How to make Cottage Cheese or Paneer

Follow these simple steps to make your own Cottage Cheese or Indian Paneer at home.
By Kavitha Iyengar

The only difference between Paneer & Cottage Cheese is that while Paneer is unsalted, Cottage Cheese is salted and may sometimes have heavy cream in it. The steps involved in making these cheeses are the same.

How to make Cottage Cheese or Paneer
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
Serves: 200 grams
Ingredients
  • 1 liter milk (whole or 2%)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
  • Thin kitchen cloth
Instructions
  1. Bring the milk to a boil stirring occasionally so that the milk does not stick to the bottom of the vessel
  2. When the milk starts boiling, add the vinegar or lemon juice and keep stirring
  3. The milk will start curdling and the milk particles will separate from the whey(liquid)
  4. Once the liquid is clear, switch off the flame
  5. Drain the whey by pouring it in a vessel lined with the thin muslin cloth
  6. Rinse the cheese with water to remove the vinegar/citric acid taste
  7. Gently wrap the cheese with the same cloth and squeeze the extra water. (if you squeeze too hard, the cheese comes out)
  8. Hang the cheese wrapped with the cloth over the sink for 2-3 hours. Keep squeezing occasionally to form a nice ball of cheese
 

9 Comments
  1. Hi! :D
    Great and easy recipe. I’m just wondering can you use skim milk? I’m lactose intolerant, and I can only drink Skim Milk at most..

    1. You sure can! the only thing is you don’t get as much cheese as you would with Whole or Reduced fat milk! It does not have the exact taste of cottage cheese because there is no salt or cream added! But it’s healthier!

  2. Hey Kavitha,

    Thanks for sharing the Paneer recipe. How do we make cubes of hard paneer as used in restaurant entrees. Also, can I mix green chillies at this stage to make spicy
    Paneer?

    Thanks,
    Krishna.

  3. You generally do not want panir to be hard. You only add lemon or vinegar until you see curds forming, or it will be too hard.

    Making panir is not a “recipe”. It is a “procedure”. Bring whole milk to a boil. Meanwhile, mix acid (lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar) with water: about 3 parts water to 1 acid. Watering it helps control the amount of acid. You want as little as possible. Prepare about 2 T acid plus water per quart of milk.

    When milk is boiling, pull it off the heat or it will overflow. While stirring, slowly add acid until you see curds. Let cool enough to handle. Pour in cheesecloth, tie the top, and hang for several hours. You can use a wooden spoon to squeeze out more whey.

    You want panir to be solid, and not melt, but not be hard. You have to age it in refeigerator for 3 days before using it. I see lots of recipes where they forget to tell you this essential step. I think they are just copying recipies that they never used. If you try using it too soon, it just melts and smashes
    up, something like ricotta. I once tried to make matar panir too soon. It was a disaster. You must wait 3 days. Period. Absolutely.

    You can use fresh panir if you want it to be stirred into other ingredients, like some burfi recipes.

    I add the whey from a gallon of panir to a jar
    of mango preserves, plus the pulp of one
    mango. This makes a fabulous, protein-rich
    mango lassi.

    1. Dara, please note that Whey from the paneer making process (similar to ricotta cheese making process) does not contain any protein, since that is what the paneer is mostly made of (coagulated protein).
      However, when making cottage cheese using rennet enzyme, the remaining whey is full of protein, & that whey is often used to make ricotta cheese (which then removes all the protein that was in the whey)

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