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Homemade Paneer

Makes about 2 pounds


  • 2 gallons milk
  • 16 ounces vinegar  

Optional Ingredients for Masala Paneer Cheese

  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • half sprig mint, chopped
  • small bunch cilantro, chopped


  1. Bring milk to a boil on a stove in a heavy bottom pot, stirring continuously so the milk does not caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pot.
  2. Add vinegar to the boiling milk. Turn off heat. (Note: For masala paneer, add the cumin seeds and the fresh herbs before adding vinegar.)
  3. Separate the milk curds and whey with a strainer or a colander.
  4. Place curds on top of a large piece of cheesecloth and tie it into a pouch.
  5. Let the pouch hang for 10 minutes until most of the water drains. (The soft cheese at this stage can be used in many dishes, like paneer bhurji—an Indian/Pakistani breakfast dish in which paneer is scrambled with savory vegetables and spices—as well as stuffed breads.)
  6. Flatten the pouch on a worktable and place a flat weight on top to extract excess moisture from the paneer cheese. Allow to sit for 6 hours.
  7. Peel off cheesecloth and remove cheese.

Keep paneer refrigerated for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen.

A crumbly South Asian cheese, paneer is often described as the Eastern equivalent of cottage cheese–a non-melting, un-aged varietal formed using acid rather than cultures or heat. Paneer is a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine (5 percent of India’s milk was used to make paneer in 2000). In this recipe, Chef Arora enhances the flavor with herbs and spices.