Paneer is a humble vegetarian favorite that has been loved for generations by Indian families. However, Paneer may soon take over halloumi to become the popular cheese of choice by millennials. With sales rising rapidly for the delicious creamy grillable delight,

Indian cottage cheese is a popular social media trend. TikTok has more than 266,000,000 views of videos about this cheese. 

The sales have also risen. At Sainsbury’s paneer sales have grown more than 60 per cent in two years. Waitrose reports that paneer searches have increased by more than 81% in one year. 

Tesco’s sourcFEMAIL was told by e that Paneer sold more in 2021 and 2020 than it did the previous year. It’s also the third most popular Indian product at Sainsbury’s, behind Bombay potatoes and pilau rice. 

Sainsbury’s has even launched a new Taste the Difference paneer jalfrezi & saffron pilau rice ready meal due to the surging popularity of the ingredient.

M&S have seen sales of our paneer jump 22 per cent in the last year – with no signs of sales slowing down.

The Indian cottage cheese - often used in vegetarian curries - has become a social media sensation with videos on TikTok about the cheese getting more than 266 million views. Pictured is a social media users attempt at butter paneer

Indian cottage cheese, which is often used as a vegetarian substitute in curries, has been a big social media hit. TikTok videos about it have received more than 266,000,000 views. Here is an attempt by social media users to make butter paneer.

Vivek Singh’s Paneer aur Mirch Ka Salan 

Serves two


· 300g paneer

· 1 onion

· 50g melon seeds

· 1 plum tomato

· 40g ginger paste

· 50g garlic paste

· ½ tsp mustard seeds

· 1 tbsp turmeric

· ½ tbsp coriander

· 3 curry leaves

· 10g jaggery, soaked

 · 1 tbsp tamarind paste


· ½ tbsp ginger paste

· ½ tbsp garlic paste

· Salt (to taste)

· 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt

· 1 tbsp mixed pickle

· 1 tbsp mango chutney

· 25g grated paneer



1. Let the melon seed soak in warm water. Once softened, grind to a smooth paste.

2. In a large saucepan heat oil. Once hot add the onion sliced and sauté until golden brown. Then add the garlic pastes and ginger. After 2 minutes cook, stir in the plum tomato and ground spices. Continue to cook for 10 minutes. Cook the melon paste for five minutes more. Once the sauce is smooth, blend it until you are satisfied.

3. Finish by heating oil in pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves to the hot oil until fragrant. Then, combine the sauce with the tamarind, jaggery, and stir.


4. To make the pocket, cut the paneer in a rectangular shape.

5. Mix the mango chutney and pickle in a bowl. Add salt to taste. Then, stuff the paneer into the mix.

6. Mix Greek yogurt, garlic paste, chili powder, salt and ginger together and cover paneer with it for about an hour.

7. Turn the oven on to 180C and bake the paneer marinated for 4 minutes each side.

8. With the sauce, serve the paneer along with the rice or the naan. As a finishing garnish, add pickled green chillies.

The surge is down to both to social media where delicious grills and curries have soaring success with millions of people sharing dishes with  #paneerrecipe #paneer #paneertikk  #paneerlove – and to the rise in vegetarianism with people searching for meat free alternatives.

South Asian restaurants often serve cheese cubed, marinated and served in the exact same way as chicken. However, chefs are increasingly using the versatile ingredient to create new dishes and show off its versatility.

Kricket is a high-end Indian restaurant located in West London that serves cheese on butternut squash. Guosto meal kits recently introduced a paneer Naanwich, a festive sandwich featuring an Indian twist.  

Jordan Moore Senior Recipe Developer at recipe box Gousto FEMAIL:Halloumi is the most popular grillable cheese, thanks to its bacon-like saltiness and meaty texture. Whether BBQ’d, pan fried or deep fried… the possibilities are endless and the outcome is always delicious. But, it is not as good as paneer.

Paneer is an Indian cottage-cheese, which has a high melting point. It’s as versatile and adaptable as halloumi. Paneer doesn’t have the same salty kick as halloumi, but this lends itself perfectly to rubs, marinades and famously curries and stews. 

