Unveiling the Distinctions: Cheese vs. Paneer

The difference between cheese and paneer

When it comes to cooking, cheese and paneer are two widely used ingredients that may seem similar at first glance. However, there are distinct differences between the two in terms of flavor, texture, and cooking applications. In this article, we will explore the differences between cheese and paneer, including their production methods, ingredients, nutritional benefits, and recommended uses.


Cheese is typically made from the milk of various animals such as cows, buffaloes or goats. The process of acidification, caused by bacteria present in the milk, gives cheese its unique flavor and texture. With over 300 different varieties available worldwide, cheese comes in a variety of shapes, flavors, and textures.
It’s important to note that cheese has a higher concentration of calories and fat, making it less suitable for people with heart problems. However, cheese is an excellent source of protein, making it suitable for those looking to build muscle mass. In addition, cheese contains more calcium than paneer, which contributes to bone health.
A notable feature of cheese is its emulsification process, which allows it to stay fresh for longer. Unlike paneer, cheese has a longer shelf life and can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.


Paneer, on the other hand, is made from milk heated to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit and then curdled with an acid, usually lemon juice or vinegar. Paneer has a significantly lower concentration of fat and calories, making it a good choice for those watching their weight or those with heart disease.
Unlike cheese, paneer does not undergo an emulsification process, making it highly perishable. It must be consumed within three days of preparation. Paneer is a popular Indian cheese known for its non-melting properties. It is commonly used in various forms in Asian cuisine, especially as a garnish or in masala items.

Health benefits of paneer and cheese

Paneer and cheese offer different health benefits due to their different nutritional content. Paneer has a low concentration of calories and fat, making it a healthier option for those concerned about their calorie intake. It is also beneficial in reducing cholesterol levels in the body, making it suitable for individuals with heart problems.
Cheese, on the other hand, has a high protein content, making it an excellent choice for individuals looking to gain muscle mass. It is also rich in calcium, which promotes strong bones.

How they are used in cooking

Cheese and paneer have different uses in cooking. Cheese, with its wide variety of types and flavors, can be used in many ways. It can be enjoyed on its own as an appetizer, melted on pizzas or burgers, or used as a filling in pasta dishes. Cheese is a versatile ingredient that can be used in breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes.
Paneer is typically cooked and used to add a soft and creamy texture to dishes. It is often used in Asian cuisine, especially Indian dishes. Paneer does not melt, making it suitable for frying or grilling. It can be used as a stuffing in samosas or added to cooked onions and vegetables.

Vegetarian Considerations

Paneer is a vegetarian product made from unsalted white cheese made from cow’s milk without any other animal by-products. It is widely consumed by vegetarians, especially in India.
Cheese, however, can be more complicated for vegetarians. While cheese is primarily made from milk, certain types of cheese can contain non-vegetarian ingredients. For example, rennet, an enzyme used in the curdling process, often comes from the stomachs of newborn calves. Vegetarians should exercise caution and choose cheeses that are specifically labeled as vegetarian-friendly, or opt for alternatives such as paneer.

Bottom line

In conclusion, cheese and paneer have different characteristics that set them apart. From their production methods to their nutritional benefits and uses in cooking, these two ingredients occupy unique places in the culinary world. Understanding the differences between cheese and paneer can help individuals make informed choices when selecting the appropriate ingredient for their desired recipes.


What is the main difference between cheese and paneer?

Cheese is made from animal milk by acidification while paneer is made by heating milk and curdling it with acid. Cheese is higher in fat and calories while paneer is lower in fat and calories.

Can cheese and paneer be substituted in recipes?

While both cheese and paneer are used in cooking, they have different characteristics. Cheese melts and comes in a variety of flavors, making it suitable for a wide range of dishes. Paneer, on the other hand, does not melt and is often used in Asian cuisine for its soft and creamy texture.

Which is better for people with heart problems, cheese or paneer?

Paneer is a better choice for people with heart problems due to its lower fat and calorie content. Cheese, with its higher fat concentration, should be consumed in moderation by those with heart problems.

Can paneer be stored for a long time like cheese?

No, Paneer is a highly perishable product and cannot be stored for long periods of time. It is recommended to consume paneer within three days of preparation. On the other hand, cheese can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.

Are cheese and paneer suitable for vegetarians?

Paneer is a vegetarian product made from cow’s milk and is widely consumed by vegetarians. However, some cheeses may contain non-vegetarian ingredients such as rennet. Vegetarians should check the label or choose explicitly vegetarian-friendly cheese options.

What are the health benefits of cheese and paneer?

Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, making it beneficial for muscle development and bone health. Paneer, with its lower fat and calorie content, is a healthier option for those watching their weight. It also helps reduce cholesterol levels, making it suitable for those with heart problems.