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Cubes of paneer Indian cheese on a marble surface

How to Make Paneer (Indian Cheese)

How to make homemade paneer easily and pretty quickly. This Indian cheese is crazy rich and creamy, unlike anything you've ever tasted. Worth every minute!

Course Basics
Cuisine Indian
Keyword how to make paneer, indian cheese, paneer
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Pressing Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 12 ounces
Calories 81 kcal
Author Cheryl Malik


  • 1/2 gallon whole milk not UHT pasteurized. See Note
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Equipment Needed


  1. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat. Bring the milk to JUST under a boil. The milk will produce a steamy, foamy layer on top and will smell rich and fragrant. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom to make sure it doesn't burn. 

  2. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. The mixture will likely curdle immediately into solid white curds and yellow liquid whey, but if it doesn't, that's OK. See Note for next steps if your milk does not curdle immediately. 

  3. Line a medium colander with cheesecloth and set over a large bowl. Scoop the white solid curds into the colander and let the liquid whey drain into the bowl beneath. Discard the yellow whey or save for other uses, like lactofermentation. 

  4. Sprinkle the curds with 1 teaspoon salt. Toss the curds with your hands to incorporate the salt.

  5. Squeeze the curds in the cheesecloth to remove as much excess whey as possible. Still in the cheesecloth, flatten the curds into a disc and arrange the edges of the cheesecloth over the top as smooth as possible. Place a dinner plate on top and weight with 1-2 cans or other heavy item. 
  6. Place in the refrigerator and let press for at least 20 minutes, preferably 90 minutes - 2 hours. The longer the press, the firmer the cheese, without losing any richness. After pressing, unwrap the paneer, cut into cubes, and use in a recipe or keep chilled in an airtight container up to 3-4 days.

Recipe Notes

Most organic milk is ultra-high temperature pasteurized (UHT) which destroys the structure of the milk and will not produce proper curds or bind as necessary to make paneer or most homemade cheeses. Ultra-high temperature pasteurized milk is legally required to be labeled as such, so check your labels and opt for non-UHT milk (Not always labeled as such, but it will not say it is UHT pasteurized). I use a local, low temp pasteurized, high butterfat milk for my homemade cheeses, and it's divine.

If your milk does not curdle immediately after stirring in lemon juice: Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the mixture should be separated into curds and whey--the whey is the yellowy watery liquid. If the mixture has not yet separated, add another tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.

Nutrition Facts
How to Make Paneer (Indian Cheese)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 81 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 18mg6%
Sodium 7mg0%
Protein 3g6%
Calcium 136mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.