How to make perfect paneer

10-minute gourmet: This soft Indian cheese is delicious, versatile and easy to make. And it takes only two ingredients!

Ryan Szulc

Classic paneer


2L homogenized milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice


1. Lay a 10 × 10-in. square piece of doublelayer cheesecloth in a medium strainer or colander over a large bowl.

2. Pour milk into a large, very wide saucepan and heat over medium-high. Stir often until milk comes to a gentle boil, about 9 min. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in lemon juice. Stir continuously until milk curdles and milky-white curds float to the surface. The liquid whey will turn a yellowish colour. When milk is completely curdled, slowly pour mixture into the cheesecloth-lined strainer. When the liquid has drained, press cheese gently with the back of a spoon for 30 sec. Squeeze gently and gather up corners of cloth to cover paneer. Flatten into a disc and press down with a heavy bowl in the strainer. Let drain for 30 min. Remove from cloth and wrap in plastic wrap. Keeps well, refrigerated, up to 1 week.

Makes 2 cups

Per 1/2 cup: 214 calories, 14 g protein, 3 g carbs, 16 g fat, 15 mg sodium. Excellent source of B12.

Switch it up

Soy-Sauce: Add 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds and 1 tsp dark sesame oil to curds before draining. Cube and add to stir-fries.

Cilantro-Chili: Add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and 1/4 tsp hot red-pepper flakes to curds before draining. Cut into strips and add to salads.

Cinnamon-Sugar: Add 1 tsp cinnamon to curds before draining. Cube and sprinkle with golden raisins and brown sugar. Serve with pancakes.

Three ways to use it

Saag Paneer: Pan-fry 1 cup cubed paneer in 2 tbsp butter over medium until golden. Remove, then add 1/8 tsp cumin seeds, 1 chopped onion, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tsp grated fresh ginger and 1/2 tsp garam masala. Cook until onion is soft and fragrant. Add 8 cups packed, thinly shredded spinach. Cook until soft, 1 min. Pour in 3/4 cup half-and-half cream. Return paneer to pan and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until liquid is almost absorbed. Stir in 1 tbsp lemon juice.

Protein-Packed Sandwich: Mash 1 cup crumbled paneer with 2 tbsp mayo, 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill and 1 tsp each Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Use in a sandwich with sliced cucumber and lettuce.

Savoury Salad: Marinate paneer cubes in salad dressing and refrigerate up to a week. Use as a salad garnish.