Paneer Substitute – Paneer is an Indian cheese made from curdled milk and, like lemon juice, some sort of fruit or vegetable acid. There are some distinct characteristics that make paneer the cheese that it is.

For starters, it is an unaged cheese that doesn’t melt and it’s also a soft cheese.

Paneer can be eaten as a snack, a dinner, or even for breakfast. However, while cheese might not look like a typical item for breakfast, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! 

There are numerous theories as to where paneer originated, the oldest and most popular of which dates back to the 16th century in Southeast Asia, where the cheese was first introduced by Persian and Afghani rulers. It’s no secret that paneer is a major and tasty part of Indian culture, no matter its roots.

8 Best Alternatives For Paneer

Let’s go over 8 of the best substitutes for paneer. Here are some paneer alternatives you can use to replacce paneer if you can’t find paneer or don’t have some on hand.

Feta Cheese

Paneer Substitute - feta cheese

Feta is a soft cheese or a mixture of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk that is made from whole sheep’s milk. In Greece, in a salty brine, feta is cured. Known as a pickled cheese, with age, its taste grows stronger and saltier and the cheese grows firmer. With small holes and a crumbly texture, Feta is creamy white in color. It typically comes in square, rind-free cakes, but you can also find pre-crumbled feta packed in brine-free airtight containers with or without added seasonings. It costs more than other common cheeses, but a little goes a long way.

Mozzarella Cheese

Paneer Substitute - mozzarella cheese

Mozzarella, originating in Italy, is a sliceable curd cheese. It makes a great paneer substitute. Its delicate, milky taste is highly valued, typically made from the milk of water buffalo (not North American buffalo or bison, as many erroneously think). Fresh mozzarella, because of its low fat and sodium content, is considered to be one of the healthier cheeses. The milk mozzarella of the water buffalo is more nutritious than cow’s milk mozzarella, with higher calcium, protein, and iron concentrations, as well as lower cholesterol levels.

Halloumi Cheese

Paneer Substitute - halloumi cheese

Halloumi is a white, layered cheese, similar to mozzarella, typically made from goat’s and/or sheep’s milk on Cyprus’s Eastern Mediterranean island. It is a semi-hard cheese with a slightly spongy appearance, unripened and brindled. Its taste is tangy and salty, and there is no rind in it. Halloumi is made out of cow’s milk occasionally. It is possible to pasteurize or unpasteurize the milk. Halloumi can be eaten raw, but it’s a perfect cheese for grilling or frying due to its high melting point.

Panela Cheese

Paneer Substitute - panela cheese

Panela is a young, white, mild cheese. Before being sold, it does not mature. 

Like queso fresco, it crumbles, but not as much. It could be better characterized as a firm ricotta for its texture. 

Traditionally panela cheese has been molded in baskets, which is why in some areas you’ll hear it called basket cheese. Today, the panela you find in the shop comes in a round shape. 

In English, it does not have a separate name, because there is no American equivalent. The cheese most similar to panela is possibly India’s paneer cheese.

Tofu – extra firm for soups or curry (vegan)

Paneer Substitute - tofu

Tofu is made of curdled and pressed soybeans into blocks, sort of like making cheese! Tofu also includes nigari, which after removing salt from sea water is the liquid left over, which is what you can find tofu lounging in upon opening. Nigari helps give its classic form and texture to tofu, and is rich in minerals as well. 

Tofu is a great paneer substitute especially for vegans.

Tofu can also be fortified with vitamins or minerals, such as calcium or vitamin B12, depending on the form you purchase. Vegetarians and vegans also do not get enough nutrients. As soybean crops are frequently polluted with pesticides and fertilizers, and most crops are genetically engineered, we suggest buying organic tofu. At outstanding price points, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods both produce their own organic tofu.

Ricotta – well drained not for soups or curry

Paneer Substitute - ricotta

Ricotta would theoretically be considered a by-product of cheese. Ricotta is essentially recooked leftover whey from mozzarella and provolone cheeses, which are reheated to create ricotta.

Ricotta is a great paneer substitute.

Ricotta originated in Italy, where any dairy animal, like cows, sheep , goats, and Italian water buffalo, could make it from milk whey. A mixture of whey and whole, low-fat, or skim cow’s milk is commonly used in ricotta production in the United States. Ricotta is easily accessible and low-cost.

Mexican Queso Blanco

Paneer Substitute - mexican queso blanco

Queso blanco is a smooth, unaged fresh Mexican cheese made from pure cow’s milk or a cow’s and goat’s milk combination. In Spanish, the word “queso blanco” means “white cheese,” but in different regions, similar cheeses have their own names. Queso blanco is often referred to as queso fresco or new cheese since it is not ripened. 

Sometimes, you just can’t get paneer and queso blanco is another great paneer substitute.

