How to cook halloumi perfectly
I think halloumi might just be my favourite cheese ever – and that’s really saying something when you know how much of a cheese addict I am. Halloumi is the king of cheeses.
It’s soft, it’s salty, it’s gooey, it’s crispy, it’s stringy… all at the same time.
I know there are some people who will disagree with me about halloumi, and say that it’s too hard, or too rubbery, or too oily – but you just need to know how to cook it correctly! So here’s how to cook halloumi perfectly.
Let’s start at the beginning!
What is halloumi?
Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese made from sheep’s, goat’s, and / or cow’s milks. It’s quite unusual as far as cheese goes, because you can fry it up and it won’t melt away into oblivion like a lot of other cheeses would – it keeps its shape, and softens up just enough to become nice and gooey in the middle. It’s understandably used a lot in Cypriot cuisine (as well as Greek, Turkish, etc.), but I personally think it’s great to use in all sorts of contexts – even in a humble sandwich.
In the UK, halloumi is available in pretty much all supermarkets. It’s often rolled in dried herbs (usually mint) before being sold – which explains the little black dots you can see on the halloumi in my photos!
Okay, so you’ve got your halloumi. Now how do you cook the stuff?
How to cook halloumi
Step 1: slice the halloumi
Step 1 is an easy one; just get your slice on. I personally like to use fairly thick slices of halloumi – I find that if they’re too thin, they dry up and become a bit hard. Thick slices go nice and gooey in the middle.
Step 2: Add the halloumi to a dry frying pan
You don’t need to use any oil in your pan. Since the halloumi releases some liquid as it cooks anyway, it doesn’t tend to stick – but it’s worth using a good quality non-stick pan anyway, just in case.
If you have a griddle pan with ridges, that’s even better – you end up with beautiful char lines across each slice of halloumi, which looks just gorgeous!
Turn the heat up to medium-high, and let it do its thing.
Step 3: Cook the first side of the halloumi
After a minute or two, the halloumi will begin to release some liquid. Don’t flip the cheese just yet. Wait until the liquid has all been released, and any excess liquid has evaporated.
As you can see, a salty substance will be left in the pan, which will turn golden brown when all the liquid has gone.
Step 4: Flip the halloumi
At this point, the underside of the halloumi should be a beautiful golden brown – if not, leave it an extra minute or so. Be careful though, as it will crisp up quite quickly at this point.
When the underside is browned to your liking, flip each slice over, and repeat with the other side. This time it will brown a lot quicker, as all the liquid has already been released – it should only take about a minute this time.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Now that you’ve got some perfectly crispy fried halloumi, here’s some recipe inspiration:
Halloumi casserole with crispy garlic breadcrumbs
Veggie fajita bowls
Stuffed aubergines with spinach rice and halloumi
Fig and halloumi salad with balsamic fig dressing
Vegetarian full English breakfast
Halloumi and portobello burgers with homemade peri peri sauce
Creamy dill and caper lentils with grilled halloumi
Asparagus and halloumi pasta with smoky tomato pesto
Creamy pesto mushrooms and halloumi on toast
Beer battered halloumi
White wine mushroom bruschetta with halloumi
Sesame crusted halloumi with Asian slaw
Grilled halloumi tacos with mango salsa
Smoky halloumi pasta bake from A Mummy Too
Falafel and halloumi kebabs with peanut butter marinade from Tinned Tomatoes
Halloumi, sun-dried tomato and rocket sandwich
Warm quinoa salad with grilled halloumi and parsley dressing
Fried halloumi salad with pomegranate grapes from Fuss Free Flavours
Grilled tomatoes and peppers with halloumi cheese from Coffee and Vanilla