Homemade Paneer

If you enjoy Indian food, then you must have tasted Paneer in some form of curry. It’s one of the most common vegetarian ingredient used on a daily basis. While Paneer can be easily found in Indian stores, frozen aisle, Homemade Paneer can take the dish to a whole new level. I have shared all the tips and tricks you need to know to prepare Homemade Paneer.

What is Paneer ?

Paneer is a variety of fresh acid cheese that is not aged and doesn’t melt on cooking. You can compare it to ricotta cheese except with Paneer, the whey is completely strained out and the cheese is set, so it can be cut into slices.

It can be used in various different ways and here are a list of Paneer recipe I had shared in the past.

How to make Homemade Paneer ?

Making Homemade Paneer is very easy. All you need is whole full fat milk and something acidic like lemon juice or vinegar to curdle the milk.

Straining the Curdled Milk

Here are the quick steps :

  1. Start by boiling the milk in a heavy bottom pan. Keep stirring as it boils, so it doesn’t get burnt at the bottom of the pan.

2. Once boiled, add the lemon juice and let it curdle.

3. Strain the curdled milk using a clean muslin cloth and squeeze all the whey out. Tie the edges and place it on a colander. Place something heavy on top, like your cast iron skillet or motor pestle.

4. Leave it in the fridge for overnight or least 4 to 5 hours.

5. The curdled milk should set, and you will be able to slice into bite size pieces.

Cubes of Homemade Paneer!

A very important note to keep in mind when you are making homemade paneer is to use FULL FAT MILK. If you use low fat milk, the paneer will not set enough for you to slice. It will crumble.

And if you manage to slice into bite size, it might crumble and break apart when you cook with it.

Save or Discard the Whey

The whey you get from straining the curdled milk is high in protein. You can use it in several ways, e.g.: smoothie, soup, stew, dips, bread.

You can choose to save or discard.

Indian Cottage Cheese - with all the tips

HERE IS A VIDEO OF HOW TO MAKE CHENA

The milk didn’t curdle after adding the acid

You have to bring the milk to full boil before you add the acid.

PRO-TIP: Add few ice cubes as soon as the milk comes to boil and then pour the acid. Adding ice cubes will bring down the temperature of the milk instantly, and this results in a soft texture of the paneer.

Homemade Paneer not setting or broke apart in curry

If you prepare paneer using low fat milk, it will not set properly. Or it will break apart when added in curries.

How to Store Homemade Paneer ?

You can store the entire block of paneer wrapped in clear film or vacuum seal or airtight container, kept in the refrigerator.

The sliced paneer cubes can be store the same way.

It will stay fresh for a week in the refrigerator. If you want to keep longer, store in the freezer.

Homemade Paneer Recipe with all the tips and tricks

SOME KEY TIPS:

  • Use only Full Fat Whole Milk
  • Make sure to stir the milk constantly as it comes to boil
  • Do not add the acid before the mil comes to full boil
  • Drop ice cubes to bring down the temperature of the milk once it’s come to full boil. This helps to create a soft texture.
  • Mix the acid (lemon juice or vinegar) with equal part water before adding to the boiled milk. This will separate the milk slowly creating a soft texture of the homemade paneer.
  • Wash the strained curdle milk to remove any excess sour taste from the vinegar or lemon juice.

I don’t always depend on homemade paneer, since Paneer gets cooked at least once a week. So yes, I do depend on good quality store bought paneer. But occasionally I like to find some time and make the paneer at home because truly it makes the dish extra special.

Homemade Paneer

Homemade Paneer

Yield: 24 ounces of Paneer
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 19 minutes

If you enjoy Indian food, then you must have tasted Paneer in some form of curry. It's one of the most common vegetarian ingredient used on a daily basis. While Paneer can be easily found in Indian stores, frozen aisle, Homemade Paneer can take the dish to a whole new level. I have shared all the tips and tricks you need to know to prepare Homemade Paneer.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon full fat whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 4 to 5 ice cubes

Instructions

  1. In a glass, mix the vinegar with water and keep it aside. Also keep the ice cubes ready and close to the stove top.
  2. In a heavy bottom pan, pour the full fat milk and let it come to boil. Keep stirring to avoid the milk from getting burnt at the bottom of the pan.
  3. Once it comes to a boil, switch off the heat and pour the ice cubes. This will drop the temperature instantly and that helps to give a smooth texture to the paneer.
  4. Pour the vinegar and water, keep stirring, and you will notice the milk curdled and whey got separated.
  5. Place a muslin cloth on a colander and strain the curdled milk. You can choose to save the whey and use in soup or stew, or discard.
  6. Run cold water on the paneer to wash off any excess sour taste from the vinegar.
  7. Bring the edges of the cloth and squeeze off all the excess water. Tie the edges and place sometime heavy on top like a motor pestle or a heavy plate and leave aside for 4 to 5 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. This will drain off all the excess water and set the paneer.
  8. Once it's set, untie and slice the block into bite size pieces.

Notes

The milk didn't curdle after adding the acid

You have to bring the milk to full boil before you add the acid.

PRO-TIP: Add few ice cubes as soon as the milk comes to boil and then pour the acid. Adding ice cubes will bring down the temperature of the milk instantly, and this results in a soft texture of the paneer.

Homemade Paneer not setting or broke apart in curry

If you prepare paneer using low fat milk, it will not set properly. Or it will break apart when added in curries.

How to Store Homemade Paneer ?

You can store the entire block of paneer wrapped in clear film or vacuum seal or airtight container, kept in the refrigerator.

The sliced paneer cubes can be store the same way.

It will stay fresh for a week in the refrigerator. If you want to keep longer, store in the freezer.

Homemade Paneer Recipe with all the tips and tricks
Did you enjoy this Homemade Paneer? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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4 Comments

  • mjskitchen
    Reply
    mjskitchen
    September 8, 2021 at 5:04 PM

    This looks easier than I thought it would be. Since it looks like it makes A LOT, I think it would be fun to make this with someone and split the results. And I know just the person who loves paneer as much as I do. You mention that you can freeze the paneer. Can you freeze the whey? Thanks for sharing this process!

  • Yocheved
    Reply
    Yocheved
    September 9, 2021 at 12:59 AM

    Can you make paneer with buttermilk?

    • Yocheved
      Reply
      Yocheved
      September 9, 2021 at 1:01 AM

      It doesn’t make as much as you’d think, because a lot of the milk comes out in the whey, and there aren’t a lot of solids in the milk. I’d say the paneer in the pictures comes from at least 3 gallons of milk, if not more.

      You can freeze whey the same way you would soup stock. Just make sure to label it clearly, so you don’t make chicken soup with it! Ewwwwwww.

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