How to make Paneer (Indian Cheese)

Updated: May 24, 2024, By Swasthi

If you ever wondered how to make Paneer at home, look no further & try out this easy step by step guide. Paneer is a traditional Indian cheese made with just 2 ingredients – milk and an acidic ingredient. Making it at home is super easy, involves no rocket science & you to get it perfectly soft, every single time.

But why make at home? In the past store bought paneer had additives like preservatives, corn starch and even citric acid to prolong the shelf life. Much has changed in the recent years and now you get it as good as the homemade – without additives.

Paneer - Indian Cheese

Still a lot of us want to make paneer at home for various reasons – freshness, non-availability, expensive or preference to use a particular kind of milk and acidic ingredient. Whatever be it, you will never regret for trying to make it at home. I will help you make the best quality super soft Indian cheese at home.

What is Paneer?

Paneer is a kind of fresh cheese made by curdling milk using an acidic food ingredient like lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk, yogurt (curd) or citric acid. It is a soft yet firm, non-melting cheese that is made without using any kind of rennet. It is also not fermented or aged like other kinds of cheese so it tastes milky and somewhat similar to ricotta cheese.

To make paneer, cow or buffalo milk (or a mix of both) is boiled first and an acidic ingredient is stirred into it. The milk curdles separating the solids and the whey. It is strained to a colander, lined with a muslin or cheese cloth.

The solids are wrapped in the cloth and hung for a while to get rid of excess moisture. Lastly it is pressed with a heavy object to set. Unset cheese can be used in Paneer Recipes like Malai Kofta, Paneer Bhurji and Paneer Sandwich. Set and diced paneer can be used in many other recipes like
Palak Paneer
Paneer Butter Masala
Matar Paneer
Paneer Tikka Masala

Traditionally paneer is not seasoned but these days commercialised products do come with a little amount of salt. Enthusiastic home cooks have also been adding various kinds of seasonings like chili flakes, black pepper and cilantro so it can be eaten as is without additional seasoning or cooking.

What you need for Homemade Paneer

  • Milk: Use full fat raw or pasteurized cow, buffalo or goat milk. Avoid low fat, skimmed milk and ultra-pasteurised milk (UHT) as they yield lesser amount of cheese.
  • Acidic ingredient: Lemon juice, vinegar, citric acid, yogurt or whey from the previous batch of paneer are some options. Citric acid and vinegar are the best choices as they split the milk instantly but avoid adding a lot as it can make the cheese harder/chewy. The curdled solids need a through rinse to get rid of the citric acid or vinegar. Yogurt curdles the milk slowly but produces the softest cheese and you don’t need to rinse off. Sometimes it can be a hit or a miss unless you use raw milk (zero processed milk).

Photo Guide

How to make Paneer (Stepwise Photos)

1. Pour 8 cups (2 liters) milk to a heavy bottom pot and bring it to a gentle boil on a medium flame.

boiling full fat milk

2. Keep your acidic ingredient ready such as – yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar. Please use only one. When the milk comes to a boil, turn off the stove. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar or ½ cup of yogurt. Give a good stir for 1 minute.

addition of vinegar or lemon juice

3. Milk begins to curdle immediately and solids separate from the whey. If it does not, stir in 1 tablespoon more vinegar and turn ON the stove. Boil till you see the solids separate completely. Note that non-homogenized or raw milk curdles faster. Homogenized milk takes longer to curdle as it is processed for a good shelf life.

4. Turn off the stove as soon as you see the milk has curdled completely. When the paneer is done correctly you will see the whey being clear and not milky. The color of the whey will be yellowish or green but not milky white.(check video). It is important you turn off when it is done. If you continue to cook longer, it becomes hard and grainy.

curdled milk in a pot

Drain and Set

5. Place a colander over a large bowl (to collect the whey). Layer it with a clean cheese cloth (or muslin cloth). A thin new handkerchief works well too. Transfer all of the curdled milk to the colander, in batches. Immediately pour cold water to get rid of the vinegar smell.

settling curdled whey

6. Later rinse the paneer well a few times under running water until it is clear of the vinegar.

rinsing homemade paneer

7. Squeeze off the excess water. Make a knot and hang this for 30 mins. This helps to drain the excess whey and this step is very essential else the paneer can break in your sauce. It should still be moist after draining.