“Our paneer butter masala with coriander rice recipe was our most popular ever, and it reached its highest popularity among customers.” So we’re expecting to see it’s popularity continue to increase into 2022.   

The surge is down to both to social media where delicious grills and curries have soaring success with millions of people sharing dishes with #paneerrecipe #paneer #paneertikk #paneerlove - and to the rise in vegetarianism with people searching for meat free alternatives Social media recipe is ipictured.

This is due to two things: social media, where tasty grills and curries are a huge success and millions sharing #paneerrecipe#paneertikk#paneerlove; and the increase in vegetarianism as people search for vegan alternatives.

Most south Asian restaurants serve the cheese cubed and marinated, the same way chicken would be used in a curry, but increasingly chefs are showing off the versatility of the ingredient and cooking it up in new news. Pictured are TikTok users making the dish

One TikTok user showed the dish can be airfried

Many south Asian restaurants offer the cheese cubed and then marinated in the same manner as chicken in a curry. But chefs are increasingly showing more creativity and using it in innovative ways. TikTok users make the dish.

Chet Sharma chef Chef Patron at FEMAIL was told by a Mayfair-based contemporary Indian restaurant that serves chaat and barbecues. He used to make paneer himself until there was so much demand it needed to be outsourced.

For an authentic taste – he uses buffalo milk to make the cheese.

Buffalos are found on New Forest’s wild terrain and mostly graze on grasses. However, as the seasons change they switch from oxeye daisies and dandelion to wild fennel and meadowsweet to eat more of the spring greens. 

There are many nuances to the milk, which can be reflected in different flavours. The dairy uses a low-temperature pasteurization process that preserves this complex flavor. 

He said that North Indians have enjoyed paneer at least once a week since the beginning, and about 75 percent of customers order paneer dishes in restaurants. 

“We had to send our milk back to the dairy because it was the only way to make the quantity we needed.

“We sell more than 10kg per week. This is 40 litres of dairy milk.

How to create the perfect paneer recipe 

Dayashankar Sharma (Executive Chef Heritage Dulwich) told FEMAIL, “There’s been a substantial increase in sales. Paneer is a popular Indian staple. You can cook paneer in many different ways. It’s a versatile ingredient that you can use in various dishes, such as in koftas, pakoras, or grilled in tikkas, curry, and in pakoras. 

The secret to making a great paneer dish is not cooking it too long. While you are preparing other ingredients, keep the paneer in seasoned water to ensure that it remains soft and doesn’t dry out.

“The quality of your finished paneer depends on the milk you choose.” Buffalo milk is my preferred choice because it produces a better product. Buffalo milk is high in fat which makes for a softer paneer than when made with, say, cow’s milk. 


My mother and father-in-law made it at their home. They love it because it is the easiest to make.

“The use paneer is very different in homes – it’s not a super grillable, compressed piece of cheese. It’s coarser and has a texture more similar to scrambled eggs.

“There are certain dishes that it is sliced and deep-fried. It’s also a soft set cheese.

We serve it on a charcoal-grille, in which it is sliced and ground – then brined. Lastly, it is dressed with charcoal butter in the simplest form.

“It’s not spicy or hot. It just has the umami deliciousness.

It could also be used as feta in Mediterranean cuisine, or even as a side dish.

A milder flavour can be treated with more aggression and may take spice.

Vivek Sing, Executive Chef and CEO, The Cinnamon Collection, said: “Paneer is becoming increasingly popular in Western countries, but it’s been the most preferred vegetarian protein in Indian for a long time.

‘In my family and heritage, paneer has been popular for a very long time – it’s not just an ingredient, it’s a religion for meat eaters and vegetarians alike.

‘It is a special ingredient that people often enjoy on a special occasion – paneer is that treat for vegetarians, and I think that’s why it’s becoming more and more popular in the UK.

The richness and unctuousness this ingredient gives to paneer dishes is what makes them so delicious. It works best when it’s cooked with a rich and unctuous sauce – whether that’s a richness from spices, nuts or from cream and butter. More is better.

