Grilled halloumi cheese is perfect for adding to salads and to add extra protein to vegetarian dishes. Halloumi has a similar texture to mozzarella. Grilling it creates a golden crust and chargrill smokiness.
Traditionally, halloumi has been made with a combination of pasteurised sheep and goats milk but has come to also include cheese made with pasteurized cow’s milk. Most of the halloumi in the UK available in large supermarkets is made from cow’s milk.
Being a brined cheese, halloumi has a very high salt content, therefore it's very salty when eaten raw. However, it is possible to eat it raw, but the chargrilling of the cheese helps to tone down the saltiness and gives a really complex smoky flavour. Because of its high salt content, halloumi doesn’t need seasoning. Therefore, it’s important to be careful when seasoning recipes that contain halloumi, like this halloumi pasta or this halloumi salad.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's perfect for keeping in the fridge to add to salads, pasta and top burgers.
- It has a salty briny flavour that compliments the smokiness of being grilled or pan fried.
- You can grill it as part of meal prep and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- olive oil
- spices are optional
See the recipe card for quantities.
Step By Step Instructions
Step 1 & 2
- Slice your cheese into ½ inch thick slices. If the halloumi is sliced too thin, you run the risk of it breaking apart as you slice it and getting very uneven pieces to grill.
- Place all the halloumi slices into a dish in a single layer and drizzle with a light coating of olive oil. Season with pepper and a light dusting of salt if you like. I prefer to oil the halloumi itself rather than the grill pan. That's because it helps to create better contact with the cheese and the pan. If you only oil the pan, the oil will run off the ridges and settle in the grooves of the pan. This creates a lot of smoke.
- Get the pan very hot to ensure that the cheese starts to colour immediately. The cheese is best if it's cooked for about 3 minutes per side. You can grill a minute or two longer if you want very dark grill lines.
Hint: let the grill pan heat up for about 5 minutes before placing the halloumi into the pan.
Grilled Halloumi FAQ's
Great question. No, they aren't the same thing, but they can be used as substitutes for one another in a pinch. What they do have in common is their texture and the way the grill and fry are very similar. What sets them apart is that paneer is very acidic and halloumi has almost no acid in it at all. Those characteristics are what give paneer and halloumi their unique non-melting properties.
High acidity or very low acidity help prevent melting.
Aldi doesn't sell paneer so halloumi is a great substitute in that instance.
You can. And I have, but it's very salty and a little on the rubbery side. It's much better grilled or pan-fried, but I'm known to snack on things as I cook. So I take bites of halloumi while I slice it. It's very salty (which I love) but the grilling tones down the saltiness and leaves you with a golden slice of mildly salty cheese that has a firm texture that goes with almost anything you pair it with.
Firm cheese like halloumi has a very long shelf life. It usually lasts about 4-6 months in the fridge unopened. Once opened it's suggested that you consume it within 3 days. However, it will usually last longer than that. Most often, up to 5 days, especially if grilled and covered in a drizzle of olive oil.
But, if your halloumi has gone bad it will smell like sour milk and have a slimy texture on the outside. The edges of the cheese may also have a tinge of pink.
You can! Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese that is pasteurized making it safe for pregnant people to eat at any stage.
Halloumi is very adaptable. Here are a few ideas to make it your own.
- Spicy - drizzle with some chilli flakes after grilling, or sprinkle with some chilli powder.
- Deluxe - drizzle with some roasted garlic oil
- Kid friendly - kids already love halloumi. You don't need to do anything!
Making grilled halloumi doesn't require a lot of equipment. Just a good grill pan and a sharp knife. Buying a cast-iron grill pan is worth the money. They're great for grilling halloumi, burgers, chicken and veggies, too. This cast-iron one is brilliant!
As far as knives go, they can really range in price from not very much to extremely expensive. This chef's knife is a great knife for a great price.
Halloumi keeps really well in the fridge and the freezer. Here are some tips for both options.
- store the halloumi in it's original packaging in the fridge for up to 6 months
- you can store opened halloumi in salt water in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- store grilled halloumi in an airtight container with a drizzle of olive oil
- store unopened halloumi in the freezer for up to 6 months
- to store pre-sliced halloumi- slice the cheese to your desired thickness, usually a couple of centimetres is good. Cut some greaseproof paper and layer the halloumi slices between the papper and store in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 6 months. Freezing presliced halloumi allows you to defrost it quickly and only what you need.
Defrosting halloumi is a simple process. Remove cheese slices from the freezer and leave them in the fridge until defrosted. This only takes a few hours. If you're in a pinch you can leave the cheese at room temperature for about 30 minutes to defrost.
Consume halloumi within 2-3 days of defrosting and never re-freeze after defrosting.
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How To Make Grilled Halloumi Cheese
- 1 (1) block halloumi
- 2 tablespoons (2 tablespoons) olive oil
- Slice the halloumi to your desired thickness and rub with the olive oil.
- Heat the grill pan until it just starts to smoke. Place the oiled halloumi slices in the pan and grill on each side for about 2-3 minutes until deep chargrill lines have formed on the slices.
- Sprinkle with some pepper and a touch of sea salt if you like.