Halloumi Cheese: Origin, Flavor, Substitutions, and Wine Paring


A very popular Cypriot cheese, Halloumi is commonly made from either cows’, goats’, or sheep’s milk, or sometimes even a mixture of the first two. It is most commonly and widely used as a grilling cheese; it grills really well while maintaining its shape when heated. 

Let us dive right into it then and give you all the information you need on this exquisite cheese!

Overview and History of Halloumi Cheese

Conventionally produced from goat’s and/or sheep’s milk, Halloumi cheese originates from the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It is a white, layered cheese with some similarities to mozzarella. 

A semi-hard, unripe, and brined cheese sporting a somewhat spongy consistency, the flavor of Halloumi cheese is mostly salty and tangy, with no rind.

Halloumi cheese could be eaten raw, but owing to its high melting point, the cheese is perfect for grilling or frying.

Is Halloumi Cheese Gluten-Free?

Yes, Halloumi cheese is gluten-free! It has been declared safe for consumption by people with celiac and any other gluten-related illnesses. Halloumi cheese is also keto-friendly and works nicely with a number of different health-conscious diets. 

Please also note that the process of production of Halloumi cheese involves the addition of animal rennet to it, making the cheese not suitable to be eaten by vegetarians.

Always check the label for all ingredients to be on the safe side. 

What are the Calories in Halloumi Cheese?

For every 100 grams of Halloumi cheese, there are approximately 346 calories. 

Halloumi cheese is known to provide a good amount of protein and calcium.

Most brands and companies recommend the ideal serving portion to be 30 grams, which is important to keep in mind as excessive consumption could cause a calorie build-up in your body.

Can You Freeze Halloumi Cheese?

Yes! Halloumi cheese is among those cheeses that hold up particularly well when frozen. While most cheese varieties can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months, you can go even beyond that with Halloumi. Its unique, semi-hard texture makes it excellent for freezing.

You must note, however, that you must be very cautious and meticulous when prepping the cheese for freezing.

Halloumi cheese mostly maintains its texture and flavor when frozen.

Here is a helpful and detailed video guide to show you all you need to know about the basics of freezing cheese –

How Long Does Halloumi Cheese Last?

If unopened, Halloumi cheese can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to a year or more. Once opened, Halloumi cheese should stay fine in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Also, note that you must keep the cheese very carefully in the fridge. More storage instructions in the next section.

How to Store Halloumi Cheese?

After being opened, store the Halloumi cheese in the refrigerator, in some salt water, packed carefully in an airtight container with a tight lid for up to two weeks. You could also wrap it tightly in wax, cheese wrap, or some parchment paper. Rewrap in fresh paper whenever unwrapped.

For freezing purposes, make sure you use good quality airtight resealable freezer bags to put in the cheese wrapped tightly in either aluminum foil or plastic wrap. 

Can Pets Eat Halloumi Cheese?

No, it is not recommended at all to feed your dogs Halloumi cheese. The high dairy and fat content is not very good for them, and just a tad too much can make them fall sick and give them gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting. 

Several dogs also have lactose intolerance, so consuming Halloumi cheese may seriously affect their digestive tracts. In the long term, there is also an increased risk of developing serious health issues such as pancreatitis.

Hence, it is best to avoid it and stay safe.

Best Substitutes for Halloumi Cheese

Substitutes for Halloumi cheese come in a range of varieties. Feta cheese is an excellent option; while it is drier and crumblier than Halloumi, the two share a salty taste and a flavorful palate so you can definitely consider it. Other great substitutes are Saganaki, Mozzarella, and Parmesan

Here is a very helpful video guide on Feta cheese that you can refer to so that you know all you need on this Halloumi substitute:

Best Wine Pairing with Halloumi Cheese

Semi-hard cheese like Halloumi pair best with medium-bodied white wines, such as a Chardonnay, a Riesling, a Sauvignon Blanc, or an Arneis. 

The younger Halloumi would pair well with light reds like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais; while aged Halloumi hits differently with fruity red wines such as Merlot, Primitivo and Zinfandel. 

Here is a video guide you can refer to, to learn more about how to pair cheeses like Halloumi with the perfect glass of wine:

Best Recipes to Prepare with Halloumi Cheese

Halloumi cheese, as mentioned earlier, is known and enjoyed popularly as a grilling cheese, which makes it a fantastic addition to several different recipes and dishes. From curries to salads and sandwiches, you can use Halloumi cheese in several different ways. 

Halloumi fries, in particular, are quite the rage. Absolutely delicious and a big hit at parties or gatherings, it is not that difficult to make also.

You can follow this excellent guide and wow your loved ones with this recipe:


Can freezing Halloumi cheese affect its texture or flavor?

It depends on how long you keep Halloumi in the freezer. Try to consume it within seven months of freezing. This will avert rancidity and flavor loss, which happens a lot with most refrigerated cheeses frozen for long periods. The freezing process changes the texture of the cheese a tad bit.

Is it better to eat Halloumi cheese raw or cooked? 

When eaten raw, Halloumi tastes a bit plain and even rubbery, with distinctly salty notes. But once you crisp the cheese in a pan or on the grill, Halloumi gets beautifully crispy and deliciously savory on the outside, and wonderfully melted on the inside, making it an instant delicacy.

When is the best time to freeze Halloumi cheese?

Try your best to freeze Halloumi cheese within a week of opening it. 

Summing Up

I hope this article gave you the information you needed on Halloumi cheese!

Do share this article with other cheese enthusiasts, and spread the word about this!

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About Jane Lewis

Jane loves spending time with her family, cooking delicious meals, traveling to explore new cultures and wines, and tending to her backyard garden. She's a passionate home cook who enjoys trying out recipes from all over the world.