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Making Paneer in Your Electric Pressure Cooker

Sliced paner made in an electric pressure cooker

Palak paneer is a popular blended spinach dish containing cubes of fresh cheese, called paneer. When other greens are added it is called saag paneer. It is one of the simpler make-at-home recipes in Indian cuisine, though the extra step of making the paneer might hold some back from trying it. 

Would you like a more hands-off method of making paneer for palak paneer and other Indian dishes? It's simple to make paneer in your electric pressure cooker. Pour in 4 cups of whole milk or half and half (half and half yields more paneer) and 1/4 cup lemon juice or white vinegar. Stir and set to low pressure for 4 minutes.

Display showing pressure cooker set for 4 minutes at low pressure

If your pressure cooker does not have a low pressure option, set it for 0 minutes instead or use the open pot method. This method can also be used on the stove top without a pressure cooker.*See note below.

Let pressure release naturally for about 15 minutes.

Display showing 15 minutes have gone by since end of cooking cycle

Release remaining pressure. The mixture should be separated into curds and whey.

Curds and whey have separated

(If it doesn't look quite separated try adding a little more lemon juice or vinegar. Sometimes using non homogenized milk or half and half will inhibit the formation of curds and whey. You can still strain for a soft cheese that melts easier than paneer.)

Stir gently. Pour into a colander or mesh strainer lined with a fabric napkin, a flour sack type dish towel, or doubled cheesecloth, with a bowl underneath. Using a smaller bowl with a larger colander sitting on top so there is room underneath the colander allows better draining.


An example of strainer set up for draining whey
Flour sack type kitchen towel over colander for straining paneer
Curds after whey has drained

When the whey has drained, pull the four corners of the cloth together and over the curds by twisting or folding the cloth.

Gathering corners of cloth to prepare for pressing the curds inside

Place a plate and weight on top for at least 20 minutes if you will use the paneer right away

Example set up for pressing curds for paneer

or transfer to a smaller colander or plate with a weight to press in the refrigerator. I like to use this little berry washing colander in between two bowls. A jar of honey or jam or a can of coconut milk or beans all make a good weight to press the curds. 

Example of small set up for pressing curds for paneer

After a couple hours unwrap the paneer


and use or store in plastic wrap or an airtight container for up to about 2 days.

What paneer dishes do you like to eat?

Plate of food: palak paneer, butter chicken, chana salaad, beet salad, and gluten free naan

Palak Paneer, Butter Chicken, Beet salad, Chana salaad, and gluten free naan.

*Note: If your electric pressure cooker cannot be adjusted to low pressure you can set it for 0 minutes at high pressure or use an open pot method to make paneer. Open pot method: Bring 4 cups of whole milk or half and half to a boil using the saute button or other open pot heating option. Turn off as soon as it boils. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice or vinegar. Stir until curds separate. Let stand for 5 minutes then proceed with straining and pressing as shown above. This can be done in a pot on the stovetop as well.



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