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Paneer cheese is a fresh, creamy, normally unsalted cheese. It’s widely used in north India, and in nearby countries like Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Traditionally, it was made with buffalo milk in these countries.

Today, though, a blend of both buffalo and cow’s milk is widely used by paneer manufacturers. While paneer can also be made wholly from cow’s milk, it will have a slightly different texture and lower fat content.

Instead of rennet, paneer is made by curdling hot milk using lime/lemon juice, vinegar, yogurt, or citric acid. The result is a soft, fluffy cheese that is firm and can be cut into blocks but doesn’t crumble easily. The texture is usually similar to that of firm tofu, and paneer has the ability to retain its shape for a long time, even when it’s cooked over high heat.

How Is Paneer Cheese Eaten? How Does It Taste?

The most common way that paneer is eaten is in cubes. The paneer is cubed and fried, which is how it’s served in dishes like saag paneer. However, paneer cheese can be eaten in plenty of other ways. It can be crumbled over dishes, eaten fresh, or even flavored with mint and cumin to add another dimension of flavor.

The taste of paneer is mild and milky. The taste can be compared to other types of fresh cheeses, such as the Italian ricotta, or the cottage cheese that is common in American supermarkets. Because it’s usually unsalted, some people consider it to be bland when eaten alone.

The best paneer is homemade – but you can also buy store-bought, ready-to-eat cheese from Indian stores and ethnic supermarkets. This cheese should be immersed in hot water before eating, as this will make it softer and less rubbery.

Is Paneer Cheese Good For You?

Yes! Like other types of soft, fresh cheese, paneer is very healthy. It has a great combination of essential fats and protein, and other nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. This is why it’s an important part of traditional vegetarian Indian diets. It can help supply many micronutrients and macronutrients that may be missing a typical vegetarian diet. Its been shown that paneer, along with other similar soft cheeses, can help strengthen the teeth and bones, regulate blood sugar levels, encourage better heart health, and improve digestion- to name just a few benefits. 

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Paneer (341 grams)
Paneer (1.87 kg)
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