1/2 gallon whole milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a heavy saucepan, bring milk to a boil. Watch it carefully because once it starts to bubble and look frothy, it is almost at boiling. It will then to rise very quickly as it begins to boil, make sure it doesn’t boil over. Remove from heat.

Add lemon juice and stir until curds start to separate from the whey, about 2-3 minutes.

Cover and let sit 10-15 minutes until large curds form, then pour into a cheesecloth lined colander.

When cool enough to handle, squeeze out any remaining liquid. Place the cheesecloth covered paneer on a plate. Top with another plate and use the palm of you hand to flatten the cheese to 1/2 inch thick. Weigh the plate down with cans.

Allow it to sit at least 20 minutes or until firm enough to cut without it falling apart or crumbling. Pour off any liquid that remains.*

Refrigerate overnight or eat immediately.

*Alternately, tie the ends of the cheesecloth together and hang on a hook over a bowl or on the faucet over the kitchen sink to drain, then press into a firm patty. This can take up to five hours.

My thoughts:

Paneer, a soft unaged cheese used in Indian cooking, is a great introduction to cheese making. It is fairly quick to do and as a bonus, doesn’t require any extra equipment or special ingredients. It is most often made with cow’s milk but it is not unheard of to make it with goat’s milk or even buffalo milk. This recipe yields a modest amount of paneer-between 1 1/2-2 cups depending on how many curds form-but can easily be doubled. Paneer is great to cook with as it doesn’t melt during the cooking process. If you’ve never had it, the closest thing in texture I can think of would be firm tofu, queso blanco or a young, firm goat cheese. The long it is pressed, the more solid it will become. My favorite ways to eat it include saag paneer, palak paneer and koftas.

Note: While I called for whole milk, 2% can be used but I find the yield is sometimes less.


  1. This is great. I was thinking about making paneer and now I know how!

  2. I’ll have to try this!

    So far I’ve made goat cheese and mozzarella. I have everything I need to make a hard cheese except for the press. As soon as I get that I want to make some buttermilk cheese.

  3. WOW! I really want to try that! What a cool idea!!

  4. Huh…I had no idea how paneer was made. Pleasantly surprised it’s so simple! Saag paneer is my “standard order” at Indian restaurants.

  5. Ooooh, neat! I have always wanted to try this and have never managed to get up the courage….now I will have to! 🙂

  6. I’ve made it before…and it’s so incredibly simple, right?! Your pictures turned out better than mine 🙂

  7. Thanks, I love cheese and this is a must to make.

  8. Yum! Do you have a recipe for saag paneer?

  9. I too was amazed at just how simple this is. When I make paneer, I save the liquid and use it to cook the rice. Yum!

  10. Leah- That’s coming soon!

  11. i didn’t know it was this easy! my SO loves saag paneer, and i’ve always wanted to make it for him.


  12. It looks so pretty, so perfect! I had no idea it was so easy. Thanks!

  13. i love paneer and it was one of the first things i made when i was a vegetarian. i remember watching a tv show about it and thought, that’s it? nice memory jog. i should make it again!

  14. wow. sounds like a lotta work. but the end results sure must make it all worth it.
    thanks for educating me in paneer 🙂

  15. I have been unable to find paneer. Making my own sounds like the way to go. Bookmarked

  16. Neat! I thought about making paneer when I made my mango cupcakes. Then I thought about using homemade ricotta. However, took the easy route and I ended up using store bought ricotta instead. I’ll have to try paneer sometime though. It doesn’t look too hard.

  17. the only cheese I’ve ever attempted. it’s actually rewarding seeing it’s so quick. yours looks great. I’m going to have to try your saag paneer.

  18. I just made it, Rachel. God this stuff is good! I wonder how it’d taste with lime juice – even (drumroll) coconut and lime!

  19. goat milk paneer. this was just right. now it is a must at my house. gracias!