Difference Between Tofu and Paneer

Main Difference – Tofu vs Paneer

Paneer and Tofu are popular food items preferred by many vegetarians since they are excellent sources of protein. The main difference between tofu and paneer is that tofu is made out of curdled dairy milk whereas paneer is made out of curdled soy milk. 

What is Tofu

Tofu, also known as bean curd is a soft cheese-like food made by curdling fresh soya milk. It was some two thousand years ago that Tofu originated in China. It remains a staple ingredient in Chinese and Thai cuisine. Tofu was introduced to Western nations in the late 20th century.

As explained above, tofu is made from soy milk; soy milk is curdled and pressed into a solid block and cooled. This process is similar to the process of making traditional dairy cheese. Tofu tastes rather bland, and it absorbs the flavour of other ingredients. However, there are different types of tofu available in the market. Their differentiating factor is the texture, which varies from soft to very firm.

Tofu is rich in many nutrients. It has a high protein content and is ideal for vegetarians. It is also a good source of calcium, iron and minerals, vitamin B1, copper and zinc. It also contains all eight essential amino acids. It is said to provide protection against cancer and heart diseases. Tofu is also of assistance for those who are lactose intolerant who cannot have paneer.Difference Between Tofu and Paneer

What is Paneer

Paneer is a fresh cheese that is common in South Asian cuisine. Paneer is mainly used in Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi food. This is one of the most consumed dairy products in India and is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians. Paneer is an acid-set cheese, this means that it is curdled and set with the use of an acid such as lime or lemon, rather than bacteria or rennet, unlike with other cheeses. Paneer can be easily made at home as well.

Paneer is traditionally made with cow’s milk and has a simple, fresh, versatile flavour; this versatile flavour enables it to be used in a variety of recipes. Paneer is rich in Protein, minerals, carbohydrates and calcium. It also contains good amounts of fat and cholesterol.Main Difference - Tofu vs  Paneer

Difference Between Tofu and Paneer

Main Ingredient

Tofu is made from curdled soy milk.

Paneer is made from curdled cow’s milk.


Tofu is a common component in South East Asian and East Asian cuisine.

Paneer is a common component in South Asian cuisine.


Tofu does not contain Cholesterol.

Paneer does not contain Cholesterol.


Tofu contains plant-based proteins, and the protein content is higher than that of paneer.

Paneer contains animal-based proteins.


Tofu has a low calorie and fat count than paneer.

Paneer has a high calorie and fat count than tofu.

Lactose intolerance

Paneer cannot be eaten by those suffering from lactose intolerance.

Tofu can be eaten by those suffering from lactose intolerance.

Making at home

Paneer can be easily made at home.

Tofu cannot be easily made at home. Difference Between Tofu and Paneer - infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Mapo Tofu” by Craig Dugas (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
“Paneer” by VirtualWolf (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

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