9+ delicious Paneer Substitute (Vegan/Dairy free/ Curry)

Paneer is a common ingredient in Indian cuisine. When you’re in the mood for paneer but don’t have the ingredients on hand, a few paneer substitutes are available to you. 

The substitute for paneer is a very good option to make a dish that tastes like paneer without using paneer. 

You can use the alternatives like you would use regular paneer like making kofta, sauces, or stuffing veggies.

What is Paneer? What is paneer made out of?

Paneer is an Indian cheese prepared from cow’s milk. The milk is heated before being curdled with lemon or lime juice.

After that, the curds are drained and compacted into a block. Paneer is a fresh cheese and does not require aging like other cheeses.

Paneer is made of curdled milk and rennet. Curdling the milk produces lactic acid, which coagulates the protein casein to form curds. 

Rennet, usually an enzyme extracted from calves’ stomachs, contains the proteolytic enzyme chymosin that further breaks down casein into smaller peptides.

The curds and whey combination is then drained, and the resulting paneer is pressed into a block.

Some recipes call for the paneer to be dipped in scalding water or hot milk before it is pressed to give it a smooth texture. 

Paneer can also be cut into cubes or various shapes and sizes before being fried, grilled, or cooked gravy.

8 Ideal Paneer Substitutes All time

8. ANARI- Similar Taste of Paneer

Anari Cheese is a good substitute for paneer. Pure gentle whey sheep’s milk in Cyprus has a taste and texture similar to fresh Indian paneer.

You can have it with breakfast add some honey or natural sugar to it. The texture of Anari cheese is similar to that of paneer, with a chalky white color and a very soft consistency.

7. Use CIRACASSIAN CHEESE instead of Paneer in any paneer based recipe

The Circassian cheese is typically salted and has a similar consistency to paneer. Still, it can be distinguished by its color.

use ciracassian cheese instead of Paneer in any paneer based recipe.

Circassian cheese is a hard, white, crumbly cheese that can be used in recipes in place of paneer. 

It tastes somewhat salty and has a crumbly texture. Circassian cheese can be found at most Middle Eastern markets.

To use Circassian cheese in a recipe, cube the cheese and add it to a pan over medium heat. 

Add a little bit of water and cook the cheese, constantly stirring, until lightly browned. 

Remove the cheese from the heat and stir in some spice or other ingredients that are used with paneer-based recipes.

6. A Decent Alternative To Paneer -FARMER CHEESE (pressed cottage cheese) 

Farmer cheese is a soft, unripened cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a mild, slightly salty flavor and a creamy texture.

You can use Farmer cheese in place of paneer in many recipes. For example, you can use farmer cheese in dishes like palak paneer, Kadai paneer, paneer bhurji, and so on.

To prepare farmer cheese for cooking or baking

simply cut it into cubes or crumble it with your hands. 

You can use farmer cheese directly without cutting it first in some recipes that call for crumbled paneer, such as palak paneer and Kadai paneer. 

Farmer cheese does not melt as easily as paneer, so if you are making something like a saag paneer curry, where the cheese is simmered in hot gravy, it’s best to cut the farmer cheese into cubes.

If needed, you can press any excess water out of cubed or crumbled farmer cheese by placing it on a paper towel. 

Just remember to blot it dry, not squeeze or wring the towel against it.

5. QUARK CHEESE similar to Paneer Replacement

Quark has a similar texture to paneer but is lower in fat and calories. It is also available in several different flavors, so you can find one that will fit the flavor of your meal.

Quark cheese can be substituted in many recipes instead of paneer. Like-

-If you are using Quark cheese in a savory dish, make sure to season it with salt and spices.

Quark cheese is a great substitute for paneer in dishes with Indian, Asian, or Middle Eastern flavors.

-Use Quark cheese to make vegan recipes by replacing the dairy products with soy milk and this soft cheese.

4. A Good Paneer Substitute QUESO BLANCO 

Queso Blanco cheese is a type of cheese that is white in color. It has a mild flavor and is made from cow’s milk. 

a good paneer substitute for queso blanco.

You can utilize it in various dishes, such as enchiladas, tacos, and burritos. Queso Blanco cheese is also great for snacking on its own.

There’s no cheese quite like Queso Blanco when it comes to Mexican cuisine. 

This unaged white cheese is typically going rather than paneer has a mild, slightly salty flavor. It has a smooth, creamy texture and can be used in cooked and uncooked dishes.

