I want to just toss it into some indian food I have. Does it need to be cooked first or is it ok if it just warms up a bit when I throw it in the sauce?

  • 4
    Just a comment: I ended up cubing it and quick frying it in a pan with some olive oil. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, delicious!!!
    – richard
    May 18, 2011 at 19:03

9 Answers 9


Paneer can be used as is. Sometimes it is fried to extend shelf life. Cooks will also sometimes fry paneer until it is slightly brown and then put the fried cubes of paneer in hot water for a few minutes. This makes paneer very soft.

If you do cook paneer, it will not melt, like most other cheese varieties, because it's an acid-set cheese.

  • 2
    It will not melt as easily as other cheeses but it will eventually melt. I always have to be careful when making rasmalai or saag paneer that the paneer doesn't melt/dissolve/vanish into the cooking liquid. May 18, 2011 at 13:25
  • 4
    Everything will melt eventually.
    – user6132
    May 31, 2011 at 19:24
  • Some things just burn instead.
    – JAB
    Jan 9, 2018 at 21:59

Well, I am Indian, so let me tell you this: in traditional North-Indian cooking (and this is where paneer is widely used), paneer is almost always cooked. Yes, no problem with not cooking it, but uncooked paneer is not a good dish. It is more a dry and stingy (for lack of a better word) cheese. So you see paneer or cottage cheese is best served cooked and well seasoned. That is where the real magic of cheese lies!

P.S. Google "paneer pakoda". This is a unique dish which will show you the versatility of the item.


It does not have to be cooked. It's cheese!


I didnt think paneer melts. You can boil it and boil it in a curry and it still maintains its shape. But you can eat it raw! :-)

  • 2
    You're right. Properly made paneer does not melt. It may disintegrate if it's not made properly, but I have never had paneer melt when heated, like cheddar. Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking has an explanation for why acid-set cheese do not melt with heat. Oct 16, 2012 at 21:28

It could be eaten raw, but is generally heated or cooked.

Personally, I find that pouring piping hot sauce over room-temperature paneer cubes works wonders for delicate sauce-based dishes, while cooking them gives best results and texture in dryer style dishes.

I have only used fresh homemade paneer, so I am not sure if differences in taste or texture with the store-bought stuff would yield different recommendations.


You have to prepare paneer in boiling water. Remove paneer from refrigerator. Cut it into cubes. Place it in boiling water and keep it for 5 minutes.


Uncooked Paneer tastes like putty. No taste. Paneer aught to be fried to a golden crust. Best is to fry the Paneer and let it soak in hot water for some time. That gives the best Paneer.


It depends on which dish you are using it in. In some you can fry and put in the sauce, in some you can put after the sauce is ready, in some you might have to marinate it for a few hours before you use it and in some you are required to cook it in the sauce for last few minutes before the dish is ready. Generally in the last case you need to be careful not to cook it too long else paneer cubes might break or crumble.

  • Welcome to the site! Thanks for your time answering the question. Could you improve your answer by elaborating on it? A few examples would clarify, I think. Also, remember that the question is; "does paneer have to be cooked?" Jan 7, 2018 at 9:14

There is no black and white reply to that question. All depends on the dish being cooked or the chef. Some chef might put paneer before serving in shahee paneer or butter paneer but some might like to cook it in the sauce for last five minutes before serving. Generally it is cooked for very short time. The chances that it will be eaten raw is a little less but not impossible. It is put raw in salads and it is grated on several dishes. At the same time chances that it will be cooked for long is also less but not impossible. Like in some dishes it is deep fried or roasted.

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