Difference Between Tofu and Paneer
By Claire Miles - August 15, 2022

It takes more than a little research to determine what works for people transitioning into vegetarian and similar diets. Both Tofu and Paneer are common protein sources that can be integrated into numerous tasty dishes and not only look but have similar soft mild flavors.

Table Summary

It is of Chinese originsOriginates from Indian cuisine
It makes use of salt, enzyme, or acid coagulants.Only uses acid coagulants
It is sourced from plant-based protein (Soymilk)It is sourced from animal-based protein (cow, goat, or buffalo milk)
It is suitable for all plant-based dietsIt is not suitable for vegan diets
It is suitable for weight-loss dietsĀ High fat and high-calorie contentĀ 
Higher iron and isoflavonesHigher calcium


Tofu is the Chinese word for bean curd, made with coagulated soy milk that is then pressed into rectangular blocks. The coagulation process requires certain salts such as calcium sulfate, acids like GDL (glucono delta-lactone), and even enzymes like papain. All these different coagulation lead to varying types of Tofu.

Paneer is the common name for Indian cottage cheese. It is made by coagulating cow or buffalo milk with a fruit or vegetable acid like vinegar, citric acid, or the traditional Indian yogurt known as Dahi before it is pressed into blocks.

Tofu VS Paneer

The major difference between Paneer and Tofu lies in their main ingredients. While Tofu is made with soy milk, Paneer is made from animal-sourced milk, leading to certain nutritional differences. Tofu is higher in iron content and also contains isoflavones. And although higher in calories, fat, protein, and calcium, Paneer has a shorter shelf life than Tofu. There is also a difference in origins: Paneer originates from India and is a staple in South Asian cuisines. Tofu comes from China and is more prominent in East Asian cuisines.