{Paneer} Simple Homemade Frying Cheese

Back in the day when we lived in the country and had milk goats, I used to make different kinds of soft cheese on a regular basis.  The easiest of the cheeses was paneer, an Indian frying cheese used in curries.  I hadn’t made it in years but decided to try it with cow’s milk when I had a surplus recently.  It is absurdly simple and fun to make.  My only suggestion is that if you decide to make this or other cheese on a regular basis, you should buy some fine cheesecloth. I have never seen it for sale in a store, but I recently ordered some from Caprine Supply, my cheese-making supplier of choice. Buy a couple of packs to give to the cooks in your life.  The cheesecloth can be reused for years if you hand wash it and boil it to sterilize it.  While you are ordering from them, you might as well get some liquid vegetable rennet too.  You can use that to experiment with different kinds of cheese making.


Bring a gallon of milk of any type to boil in a large pot.  Once it reaches a roiling boil, turn off the heat and shock the milk with about half a cup of white vinegar.   Stir for a few minutes as the curds form.

Line a large colander with fine cheesecloth or triple layered normal cheesecloth or a large handkerchief washed in hot water without detergent. Pour the curds and whey into the cheesecloth and let it drain for a minute.

Tie the ends of the cheesecloth together with a piece of kitchen twine and hang the ball of cheese over the sink to drip for about half an hour.

Remove the cheese from the cloth.  Cut it up and fry, stir fry, bake, broil, whatever.

To clean the cheesecloth, soak it for an hour or so in a pot with a little hand dishwashing soap.  Swish around and rub lightly to get the clumps of cheese stuck to the cloth to dislodge.  Rinse well, then boil in clean water.  Squeeze out excess water and hang to dry.  DO NOT WASH IN THE WASHING MACHINE WITH DETERGENT or your cheese will taste like laundry detergent.

Palak Paneer (Spinach with Homemade Cheese)

Two bags of frozen spinach or two pounds of triple-washed fresh spinach, stems removed

Olive oil or ghee

1 big onion, chopped

3 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons grated ginger

1 jalapeno or other green chili, chopped, remove seeds if you don’t want too much heat

1 teaspoon red chili pepper

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 ½ teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon paprika

½ to 1 cup sour cream or half and half or milk

1 batch paneer, cubed and sautéed in ghee or oil until lightly browned

  1. Thaw spinach in the microwave. Pour oil or ghee in pan and sauté till soft.  Remove from heat and puree in a food processor.  Set aside.
  2. Fry onion in oil or ghee until tender, add garlic, ginger, red chili powder, turmeric, curry, paprika, jalapeno, and sauté till well blended.  Remove from heat and puree in a food processor.
  3. Add a little more oil to the pan and cook spice/onion paste for a few minutes.
  4. Transfer reserved spinach to pan, add salt and sour cream or milk and heat to a thick boil.  You can add water as needed.
  5. Add sautéed paneer and mix well.
  6. Serve with roti or rice or nan.

38 Comments Add yours

  1. Kimberly says:

    Love it! I did this the other day and saved the whey to give the chickens. Love how little goes to waste these days.

    1. Dianna says:

      I used to feed the whey to my chickens too. Now the crows go after it in the compost.

  2. Sean says:

    I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

    1. Dianna says:

      sure, if my blogmates say it’s ok, I would be happy to submit it. Chris? Or link it or whatever. Thanks.

      1. Dianna says:

        I just checked out your site and submitted it. Thanks. And I can hardly wait to read about wine making, since we are growing grapes in our back yard and have delusions of grandeur.

        1. Dianna says:

          thanks Sean, for running it on Punk Domestics. I am honored! I replied to your personal note but I don’t know if you’ll get it. I am from San Francisco originally, so it seems that we were swapped out geographically.

    2. Christina says:

      Hey Sean, Christina (Founder & Editor) of this teeny blog. WE LOVE LOVE LOVE Punk Domestics. I believe we even set up a profile but then didn’t actually post anything 😦 Personally, I follow and link-to many of the posts on the site.

      I’m so glad to see that Dianna went ahead and submitted. She has amazing posts- she had a four-part series on Maple Syrup tapping. Great stuff.

      Thanks for finding our tiny piece of the food blog world. I will give our profile another go and start submitting stuff.


  3. Laura says:

    I love Palak Paneer! I bought cheesecloth once to make paneer and never did. Thanks to your reminder, I’m definitely going to make it.

    1. Dianna says:

      My palak paneer wasn’t perfect. I think it needed more fat in it. If you experiment and figure it out, let me know.

  4. Vivek says:

    My mom makes homemade paneer once a month! Love the recipe!

    1. Dianna says:

      That is a good mom!

  5. Liz says:

    Dianna, I negotiated my way into getting some of this from the food swap on Friday and it was AWESOME!!! Can’t wait to try the recipe, thanks for sharing!

    1. Dianna Goodwin says:

      oh great, thanks. I actually thought it was ho hum. It is much better with lots more jalapeno peppers in it. I like it so that it singes your eyebrows when you eat it. But I am glad you enjoyed it. That food swap was fabulous. What did you make?

      1. Christine says:

        I managed to score some of your palak paneer at the food swap too and LOVE it! I brought the last little bit with me for lunch today.

        1. Dianna says:

          Thank you! I am glad you liked it. You can replicate, and probably improve, it because it is not hard.

  6. That looks fantastic, thanks for the thorough instructions. Fresh mozzarella has been on my list for awhile. Now this is too.

    1. Dianna says:

      Mozzarella is on my list too. Yum.

  7. renée says:

    i got this in the food swap and we ate it the next night. i wondered if the cheese was homemade. well done! thank you! it was delicious!!!

  8. Thank you for the recipe for Palak Paneer. That is a favorite of mine whenever we go to an Indian Restaurant. I’m thinking of making some and bringing portions to my daughters at Thanksgiving. They favor Vegetarian food and will adore this!


    1. Dianna says:

      Good luck with the recipe. It is pretty easy and delicious. The more fat you add, the more it tastes like the Indian restaurant version, so don’t be shy!

  9. narf77 says:

    I reacon I could handle this…we eat a lot of Indian food because we can use the same base recipe and feed a vegan and an omni at the same time and adding this cheese would make the omni smile 🙂

  10. Jeni B says:

    I know this is an old post, but I was searching for a recipe to use up the “accidental paneer” in my fridge! (it was supposed to be ricotta.. don’t ask) This is awesome!

    1. Dianna says:

      I accidentally made something that was like ricotta the other day when I was trying to make paneer. If you overshoot the temperature, you end up with something that crumbles. If the milk just steams, but doesn’t bubble, when you add the vinegar, you get paneer. Both have their place in the universe.

      1. Jeni B says:

        I always use a thermometer.. but this was a new one and I didn’t calibrate it so…… Happy Accident!

        1. Dianna says:

          I usually use a thermometer but I wasn’t paying attention this time.

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  16. This is a very good recipe. For those that are health conscious or are avoid fried foods. These is an easy, cost-efficient way to make home-made cheese . Taste just wonderful

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