Halloumi is one of my favourite ingredients – but so many people don’t know how to cook it! I have quite a few recipes on here now that use halloumi, so I thought it would be helpful if I created a guide on how to cook it for you!
Halloumi is a cheese that doesn’t melt when you cook it. It’s semi-hard and is known for squeaking slightly as you eat it.
It’s usually made from a mix of goat and sheep’s milk, but can also be made with cow’s milk, and has been brined instead of ripened. It originates from Cyprus.
Yes – it’s cheese, so eating it without cooking it won’t hurt you! The texture isn’t as good though, so personally I’d recommend eating it cooked (or at least warm).
Most decent size supermarkets should stock it. It will be in the cheese aisle, probably near feta and other Greek cheeses. Some cheesemongers may stock it, but I’ve never seen it in one.
How do I cook halloumi?
I first tried pan-fried halloumi, but really you can cook it almost any way – I wouldn’t recommend poaching it or anything, but you can definitely get fairly creative!
Method 1: How to pan-fry halloumi
This is probably the easiest method for cooking halloumi – it’s certainly the one I do most often. It’s really simple.
- slice your halloumi to around 1/2 cm thickness.
- heat a small frying pan over medium heat with a little oil – 1 tsp is more than enough.
- once warm, add your slices of halloumi. The oil may start to spit and water may leave the halloumi – this is perfectly normal.
- flip the slices once they start to turn golden-brown.
- serve them once both sides of each slice are golden-brown and the halloumi is hot through.
How to serve pan-fried halloumi:
Personally, I like to just dip it in sweet chilli sauce, but you can also use it in wraps, in sandwiches etc. – get creative!
My favourite recipe featuring pan-fried halloumi is my roasted veggie and halloumi quinoa bowl. The lemon-garlic yogurt helps to lighten up the meal, and the veggies have an amazing flavour after being roasted!
Method 2: how to grill halloumi
Grilling halloumi is almost a combo of frying it and grilling veggies or meat. Depending on how large your slices are and how likely they are to fall in the gaps in the grate, you may want to cook them on a sheet of foil (or even in foil packets).
Method – how to make halloumi kebabs
- cut your halloumi into 2cm cubes and thread it onto skewers, alternating it with veggies such as red pepper, red onion and tomatoes.
- heat your grill to medium-low heat and brush the grate lightly with a neutral, high smoke point oil.
- place the kebabs across the grates to prevent them from falling between and cook on each side until the halloumi is golden and veggies are cooked.
- Serve in pitta breads or wraps.
Method – how to make a grilled halloumi salad
You can find the recipe here. If you use a proper bbq or grill instead of a grill pan, use a sheet of foil to cover the grates (poke holes in it to allow the smoke through to flavour the veg and halloumi.
You can serve this recipe either as a salad (like me) or with rice or pasta as a main dish.
Method 3: how to bake halloumi
Baked halloumi won’t get as golden and crispy as the other options here. Instead, it releases a lot of water and goes almost wrinkly on the outside. It’s a slightly different texture but is very good with sauces – plus you don’t have to babysit it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Method: halloumi bake with roasted red peppers and tomato sauce
You can find my full recipe here. Or, for simplified instructions:
- preheat your oven
- bake your sauce with red pepper halves on top
- add halloumi slices and bake a little longer
- (optional) broil until the halloumi turns slightly crispy and golden.
I do have another recipe involving baked halloumi – my halloumi and spinach enchiladas! They’re absolutely delicious – even if they aren’t quite as pretty as the red pepper halloumi bake!
Method 4: how to pan-fry even crispier halloumi
This method is one I actually made up myself! I realised that since you can cook tofu or strips of beef to be crispy (think crispy chilli beef – the classic Chinese takeout!).
It’s really simple, but you do have to heat a pan to really, nice high heat – don’t be scared, it might spit a little when you add the halloumi, but that’s what we want!
Method: crispy coated halloumi ‘nuggets’
- cut the block of halloumi into cubes and coat with cornstarch (mixed with any seasoning powders – pepper, garlic powder etc.).
- heat 4 tbsp of cooking oil (vegetable, sunflower, canola etc.) in a pan over high heat until very hot.
- add the halloumi cubes (with no excess cornstarch) and allow them to sit for 30 seconds before stirring in order to become golden and crispy.
- cook, stirring regularly until crispy and golden-brown on all sides.
- serve hot with dipping sauce or as part of a stir-fry.
You can see the full recipe for my crispy sweet chilli halloumi noodles here.
Method 5: Deep-Frying
I don’t actually have any deep-fried halloumi recipes on here yet, but that’s because I prefer to pan-fry it. However, if you’re looking to deep-fry halloumi with a breadcrumb coating then the method is actually pretty similar to making fried chicken!
You can find the recipe for these battered halloumi nuggets here. They look absolutely delicious – a great alternative protein for vegetarians who miss nuggets but aren’t fans of tofu!
They’d be delicious with some simple french fries, garlic bread – or even just a simple salad! After all, you can never go wrong with nuggets or halloumi, and these are the best of both worlds!
What should I serve with halloumi?
Personally, I love sweet chilli sauce (especially blue dragon brand), although a sweet and smokey bbq sauce would be incredible too.
To serve as a side, a simple salad like this one is the perfect way to complement the salty halloumi. Plus it helps to offset any guilt you might have relating to eating so much cheese (not that the guilt ever stops me!).
Other ingredients that go well with halloumi are typically Greek or Turkish as while it’s technically from Cyprus, most people know Greek cuisine better! So that includes things like:
- roasted red peppers
- herbs like oregano, rosemary and thyme
and really anything else you think goes well! It’s not unheard of to use halloumi as a substitute for paneer in curries, so there’s certainly space to test things out!