The cheese is extremely simple to make at home due to its short ripening process. The cheese making process is comparable to Indian paneer, which involves boiling whole fresh milk, applying an acidifying agent to shape the curds, and then draining the curds into a cheesecloth. 

Queso Blanco’s texture and flavor are mild, firm, and crumbly. Without melting, it softens, a trait very important in cooking in Latin America. On salads, over rice and beans, one may crumble queso blanco or serve it as a table cheese with fresh fruit, marmalade, or chutney.

Cottage Cheese

Paneer Substitute - cottage cheese

The cottage cheese is soft , smooth, and white. It is considered a fresh cheese, so to produce flavor, it does not undergo an ageing or ripening process. 

Cottage cheese makes an awesome paneer substitute. After all, it is very similar.

As a consequence, compared with aged cheeses, it has a rather mild taste. 

Cottage cheese, whether nonfat, reduced fat, or normal milk, is made from the curds of different levels of pasteurized cow’s milk. 

It is also offered in various sizes of curd, typically small, medium, or huge. 

In addition, it is available in variants that are creamed, whipped, lactose-free, sodium reduced or sodium-free. 

This versatile cheese can be enjoyed on its own or as an ingredient in recipes.

What Does Paneer Taste Like

what does paneer taste like

Paneer has a mild and milky flavor. The flavor can be compared to other types of fresh cheese, such as Italian ricotta or American supermarket cottage cheese. Since it’s normally unsalted, when consumed alone, some people consider it to be bland. 

The finest paneer is homemade, but from Indian stores and ethnic supermarkets, you can also purchase store-bought, ready-to-eat cheese. Prior to consumption, this cheese should be soaked in hot water, since this will make it smoother and less rubbery.

Is Tofu Healthier Than Paneer?

100 grams of paneer contains 18.3 grams of protein, with just 6.9 grams of protein in the same amount of tofu. However, tofu is still a safer option for individuals on a weight loss plan due to the high amount of fat paneer has.

What Is The English Name For Paneer

It is an unbleached, non-melting soft cheese made with fruit or vegetable acid, such as lemon juice, from curdled milk. Before pressing, its acid-set shape (cheese curd) is called chhena.

In English, paneer is known as cottage cheese and is a native Indian product, but bear in mind that there is also another form of cottage cheese eaten by people in the west.

What’s The Difference Between Paneer And Cottage Cheese

The only difference between paneer and cottage cheese is that cottage cheese is salted while paneer is unsalted, and can have heavy cream in it occasionally. In making these cheeses, the steps involved are the same.

Health Benefits Of Paneer

paneer health benefits

Eating paneer every day is fine, provided the intake is moderate. However, a lot of energy and the right amount of protein are required for people who do a lot of weight training at the gym. 

So, provided you have an active lifestyle, an estimated 100gm of paneer per day will not hurt. 

It is best to consume less than 100 gm, however, as eating this amount of paneer daily equals a high calorie intake. Try eating paneer made from low-fat milk, too.

Here are some health benefits for paneer:

Reduce breast cancer risk

Cancer is prevalent, and breast cancer among women (especially unmarried and pre-menopausal women) is growing at an alarming pace. Paneer contains Calcium & Vitamin D, both of which are responsible for reducing breast cancer potential.

Keeps bones and teeth healthy

The calcium content of Paneer is rich, and calcium is known to strengthen both the teeth and the bones. In addition to this, calcium intake also allows the nervous system to function smoothly and the muscles of the heart remain healthy.

Could aid weight loss

For all of those fitness freaks, good news! Paneer helps you lose weight because it contains protein that keeps you full for a long time and, thus, in general, you do not end up eating much. In addition, it also has a fatty acid that helps to burn quite a lot of fat.

Helps a healthy digestion

It contains both magnesium and phosphorus. Phosphorus aids in both smooth absorption and excretion. Magnesium prevents constipation as a consequence of having a laxative effect.

A great cheese for people with diabetes

The magnesium in the paneer helps to stabilize and sustain the levels of blood sugar and also improves the health of the heart and strengthens the immune system. The protein present in the paneer often avoids sudden ups and downs in the levels of blood sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does paneer taste like?

It has a mild and milky flavor like Italian ricotta or American supermarket cottage cheese.

Is tofu healthier than paneer?

Yes, tofu is healthier and has less fat than paneer.

What is the English name for paneer?

Paneer is known as cottage cheese.

What’s the difference between paneer and cottage cheese

Cottage Cheese is salted while Paneer is unsalted and can have heavy cream in it occasionally.

Bottom Line

Although paneer is hard to find substitutes for, they do exist. Tofu is the better choice especially for vegans.

Now you know all of the advantages & drawbacks of paneer feeding. Seriously, for health, Paneer is so sweet. Paneer can be used in almost everything from starters to the main course, as well as desserts.

For more dairy and cheese substitutes click here