Quark vs Paneer: 5 Things You Must Know

Quark vs Paneer: 7 Things You Must Know

Among the many dairy products, quark is often confused with cottage cheese or paneer. Although, in Germany, these are considered different variants of fresh cheese, with quark seldom categorized as cheese at all. Here are some quark vs paneer facts to help differentiate between the two:

1. What is Quark?

This is a fresh dairy product derived from sour milk that is warmed to achieve the desired curdling, followed by straining. Quark is a soft, white, and unaged cheese (Usually with no added salt). Traditionally, it is used in the cuisines of German-speaking, Slavic, and Scandinavian countries. And it is commonly used in almost all meals and snacks.

Often, quark is translated as cottage cheese, curd cheese, farmer cheese, or junket by dictionaries. It is also known as white cheese in several languages. In German, quark means curd and is used on toast for breakfast or added to desserts like the German cheesecake. This creamy, soft cheese is one of the spreadable cheeses.

2. How is Quark Made?

Going the traditional way, milk is allowed to stand till it sours naturally with natural bacteria. Rennet can be added to encourage hardening. 

In the dairy factory, pasteurized skim milk is the main ingredient; lactic acid bacteria are added for cultures. A small amount of rennet is added after the culture to the slightly acidic solution. In Germany, continuous stirring is done to avoid hardening; this gives it a creamy texture. 

The quark sold in Germany has most or all of the whey, firm like sour cream but drier, with a crumbly texture like ricotta. 

3. What is Paneer?

Paneer is a non-melting Indian cheese. Owing to its origin in India, it’s also called Indian Paneer. It is a cottage cheese that needs no aging. Paneer is made from milk, with its fat percentage varying based on the kind of milk used. The milk is churned with vinegar, lemon juice, or other acids. The only difference between cottage cheese and paneer is that paneer is unsalted while cottage cheese is salted, and at times has heavy cream. However, cream cheese and paneer must not be confused with each other. Here are some cream cheese vs paneer facts to help you out. 

4. How is Paneer Made?

Whole raw milk is brought to a boil in a pan. The heat is reduced, and lemon juice is added with continued stirring. The curdled milk is set aside for 10 minutes for the whey and curds to separate. This is poured over a cheesecloth or muslin cloth over a sieve for the curd collection. The excess liquid is squeezed out, and it’s allowed to sit for 15 minutes before putting it in the fridge for an hour.

To know more about paneer, here’s a video with its history, nutritional values, and a quick recipe:

Often, queso blanco, which looks quite similar to paneer (and most cheeses for that matter), is also made similarly, except for the acid used to make the curd. The making of paneer uses lemon juice, while queso blanco uses white vinegar. Here’s some more information on paneer cheese vs queso blanco.

Yet another cheese that looks similar to paneer is mozzarella cheese. Surprisingly, both have an almost similar taste – mild and milky, with mozzarella cheese being a bit more creamy and less bland. The major difference lies in the making of both. Paneer uses an acid agent, while mozzarella uses a thermophilic bacteria. If you’d like to know more about the similarities and the difference between the two types of cheese, read into paneer vs mozzarella.

5. Nutritional Information: Quark vs Paneer

Quark is naturally fat-free and high in protein, calcium, probiotics, and vitamins (particularly A & B). 

Paneer is also an equally good source of protein and calcium and has a good fat content.

Calories per 100g43.5 kcal0.08 kcal
Serving size100100
Proteins18.3 g14.10 g
Carbohydrates5.5 g3.5 g
Sugar5.5 g3.5 g
Fat0.9 g10.6 g
Saturated Fat0.6 g7 g
Monosaturated Fat0.3 g0.2 g
Cholesterol4.6 mg1 mg
Vitamin B20.2 mg0.3 mg
Vitamin B120.5 mcg0.7 mcg
Vitamin C0.1 mg1 mg
Calcium127 mg130 mg

6. Uses: Quark vs Paneer

The versatility of quark lets its use in many sweet and savory recipes.

  • It can be used on anything that adds cream cheese. Especially famous is the Molded Cheese Dessert recipe – paska recipe, which calls for the use of dry curd cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese. 
  • Adding this to smoothies gives a creamy texture.
  • It makes a great spreadable cheese with the addition of garlic and herbs.
  • Can be used in creamy sauces as an alternative to sour cream or yogurt.
  • It’s also used in creamy salad dressings, bread doughs, baked potatoes, parfait base, Danish pastry filling, etc.

Paneer is a very commonly used ingredient in Indian cooking and can be used for a variety of dishes. A common substitute for paneer is tofu for vegan diets.

  • The popular Indian dish – Palak Paneer uses pureed spinach and is an easy-to-make dish.
  • Stir-fried paneer makes a great snack; it can be seasoned with herbs for an added taste.
  • Owing to its crumbly texture, and since it doesn’t melt like other kinds of cheese, chunks of paneer can be stirred into soups and Asian curries.
  • The softer, crumbly paneer is used to make popular Indian sweets like rasgulla and sandesh. 
  • Some flatbreads and sandwiches use paneer. 

7. Difference Between Quark and Paneer

Quark vs Paneer brings out several differences with regard to their taste, appearance, longevity, smell, and texture.


Quark has a mild and creamy taste. It’s neither sweet nor sour.

Being a fresh cheese, paneer tastes similar to other fresh cheeses like ricotta. Often bland, it has a mild, milky flavor. At times, its taste is defined as a sweetish acidic-nutty flavor.

Shelf Life

Quark can last for about a week to 10 days in the fridge without much loss of its texture.

Paneer has a lower shelf life, merely about two to three days when refrigerated, after which it begins to lose its freshness.

Texture and Appearance

With a smooth and creamy texture, quark looks similar to the French Fromage blanc which is a soft white cheese made from milk and cream. The fresh quark cheese is soft, moist, and snowy white:

Paneer has a white appearance, with a slightly spongy composition and a closely-knit texture. If made with whole cow’s milk, the texture is soft and meaty, and if made from skim milk, it goes hard, with a chewy and rubbery texture that’s undesirable for paneer. 


Quark has a milky and sweet aroma. 

Fresh paneer has a butter-like smell, while stale ones have a sour smell.


The origin of quark is traced to the German-speaking and Eastern European countries. It is widely believed that it originated in Central Europe around the 14th century.

The Indian subcontinent is where paneer originated around the 17th century. Although, it is also said that the Persian and Afghans were the ones who introduced paneer to North India around the 16th century.

Hopefully, the information on quark cheese vs paneer has cleared up any confusion you may have had about the two!

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