Learn how to cook halloumi cheese! Cook this salty, delicious and gooey Cypriot cheese perfectly with our guide on how to grill or fry halloumi cheese, in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Discovering halloumi cheese
My first time trying halloumi cheese was on a date when I was 15 years old.
After saving our restaurant earnings and tips for over six months, my high-school sweetheart and I decided to go celebrate our anniversary in a local vegetarian restaurant. Over glasses of chilled lemonade and doe-eyed looks, we shared a portion of pasta alfredo and a large, entree-sized halloumi cheese salad.
As soon as I tasted those "steaks" of grilled halloumi slices, my eyes felt like they would pop out of their sockets. The combination of the gooey, stretchy and chewy golden brown cheese with the other flavors in the plate - cherry tomatoes, spicy peppers, avocados - was truly a celebration of texture and tastes.
The cheese was delicious, unlike anything else I've tried in my life - and coming from a true cheese-aholic even at the age of 15, that was saying something.
What's halloumi cheese?
But what is halloumi cheese, you ask? Let's break it down!
Halloumi cheese is a Middle Eastern cheese from Cyprus, and is traditionally a cheese made from sheep's or goat's milk, or a mix of the two - though today, cow's milk halloumi is also fairly common.
Halloumi is famous for having a high melting point and retaining its shape when grilled, instead getting a brown, crispy exterior while becoming gooey and melted on the inside.
To cook halloumi perfectly, all you need is a frying pan, a little bit of olive oil and a few minutes cook time.
But pay attention with grilled halloumi and serve immediately! Time is of the essence with this delicate grilled cheese, and it doesn't do well if you try to reheat it.
Is halloumi cheese healthy?
Like most cheeses, Halloumi cheese is high in calcium and is a source of zinc, magnesium and vitamin A and B.
However, it is rather high in salt and fat, so don't eat a whole block in one sitting!
Can you eat raw halloumi?
You may wonder, can you eat halloumi raw? The answer is yes - it will have a salty flavor like a mild ricotta, and a firm texture. But its unique qualities are best showcased when cooked, so go ahead and try this fried cheese recipe!!!
Ingredients for cooking halloumi cheese
Halloumi - all you need is a block of halloumi, and you're well on your way to having amazing fried or grilled halloumi! Packaged halloumi is sold when suspended in a water and salt brine, similarly to feta cheese. These days, you can buy halloumi cheese in most stores.
Olive oil - this helps prevent this amazing cheese from sticking to the pan. you can use any oil you like, but as recipes from a single geographic region just taste better together, I recommend drizzling, spraying or brushing your sliced halloumi with a bit of olive oil.
See recipe card for exact quantities.
Directions how to cook halloumi cheese
Halloumi cheese can be cooked directly on an outdoors grill, or in a pan on a regular stovetop.
How to fry halloumi cheese at home
To make pan fried halloumi, grab a non-stick pan or a cast iron grill pan and use it on the stovetop. Drizzle the pan slightly with oil, and preheat the pan over medium heat.
Once your pan is pre-heated and oiled, place the halloumi cheese slices directly on the pan; cook them for 2 minutes on one side, and 1 minute on the other.
Remove halloumi from the pan. Fried halloumi is best served immediately - it will lose its gooey texture and become more rubbery as it cools.
What you need to fry halloumi
- nonstick pan
- Cast Iron Pan
How to grill halloumi cheese
Grilling halloumi cheese on an outdoor grill is a great way to add flavor and texture to this delicious, salty Middle Eastern cheese.
To start, fire up your grill! I like to use a coal grill (we have a Weber charcoal grill), but you can also use a propane gas grill or an electric drill if cooking indoors.
You'll need to slice the halloumi into ½-inch thick slices, then brush both sides lightly with olive oil.
Once your outdoor grill is hot and ready, you can place the slices of halloumi onto the grates, spacing them evenly apart so that they cook through without burning. Grill each side for around 3-4 minutes until golden brown and slightly charred in places. Serve warm alongside vegetables or any other dishes you're preparing for a tasty meal!
What you need to grill halloumi
While you can use leftover grilled halloumi cheese in the fridge, halloumi is best eaten immediately after frying. I recommend storing the uncooked halloumi block in a water-salt solution of 1 cup of water to 1 teaspoon of salt, and cooking it to order.
Halloumi Cheese Recipes
Traditionally, grilled halloumi cheese is served as a simple appetizer, with a drizzle olive oil and fresh oregano.
My favorite way to eat halloumi cheese is just with slices of bread or pita, or gluten free cornbread. Bonus points if it's eggy bread.
But this versatile cheese can do so much more!
I also LOVE to use it in halloumi tacos.
It also makes for a great topping for pasta, with or without tomato sauce.
I also like to have it on salad, like this Circassian fried cheese (it can be fried in the same way).
You can also use halloumi in place of paneer in saag paneer, paneer jalfrezi or your favorite paneer recipes.
If you are looking for variations on this easy fried halloumi recipe, here are different ways I like to eat halloumi cheese:
Halloumi fries - you can cut halloumi into batons and make this salty cheese into fries! I love dipping it into spicy mayo.
Breaded halloumi sticks - cut the halloumi into blocks of about 1-inch, dip halloumi sticks into a whisked egg, and then roll them in gluten free breadcrumbs or Panko crumbs. Fry or cook in an air fryer for about 10 minutes, until gooey and cheesy inside.
Halloumi triangles - for an awesome filling to any sandwich, I like to cut halloumi into triangles, fry it and enjoy!
Tried and loved this recipe? Please leave a 5-star review below! Your reviews mean a lot to me, so if you've got any questions, please let me know in a comment.
Yes, you can freeze uncooked halloumi. It will keep in its original packaging for six months. If storing opened leftover halloumi, store it in a brine solution in an airtight sealed container (just make sure you leave the water room to expand or your container will crack). Halloumi needs liquid and salt to stay fresh.
Unfortunately, reheated halloumi doesn't taste good.
yes it is - halloumi cheese is keto and low carb.
For more cast iron skillet recipes:
How to Cook Halloumi Cheese (Grilled and Fried Halloumi Recipes)
- 1 block halloumi cheese
- 2 tsps olive oil
How to fry halloumi cheese
- Add 2 tsps of olive oil to a non-stick pan or a grill pan over medium heat.
- Once your pan is pre-heated and oiled, place the cheese slices directly on the pan; cook them for 2 minutes on one side, and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other.
- Remove halloumi from the pan, and serve or use in your desired recipe immediately.
How to grill halloumi cheese
- Slice the halloumi into slices of ½-inch thickness, then brush the halloumi lightly with olive oil to cook on both sides.
- Once your outdoor grill is hot and ready, you can place the slices of cheese onto the grill grates directly, spacing them evenly apart so that they cook through without burning. Grill each side for around 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crispy in places. Serve grilled salty halloumi immediately.
I LOVE halloumi and this turned out great! We used the fry method and served it over pasta and it was amazing. Thank you for such a helpful post!
I absolutely love halloumi cheese, and both of these methods worked great! I like to grill it and then dip it in my tomato soup instead of a grilled cheese. Thanks for reminding me of halloumi!
I wasn't sure how to pan-fry halloumi cheese but all your tips make it come out perfect! Thanks so much for sharing.
Sherry L Ronning says
I learned a lot from reading your recipe. I have not heard of Halloumi cheese before and now I am on the hunt to try it. Thank you for the great information!!