How to make fresh paneer from milk at home

Cutting paneer into pieces on wooden board. Photo: iStock/liubomirt

Yes, you can make paneer at home from milk! Homemade paneer is fresh, free from preservatives, and has a wonderful texture that can be used in a variety of dishes such as palak paneer, paneer tikka, and paneer butter masala. You can choose high-quality milk and adjust the amount of acidifying agent to suit your taste and dietary needs.

Paneer is a fresh, non-aged, non-melting cheese commonly used in Indian cuisine. It is made by curdling milk with a food acid like lemon juice, vinegar, or yogurt, then draining and pressing the resulting curds. Paneer is known for its mild flavour and versatility, making it a staple in many vegetarian dishes.

Here's a step-by-step guide to making paneer from milk at home.

1 litre (4 cups) of whole milk
2-3 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
A pinch of salt (optional)
Large pot
Cheesecloth or muslin cloth
Heavy weight or something to press the paneer

Pour the milk into a large pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat
Stir occasionally to prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pot
Once the milk starts boiling, reduce the heat to low
Add the lemon juice or vinegar gradually while stirring continuously
You will notice the milk beginning to curdle, and the whey (the liquid part) will start separating from the curds (the solid part)
Once the milk has fully curdled, turn off the heat
Let it sit for a few minutes to ensure that the curdling process is complete
Place a cheesecloth or muslin cloth over a strainer and position it over a large bowl to catch the whey
Pour the curdled milk into the cloth-lined strainer
Rinse the curds under cold running water to remove the acidic taste from the lemon juice or vinegar
Gather the edges of the cloth and twist it to squeeze out as much whey as possible
Tie the cloth and hang it from a faucet or another suitable place to let the excess whey drain for about 30 minutes
After draining the whey, place the wrapped curds on a flat surface
Put a heavy weight (such as a heavy pot or a stack of books) on top of the wrapped curds to press them and remove any remaining whey
Leave the weight on for at least 1 hour
The longer you press it, the firmer the paneer will be
After pressing, unwrap the paneer and cut it into cubes or any desired shape
Paneer is ready to use immediately in your favorite dishes
If not using right away, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


  • The consistency of the paneer depends on the amount of time you press it. For softer paneer, press for less time. For firmer paneer, press for a longer time.
  • Both lemon juice and vinegar work well for curdling milk. You can also use yogurt as an alternative.
  • If desired, you can add a pinch of salt to the milk before curdling to enhance the flavour of the paneer.
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