Make Instant Pot Indian Paneer Soft Cheese in just a few minutes. Great for use in a variety of vegetarian dishes as a source of protein.
Well guess what? You can make Paneer in your Instant Pot, and under pressure at that. The beauty of that of course, is no baby-siting that boiling milk that’s just waiting sneakily for you to get distracted so it can go burn itself, leaving the whole house smelling of burned milk forever. If only you knew how often that has happened to me. It’s pitiful.
Okay I have a confession. When I started out trying to make the paneer, I started like any sensible person would, on the Yogurt mode. Never mind that I never boil milk for making yogurt, I was sure that this way would not burn the half and half I was going to use.
But I got impatient. I am not sure how long it’s meant to take to boil the milk on the Yogurt setting but I decided I’d had enough of staring at the half and half I was using and thought, “Oh to heck with it! I’m just going to pressure cook it and we’ll see what happens.”
To get the most paneer out of your milk, you really need to stir well and boil so that the milk separates properly and completely. Clearly if it heats up well and boils, that process is hastened.
So logically, it made sense that pressure cooking would work. I just wasn’t sure if you could make paneer under pressure without burning the half and half or milk.
And of course as the pictures show, you can indeed. Now here’s an important note. Please do not use skim or 2% milk. Use either whole milk, half and half, or cream. I use half and half and it is a good in-between from regular doodh (milk) paneer and malai (cream) paneer.
The recipe steps for making your Instant Pot Paneer are:
- Cook the milk and vinegar under LOW pressure for 4 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Release remaining pressure.
- Drain and compress
You can certainly drain and compress the paneer without fancy schmancy gadgets, but I happen to like schmancy gadgets so I got myself this handy little tofu maker and it was so cute and adorable! I put it on a trivet in the sink and placed a can of beans on it to help it drain.
You can use a cheesecloth or a coffee filter in a strainer or colander, and place a weight on it as I did.
Once it’s drained, cut it into cubes and use for Palak Paneer, or use the cubes in your leftover Butter Chicken Sauce, or if you’re vegetarian, in your Butter Soy Curls sauce. You can also make a nice Paneer Korma by using it in the Chicken Korma sauce, and if that weren’t enough, there’s also a lovely Paneer Biryani recipe for you as well as a Paneer and peas recipe.
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Instant Pot Paneer Indian Soft Cheese
- Pour half and half and vinegar into the Instant pot and cook at low pressure for 4 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Release remaining pressure.
- When you open the pot, the milk will have separated into curds and a watery whey. Stir this well.
- Pour the mixture through cheesecloth (saving the whey for other uses).
- Gather up the cheesecloth and put a heavy weight on it to let the whey drain and for the paneer to form a cohesive block or ball.
- I used this mold to form a nice square block and weighted it down with a can of beans to help the whey drain.
I am not sure how to account for the whey that is drained so I won't provide nutritional information for this recipe. Suffice it to say it is high protein and low carb.