It’s no secret: cheese is one of the most loved food groups among the general public. And with good reason, too! From its tangy notes to its ooey-gooey texture, cheese is one of nature’s perfect foods. If you’ve ever caught a whiff of a Mediterranean market, you’ve almost certainly experienced this tangy, salty, aromatic cheese. Halloumi may be the most popular of all Cypriot cheeses, loved for its melting properties and versatility. Let’s take a look at what Halloumi cheese tastes like, how it is made, what it goes well with, and explore some of its best uses.
What Is Halloumi?
Halloumi is a Cypriot semi-hard, brined cheese made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk. Most commonly, it is made from goat’s milk because of the country’s large goat population. The cheese is soaked in brine for at least six hours, but often overnight to achieve the perfect saltiness. The cheese is then drained and wrapped in cloth until it is ready to be sold.
The word “halloumi” comes from the Arabic “haluma” which means “to be mild.” Indeed, halloumi cheese is rather mild compared to strong-tasting and smelling cheeses like Parmesan, Pecorino, or Manchego. Halloumi was originally brought to Cyprus by Arab traders during the Middle Ages and quickly became a staple in Cypriot cuisine due to its long shelf life. Halloumi can be stored for up to a year in the fridge!
Halloumi has a very high melting point making it ideal for grilling, frying, or searing on an open flame without losing its shape or texture. It can also be baked or grilled with little to no oil. The cheese is firm and has a rubbery texture, not unlike mozzarella, but a lot saltier.
How would you describe halloumi? We would describe Halloumi as a cross between mozzarella and tofu. It has the same chewy texture as tofu, but it’s saltier, firmer, and more rubbery. The taste of halloumi is also very similar to mozzarella; it’s mild, salty, and has a slight tang to it.
How Is Halloumi Cheese Made?
Halloumi is made by curdling fresh goat and sheep milk with a coagulant called rennet (enzymes from a calf’s stomach). The curds are then cut into pieces and placed in hot whey to drain. After the cheese is drained, it is packed into containers and covered with brine. It is then packaged and shipped to markets.
Is halloumi a cow or sheep? Halloumi is made from sheep or goat milk, and it is a unique cheese in that it is semi-hard and semi-soft. Typically, most cheeses are made from cow’s milk, but not halloumi.
Halloumi Flavor Profile – What Does Halloumi Cheese Taste Like?
Halloumi is a semi-firm cheese. It has a pale, ivory white color with a creamy yellow hue. The texture is firm and chewy but not rubbery. It develops a mild tanginess as it warms up, which is why it’s often served with salads or vegetables that have been marinated in lemon juice or olive oil. Almonds are the most popular addition to salads with Halloumi cheese; the nutty sweetness complements the tanginess of this cheese.
What is the flavor of halloumi? Halloumi has a tangy, salty flavor that pairs well with salads and bread. Halloumi also has an earthy, nutty flavor with an underlying briny note. Halloumi tastes similar to mozzarella and feta, only saltier.
Halloumi has a tangy, salty taste reminiscent of feta cheese. It has a texture somewhere between soft and semi-hard cheeses. Its flavor develops with time and exposure to air, which makes it ideal for grilled or roasted dishes. Halloumi texture is comparable to mozzarella; the outside feels soft to the touch while the inside is firm and chewy. Halloumi pairs well with tomato sauce or hummus.
Cooked Halloumi Flavor
What does cooked halloumi taste like? The mild saltiness of halloumi makes it ideal for picnics, barbecues, and other summertime festivities! Cooked halloumi tastes similar to raw one – mild, salty, tangy, and creamy. Fried halloumi acquires a super cheesy flavor with pungent briny notes and a rubbery, chewy texture.
Halloumi has a crumbly texture that resembles grains of salt or sand. This texture comes from the way it is made – the cheese is formed into small bricks or cubes and then dried in an oven or under heat lamps until it reaches its final form (this process also makes it easier to slice). When these bricks are cut into pieces, they are wrinkled and crumbly.
