If you want to create Indian cuisine at home, you will need paneer. But what if you don’t have any paneer on hand or can’t get it in your store? You can always discover another option.
Other cheeses that may be used as paneer alternatives are Feta, Mozzarella, Halloumi, Queso Blanco, Cottage cheese, and Panela cheese. Brie, Ricotta, and paneer (homemade cheese).
You may substitute any of these cheeses with paneer cheese at any moment, and we’ll go through them in greater detail later.
Let’s get this party started!
- What is Paneer Cheese?
- Suitable Paneer Substitutes
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best vegan substitute for paneer?
- Which milk products are similar to paneer?
- What is the best tofu substitute for paneer?
- Can you use cottage cheese instead of paneer?
- What is better than paneer?
- What is the best alternative to paneer for protein?
- What is the tastiest milk alternative?
- Can I use feta instead of paneer?
- What is the best dairy milk alternative that tastes like milk?
- Can tofu taste like paneer?
What is Paneer Cheese?
Paneer is a popular cheese in Indian cuisine that is used in a variety of dishes. Its influence has spread around the globe, since it has been included into many foreign cuisine.
Some of the best alternatives to paneer that you may use in your recipes are listed below.
Suitable Paneer Substitutes
1. Feta cheese
In appetizers, salads, and side dishes, feta cheese is an excellent replacement for paneer. You may also use feta in a variety of different dishes.
While preparing Greek cuisine, this kind of cheese is a must-have.
Feta is a sheep’s milk cheese that has been aged for 4-6 weeks. It’s also known as pickled cheese. As the cheese ages, its texture gets harder and its taste becomes more vivid and salty.
This smooth white cheese contains microscopic pores and seems crumbly.
It comes as square cakes but is also available in airtight jars, usually devoid of brine and pre-crumbled. It is more expensive than other traditional cheeses, but a little amount goes a long way.
Let feta to come to room temperature before using it in raw foods such as appetizers for the best taste. On an appetizer platter, serve it with coarse bread, olives, and sliced meats.
You can also make a dip with it by combining it with a little lemon juice and olive oil.
2. Mozzarella cheese
Mozzarella works well as a substitute for paneer.
This cheese, which originated in Italy, is well-known for its milky, creamy taste. This easy-to-slice curd cheese is prepared from water buffalo milk.
Since fresh mozzarella does not need maturing, it may be enjoyed immediately after it is made.
Unlike other paneer cheese choices, which retain their shape and composition when warmed, mozzarella dissolves, resulting in an ideal pizza topping.
Mozzarella, unlike Paneer, softens easily when warmed, which is why it should only be used in thin slices as a paneer alternative in salads or sandwiches.
3. Halloumi Cheese
Halloumi cheese is similar to mozzarella in appearance; it is pale and layered.
This cheese is a great paneer alternative for grilling since it retains its structure and gets crispy and delicious when grilled.
As a result, you may grill it in a variety of ways without worrying about it becoming damaged.
Grilling, pan-frying, or thinly shredding for salads are all options for cooking this cheese. You may eat it fresh as well, although since it is an ancient cheese, it might be little salty.
After broiled, it would reveal its most acceptable sense as the method unfolded its actual delight.
Halloumi is made from sheep or goat milk, or a combination of the two.
But, if you are a vegetarian, you need be careful while purchasing Halloumi since the cheesemaker uses Rennet in the preparation of this cheese.
Nevertheless, since conventional rennet may be replaced with vegetarian rennet, vegetarians can eat Halloumi.
4. Queso Blanco
Paneer and Queso Blanco are wonderful substitutions. You can easily make Mexican queso Blanco at home, much like paneer, since all you need is milk and an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or vinegar.
This cheese is made from cow’s milk or a combination of cow’s and goat’s milk. When cooked, it has a stiff, crumbly texture that loosens but does not disintegrate.
Because of its composition, you may grate queso Blanco into salads or other foods.
Nonetheless, it may also be eaten raw with a container of fresh fruits. Mexican Queso Blanco is typically used as salad toppers due to its firm and crumbly texture, but it may also be served with a bowl of fresh fruits.
5. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a protein-rich, low-fat cheese that is almost comparable to paneer, making it an excellent substitute. This cheese is prepared with nonfat, low-fat, or regular milk.
When substituting Cottage cheese for Paneer cheese, keep in mind that Cottage cheese has a higher sodium level, so you may need to adjust the amount of salt in your recipe accordingly.
Cottage cheese is made from curds of pasteurized cow’s milk with varying fat levels.
It comes in a variety of flavors depending on the curd used. It’s also available in cream, whipped, lactose-free, reduced sodium, and sodium-free varieties.
6. Panela Cheese
Panela cheese has a fluffy, silky texture and a light milk taste. Additionally, since it retains its structure when boiled, it is a good substitute for paneer.
This hard cheese will soften rather than dissolve completely, and it goes well with a variety of different meals.
It is traditionally served as an appetizer.
Panela may be baked or pan-fried, and it can be used in soups and curries. It tastes well when served fried.
It is a Mexican cheese that is often fashioned in the shape of a basket, earning it the nickname queso canasta or the more popular basket cheese.
This cottage cheese is made from pasteurized cow’s milk and is a sophisticated cheese.
7. Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta is another excellent option for paneer-based dishes.
Ricotta is a delicate, granular cheese with high calcium levels but minimal salt when compared to other types of cheese.
It melts rapidly and easily. As a result, it should not be used in curries or soups.
Whether you’re making salads, sandwiches, or wraps, you may use paneer for the ricotta cheese.
This versatile Italian cheese may be used in both stuffings and desserts. When filling pasta, such as ravioli, add veggies for a more harmonic and rich taste. No, that is not an error. Ricotta is often used in lasagna and other Italian casseroles.
It may be used in cheesecakes similarly to mascarpone, or it can be used with sugar, spices, and flavorings to recreate cannoli or layer a cake.
8. Extra-Firm Tofu
Tofu is made by pressing curdled and pressed soybeans into slabs, similar to how cheese is made. It’s a delicious and healthy dairy-free alternative to paneer.
Tofu also contains nigari, which is the fluid fraction obtained after extracting salt from saltwater; this is what you find tofu soaked in when you unwrap it.
Nigari gives tofu a characteristic form and composition, as well as an enhanced mineral content. Nonetheless, I recommend that you choose organic tofu since it is healthier than other types.
Tofu may be used as a replacement to paneer in a variety of dishes. Tofu may be used in place of palak paneer, shahi paneer, paneer stir-fry, and other fried paneer dishes; you’ll love it!
9. Brie Cheese
Brie is a smooth, softened cheese that originated in France and is now made all over the globe. It has a smooth inside and a beautiful and tasty white structure rind. Brie is typically made using cow’s milk, however goat’s milk may also be used.
Brie is an excellent addition to any cheeseboard, and it is best served at room temperature with fruit, nuts, baguette pieces, and/or crackers.
It bakes well on its own or when wrapped in pastry, and it also works nicely with bread and fruit.
Brie may be dissolved in gratins, casseroles, sauces, barbecued cheese sandwiches and panini, as well as pizzas and flatbreads.
Camembert is a kind of French cheese that originated in Normandy. It is made with cow’s milk and has a delicate, smooth texture with a delectable white mold rind that is considered a treat.
Camembert’s tastes have been described as mushroom-like, garlicky, egg-like, nutty, milky, grassy, or fruity.
Camembert is best served cold with fruit, nuts, baguette slices, and crackers.
It bakes well whether hidden in crust or not, and Camembert has a somewhat stronger taste when simmering than baked brie.
Camembert chunks or bits may be used in gratins, casseroles, sauces, grilled cheese sandwiches, panini, pizzas, and flatbreads, as well as on pizzas and flatbreads.
11. Homemade Paneer
Last but not least, isn’t it? Thank you for sticking with me this far! The best way to substitute paneer in a dish is to make your own paneer.
