Paneer is fresh unsalted cheese. It’s used in Indian dishes such as Saag Paneer. It is very similar to Ricotta. You can buy it in a specialty store, but it is very easy to make yourself. All you need is:

  • 1 gal of whole milk – no skim, non-fat, non-dairy…
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • A large (2gal) pot
  • A wooden spoon
  • A big colander
  • 1.5x1.5 ft piece of cheese cloth
  • Two baking sheets or other flat surface to press the cheese between

This will yield about 1lb of cheese.

Line the colander with cheese cloth and put it in the sink, or over a large bowl or pot if you want to preserve the whey.

Pour the milk into the pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Don’t walk away, you will regret it.

milk in a pot that is too small I would recommend a larger pot than this…

When the milk starts to boil, lower the heat, add the lemon juice, and stir constantly. After 30 seconds or so, you should see the milk start to separate. After a minute, the liquid should be mostly clear.

all curdled

Take the pot off the heat and carefully drain into the lined colander. Wait for most of the whey to drain, then rinse with tap water.

draining curdles

Pick up the cheese cloth by the corners and lift out of the colander. Twist and squeeze more liquid out. Hang over the sink for 15 minutes to let it drain some more.

draining more

Carefully place the cheese ball onto a clean, flat surface. I like to use a quarter baking sheet with a tea towel underneath to allow moisture to drain. I guess you can do it direcly on a clean countertop as well.

dumped out

Cover with another clean baking sheet, and place heavy things on top. Make sure it’s stable so you can walk away and let it press out more moisture for 30 minutes.


Finally, cut into cubes and use within a couple days, or freeze. I’m going to make aforementioned Saag Paneer with a 4lb bag of spinach I got at Costco the other day.


Any crumbles left over after cutting you can use as you would ricotta. Make yourself a nice sandwich with tomato, ricotta, drizzle of olive oil, some salt, pepper, yum.