Halloumi Aroma Profile
What does halloumi smell like? Halloumi has a salty, smoky aroma and a slightly acidic flavor. Halloumi’s aroma is very mild and sweet. If your halloumi smells sour or acidic, it has gone bad and cannot be eaten.
Halloumi has a mildly salty flavor and a very mild aroma. It doesn’t have much in the way of sharpness or pungency, so you’ll definitely want to pair it with something other than salad dressing or oil and vinegar on its own. Halloumi melts easily when grilled or pan-fried, making it great for grilling vegetables and meats alike!
Why Is Halloumi So Tasty?
The main ingredient that contributes to this tangy taste is citric acid. This acid can be found naturally occurring in fruits like lemons and limes or added to foods like yogurt or pickles to add zingy notes. Since halloumi is made with milk and rennet, it contains some amount of this acid. Some say that another reason halloumi is so good is that the cheese contains a lot of fat that contributes to its rich taste by adding a creamy texture to halloumi.
Pairing Halloumi – What Does Halloumi Go With?
Halloumi can be grilled, fried, baked, or simply eaten with fresh bread and olive oil. It can be substituted for feta in some dishes, such as Greek salads and pasta dishes; it’s also used as a pizza topping (try it with kalamata olives and feta cheese) or as an accompaniment to a range of roasted vegetables. Halloumi also makes an excellent appetizer when served with sliced tomatoes and cucumber or is excellent served with grilled vegetables (try it with broccoli and red peppers).
What do you eat halloumi with? In Cyprus, halloumi cheese is often fried until golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside, usually served as an appetizer with olive oil or lemon juice. It can also be sliced thinly and eaten raw with olives or tomatoes as an appetizer or snack. Halloumi can also be diced up finely for salads, grilled for sandwiches, or added to pasta dishes and even burgers.
What does halloumi go with? Halloumi pairs well with salads, dips, spreads, sandwiches—you name it! It’s delicious on its own or added to other foods for an extra punch of saltiness. Halloumi tastes great with tomatoes, garlic, parsley, red peppers, zucchini, aubergine, and beetroot.
Halloumi pairs beautifully with salads or roasted vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. It also goes well on sandwiches or wraps, where it adds much-needed flavor and crunch to the dish. Some people even enjoy eating halloumi by itself! It’s delicious as is, but you can also add herbs or spices such as black pepper to give it a little extra flavor.
Halloumi is a great cheese for grilling or pan-frying. It melts easily, so you can get creative with your grilling technique. You can also grate it into salads, use it on pizza or bread (as a substitute for mozzarella or feta), or even make your own halloumi cheeseballs!
How to Eat Halloumi Cheese?
What is the best way to eat halloumi cheese? We like to fry halloumi on an open flame or grill until it is crispy and serve it with a tomato salad or in a sandwich. You can also bake or grill halloumi with little oil. We love to serve grilled halloumi with roasted peppers, tomatoes, and olives for an appetizer platter or on top of mixed greens for a light meal.
In Cyprus, halloumi is most commonly used in salads, where it is sliced or cubed like cheese and mixed with tomatoes and cucumbers. Halloumi is also grilled on the barbecue like bacon or used as a topping for pizza. It makes wonderful sandwiches when combined with tomato slices, lettuce, and other vegetables. Halloumi goes well with lentils and other legumes (chickpeas), olives, rich sauces (hummus), grilled meats (lamb steaks), dips (baba ganoush), and sauces.
Halloumi Cheese Nutrition Facts (Per 28 grams)
Calorie content 90 kcal
- Protein 6 g
- Fat 7 g
- Carbohydrates 1 g
- Sugar – 1 g
- Sodium 350 mg
Halloumi Cheese Health Benefits
Is halloumi cheese good for you? Yes, halloumi is very good for you! Halloumi is a great source of calcium, protein, and vitamin B12, essential for good health. It also contains small amounts of iron and selenium, as well as niacin, phosphorus, and potassium.
