Making Your Own Paneer

Background: I looooove paneer.  It’s not easy to find where I live.  I hate going grocery shopping, and I especially hate going to a specific store only to buy 1-2 items.

Paneer is a type of cheese, used in several Indian recipes (paneer tikka masal, saag paneer, etc.).  It is very very tasty and is very high in protein.  Here’s a recipe.

9 cups milk (use whole milk)
1 1/4 tbsp salt
1/4 cups lemon juice

Lemon juice, salt, and whole milk.  It's very simple.

Lemon juice, salt, and whole milk. It's very simple.

Heat the milk to boiling – either on the stove or in the microwave.  Add the 1/4 cup lemon juice and turn off the heat.


Curds will form.


Put four layers of cheesecloth in a colander.  Pour the mixture through this.  Let it sit and drain.


Gather up the cheesecloth into a purse.  Tie this over a pot or over the sink and allow it to drain at room temperature for an hour.


Unfold the cheesecloth, reshape into a rectangle, and refold.


Put paneer in between two plates, and weigh down with something heavy.  Let this sit here for 1.5 hours, re-tightening the cheesecloth every 30 minutes.


Take it out when it’s done, and store it in an airtight container.  Cut into cubes when cooking for use in stir fry or other dishes.  Yum!


TIME INVESTMENT: Approximately 3 hours total from start to finish.  Active time runs about 15-20 minutes.  Very simple to make, and I will be doing this again!

3 thoughts on “Making Your Own Paneer

  1. Have you ever made cheese like this using goats milk? I recently attempted a similar recipe with goats milk and didn’t have much success, but maybe I didn’t have enough patience. If you have, I would love any advice. A friend made a similar cheese as you have described, and also added chives. I’ve heard you can add lavender, or any other herb, and it turns out great.

    • No I haven’t tried goat’s milk yet. I’d really like to! I’ve heard it’s best with fresh goat’s milk – and I’ve only been able to find the canned stuff so far.

      I had a couple hiccups with my recipe. My mom told me to microwave it at first, but I found I didn’t get a good hard boil with that. It needs to be boiling, not just warm, when you add the lemon juice. Also, if it didn’t work, your lemons may not be acidic enough. Vinegar will work for this as well. If your lemons don’t have enough bite, you can boost it with the vinegar. Mine didn’t form large curds, though that may have been from my repeated heating it in the microwave before putting it on the stove top. Hope this helps!

      Thanks for the tips on the herbs – I have some chives in the garden, so I will have to give this a try next time!

  2. This is exactly how my mom makes “cottage cheese” which is nothing like American cottage cheese that you get in the store.

    She puts some cumin and other flavorings in it and it makes some really tasty cheese.

    Another good thing about this – you can use spoilt/expired milk for this and it works really well.

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