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Is Tofu and Paneer Same? What's the difference?

Everyone wants to eat a healthy source of protein. It doesn’t matter if it is a soy product or dairy product.

Tofu and Paneer are often confused to be similar but contain different elements and are made of different things.

In this article, we will be discussing and understanding how the two products are completely different.

To be very precise and basic, Tofu is made of soy and Paneer or cottage cheese is made of milk. The choice between the two is often very difficult as both the products are very healthy. 

Health benefiting properties of Tofu and Paneer:

NCBI explains the nutritious value of Tofu: It is an excellent source of calcium, iron, and some minerals, such as manganese, selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, zinc, and vitamin B1.

NCBI explains the nutritious value of Paneer: Paneer contains all the milk constituents except for the loss of some soluble whey proteins, lactose and minerals (Singh and Kanawjia 1988).

Paneer has a fairly high level of fat (22–25%) and protein (16–18%) and a low level of lactose (2.0–2.7%).

The Difference Between Tofu & Paneer:

  • Formation

The formation of Tofu and Paneer is different. As explained above, Tofu is made using soy and Paneer is made using milk. Milk and soy products can be similar but not the same. 

If you’re allergic to soy, you may opt for paneer, whereas, if you’re allergic to milk, you may opt for tofu. It is quite a great option for everyone.

  • Fats

Paneer is made from milk and its cream. It doesn’t separate the cream and milk, you may directly use the cream to make paneer too. So one can say that paneer is fattening.

Tofu is made from soy which doesn’t have many calories and hence, tofu is not a fattening food. 

If your goal is to lose weight, you must aim to eat tofu after evaluating your allergies. Or if you want to gain weight, paneer can be your perfect choice.

  • Product

Normally, tofu is readily available and not many people make it at home. It is a vegan food that is readily available in any local store.

However, paneer can be made at home after you skim your milk or you may even use cream. Paneer is mostly made in houses in India and people avoid buying preservative-filled paneer. 

  • Lactose 

There are many people who’re lactose intolerant these days. This means your body is unable to digest milk or any milk products. 

Tofu can be the safest option or a substitute for paneer among people who’re lactose intolerant.

Whereas, paneer is originally formulated from milk, so it has ‘lactase’ enzymes in it. You can have paneer only if your body can tolerate lactase and you’re not lactose intolerant.

Making a choice between Tofu & Paneer: Based on Nutritional Value

  • Protein

Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also a valuable plant source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese and phosphorous.

In addition to this, it also contains magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1.” 100 grams of tofu has 8 grams of protein.

Whereas, 100 grams of paneer has 14 grams of protein. But the intensity of these proteins being absorbed by your body remains more in Tofu as it has more essential amino acids too.

  • Calcium

“Calcium is much needed to build strong bones and teeth. Paneer is very rich in its calcium content which is why it is very useful for people of all age groups.

Tofu, which is also called bean curd, has less amount of calcium as compared to paneer, and so paneer beats tofu in terms of calcium content.” (FirstCry)

  • Amino Acids

As explained above, Tofu contains all the nine essential amino acids and is a complete protein for vegans.

If you’re a vegetarian who needs amino acids for growth and development, Tofu can be the best option.

Paneer is also extremely rich in protein as it contains all the nine essential amino acids. It is again a great choice for people who are not allergic to milk products.

  • Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamin, is a great vitamin that helps convert carbohydrates into energy. In absence of Vitamin B1, your body stores the carbs as fats and makes visceral fats. 

Paneer doesn’t contain adequate Vitamin B1 but Tofu surely does. Tofu beats Paneer in terms of Thiamin here.

But again, the choice is completely up to you based on how your body reacts to certain food items. 

  • Magnesium

“Paneer is rich in magnesium that regulates blood sugar level. It also contains a very low amount of carbs and hence diabetic patients can consume this without any fear.

Paneer also has the potential to control the drastic fluctuations in blood glucose levels.”

Whereas, Tofu may contain high calcium or magnesium levels based on its coagulants.

Paneer becomes a wholesome meal for most people due to the presence of magnesium.

  • Potassium

Paneer is indeed very rich in potassium and selenium which helps reduce memory loss and infertility issues.

It is a wonderful mineral in paneer that helps take care of your bones and mental health.

But “the USDA's Nutrient Database says that a half-cup, 126-gram serving of firm tofu contains approximately 186 milligrams of potassium.”

Side-Effects of Tofu and Paneer:

TOFU: Eating soy paneer or tofu, like most soy products, is considered to be generally safe. It may cause some side effects in people who’re allergic to soy or soy products. 

  • It may cause breast tumours in women as tofu has weak hormonal effects.

  • It should be avoided by people with thyroid issues as it may harm the thyroid gland too.

  • It may cause some allergies such as diarrhoea, nausea or inflammation in rare cases.

PANEER: Paneer can cause side effects in some people who’re allergic to paneer or milk products.

Otherwise, it is totally safe. Let us check some side effects here:

  • Excessive paneer consumption may cause hypertension as it has sodium in it.

  • It can also cause allergies in people who are lactose intolerant.

  • It can even cause diarrhoea and indigestion if the paneer is not of good quality.


Be careful in making your choice or just consult your doctor. As your doctor knows your history and allergies, he or she will be able to suggest better.

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