This unique cheese has been a staple of Cypriot cuisine for centuries. It is very nutritious and loaded with protein, calcium, and vitamin B12. Halloumi is low in saturated fat and contains only 90 calories per 28 grams. Therefore, it will not add to your cholesterol levels while also providing you with essential vitamins and minerals.
It’s an excellent source of protein and contains more than half of your daily needs! One ounce (28 grams) provides 20% of the recommended daily value of iron! Halloumi is a great source of l-carnitine, which helps transport fats throughout the body to be used as energy. It also provides you with vitamin B12, which helps boost your energy levels!
Halloumi is a good source of protein, calcium, and iron. It contains no gluten but does contain a low amount of lactose. Halloumi is very nutritious and will keep you full for hours.
5 Best Halloumi Cheese Substitutes
Halloumi cheese is a very unique and tasty treat. It is high in protein and calcium but low in fat. It is also very high in sodium, so you should be sure to use it sparingly. Here are some 5 great cheese substitutes for halloumi:
- Queso Panela
Feta cheese is another popular substitute for halloumi. This creamy white cheese has a somewhat salty flavor that pairs well with salads, marinades, or any type of dip you want to add it to!
Paneer is a form of cottage cheese made from curdled milk. It can be used in place of halloumi in any recipe calling for cheese. Paneer cheese is also less salty than halloumi cheese, so it will need to be used sparingly when cooking.
Mozzarella has a similar texture as halloumi, but it has less saltiness than its Cypriot counterpart. Both kinds of cheese can be used interchangeably in recipes.
Ricotta cheese is a fresh Italian cheese that closely resembles halloumi in texture, but it has a richer taste. Ricotta has less sodium than halloumi and no added preservatives, making it one of the healthiest cheeses available.
This Mexican cheese is made from fresh goat’s milk. It is semi-firm and crumbly. It is a great substitute for halloumi because it tastes so similar but is much lower in fat and sodium.
Halloumi is a cheese made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk. It is a semi-hard, unripened cheese that has a firm white consistency and can be grilled, fried, or baked. You may have seen it before as it is popular in many Mediterranean countries. Not only is it delicious and versatile, but it’s also high in calcium and low in calories. If you are looking for a cheese that has a bit of a spicy kick to it, then you may want to opt for halloumi!
Halloumi Cheese Taste FAQ
Why is halloumi cheese squeaky?
Halloumi cheese is famous for its squeak, and it can be a bit difficult to get a clean cut. This is because the curds are very moist and soft, which makes the cheese very pliable. If you are using a sharp knife, it is best to first cut the curd in half horizontally and then slice crosswise, if you can get a clean cut, it will not squeak as much.
What is halloumi cheese similar to?
Halloumi is most similar to feta, paneer, mozzarella, and provolone cheese.
Does halloumi cheese taste like feta?
Halloumi is a lot saltier and more pungent than feta cheese, but you can use them interchangeably in recipes. Halloumi has a similar taste to feta cheese, but the saltiness is different, and there is no hint of garlic or herbs in it.
Does halloumi taste like mozzarella?
Halloumi is quite salty, which makes it similar to mozzarella but with a stronger flavor. It is similar to feta in that it has a dry, crumbly texture. Halloumi has a slightly firmer consistency than mozzarella and can be hard to slice if you do not let it sit out for a while after grilling or frying.
Does halloumi taste like blue cheese?
Halloumi does not taste like blue cheese. Blue cheeses have a sharp and tangy flavor. Because halloumi cheese is made from fresh milk and is not aged, the taste of halloumi is very mild, and many people say it has a similar flavor to mozzarella cheese.
Does halloumi taste like goat cheese?
Halloumi does not taste like goat cheese. It has a mild flavor and salty bite that is very different from goat cheese. If you are familiar with mozzarella or paneer cheese, you will know what to expect.
Does halloumi taste like chicken?
Even though halloumi has a mild, milky flavor, it does not taste like chicken. Chicken is bland, chewy, and dry, while halloumi is more similar to mozzarella and has nothing to do with chicken.