(Hindi) Paneer is unique; there is no substitute for it. Being homemade cheese, in India it is eaten either by itself, or as an ingredient in recipes (e.g. subji!). Surpassing other cheeses, it is unique for its versatility, fine taste, high melting point. Complementing sensei's w/u above, I thought I would give the recipe I learnt along with some yield amounts, and information on curdling agents.


Total time: approx. 30 mins


  1. Heat the milk over a medium heat in a pot large enough to allow the milk to rise without overflowing. Whilst waiting for the milk to boil, prepare your choice of curdling agent and get a strainer/collander ready by lining it with two layers of cheesecloth(*) and propping it above a receptacle to collect the whey.

  2. If you want it to be rich, add the butter once it is at a suitable temperature. Stir gently anyway, to keep it from sticking.

  3. When the milk begins to rise, stir in the curdling agent. Stir in one direction only at this time. The sponge-like paneer will now begin to separate from the clear yellow-green whey. If the whey does not become clear, add a small amount more of the curdling agent, and keep stirring.

  4. After the curds and whey have separated completely, remove the pot from the heat. Pour the contents into the cheesecloth (make sure it's big enough!). After a large amount of the liquid has drained, wash the curds under cold water to remove any excess curdling agent. Then press out the liquid.

  5. If you want firm paneer (e.g. for cubes, or for kneading into dough), then bind the paneer like a package withing the cheesecloth, pat into a block, and press it under a heavy weight for some time. The longer you leave it, the firmer it will be. You can then cut it afterwards.

  6. If you only need soft cheese, then simply tighten the cheesecloth around the paneer, squeeze a bit, and leave to drain.
(*) If you do not have cheesecloth, you can use muslin or something similar. I use a old worn-thin dhoti personally.

Sometimes paneer is known as chenna when it is soft, and only as paneer when it is pressed.


2 1/2 cups (600 ml) yields 4 oz (100 g) chenna or 3 oz (75 g) pressed paneer
7 cups (1.7 l) yields 9 oz (250 g) chenna or 7 oz (200 g) pressed paneer
12 cups (3 l) yields 14 oz (400 g) chenna or 12 oz (350 g) pressed paneer

Commonly used curdling agents

  • Lemon Juice - this will give a light, sour taste. Approx 1 tbsp lemon juice will curdle 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) of milk.

  • Citric Acid (sour salt) - these crystals (which you can buy in supermarkets or pharmacists) are easy to use and store. For firm curds, bring the milk to a full boil. Then add the citric acid a little at a time. Too much will result in mushy curds. Approx 1/2 tsp citric acid will curdle 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) of milk.

  • Yoghurt - this results in the cheese being thick and soft. Before adding you may want to dilute with a small amount of warm milk. Approx 4 or 5 tbsp yoghurt will curdle 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) of milk.

  • Whey - Whey resulting from this recipe can be kept over to use the next day. As it sours it becomes more effective. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days. (Of course you can use it for something else, e.g. cooking Dal in.) Like lemon juice, whey can give a slightly sour taste to the paneer. At least 2/3 cup (150 ml) sour whey is needed to curdle 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) of milk.
N.B. If you want to use the whey for something else, then take care about the amount of curdling agent you use. Of course, if you only want the curds then you can use plenty (it will be washed out anyway).