill the paneer to crisp it up a little many thanks maggie

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 26th of October 2011

Hi Maggie

Ive made paneer with 2% and 4% milk. Both times with good results. I've found that store bought paneer is better for frying if you are new to cooking. If you are quite good with your spatula, this fresh cheese can be fried to a crisp with great results.

To be honest, I've never placed it under the grill.

I would love feedback if you give it a try!

One thing I didn't mention in my recipe is that fresh paneer cheese tastes great with fresh herbs, black pepper and/or chilies thrown in!


Monday 16th of May 2011

Hi Dan

Thanks so much for your speedy and detailed response. I will definitely try the above suggestions and especially like the sound of the herb version.

Love your site, you certainly have a huge variety of recipes suitable for all.

Cheers. Kaz

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 18th of May 2011

Thank you Kaz for that. I'm glad you are finding the site of interest. Please don't be a stranger and let me know how you like the herb paneer. Thanks Dan :)

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