Pan Fried Halloumi are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside cheese “chips.” Make this recipe to serve as a sweet or savory dish!
This recipe really couldn’t be any easier and the versatility of these appetizers makes them perfect for any occasion.
On top of being great garnished both sweet and savory, it can be added to so many dishes or fried up to replace the meat in your next gyro.
What is Fried Halloumi
This semi-soft cheese, (sometimes spelled haloumi or hallomi) is traditionally made in Cyprus from goat’s or sheep’s milk.
These days, it is cultivated in various places around the globe, and often contains cow’s milk as well.
The texture is a bit rubbery, akin to mozzarella, and has a very high melting point. Because of this, it can be fried in hot oil without melting or losing its shape. Instead, the outside of each slice fries crisp and golden, while the inside warms and softens.
Because it has been brined, it has a salty and tangy flavor that makes it wonderful to eat raw as well.
Ingredients for this Halloumi Recipe
Besides its high melting point, another really wonderful thing about this recipe is its versatility. Eat it sweet or savory, or double the portion and make some of each.
- Halloumi - You can find this product in most well-stocked grocery stores. I usually get mine at Trader Joe’s. If your local store doesn’t carry it or is out of stock, you can substitute it with Paneer instead.
- Olive oil - This is for frying. You won’t need a lot, just enough to crisp things up well.
Some recipes allow for tofu to be a substitute, but for this recipe, stick with the cheese, as tofu doesn’t offer the same salty and tangy flavor.
Paneer, which also has a very high melting point, can be used instead. However, keep in mind that paneer has a milder flavor.
- Sweet Option
A combination of drizzled honey and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios, all topped with dried rose petals is sure to satisfy the sweet tooth. Dried rose petals have a slightly sweet and earthy flavor that some people compare to strawberries. They are available in some grocery stores or get them on Amazon.
- Savory Option 1
Dukkah - An Egyptian and Middle Eastern condiment, Dukkah (also spelled duqqa) is a combination of various types of ground or chopped nuts, sesame seeds, coriander, cumin, and salt. This Egyptian Dukkah can be homemade, where everything is simply ground finely, or you can buy Dukkah readymade.
Za’atar - is a savory and tangy spice blend of earthy seasonings like coriander and other herbs such as oregano or thyme. But the secret ingredient of this blend is the sumac which brings the zing of flavor. Try making Lebanese Za’atar yourself.
- Savory Option 2
With a bit of a greek salad tone, this topping of balsamic glaze over chopped cherry tomatoes sprinkled with oregano is sure to win you compliments.
Making Fried Halloumi
It won’t take long to get the ingredients ready for this appetizer. Just decide which garnish you’ll be using and have those ingredients on hand and prepared before you fry the cheese. This way, you are able to serve the dish while it’s still warm and gooey on the inside.
- Drain, slice, and dry.
After you’ve drained and sliced the halloumi, pat it dry so you don’t get extra moisture in the pan when frying. Then, it’s just a matter of searing the slices in hot oil until they turn golden with deep brown edges.
Add your choice of garnishes and serve while everything is still hot.
Serving and Storage
Eat fried or simply raw and thinly sliced or substitute for the mozzarella in Caprese salad. Or two grilled slices can be used in place of bread for flavorful gluten-free sandwiches
- Stored in the refrigerator unopened, it will be good for up to a year.
- Once opened, use within two weeks. Store it submerged in salt water in an airtight container.
- It freezes well and will keep for up to a month in the freezer without the texture being affected.
- These appetizers are best eaten right after cooking. Refrigerating leftovers will result in hard or rubbery textures.
Pan Fried Halloumi - Greek Mezze Platter Ideas
- 8 oz halloumi cheese (See Note 1)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Pistachios chopped
- dried rose petals
Savory Garnish #2
- Balsamic glaze
- Oregano leaves
- Cherry Tomatoes sliced
- Drain and cut halloumi into ⅜-inch slices. Pat dry with paper towel.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and sear the cheese in the hot pan until each slice develops a deep brown crust, about 2 minutes on the first side and 1 minute on the other.
- Remove from skillet and plate with garnish of choice (sweet or savory).
- Halloumi cheese does not melt. Paneer cheese is a good substitute if halloumi cheese. I get mine at Trader Joes and any cheese department of your market. Another option is to source from a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean store.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.