Grilled Halloumi Cheese is grilled cheese, taken to the literal max. As in, we are grilling cheese, char marks and all!
Move over Mozzarella Sticks because there’s a new gooey cheese appetizer in my life and her name is grilled halloumi cheese.
What’s halloumi cheese? Let me introduce you.
- Halloumi is a firm cheese that originated in Cyprus. It’s made with some mixture of goat’s, sheep’s, and cow’s milk and is popular throughout the Mediterranean.
- A unique trait of halloumi cheese is its high melting point which allows it to be cooked directly on the hot grill plates without melting into total oblivion.
Cooking it feels a little bit like magic and eating is pretty magical too.
What Does Halloumi Cheese Taste Like?
Halloumi cheese has a mild and buttery flavor. It is a little bit like a cross between feta, mozzarella, and paneer (hello, Paneer Tikka Masala).
When warm, halloumi cheese tastes creamy, salty, and absolutely delicious!
5 Star Review
“It’s amazing! I love its flavor with olive oil.”— Rebecca —
How to Grill Halloumi Cheese
Grilled halloumi makes an unexpected, impressive appetizer (especially served with Greek Layer Dip) that will delight your friends.
It can be a vegetarian main, or use the grilled halloumi cheese to make an actual grilled cheese sandwich.
However you enjoy grilled halloumi cheese, you can’t go wrong!
- Halloumi Cheese. This mild, firm cheese shines on the grill. It’s also quite the party trick!
- Herbs. While you can enjoy halloumi cheese all on its own, I love to give a nod to its Mediterranean roots by adding oregano and thyme. Or even mint!
- Lemon Juice. A squeeze wakes up the flavor and nicely balances the richness of the halloumi.
- Olive Oil. While you can fry halloumi cheese in a nonstick skillet without adding any oil (the fat content of the cheese is sufficient), when grilling, oil is an important insurance policy.
- Preheat the grill. Then mix the marinade.
To keep your halloumi from sticking to the grill, make sure your grates are VERY clean and oil the halloumi well before grilling.
- Slice the Halloumi cheese.
- Brush both sides with the marinade.
- Grill halloumi for 2 to 6 minutes, turning once or twice, until grill marks appear.
- Sprinkle with the remaining olive oil, lemon, and thyme. Serve warm with pita bread, mixed into a salad, or however wish. ENJOY!
No grill? No problem! You can make grilled halloumi indoors on a cast iron grill pan (like this one) on your stovetop.
Ways to Serve Grilled Halloumi
- Appetizer. Pile it on a plate alongside pita, Homemade Naan, or toasted baguette slices. As an appetizer is my favorite way to serve halloumi, and my friends go crazy for it!
- Grilled Halloumi Salad. Cut the grilled halloumi into bite-sized pieces and pile them on your favorite salad. This Mediterranean Chickpea Salad, Israeli Couscous Salad, and this Arugula Salad would all be tasty.
- Grilled Halloumi Sandwich. Tuck your grilled halloumi into a pita or between slices of toasted bread with thinly sliced, roasted, or grilled vegetables and a smear of Edamame Hummus for a filling vegetarian main. Or make burgers!
- Grilled Halloumi Wrap. Use pita or a whole wheat tortilla to create a tasty grilled halloumi wrap.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm it in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- To Freeze. Halloumi cheese can be frozen. Freeze slices of uncooked halloumi cheese in a vacuum-sealed bag or airtight container for up to 6 months. Then you can thaw in small batches and grill on-demand.
Meal Prep Tip
Slice the halloumi up to 5 days in advance. Rewrap and refrigerate until ready to grill.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Measuring Spoons. Magnetic measuring spoons keep organized in your drawers.
- Tongs. These stainless steel tongs have lasted years. Plus, they lock for easy storage.
Now, THIS is my idea of grilled CHEESE!
Frequently Asked Questions
While you can eat halloumi raw, it’s best enjoyed cooked. Cooking halloumi improves both its taste and texture. It becomes creamier and some of the saltiness from the brining process mellows to a pleasant amount of salty flavor. Grilling and pan-frying halloumi cheese are among the most popular, easy ways to prepare it.
Spread the slices in a single layer in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes or until warmed through, flipping it halfway through.
Halloumi cheese is sold in America, you just have to know where to look. I can almost always find it at my local Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and the specialty cheese section at my local grocery store. Halloumi is also sometimes available at Walmart depending on your region. If you’re struggling, the best thing to do is type into Google where to buy halloumi cheese? Then the search will be tailored to your location. If all else fails, there’s always Amazon.
Halloumi cheese “squeaks” in its raw form when bitten due to the long protein strands that form its structure. The sound you hear is the proteins rubbing against the enamel of your teeth. Cheese curds and paneer are two other well-known kinds of cheese that are loved for their squeakiness.
Yes, halloumi does contain lactose. However, if it is made exclusively with sheep or goat milk, then it will typically contain less lactose than those made with cow’s milk.
Grilled Halloumi Cheese
- 8 ounces chunk halloumi cheese cut into 1/3 to 1/2-inch slices
- 2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided, plus additional for the grill
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 lemon halved
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme minced
- Pita bread optional, for serving
- Heat a grill to medium-high (about 400 degrees F). Make sure your grill is VERY clean or the halloumi may stick.
- In a small bowl, stir together 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and oregano.
- Slice the Halloumi cheese into 1/3- to 1/2-inch slices.
- Brush the marinade over both sides of the halloumi.
- Generously oil the grill. Grill the halloumi for 2 to 6 minutes, turning once or twice, until grill marks appear. When lightly pressed the halloumi should give but not be runny (halloumi is a firm, not melty cheese). Place the lemon on the grill with the cut-sides down and let cook until grill marks appear. (To grill the pita, brush it with olive oil, then cook a minute or two on each side, until hot.)
- Transfer the grilled halloumi and lemon to a platter. Drizzle the cheese with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Squeeze the grilled lemon over the top. Sprinkle with thyme. Serve warm with pita, mixed into a salad, or however you please.
- TO STORE: Halloumi is best enjoyed immediately after cooking but can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm it in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- TO FREEZE: Can halloumi cheese be frozen? It sure can! Freeze slices of uncooked halloumi cheese in a vacuum-sealed bag or airtight container for up to 6 months. Then you can thaw in small batches and grill on-demand.
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