Recipe of an Indian soft cheese made at home with Rennet. Topli na Panir

By 28 comments

by Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Topli or Tokri means Basket in Indian Gujarati.

Recipe of an Indian soft cheese made at home with Rennet. (Topli na Paneer) Many easy ways to make them and enjoy!


Topli na Panir Basket 

By Rita Jamshed Kapadia


Recipe (with rennet tablets)

Makes 4 – 5 approx


4 Cups Milk
2 tsp salt (optional for taste only, does not help in formation of panir)
2 – 5 Rennet Junket tablets

1. Warm the milk slightly, it should not be hot. (Hint put your finger in the warm milk it should be warm)

Put in the tablet of rennet.

Wash and dry small paneer baskets. Or use the Tea Stainers as shown.

At the bottom of each basket, sprinkle 1/2 tsp of salt, then pour curd mixture over, fill to the top of the basket. This is optional, I did not use salt, it is NOT needed to make the panir. Prefer the soft creamy taste without salt. 

Place the basket over a glass so that the water drains into it. Leave to form overnight or for 8 hours. (see video below)

When cheese is firm and water is drained off, overturn the cheese out carefully.

Collect drained water from each glass add this whey into a large bowl.

Insert the cheese into it to store. You will see the basket indentations and if you like you can create designer paneer!

Topli Panir
Topli Panir

Topli Panir u
Topli Panir


PHOTO: If you do not have a basket, stay calm, use tea strainer. 


 Panir in whey



These are made from “Rennet” which is a package powder and found in Supermarkets.

Where to buy RENNET?

You can buy the rennet here:

Rennet for making Topli na Paneer





Health Tip: This topli nu paneer is very good for digestion and is the most effective taken first thing in the morning as breakfast.

Books available on Amazon Manna of the 21st Century: Parsi Cuisine Paperback Hardcover Indian Parsi Kitchen Celebrations: Celebrating Zoroastrian Festivals and Traditions Dhansak: Parsi Cuisine



Dec 12, 2014, 1:07 am

Hello Rita,

The recipe for “topli na Paneer” sounds very easy to make. I used to love these. However, the question is, from where do I get these baskets?

Is there any other alternative in making this without the baskets?



Dec 12, 2014, 10:16 am

Hi Vera,
Yes you can make them. You do not need the baskets. These are just a “container” where the paneer water can drain out.

Do we need a pot(or a old fashioned patio) just from India to make dhansak? No.

Use any strainer, like a tea strainer. Plastic or steel either will do.

Peri’s Spice Ladle

Dec 12, 2014, 12:21 pm

Thrilled to see this recipe, Rita, used to be such favorite of ours as kids. While regular paneer is still common, somehow this concept died down, so happy you’ve revived it. Have a great holiday season.


Dec 12, 2014, 12:34 pm

Thanks! My favorite too, I was under 10 years of age when in Surat, but still remember them.

There is a story behind how they are delivered to the customers. In the old days, if you lived on a multi-story building (say third floor), to avoid climbing up the stairs, the paneer walla would deliver the paneer in a “topli” (large basket) hung by a rope from the third floor window or balcony. In the morning when the lady of the house wakes up, she pulls up the rope + basket to get her paneer!

Happy Holidays!



Dec 12, 2014, 8:46 am

thanks forthe delicious recipes..wishing u Happy Christmas peaceful 2015..God bless u and family..Gooloo Mehta

Topli na Paneer – 3 ways to make them! | PARSIS.IN

Jan 1, 2015, 7:48 pm

[…] Topli na Paneer are small soft cheeses which are made in baskets (topli is gujarati word for basket, hence the name). These paneers are kept in earthenware pots in their whey. In Surat which is reputed to have the finest Continue reading → […]

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Apr 4, 2015, 6:03 pm

[…] Paneer – famous topli na paneer […]


Feb 2, 2016, 3:54 am

HI Rita how much Rennet powder should be put in one litre of milk?

Parsi Cuisine

Feb 2, 2016, 10:56 am

Zarine for 4 cups that is 1 Litre milk put in 2 tablets of junket rennet.

2 cups add 1 tablet and let it sit fir 30 minutes to form the start of the panir.



Mar 3, 2016, 9:35 am

Does anyone make Parsi Paneer in Mumbai to sell?/

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Nov 11, 2016, 5:41 pm

[…] – it is the season of giving!!! I have put out all 3 recipes here on my blog – […]

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Sep 9, 2018, 6:09 pm

[…] Topli na Panir […]

Zarir Oomrigar

Jan 1, 2019, 4:01 am

I regularly make topli na paneer…also learnt here about uses of whey & Will follow accordingly


Jan 1, 2019, 10:30 am

Zarir, you will find this topli na panir similar to very soft (and expensive) western cheeses. A delight to have and savor.

Life Diet Health

Jan 1, 2019, 1:44 pm

You make it sound so easy! I might set it as a challenge to the boys! Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday.


Jan 1, 2019, 5:08 pm

You are right it is not easy, I had a few failed attempts at this cheese making. 🙂 🙂


Jan 1, 2019, 5:19 pm

Thank you Zarir for dropping a line, do stay in touch.

Life Diet Health

Jan 1, 2019, 3:44 am

We love a challenge! 😀


Apr 4, 2020, 7:55 am

Dear Rita,
I tried making paneer the other day.
My proportion was 1lt full cream milk 1 rennet tab.
I followed the same process as it mentioned above.
My paneer did not set. It was little watery and it broke while removing from topli.
Pls help as to what should I do so tht it sets into a perfect ball.


Apr 4, 2020, 3:36 pm

Regret your Paneer did not not turn out well.
Try using more rennet next time. Use regular milk.

I have heard certain milks do not set.
Where are you located?


Apr 4, 2020, 7:49 am

Dear Rita! Thanks for your response! I m from pune. India. I will try again with some other brand milk.
Does the size n shape of topli matters when u want to drain the whey?


Apr 4, 2020, 12:06 pm

No, the size and shape does not matter. I like to keep it so 1 person enjoys the whole Panir.
As you know probably the Topli (basket) traditionally is round as it is in Pune, Mumbai, Surat, Delhi and other cities in India.
Living in USA, I use tea stainers with muslin cloth and the panir comes out smal and round. I have seen people using large round containers of 6 inches diameter, to drain and then get a large round. Cut it up and enjoy.
Hindus even press it out in rectangles and cut into cubes.
Each size and shape probably gives a visual enjoyment and use in dishes. I like our soft small roundlets.

dimple panthaki

Feb 2, 2021, 9:46 pm

Hi Rita!
Does the milk have to be raw? I mean not pasteurized? Can I use the regular whole milk available in USA?

Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Feb 2, 2021, 8:17 am

Yes.regular milk 4 percent fat is fine.


Jul 7, 2021, 9:07 am

Is there a veg substitute for rennet?

Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Jul 7, 2021, 9:31 am

Yes .


Nov 11, 2022, 2:21 pm

I have renett powder… so how much to put in 1 ltr milk for topli na paneer

Nov 11, 2022, 6:43 pm

I use 2 tablets of rennet, which are probably like 1 tsp powder. Try with one tsp and see if paneer forms, add more if needed.

Ask Rita