Vineet Bhatia was the first Indian chef to win a Michelin star. Vineet also teaches Indian cookery on BBC Maestro. Vineet uses high fat milk for his paneer.

“This allows me to modify it as I like. We use it in mains starters and desserts.

‘The most important thing to make sure of when making it at home is to make sure you have a high fat milk like cow’s or buffalo.

‘It doesn’t work with nut milks or goat milks as much as the fat content is too low! Paneer that is commercially made would be acceptable, as well. Particularly for the firm texture.

Vivek Singh’s Paneer Butter Masala 



4 Tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

4 green cardamom pods

2 black cardamom pods

1 bay leaf

1 large, chopped onion

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon Ginger-Garlic Paste

1 tablespoon single cream

25g (2 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into small dice

 juice of ½, lemon

1½ teaspoons red chili powder

5 ripe tomatoes, puréed

2 Tablespoons Whole Milk Powder

1 tablespoon Greek-style yogurt

1 Tablespoon Boiled Cashew Paste

500g (11.1b/20z) Paneer cut into 2.5cm

Rounds or dice (1 inch)

1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaf

½ teaspoon garam masala

1. teaspoon sugar

 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander


1. In a large casserole with heavy base, heat the oil or ghee. Add the cumin seeds and green and black cardam pods, and the bay leaf. Let them cook.

2. Add the onion and sauté over a high heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the onion colouring.

3. Then add the salt and continue to cook on low heat for 10-12 mins. Cover and let the onion soften.

4. Add the ginger-garlic paste, white pepper and chili powder to the saucepan and continue cooking for five minutes. Stir constantly.

5. Now add the puréed tomatoes and cook gently for 10-12 minutes, until the tomatoes have reduced by half and the oil begins to separate from the mixture round the side of the pan

6. Mix the milk powder into the mixture and then add the yoghurt. Cook the cashew paste for about 3-5 minutes.

7. Stir in the paneer, and let it cook for about a minute, making sure to not break it apart.

8. Add the garam masala, sugar and dried fenugreek to the saucepan. Continue stirring for a minute.

9. Stir in the cold butter a little at a while to thicken the sauce.

10. Serve with Parathas or Pilau Rice, sprinkled with fresh coriander and squeezed lemon.

Chef’s Note

The secret to Paneer Butter Mala’s unique sauce is slow cooking the onions with the lid closed. Enjoy the delicious dish by taking your time.




Paneer is a delicious dish that takes in flavour well. You should coat the paneer in a strong marinade. Treat it like a vessel for flavor. A great marinade is a must before grilling, or in an onion-tomato-spiced heavy sauce. 

“Paneer Bhurji is my favourite – scrambled or smashed paneer. There are two options for paneer: firm or crumbly. Then I make it into desi-scrambled eggs using onion tomatoes, cumin, Kashmiri chilis, and cook it until it is delicious. For a slightly less traditional recipe, I love paneer with pesto and chopped broccoli.

“Thinking out of the box”: I used paneer in India to create a cheesecake with mango, fresh mango, and with value jamun and rasmalai flavours.  

Avinash Shishadhira, head chef at Pali Hill in central London, said he’s seen an increase in paneer sales as people  search for healthier meat alternatives.

‘With paneer’s meaty texture, it is a popular choice.  There are many people who have visited India, where paneer is a popular ingredient. The internet has provided easy access to videos and recipes for those looking to live a vegetarian lifestyle.

It is similar in texture to halloumi. However, it has a more flexible use. Paneer can be cooked with a sauce and cut into huge cubes. It can also be marinated, grilled, or baked in a tandoor. You could even simply grate it and add squashes and other gourds for koftas. I think it’s ability to be versatile is key to is fast growing popularity. 

‘At the restaurant, we sell so much of it, we sadly don’t have the capacity to make it ourselves, but we work with a really specialist producer who uses 100 per cent cow’s milk. However, at home I make paneer and it is delicious! It’s quite simple to make. 

‘The secret is to soak the paneer in boiling water for 5-10 minutes to soften it – this will help with a silky texture to the cheese.  The sauce should be creamy regardless of whether you use tomato, peas, cream or a mix leafy green (saag), so that it evenly coats paneer.