draining whey

8. Keep the entire pack on a flat colander or a plate or wooden board. Form a nice round shape by bundling the paneer. (check video)

setting paneer in a coalnder

9. Place a heavy object weighing at least 2.5 to 3 kgs. I fill my pot with uncooked rice and place over it. Any heavy object will just work well to set paneer. Allow it to set for about 3 to 4 hours. If you want you may move the entire set up to the refrigerator if it is too hot. I do this at room temperature on the kitchen counter.

place a heavy object over the paneer

10. Remove the cloth and you will find a round block of paneer. You will also notice a dent on the block. It is just normal.

homemade paneer block

11. Cube the paneer.

slice the paneer to cubes

Use or Refrigerate for further use. I usually put the entire block in a steel box and refrigerate. I cut only when needed. You can also cut them and freeze for 3 months or refrigerate for 2 to 3 weeks.

How to make Paneer (Indian Cheese)

Expert Tips

  • Full fat milk that is minimally processed works the best. Else you will have lesser yield. UHT milk is ultra processed for longer shelf life so this kind of milk does not split faster and yields less.
  • Bring milk to a boil on a low to medium heat else the fats can settle at the bottom and get scorched resulting in brown bits. Alternately, stir the milk occasionally while boiling.
  • Always add the acidic ingredient only after the milk comes to a boil.
  • Once the acid ingredient is added to the milk, stir and check if the milk has curdled completely. If not add more and turn off the stove. Do not continue to boil after it has curdled completely. This makes the paneer hard & grainy.
  • Use just the right amount of acids (in batches) to curdle the milk. Using too much makes the paneer grainy and rubbery/chewy.
  • I always prefer to pour some cold water or ice cubes immediately to the pot to stop it from cooking further. You can also omit this step and transfer the paneer quickly to a colander that is lined with muslin cloth. Immediately rinse it under cold running water.
  • Ensure there is no excess whey in the milk solids before you keep it for setting. To ensure this I always hang the paneer for 30 min to drain it completely else the paneer can break in your sauce.

Related Recipes

How to make Paneer

How to make Paneer

4.99 from 283 votes
Making this 2 ingredient Indian cheese at home is super easy with this recipe. You will have a block of fresh milky and delicious soft paneer in no time.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time55 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Servings4 people

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 2 liters (8 cups) full fat milk
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vinegar (or lemon juice or ½ cup yogurt or citric acid as needed)

Equpiment needed

  • 1 colander (strainer)
  • 1 cheese cloth (muslin cloth or fresh handkerchief)
  • 1 large bowl (to collect whey)
  • 1 to 2 heavy objects


  • Heat Milk: Pour milk to a heavy bottom pot & bring it to a gentle boil on a medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure the milk doesn't get scorched at the bottom. 
  • Curdle Milk: When the milk comes to a boil, turn off the stove and stir in 2 tablespoons of vinegar. You should see the milk begins to split, separating the solids and the whey. If done correctly, whey should be clear or yellowish but not milky.
  • Troubleshooting: If the milk did not curdle fully or still looks milky, stir 1 tbsp more vinegar. Boil on a medium heat till it curdles fully. Turn off immediately and do not overcook else paneer can become hard.
  • Strain & Rinse: Place a colander over a large bowl to collect the whey. Spread a cheese cloth over it. Transfer the paneer and the whey in 2 batches. Pour cold water all over the paneer to rinse off the vinegar really well.
  • Drain the Liquid: Gather the edges of the cloth in your hand and bundle the paneer to form a round shape. Squeeze off any excess liquid. Make a knot and hang the paneer for 30 mins to drain completely. (see post for pictures)
  • Set the Paneer: Remove the knot and twist the edges of the cloth. Place bundle on a flat colander or a wooden board. Press down the cloth & place a heavy object (like a cast iron pot & rice bags) on it. (check the video below) Let the paneer set at room temperature or in the refrigerator (if hot) for 3 to 4 hours,
  • Dice the Paneer: Unpack the cheese from the cloth. You will see a dent and it is normal. Cut the paneer to 1 inch cubes.  Refrigerate in a air tight container and use within 2 to 3 weeks or freeze up to 3 months.
  • Recipes to try: Use the diced cheese in curries, kebabs or rice pilafs. You may check out these 60 amazing Paneer Recipes for ideas.


