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Food & Recipes

You’ll Love Halloumi: The Tangy Cheese That You Can Grill, Fry or Bake — 3 Easy Meal Ideas

Its "squeaky" texture means you can cook with it and it won't turn into a gooey mess.

If you’re like us, you love all things cheese: from sprinkling it on pasta to melting it over meats to tossing it in salads. How often, though, does it get to be the meal’s main attraction? The answer is rarely. Enter Halloumi, a firm cheese that looks similar to a block of tofu. If you’re wondering about the taste, halloumi cheese boasts a mild, feta-like tanginess. You’ll also be amazed at how it’s a filling protein option for many dishes. Unlike many other cheeses, Halloumi doesn’t get gooey when cooked; plus, thanks to its high melting point, it can be fried or grilled for maximum enjoyment. Here are some easy ways to let this wildly versatile cheese play a starring role in your dinner.

What does Halloumi cheese taste like?

Halloumi is a firm cheese that’s made from goat, sheep or cow’s milk. It’s unique because it boasts a subtle tangy flavor and distinctive texture that’s often described as “squeaky.” (The so-called squeak is the result of the protein clumps within the cheese rubbing against your teeth.) No matter how you cook it, Halloumi will take on a golden brown hue and maintain its structural integrity, with a chewy but slightly crisp — rather than melty — texture. Therefore, it’s a worthy addition to a range of recipes.

The popularity of Halloumi

In recent years, Halloumi has become increasingly popular in the US, perhaps due to a rising interest in meat substitutes — but it first became well-known as an export to the UK from Cyprus. In 2013, the BBC noted that “Halloumi has made a classic British culinary journey from ethnic specialty to commonplace item.” Today, the UK is the largest importer of Halloumi in the world, and while Americans may not be quite as Halloumi-obsessed as the Brits, this cheese’s profile is rising, with global Halloumi sales expected to top $900 million by 2030. Market research credits the increasing presence of European tourists in the US as the likely source of our interest in Halloumi, and predicts it will be more popular stateside in years to come. Luckily, many grocery stores nationwide already sell this cheese in their dairy aisle.

How healthy is Halloumi cheese?

An ounce of this cheese contains 90 calories and 6 grams of protein. While it’s sure to keep you fuller longer, the cheese is best eaten in moderation as each ounce also contains 33 milligrams of sodium and 7 grams of fat. (Click through to our stories highlighting why cheese is good for weight loss and the benefits of protein-rich whipped cottage cheese.)

Fresh halloumi as part of a guide answering the question "What does Halloumi cheese taste like?"

The versatility of this cheese

This cheese can be enjoyed raw or cooked by baking, frying or grilling it. Here, you’ll find three ways to incorporate this cheese into your everyday dishes once it’s sliced or cubed.

1. Sandwiches

Halloumi’s firmness and savory flavor make it a sandwich MVP. Try a Seared Halloumi Sandwich on Focaccia With Roasted Vegetables and Fuji Apple Salad — the fruit and eggplant bring in unexpected flavors, and the comforting focaccia bread holds the whole thing together. Like mozzarella, halloumi pairs well with roasted peppers, tomato, and pesto, so a Grilled Halloumi Sandwich With Veggies and Pesto is another option worth trying. You can also dip your cheese in flour to make an addictively crispy burger

2. Salads

Spice up your Caprese salad by swapping mozzarella for halloumi, or mix fried Halloumi with Walnuts and Figs for a salad that’s both sweet and savory. You can also mix halloumi with other vegetarian staples like avocado and chickpeas to create a salad dish that’s surprisingly filling.

3. One-pan dishes

Because halloumi can’t really be overcooked or undercooked like meat or fish, it’s a top candidate for a one-pan meal. Throw some halloumi and veggies on a pan, put it in the oven, and dinner is set before you know it. Sheet Pan Halloumi Fajitas may sound unusual, since the cheese is usually associated with Mediterranean food — but this recipe offers a satisfying take on the Mexican classic. A Warm Winter Vegetable Salad With Halloumi roasted on a sheet pan is a chilly night alternative to chowing down on carbs. And Sheet Pan Halloumi and Vegetables is another simple meal that’s more hearty than you’d expect.

Our test kitchen’s favorite Halloumi recipe

No matter how you end up serving your Halloumi, we think this easy-to-cook cheese is worth adding to your weeknight dinner rotation. Try our Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms recipe, which is a cheesy and savory main that your dinner crowd will love!

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Stuffed portobello mushrooms as part of a guide answering the question "What does Halloumi cheese taste like?"

No one will miss the meat in these tender ’shrooms filled with buttery mashed potatoes.


  • 12 oz. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. + 2 Tbs. olive oil 4 small shallots, halved
  • 4 (5 oz.) portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
  • 2 vines cherry tomatoes on the vine
  • 3 oz. Halloumi cheese, cut into ¾-inch pieces


  • Active: 25 mins
  • Total time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease rimmed baking pan. In pot of salted boiling water, cook potatoes until tender, 15 minutes. Drain; return to pot. Add milk, butter, ⅛ tsp. salt and ⅛ tsp. pepper; mash.
  2. On baking pan, toss shallots with 1 tsp. oil. Brush mushrooms with remaining oil; sprinkle with ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Add mushrooms, smooth side up, and tomatoes to pan. Roast until mushrooms are just tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Flip; drain excess liquid. Divide potato mixture among mushrooms. Top with Halloumi.
  3. Bake until hot, 10 minutes. Remove shallots and tomatoes. Broil mushrooms 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with shallots and tomatoes.

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