How to Make Paneer Firm and Chewy Like in a Restaurant

Paneer Firm and Chewy Like

Learn the secrets to making restaurant-style paneer with a firm and chewy texture right in your own kitchen. Discover the key steps and ingredients that will elevate your homemade paneer to the next level. From using full-fat milk to selecting the right acidic ingredient, and from evaporating the milk to properly draining the whey, we’ll guide you through the process. Find out how pressing and refrigerating the paneer can make it even firmer, and learn when to add it to your dishes for optimal results. Get ready to impress your taste buds with the perfect paneer every time!

Key Facts

  1. Use full-fat or whole milk: Using full-fat milk will result in a creamier and firmer paneer.
  2. Choose the right acidic ingredient: The choice of acidic ingredient will affect the texture and taste of the paneer. You can use lemon juice, vinegar, yogurt, or citric acid. Lemon juice and vinegar are commonly used in homemade paneer recipes[2].
  3. Evaporate the milk: Boil the milk and simmer it until it thickens. This step is crucial in achieving a firm texture for the paneer.
  4. Properly drain the whey: Once the milk has curdled, drain the whey using a muslin cloth or cheesecloth. Hang the cloth to allow excess water to drain out, but avoid pressing the paneer with weight or pressure. This helps retain some moisture, resulting in a softer texture.
  5. Press the paneer: After draining, you can press the paneer lightly to remove any remaining water. Place a weight on top of the paneer for about 30 minutes to help it set.
  6. Refrigerate before cutting: To achieve a firmer texture, refrigerate the paneer for at least an hour before cutting it into cubes. The longer it stays in the fridge, the firmer it will become.
  7. Add paneer towards the end of cooking: When using paneer in curries or dishes, add it towards the end of the cooking process. This will prevent the paneer from becoming too soft or breaking apart.

Choosing the right milk

For firm and chewy paneer, full-fat milk is essential.

  • Full-fat milk:
    • Yields more chenna (curdled milk solids) after curdling, resulting in a thicker block of paneer.
    • Higher fat content contributes to a firmer texture.
  • Low-fat milk:
    • May result in a softer texture due to lower fat content, which affects firmness and chewiness.

Acid for coagulation

Acid is crucial for coagulating milk and forming paneer.

  • Role of Acid:
    • Acid lowers the pH of milk, causing casein proteins to coagulate.
    • Coagulation separates curds from whey.
  • Common Acidic Agents:
    • Lemon juice and vinegar are commonly used to coagulate milk.
  • Amount of Acid:
    • Use approximately 2% concentration of citric or tartaric acid.
    • Adjust amount based on milk quantity and desired texture.

Heating the milk

  • Process:
    • Heat milk slowly over medium heat.
    • Stir continuously to prevent burning or sticking.
    • Remove from heat when bubbles form around edges and center.
  • Stirring:
    • Prevents milk from scorching or sticking.
    • Keeps milk components together.
  • Ideal Temperature:
    • Coagulate milk at 180°F to 200°F for firm and chewy paneer.

Coagulating the milk

  • Process:
    • Add acid to hot milk and stir gently.
    • Curds (solids) and whey (liquid) will separate.
  • Tips:
    • Use correct amount of acid.
    • Allow sufficient time for coagulation (15-20 minutes).
    • Maintain appropriate temperature.

Draining and pressing the curds

  • Straining:
    • Line a strainer with cheesecloth.
    • Pour curds and whey into the strainer.
    • Allow whey to drain, retaining curds.
  • Pressing:
    • Transfer curds to a cheese press or use a weight.
    • Place curds in a mold or wrap in cheesecloth.
    • Apply pressure gradually, increasing over time.
    • Duration of pressing determines firmness.

Cooling and shaping the paneer

  • Cooling:
    • Cool pressed paneer before shaping to enhance firmness.
    • Refrigerate for several hours to solidify.
  • Shaping:
    • Apply gentle pressure to shape paneer.
    • Wet hands to prevent sticking.
    • Add flavors or spices during shaping.

Storing and using paneer

  • Storage:
    • Use airtight container (glass or BPA-free plastic).
    • Wrap paneer in kitchen towel to absorb moisture.
    • Label container with storage date.
    • Store in refrigerator on top or middle shelf.
    • Keep away from strong-smelling foods.
  • Usage:
    • Versatile ingredient for various dishes.
    • Marinate and grill for paneer tikka.
    • Add to curries (e.g., palak paneer, paneer butter masala).
    • Crumble and use as topping for salads, wraps, or sandwiches.


By following these simple steps and using the right techniques, you can achieve a firm and chewy texture for your homemade paneer that rivals the restaurant-quality version. From choosing the right ingredients to properly draining and pressing the paneer, each step plays a crucial role in creating the desired texture. So, go ahead and try these tips to elevate your paneer-making skills and enjoy delightful, restaurant-style paneer dishes in the comfort of your own home.



How can I make paneer firm and chewy?

To make paneer firm and chewy like in a restaurant, follow these steps:

  1. Use full-fat milk.
  2. Heat the milk slowly and bring it to a boil.
  3. Add an acidic agent, such as lemon juice or vinegar, to the hot milk and stir gently.
  4. Allow the milk to coagulate for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Strain the curds from the whey using cheesecloth or muslin cloth.
  6. Press the curds to remove excess moisture.
  7. Cool the pressed paneer before shaping.
  8. Refrigerate the paneer for a few hours to enhance firmness.
  9. Shape the paneer into desired forms.
  10. Store the paneer properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

What is the best milk to use for making paneer?

Full-fat milk is the best choice for making paneer because it yields more chenna (curdled milk solids) after curdling, resulting in a thicker block of paneer. The higher fat content in full-fat milk also contributes to a firmer texture.

How do I know when the paneer is ready to be pressed?

The paneer is ready to be pressed when it has coagulated and separated from the whey. The curds should be firm and should not break easily when touched.

How long should I press the paneer?

The duration of pressing will depend on the desired texture and firmness of the paneer. For a firmer paneer, press for a longer period of time. However, avoid pressing for too long, as this can make the paneer tough.

How can I store paneer?

Paneer should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be stored for up to 3-4 days.