But only if you are an expert at producing cheese at home or have some type of instruction will this be doable. Creating your own paneer is a rather basic and straightforward process.
If you know how to handle milk and curds, you can absolutely make it at home on your own.
All you’ll need is full milk, a cheesecloth, and a lemon beverage to make it. You can make your own delicious paneer in a little more than an hour. Please follow me.
After staining a colander with a big double covering of cheesecloth, place it in the sink.
Next, over medium heat, bring 8 cups whole milk to a mild boil, stirring constantly. Next add the lemon juice and reduce the heat to low.
When you spin, the curds will develop! Remove the pan from the heat and pour the contents into a banded colander filled with cold water. To remove excess liquid, carefully wrap the cheesecloth in your hand.
Then connect it to your faucet to absorb up any remaining liquid.
To ensure a polished cheese, tie the ball securely, place another plate on top, then weigh it down with a heavy pot.
Freeze it in this state for approximately 20 minutes before serving.
Wrap the cheese in plastic wrap to keep it in shape and place it in the refrigerator for approximately 2 hours. Cut it up and enjoy your fresh paneer!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Paneer made of?
Paneer is made from curdled milk and a fruit or vegetable acid, such as lemon juice.
Are Paneer and Cheese the same thing?
Paneer and cheese are not the same thing! The main difference between cheese and paneer is that cheese has more calories, fat, and protein than paneer. Otherwise, cheese and panner are both dairy products made from milk.
Paneer is a kind of fresh cheese that is popular in Indian cuisine.
What does Paneer taste like?
Simply said, paneer has a mild, milky taste.
Why is Paneer so tasty?
Paneer is the traditional protein choice for gravies and curries due to its hardness.
What are the side effects of Paneer?
Paneer may cause bloating, gas, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort. Protein content, particularly casein and whey, might potentially be an issue for people who are sensitive to it.
What is the best vegan substitute for paneer?
Tofu. Tofu, which is made from soybeans, is the best vegan equivalent for paneer. Tofu, on the other hand, does not taste like paneer, but it has a similar crumbly texture and is faintly flavored.
Which milk products are similar to paneer?
Chhena is similar to paneer, except that some whey is retained and the combination is carefully beaten until it is soft, smooth, and flexible yet hard. It is well-known in eastern India and neighboring Bangladesh.
What is the best tofu substitute for paneer?
Texture-wise, firm or extra-firm tofu would most likely be the greatest substitute for paneer. If you desire or need a vegan dish, substitute tofu for paneer.
Can you use cottage cheese instead of paneer?
Cottage cheese is an excellent paneer replacement. Cottage cheese is one of the few nutritious dairy products that may be utilized in Indian cooking due to its low fat level and relatively high protein content.
What is better than paneer?
“Tofu is a lot better alternative than paneer,” says nutritionist Mehar. 100 grams of tofu has around 60-65 calories, but 100 grams of paneer may have over 260 calories. Tofu has a higher iron concentration than paneer.
What is the best alternative to paneer for protein?
Although paneer is high in healthy fats and protein and is popular among many, substituting it with tofu has its own set of advantages. “Both paneer and tofu are high in protein and healthful fats.”
What is the tastiest milk alternative?
Soy milk has a pleasant and creamy flavor that varies depending on the brand. It is often sweeter than other milk substitutes. This is definitely your best choice if you want dairy-free milk that tastes like milk.
Can I use feta instead of paneer?
Because of its rich taste, feta is an excellent alternative for paneer in meals that benefit from its briny bite. Since it does not melt like the other paneer cheese substitutes we’ve explored, it may easily be used in curries and soups in lieu of paneer.
What is the best dairy milk alternative that tastes like milk?
Overall, Wondermilk received high grades for its creamy, smooth smoothness and mild, slightly sweet taste. “It didn’t mislead any of our testers,” says Keating, “but they did find it closest in flavor and texture like cow’s milk.”
Can tofu taste like paneer?
Extremely firm tofu also has a texture similar to paneer, and it tastes more like paneer in Indian cuisine than any other kind of tofu.