Cheese Vs Paneer – What is The Difference?

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Paneer and cheese are both used commonly in cooking across the globe and the thing is that at first, they are very similar. They, however, have some variations that make them different from each other most especially in their cooking uses, texture, and flavor.  The major differences between paneer and cheese are found in how they have been made including the ingredients added to each of them for texture and flavor. You should continue reading to find out what you should know about how you can differentiate between paneer and cheese, their cooking recommendations, and nutritional benefits.

The Difference Between Paneer and Cheese

We need to breakdown each of the two if you want a better understanding of the differences, let’s check them below:


Typically, cheese is made from animal’s milk like a goat, a buffalo, a cow, and any other animal. This is usually done by the acidification process. Bacteria are present within the milk and they cause the acidification process to take place and this allows the cheese to have a unique texture and taste.

Cheese is made in several shapes with numerous textures and flavors possible. More than 300 types of cheese have been found across the globe. Cheese is high in fat and calories and it is not too good for people who have heart problems. In comparison to paneer, cheese contains more protein content and it means people that are looking to gain fat and muscles can benefit greatly from it. Cheese also has higher calcium content than paneer, making it excellent for human bones.

Cheese usually undergoes the process of emulsification when it is made and this makes it remain fresh for a longer time. Cheese can stay inside the freezer for about 6 months and the life span is longer than that of paneer.


Just like cheese, paneer is usually gotten from milk but paneer is first heated to a temperature of more than 200°F before it is added to acid for the milk to be coagulated. Vinegar and lemon juice are the most popular varieties of acids that are used. Considerably, paneer contains low calories and fats concentration, this makes it excellent for people who are watching their weights and for people who are suffering from heart diseases.

During the process of making paneer, no emulsification is involved. This makes it highly perishable. You cannot store paneer for long, you need to usually eat it within three days. Paneer is also called farmer cheese, it does not usually melt and it is considered the most common Indian cheese. Paneer has some different forms. In western countries, paneer is known as cottage cheese. It is served commonly with masala food items in Asia and also as a side dish for fried foods like chapatti and naan.


Health Benefits of Cheese and Paneer

Even though they seem similar, they also have differences in health benefits. Paneer is low in fats and calories and that means it is the healthier one for people who are watching their calories. However, cheese contains a higher level of calories and fat, making it unsuitable for those that watching their weights.

Paneer is more suitable than cheese for people with heart diseases while those whose bodies contain a very low content of fat should take more cheese to help their shortage of fat.

Nutritional Benefits of Cheese and Paneer

Cheese and paneer have different content on nutrition. Cheese contains a high content of protein and it is good for people that wish to gain weight and muscle. Cheese also has calcium that is beneficial for people who will like their bone to be strengthened. Paneer on the other hand helps to lower the cholesterol levels contained in the human body, it makes it excellent for those that have heart diseases.

How Is Paneer Used in Cooking?

Usually, paneer is used in cooking even though it can also be taken raw. Most times, paneer is included in dishes for their creamy and soft texture but paneer doesn’t melt. You can use paneer by chopping up and adding to cooked vegetables and onions or to fill your samosa. Paneer is a very versatile ingredient with a lot of different ways it can be incorporated into cooking, either western or traditional Asian cooking.

In most western countries, paneer is known as cottage cheese and it is usually used as a dip or spread. Thanks to Indian cuisine rising in the western countries, the popularity of paneer has started growing.


How Is Cheese Used in Cooking?

You are likely to find many kinds of cheeses in the market, it might be quite difficult to be able to know all of the ways we can use it inside the kitchen. Blue cheese, for instance, has a high content of mold and it helps the taste to be very strong, you can eat it alone as an appetizer with a cracker. You can also use it to make your creamy blue cheese sauce for your steak or pasta.

Cheddar cheese is the most popularly used and also the most common variety of cheese, it is also used in different ways. You can place it on your sandwich, top and melt it on your pizza, sizzle it on your burger, or process and eat it like your cheese straw. In a lot of households, cheese is used in different ways, it is an item that is used daily inside the kitchen either for breakfast or lunch as well as for dinner depending on your choice.

Are Cheese and Paneer Vegetarian?

It could be difficult for vegetarians to find ingredients they will use in their vegetarian diets. Paneer is thankfully one of the vegetarian products you will find around. It is a white cheese that is unsalted, it is gotten from the milk of cow and does not include any other by-product of animals. It is suitable for people’s meat-free diets, most especially those living in India.

Cheese, however, could be termed a bit more complicated because you will usually think that it is fully vegetarian considering that milk is the only animal ingredient, but it is not true. There are numerous kinds of cheese and you need to ensure that you are careful enough to select a vegetarian-friendly cheese because many of them are not.

For instance, a non-vegetarian cheese is parmesan cheese because there is always coagulation of milk to give curds as well as whey (liquids and solids), and this is done when rennet is added to it. Rennet is gotten from within the stomach compartment of slaughtered newborn calves.

GMO-rennet and the plant-based variety are alternatives but it is very difficult to get them. The best that should be used is the rennet gotten from the stomach compartment of slaughtered young calves and most cheesemakers do not usually use something else. As a vegetarian, you should eat paneer instead of cheese.

Related Questions

Paneer vs Cheese

Though paneer and cheese are very similar, they are very different. Their nutritional content, ingredients, and health benefits are all different. Usually, paneer can be best with cooked dishes, making it suitable for people that want to avoid additional calories. Cheese, however, is used in cooked dishes or raw and the fat and calorie content are very high. Cheese has a longer shelf-life than paneer. The thing that is common about them is that you can both use them to make delicious meals.

Which milk is best to make paneer?

If you decide to make your paneer yourself at home, it is quite easy to do. You must select the perfect milk you will use in making your paneer for it to give the best taste and texture. Fresh, full-fat milk is the best type of milk you should use in making your paneer. It could be from a buffalo, cow, or got. Raw, non-homogenized milk makes the best paneer batches made at home. Avoid skimmed milk because it will give a smaller paneer batch with a dull taste and thinner texture.

Which cheese is healthiest?

Some cheeses are healthy, containing very high protein and calcium content as well as some other beneficial nutrients. Cheddar, Swiss, parmesan, ricotta, cottage cheese, feta, blue cheese, and mozzarella are examples of healthy cheeses. They all contain their unique textures and flavors and it means you can enjoy different tastes.

Is paneer similar to halloumi?

Halloumi and paneer can be substituted in meals for each other, but their makeups are not the same. Paneer is created with very high acidity while halloumi does not contain acid at all. Both low and high acidity prevents melting of the cheese. The cheese can be used when it does not melt to replace vegetables and meat, as the major ingredients in several dishes.

Which cheese can be used as a substitute for paneer?

For vegetarian meals, you will find it difficult to get a reliable alternative to paneer. The first option will be to make the cheese yourself at home and it is not a hard thing to do as long as the right basic tools and ingredients are available. If not, use cottage cheese, tofu, or ricotta to replace paneer. Cottage cheese and ricotta are vegetarian but tofu is considered vegan.

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