Indian Cottage Cheese (Paneer) Appetizer

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This tasty Indian Paneer Appetizer is easy to make, spicy, and delicious! This soft and cheesy vegetarian starter can be served as a starter, snack, or as a side dish for lunch or dinner too.

Did you visit an Indian restaurant and wonder what that Indian fried cheese is? It’s paneer, the Indian cottage cheese. It’s so soft and tasty if made right, and a bit al dente if made wrong! But it always is so yummy!

Did you know that you can eat paneer raw too! This calcium-rich food is good for bones and weight loss, or so they say. I have not experienced these benefits yet. But I love tasting a few pieces of paneer while chopping them. Just to quality check, you know. Wink wink!

You can also just sprinkle your paneer with a bit of salt and pepper for taste and you’re good to go. Or add spices and fry it as a delicious starter. If you do it on a grill, even better!

I had always assumed that paneer was of Indian origin, but apparently not. Paneer was brought to India by the Turks and the Persians way back in the 16th century. And the word paneer comes from the Turkish word ‘peynir’ or Persian word ‘panir’ which means cheese.

Anyways, back to making my mom’s easy paneer appetizer, this time with my sis Sarah’s choice-ingredients. It is really easy to season and fry paneer to make some quick Indian snacks or other savory paneer dishes. You can make many delicious cottage cheese and fruit dishes too!

A bit like the famous paneer tikka, this Indian cottage cheese starter is a go-to dish if you’re craving a quick snack or a healthy appetizer.

What Ingredients do you need to make The Indian Cottage Cheese Starters?

All you need to make this easy paneer appetizer is just a handful of ingredients; namely paneer, oil, salt, oregano, chili powder, and honey.

How to Cook Paneer as an Appetizer?

Cut the paneer into square cubes or rectangular pieces or fine slices. Really, whatever you prefer is fine.

Diced paneer on a orange cutting board.
Chop the paneer into bits

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the paneer slices to this. Sprinkle with salt, chili powder, oregano, and a little honey.

Indian cottage cheese called paneer topped with spices and left to marinate.
Paneer ready to fry with condiments

After about 5 minutes once one side is cooked, turn it over and fry the other side as well. A total of around 10 minutes and your paneer appetizer is ready. Doesn’t it look delicious?

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Fry the masala paneer in a pan on low flame.
Fry on a low flame

Serve with some dipping sauces or just plain! With the spices and herbs already added, we prefer to snack on it plain!

Tasty fried paneer is ready to serve from the pan.
Fried paneer is tasty

If you don’t want it gone so fast, you can add it to a wrap or sandwich. Just spread some chutney or homemade mustard sauce on a chapati or chitap, add fried purple cabbage or fried green cabbage, and throw the paneer pieces on top. Roll into a wrap and have a drool-worthy snack! You can always have a ginger wine mint soda to complement it!

Tasty fried paneer is ready to serve from the pan.

Easy Paneer Appetizer – Indian Cottage Cheese Starter

My mom's paneer appetizer is easy to make and tastes delicious! This soft and milky paneer starter can be served as a snack, or as a side dish for lunch or dinner too.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish, Snacks, Starters or Appetizer
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 181 kcal
Gluten free icon on Abbysplate website.
No added sugar icon on Abbysplate website.
Snacks icon on Abbysplate website.
Vegetarian icon on Abbysplate website.


  • 200 gms Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese)
  • .25 teaspoon Salt
  • .25 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil or Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
  • .25 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Honey


  • Dice the paneer into square pieces.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan and place the paneer slices in the pan.
  • Sprinkle with salt, chili powder, oregano, and honey. (If you don't want them sweet, skip the honey.)
  • Fry for about 5 minutes and then turn on to the other side and fry for another 5 minutes.
  • And your paneer appetizers are ready to eat!

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  • You can replace the oregano with another herb like basil or rosemary or skip the herbs altogether too. 
  • Use olive oil for frying if you want a healthier snack. 
  • You can also try pepper instead of chili powder. 
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Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 160mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 39IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 243mg | Iron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Nutrition Information per serving is estimated by a third party software based on the ingredients used, and is for informational purposes only. It will vary from product to product, based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients. Please consult the package labels of the ingredients you use, or chat with your dietician for specific details.

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Cooking Tips & Tricks

  • Do not store the paneer in the freezer as it changes the texture and makes it crumbly when cooked. It’s best stored it in the refrigerator or the chiller section of the fridge.
  • You can replace the oregano with other herbs. We often use like basil or rosemary too.
  • Or skip the herbs altogether and just use the chili powder and salt. 
  • You can also try pepper powder instead of chili powder. Literally, any combination of spices and herbs tastes amazing with paneer!
  • If you don’t want them sweetish, skip the honey.
  • Use olive oil or avocado oil for frying if you want a healthier snack. 
  • You can also try this easy paneer stir fry.

Answering your Paneer Questions

What Is Paneer?

Paneer or Indian Cottage cheese is an Indian cheese is made out of curdled milk and lemon juice. It’s really easy to make at home, and is actually made in homes across India daily.

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Who Created Paneer?

Paneer can be traced back to the Afghan and Persian rulers who introduced it mostly in Northern India in the 16th century, where it was made using either goat or sheep rennet. The word ‘paneer’ comes from the word Turkish and Persian word ‘peynir,’ which means cheese.

How Long Can I Store Paneer?

  • Homemade fresh paneer can be stored in a plastic wrap or airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days before cooking.
  • Store-bought raw paneer can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week or two before cooking.
  • Cooked paneer can be kept in an air-tight container for about 1 month in the refrigerator.
  • It’s best not to store paneer in the freezer since it changes the texture, although we actually do that quite often.

How Do I Know If Paneer Has Gone Bad?

If you get a sour taste or a bad smell from the paneer and it has a slightly yellowish color, that means it has gone bad. Or if the paneer gets slimy, throw it out.

Can Paneer Be Eaten Raw?

Yes, paneer can be eaten raw because it is a cottage cheese. It has a dense and milky flavor when eaten raw.

Can I Make Paneer At Home?

Yes, you can make paneer at home using this recipe and use the paneer in stir fry or as paneer starters and other dishes.

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