You add as a topping for salads, burritos, or rice bowls. In India, Queso Blanco is often used to replace paneer in recipes.

If you’re looking to add some delicious Mexican flavor to your next meal, be sure to give Queso Blanco a try!

3.MammaMiya! QUESO FRESCO alternative to Paneer in Curry 

Queso fresco, literally translated as “fresh cheese,” is a soft, moist, crumbly Mexican cheese whose flavor is often compared with feta. 

Queso fresco is made from cow’s milk and is available in Latin American markets. Fresh cheeses are mild-tasting and shouldn’t be confused with the soft, spreadable cheeses that have a more open texture.

Queso fresco is an unaged cheese, so it doesn’t have the firmness of many other Latin American kinds of cheese, such as Panela. 

It can be crumbly but has a creamy, custardy texture. It can be eaten fresh and is often used in Mexican cuisine in dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, and tostadas. 

Queso fresco can also be cubed and added to salads or melted into sauces.

Queso fresco will substitute for paneer in most recipes, but the flavor will differ. Use it as an alternate for paneer in some dishes like curry, kurma, etc.

Queso fresco is made all over Mexico, but the best known are those made by producers in Chihuahua.,

2. An Unsalted Paneer Substitute HALLOUMI 

Halloumi cheese is a Cypriot cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk. It has a high melting point; it can easily be fried or grilled without melting.

Halloumi cheese is salty and has a slightly smoky taste that can boost flavor to many dishes. It is often served grilled with olive oil and lemon juice.

Grilled halloumi cheese is a perfect addition to salads, as well. Try pairing it with roasted red peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes for a delicious and healthy salad. 

Halloumi cheese is also a great addition to sandwiches, wraps, and pizzas.

Halloumi cheese can be used to replace Paneer in most recipes like paneer butter masala, palak paneer, Kadai paneer, etc. 

You can follow the same cooking instructions once you replace your Paneer in any recipe for Halloumi Cheese.

1. COTTAGE CHEESE- The Best Paneer Alternative for Curry

Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese that is made from curdled milk. It has a mild flavor and a slightly grainy texture. 

Cottage cheese is typically white, but it can also be made with other colors of milk. It can be utilized in place of paneer in many recipes. 

Cottage cheese can be eaten alone or added to dishes like salads or pasta. You can place sour cream or yogurt in recipes.

The curds in cottage cheese are larger and more distinct than the curds in other types of fresh cheeses like ricotta or paneer.

In many recipes, cottage cheese can be substituted for paneer.

The most important thing to remember is that cottage cheese is wetter than paneer; thus, the quantity of liquid in the recipe may need to be adjusted.

You can also add some salt or herbs to the cottage cheese to give it a more distinct flavor.

Vegan Substitute for Paneer 

1. TOFU as Vegan Paneer Substitute

Tofu is a plant-based product made from soybeans. Tofu is a squishy, spongy food with a bland, somewhat nutty flavor.

Tofu is available in several textures, including silken, soft, firm, and extra firm.

To make tofu, the soybeans are ground into a paste and then curdled using a coagulant. The curds are then drained and pressed into tofu blocks.

Tofu can be used in place of paneer in many recipes. It is especially good in dishes that are cooked in a spicy sauce, as the bland flavor of the tofu will not compete with the spices in the dish.

Tofu is a good source of protein, making it a great substitute for meat or paneer in vegetarian dishes. It’s also high in iron and calcium.

2. SOY YOGURT- Dairy Free Replacement for Paneer

Soy yogurt is a dairy-free, vegan paneer alternative made from soy milk. 

It has a similar consistency to regular yogurt and a tangy, slightly sour taste

Soy yogurt can be used in place of paneer in many recipes, such as curries and sautés.

You can have it as a topping for smoothies or cereal. Soy yogurt is high in protein and calcium, making it a healthy alternative to dairy yogurt. It’s available at most health food stores.

So now that you know all about soy yogurt, why not give it a try? Or try some more Vegan Yogurt alternatives.

Is paneer the same as cottage cheese?

However, paneer is considered one of the most common substitutes for cottage cheese. 

Paneer is a fresh cheese that originated in South Asia, specifically in India and Pakistan. 

It is formulated by curdling hot milk with vinegar or lemon juice and then draining the whey. The result is a slightly tangy cheese with a consistency similar to tofu.

On the other hand, Cottage cheese is a soft cheese that originated in Europe. It is made by coagulating milk with rennet then draining off the whey. 

Cottage cheese is sometimes described as having a slightly sour taste and a grainy texture.

