Homemade Paneer

August 3, 2008 at 10:47pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

There are a lot of instructions for homemade paneer on the interwebs. The Tea & Cookies blog is particularly insightful. Instead of spending my Sunday afternoon outside melting, I decided to give it a try. I went to Hy-Vee and picked up a half gallon of milk ($2.43), a lemon ($1.09), and two yards of cheesecloth ($2.98).


Making the paneer was remarkably easy. I brought the milk to a boil, stirring all the time to try and avoid burning it. After it started foaming up and boiling, I immediately took it off the range and let it cool for a few seconds. I then turned the range down to low and put the milk back on after the range cooled off a bit. I didn’t know how much lemon juice to use to curdle the milk, so I only added a little at a time, stirring constantly.


Slowly, the milk separated into curds, and a semi-clear, whitish/yellowish water that sort of looked like the liquid you find in containers of cottage cheese. At first, the curds were pretty small.


Adding enough acid seems to be the key. I didn’t add enough lemon juice to curdle the milk at first. While still stirring the pot on low heat, I eventually squeezed in the juice from the entire lemon. Within minutes, big curds started forming.


I strained out the mixture using a colander and cheesecloth. After the curds were in the cheesecloth, I squeezed out the water using a pair of tongs and a towel over the sink. Those curds were hot!


Apparently, you should put something heavy on your cheese to form it so it doesn’t crumble. While still in the cheesecloth, I wrapped it up in foil and placed a few big books on it, and threw it in the fridge.


Three hours later, yum. This paneer was so rich, I almost fell off my chair and passed into a coma after eating a few bites. Without having put any salt or sugar in it, it was quite bland, but the milk fatty richness was just powerful. Some people recommend adding in some salt or other flavoring while its curdling, which is something I will have to try next time.

In conclusion, here are a few hints based on my experiment: First, have more than enough acid ready and throw it in immediately after it boils. I used one lemon for a half gallon of milk but I will have two on hand next time. Also, instead of squeezing the lemon juice directly into your pot, pre-squeeze it into a dish and remove the seeds so they don’t fall into the milk! Second, be sure to constantly stir the milk before, during, and after it reaches a boil to avoid burning it. Little bits of burnt milk (see the brown flakes) ended up getting into my paneer, but it didn’t affect the overall taste.


I wouldn’t leave you guys hanging. Being a good Nebraskan, I pan fried a few chunks of the paneer for the ultimate in fat fried goodness. If I survive after today, I will be eating nothing but salad (without dressing) for the next week. 

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The Comments

beerorkid August 4, 2008 at 2:26am

Dude that is cool.  I had no clue you could get that much cheese out of 1/2 gallon of milk.

West A Dad August 4, 2008 at 12:47pm

I have been dying to make paneer for years.  I never have for fear of a big pot of burnt milk.  Guess it’s time to try.  Did you use whole milk? 

I love paneer and always order something with it while dining at The Oven.

Fletch August 4, 2008 at 12:51pm

Finally, a good use for the Yellow Book!

Mr. T August 4, 2008 at 1:26pm

I used a half gallon of Roberts whole milk. I read that some people even use cream (or add cream), but I can’t fathom doing that because the whole milk cheese was rich enough. Next time, I am also going to throw in a few tablespoons of salt as well to cut the blandness. Apparently, paneer with salt = queso blanco.

My only suggestion on avoiding the over boil or burnt milk is to boil it slowly (not on high but on the second highest temperature) and watch it closely, stirring constantly.

In anycase, this was really fun and all together only took me about 35-40 minutes to make. Knowing all the steps now, it will be quicker next time.

beerorkid August 4, 2008 at 1:29pm

Mmmmmmmm Queso.  We had chips and queso dip for dinner one night.  At the stores they sell a queso with peppers in it.  We mix it 1/2 and 1/2 and add a bit of milk.

Looks like I am gonna have to try making this.  Thanks.

West A Dad August 4, 2008 at 3:06pm

Okay, I’m going to do this.  I wonder what a little fine ground coriander would do to the taste? 

Thanks Mr T, now I’m craving some curried spinach with fried paneer chunks.

Mr. T August 5, 2008 at 12:26am

At the stores they sell a queso with peppers in it.

Hey that is a good idea! Next time I will make queso by adding in some salt and throw some dried peppers into the curds before I press them. Yes!

Swoof August 9, 2008 at 8:02pm

Chris, I’ve made it with a little fresh ground toasted coriander before and it was terrific. 

I’ve always brought my milk to a temp just below boiling when making paneer which helps avoid the scorching issue.

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