Skip to Content

7 Easy Paneer Cheese Substitutes: Liven Up Creations

Finding a good substitute for paneer cheese doesn’t have to be complicated. You might think you need to hunt down fancy ingredients, but that’s not the case.

We know how it feels when you’re looking to whip up a tasty dish and find out you’re out of paneer. Been there, done that. You can use everyday items from your fridge or pantry to keep your meal on track. No specialty stores are required.

Here’s the scoop on your best options. Let’s check out the top choices for a quick and easy replacement that won’t disappoint.

substitutes for Paneer Cheese

7 Easy Substitutes for Paneer Cheese

When you’re craving that creamy, tangy Indian cheese and don’t have any on hand, try one of these seven substitutes.

SubstituteTasteTextureRatioSuitable Dishes
TofuMildSoft1:1Curries, Stir-fries
HalloumiSalty, SavoryFirm1:1Grilling, Salads
Cottage CheeseMildCreamy1:1Salads, Baked Dishes
Feta CheeseTangy, SaltyCrumbly1:1Salads, Pastas, Baked Dishes
Ricotta CheeseMild, CreamySoft1:1Pasta, Baked Dishes
Queso FrescoMild, FreshCrumbly1:1Tacos, Salads
Greek YogurtTangy, CreamyCreamy1:1Dips, Marinades, Desserts

1 – Tofu

Tofu is a great paneer substitute. It has the same soft, chewy texture.

The good thing is, tofu soaks up whatever flavors you add. Swap paneer with tofu in a 1:1 ratio in your recipes.

Sear it, grill it, or toss it in your curry. We’ve tried this and it works like a charm.

Important to note: tofu has less fat than paneer. So, maybe add a bit more oil to your dish.

For more tips on using tofu, check out our detailed tofu substitutes guide.

2 – Halloumi Cheese

Halloumi is another excellent paneer stand-in. It has a firm texture, which means it doesn’t crumble.

You can fry or grill it until golden brown. This cheese doesn’t melt, so it’s great for adding a bite to your dishes. Use a 1:1 ratio when swapping paneer with halloumi.

One thing to keep in mind is the saltiness of halloumi. You might need to rinse it in water before using it in your recipe. We love its versatility and flavor.

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out our detailed guide on halloumi cheese substitutes.

3 – Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a solid option. It’s a common item found in most fridges. It has a fresh, mild flavor similar to paneer.

Use a 1:1 ratio for substitution. It’s soft and moist, with small curds. Stir it gently to avoid breaking the curds.

We love its versatility. Cook it in your curry or bake it with veggies. A sprinkle of spices enhances the taste.

For more details on cottage cheese substitutes, visit our cottage cheese substitutes guide.

4 – Feta Cheese

Feta cheese has a tangy and salty flavour. Its crumbly texture is a bit different from paneer’s firm and chewy bite. When using feta as a substitute, try a 1:1 ratio. It’s funky and adds a unique taste to dishes.

The high salt content in feta can be toned down by rinsing before use. We usually toss it into salads or sprinkle it over curries. We recommend not overusing it in cooked dishes due to its strong flavour.

Take a look at more feta cheese substitutes if you want other options.

5 – Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta has a creamy, fluffy texture. It’s much softer than paneer. We use a 1:1 ratio for swapping paneer with ricotta. It blends nicely in curries and pasta.

We like its versatility. Spread it on toast or add it to lasagna.

One thing to note is its moisture content. It’s higher than paneer. We recommend draining it before use. This helps to maintain the desired texture of the dish.

Want more ideas? Check out our ricotta cheese substitutes guide. It’s packed with handy tips.

6 – Queso Fresco

Queso fresco is a good option. It’s crumbly and mild, quite similar to paneer. We use it in a 1:1 ratio for easy swap-outs.

It doesn’t melt when heated, making it perfect for frying or grilling. We find it works well in curries and salads. Its saltiness hits the spot.

One tip—rinse it if it’s too salty. We’ve enjoyed this in our burritos and tacos too. Simple, versatile, and effective.

Need more options? Check our queso fresco substitutes guide for a full list of ideas.

7 – Greek Yogurt

Last but not least, Greek yogurt offers a tangy twist. It’s thick and creamy, making it a versatile substitute.

Use a 1:1 ratio for swapping paneer with Greek yogurt. Quick tip: it’s best for adding creaminess to sauces and curries.

We love using it in marinades. It tenderizes well. Just drain some of the moisture if needed. Its unique texture holds up nicely in various recipes.

Try it out in both sweet and savory dishes. For more tips and ideas, check out our Greek yogurt substitutes guide.