So, while paneer and cottage cheese share some similarities, they are ultimately two different kinds of cheese. 

If you’re searching for a substitute for cottage cheese in a recipe, paneer is a good option. However, if you’re looking for a cheese to eat on its own, cottage cheese may be a better choice.

Read More- Milk alternatives same as milk

Substitute for paneer in saag paneer

If you cannot buy paneer, you can still make the delicious dish saag paneer with either tofu ( vegan) or Farmer Cheese.

It is healthy because it has less fat and more protein content in it. 

You can also make this substitute for paneer in the palak paneer recipe, shahi paneer recipe, bhindi ki sabzi, and dal makhani.

Paneer substitute in saag recipe:


  • · one package of tofu (drained) or Farmer cheese
  • · one bunch of fresh spinach (chopped) 
  • · one cup of paneer (grated or crumbled) 
  • · one teaspoon cumin powder 
  • · one teaspoon coriander powder 
  • · half a tablespoon of ginger garlic paste ( Try Ginger Garlic paste instead)
  • · one green chili (chopped) 
  • · salt to taste 
  • · one tablespoon of ghee or oil


1. Heat the oil or ghee in a pan. Fry for a few moments after adding the cumin.

2. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute. 

3. Now add the chopped spinach and cook till it turns tender. Keep stirring in between. 

4. Add the crumbled tofu, paneer, and chopped green chilies to it. 

5. Cook for two more minutes.

6. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, salt, and stir well. 

7. Remove from heat when done. 

8. Serve hot with any Indian flatbread like rotis or naans!

My Favourite Substitutes For Paneer

  • · Farmer Cheese
  • · Halloumi cheese
  • · Queso Blanco
  • · Queso fresco
  • · Soy yogurt (a best Dairy free paneer substitute)

FAQs Related To Paneer & Its Alternatives 

Q1. Is tofu a good substitute for paneer?

Tofu is a soy-based product, but it’s much softer and subtler in taste. But if you are comfortable with its smell, it can be an alternative to paneer.

Tofu (also known as “soya curd”) is made from soybeans, water, gypsum (a type of calcium sulfate), and a coagulant. The gypsum helps to give tofu its firm texture.

Tofu can be seen in the refrigerated area of many grocery stores, especially those with many Asian customers. You can also find it online or in an Asian supermarket.

Both paneer and tofu contain protein and calcium, but paneer has a higher fat content

Some people believe that the fats in paneer are healthier than the fats in tofu. Still, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

Tofu can be cooked in various ways, including frying, baking, and grilling. 

Tofu has a porous texture, so it readily takes on the flavors of sauces or spices that are mixed with it.

Q2. Are cheese and paneer the same?

First of all, paneer is not cheese.
It’s an unsalted fresh farmer cheese that doesn’t melt when heated, whereas cheese is a generic term for any food made by curdling milk with rennet or an edible acid. 

The cheese itself has many varieties based on the type of milk used (cow, buffalo, goat, etc.), which animal’s milk is used, aging time, and so on. 

Cheese can melt when heated.

So, The answer is both yes and no. 

The two dairy products are similar in that they are both made from milk, but they have different textures and flavors.
Paneer is a sort of cheese popular in India and other Asian countries. It has a solid texture and a mildly sour flavor. 

Cheese is a more general term. Cheese can refer to many different types of cheese, each with its own taste and texture.

Q3. Is white cheese the same as paneer?

This question often comes up, and the answer is a resounding no! 

Paneer is a type of cheese made from whole milk that has been curdled with lemon juice or vinegar. 

It has a smooth, firm texture and a slightly sweet flavor. 

On the other hand, white cheese is made from lower fat milk with the addition of cream. It is not curdled, so it has a much different texture, very soft and spreadable. 

White cheese does have a tangy flavor, but it is milder than that paneer.

The main difference between Indian white cheese or paneer and American white cheese or cottage cheese is the fat content and coagulation. 

Indian white cheese is made with full-fat milk, while American cottage cheese is made with low-fat milk. 

Indian white cheese is not coagulated like American cottage cheese, meaning the curds don’t form into a solid block. 

Instead, the curds in Indian white cheese remain loose and spreadable.

Q4. Can you Use Feta instead of Paneer?

You can use Feta as a Paneer substitute but it does not give the desired result. Feta is salty and distinct taste than paneer.

If you want to make any Paneer recipe try other paneer alternatives like- farmer cheese, queso fresco, etc.

Leave a Comment