How to make Paneer from Ricotta Cheese

Paneer is an Indian cottage cheese used in a variety of Indian & South Asian cuisines. It is a soft cheese with chewy texture made from full-fat milk. I usually prepare it at home and use it in various dishes. Home-made Paneer is fresh and good in quality compared to the stored Paneer that you get from the supermarket.

On the other hand, Ricotta cheese is similar to Paneer, with a slight difference in preparation technique with the same ingredients. This is a soft and mild-flavored cheese used mostly in pasta and lasagna recipes. You can prepare Paneer from ricotta cheese as well, which we will discuss later in this article. The first thing you need to understand is the difference between Paneer and ricotta cheese.

Paneer vs. Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta is prepared from the whey produced from the milk and adding an acid or a citrus juice. In contrast, Paneer is made from the curd produced during this process. Choosing one from these two might be quite confusing. You may use Ricotta instead of Paneer in traditional Indian dishes like Palak paneer, curry, and many others.

The probable advantage of ricotta cheese over Paneer is that this is low in fat. Paneer, on the other hand, considered vegetarian cheese and a rich source of proteins. It is the best alternative of meat for people who don’t like to eat meat, or they’re veggies. Both add taste, aroma, and delicacy to your recipes. 


Ricotta cheese is made from fresh reduced-fat milk by adding citrus juice or dilute acid and letting it boil in hot water until getting sticky with the surface of the pan in which it is boiled.

Three main ingredients are used in making ricotta cheese. These three ingredients remain the same for making Paneer, but the process is slightly different.

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash


  • Full cream/full fat/whole milk (2L)
  • Lemon juice (1/4 cup)
  • Salt (1/2 tsp.)


  1. Pour the milk in a large pot and put it on the flame to make it boil. Keep stirring while boiling to prevent milk from scorching.
  2. When the milk starts to rise, lower the flame of the stove to reduce heat and add a cup of lemon juice. You can add salt as per your choice. Otherwise, skip it.
  3. Stir the milk gently and make sure that it started curdled. Make sure to keep stirring until it thickens completely.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat at this point. Take a look at the mixture you get after this process if it’s not entirely curdled, put the container on flame again to achieve your desired curdling and texture. But if it’s appeared to be milky instead of getting cleared, then you should return to the pot back to increase the stove’s flame. Add more lemon juice, preferably in drops, and then leave it in the pan for 10 minutes.
  5. Now, pour the curdled form of milk into a colander lined with cheesecloth or muslin.

For Ricotta:

If you are using it for ricotta cheese, you need to leave it to strain in the cloth for about 20 minutes. This cheese can be used now in your recipe, or you may refrigerate it for 2-3 days.

For Paneer:

If you are going for Paneer, hold the cheesecloth or muslin from outer edges and put it underwater because it is scorching to handle. Squeeze the bag to remove water as much as you can, then put it back into colander.

It would be best if you had a heavyweight object to press Paneer to make it hard. A stout cast iron pot, pot filled with water, or a simple plate (weighting it) can be used to press it for about an hour. Make sure Paneer gets the desired consistency and texture before using it in a recipe or putting it in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days.

Dishes that go best with Ricotta:

There are several dishes in which when you add ricotta cheese, it makes your taste buds go crazy. The sensation of smell is pleasant and astonishing. Following are some of the recipes which must include Ricotta:

  • Pancakes
  • Cheesecakes
  • Pasta
  • Roast Chicken
  • Lasagna
  • Pizza
Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Dishes that go best with Paneer:

There are several traditional Indian & South Asian dishes when added Paneer, makes a person feel tempted. By looking at a particular dish, your mouth may get waterfall because of the unique smell it gets after Paneer’s addition.

To add fuel to the fire, you should fry it or add some sauces/spices to make this taste like food from heaven. Palak Paneer, paneer Bhurji, paneer kadhai with roti, paneer tikka masala, vegetable and Paneer dum biryani, light paneer curry, shahi paneer are some of the most famous recipes widely consumed in India, Pakistan, Nepal & Bhutan.


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