  • Please use only full fat fresh milk or whole milk as high fats in the milk will yield more paneer & will set well.
  • Non-homogenized milk curdles faster while homogenized milk takes longer to curdle. So you will need to boil a little longer until it curdles fully.
  • Do not use milk that has gone beyond the expiry date. This may affect the flavor. 
  • Adding sufficient amount of acidic ingredient like lemon juice, vinegar or curd (yogurt) is very essential else the milk won’t curdle. So you may need to add more than what is mentioned in the recipe card.
  • Similarly adding too much of lemon juice or vinegar will make the paneer harder & grainier. So begin by adding only a little and add more as needed until it curdles.
  • Once the milk curdles completely, turn off the stove and avoid cooking further to prevent the paneer from turning hard.
  • It is also good to pour some cold water to stop the paneer from cooking immediately especially if using unprocessed milk.
  • Ensure excess whey is drained from the paneer before you set. Any excess whey will cause it to break in the gravy/sauce.


NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
How to make Paneer
Amount Per Serving
Calories 293 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 59mg20%
Sodium 185mg8%
Potassium 732mg21%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Sugar 23g26%
Protein 16g32%
Vitamin A 791IU16%
Calcium 600mg60%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

Follow Swasthi’s Recipes


Recipe Rating

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hey Swasthi,

Been following your recipes quite some time, really helpful and you explain it in a simple way! I’m gonna try making paneer at home after this. Thank you 🙏🏻

If I use citric acid, how much of it should I use?

5 stars
I finally found someone who explained very clearly.

5 stars
Excellent recipe! Came out exactly as it should. Great directions.

5 stars
Quite helpful, what if someone has busy schedule, and cook immediately after preparing there any harm if some whey left in paneer .we use this paneer for making bhurji and paranthas . Thanks

Do we need to keep the paneer in the fridge while we are pressing it for 4 hours? Is there risk of it spoiling if we do this in room temperature?

5 stars
Absolutely helpful and easy

5 stars
Hello! First of all thank you so much for your website… I’ve been making a recipe once a week and we just love our ‘India’ day!

I’ve made the paneer exactly as per the instructions, and I used yogurt – I’m a big yogurt fan – but it didn’t curdle at all. I tried adding a bit more, turning on the heat again… all the tips you gave but nothing, it didn’t even curdle a little bit… So what did I do wrong or is it maybe the kind of yogurt?

I ended up adding vinegar, and then it did curdle very fast and we ate a great Butter Paneer yesterday 🙂

4 stars
Thankyou so much….

5 stars
Simple and easy to follow instructions.

5 stars
Thank you for the recipe! I will try it! What can we do with the whey?

You can also make whey fermented beverages. yum!!

5 stars
You can also boil and curdle it again to make Ricotta

5 stars
Turned out beautifully, thank you.

5 stars
I am so excited my first trial to make paneer at home succeeded. Thank you Swasthi. I look forward to make your dhaba paneer curry but should I soak it in hot water first?

5 stars
Hi Swasthi
Thank you for this recipe. Is the 1 1/2 tsp cornflour appropriate to 1 1/2 litres milk?

5 stars
This is an amazing and easy to use recipe. I’ve had this recipe open for about three weeks on my laptop, dreading to try and fail, I finally attempted for the first time and I’m shocked at how easy this is. Thank you for making this so simple.
I used Nestle full cream milk 1litre (the green and white pack) and 20ml of 5% acidity vinegar (it curdled in less than 30 seconds) and yielded a little over 200 grams. The milk was at a rolling boil (I did scorch it a bit), after curdling I used a stocking as my cloth to collect the Chenna and put it in between two plates after rinsing it and stacked a bunch of canned beans . All in all it turned out great and cost me less than a fourth of the price I’d pay for it frozen (Frozen TTD$85, Fresh TTD$16).

How many grams of paneer do we yield from 6 cups milk?… As mentioned following you from past 7 years has made me a better cook…. Thank you and keep up the good work…

5 stars
How many grams paneer it yields with 6cups milk that is mentioned in the receipe?.. I have been following your receipes from last 7 years… right from the time my son was born… I have fed him healthy food following your receipes… Your instructions are crisp and easy to follow…

5 stars
why are we collecting the whey?

Would this recipe work if l added jerk sauce once cooked then air fried? I bought store paneer in the past and did this and it was delicious. It’s quite expensive to buy in the uk?

5 stars
I love getting the spinach paneer dish at the local Indian cuisine. Now I can make some for all occasions. Thank you

“Do not use milk that has NOT gone beyond the expiration date.”

This double-negative means we must indeed use expired milk. I didn’t see that stipulation in the ingredients (lol, I’ve never made paneer – don’t laugh!), so wanted to ensure newbies are clear on what to do. Seems like a typo?

Thank you for the easy recipe.