Halloumi is a high-fat Greek cheese that originated from the Island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean. It is a semi-hard, brined cheese traditionally made of sheep’s and goat’s milk.
This mild cheese comprises flaky layers of a less matured white cheese, similar to Mozzarella. It is often served grilled and can be used as a barbeque meat substitute. Halloumi cheese is also typically added to salads or served with fruits like watermelon.
You may run out of Halloumi cheese during a cookout and wonder what to do next? The good news is that there are several Halloumi substitutes you can try. Some of these substitutes are right in your kitchen. Let’s find out which ones.
1. Queso Para Frier
Queso Para Frier is a Central American cheese and an ideal Halloumi substitute for grilling and frying. It turns a lovely golden color when grilled or fried and is served with salads, vegetables, and meats.
Queso Para Frier is much softer than Halloumi but keeps its shape when fried. You can also use it in baked foods or to make popular dishes such as Queso Frito.
2. Queso Panela
Queso Panela is another Cheese similar to Queso Para Frier made from cow’s milk. It is a semi-soft Mexican white cheese that you can bake or fry.
This slightly salty-tasting cheese has a light texture, making it a delicious addition to foods. Crumble it on Quesadillas and other baked dishes that require a light and moist cheese. When exposed to heat, Queso Panela holds up well and tastes great when roasted or cooked.
If you are looking for a cheese that will withstand very high temperatures, Saganaki is an excellent option. It is made from Greek cheeses such as Kefalograviera and Kefalotyri.
This is one of the Halloumi cheese substitutes that you can melt over food, flambé, or pan sear. Include it in salads or have it on warm pita bread as an appetizer. Fried Saganaki is served with some lemon to balance its richness.
Feta is a Greek goat’s milk cheese slightly different from Halloumi due to its crumbly nature. It’s one of the oldest cheeses globally, valued for its sour taste and rich aroma.
It’s saltier than Halloumi and is often used as a stronger tasting option in recipes. But Feta is a healthy cheese option due to its lower fat content. Use it in green salads, or crumble it over foods that need salty, earthy cheese.
Kefalotyri is a tangy Greek cheese from Cyprus, made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. It dates back to the Byzantine era and is one of the earliest hard Greek cheeses.
This legendary cheese tastes like Gruyeres and is one of the substitutes for Halloumi, which is harder in texture and creamier. It is also more pungent, so it may overpower some dishes.
Kefalotyri is best used on appetizers that require salty, creamy cheese. You can also grate it over salads, sauces, pizzas, and stews. Include it on a cheese board with fruits such as grapes and other tangy cheeses for a healthy snack.
6. Queso Blanco
Queso Blanco is another one of the substitutes for Halloumi cheese that is versatile in cooking. It originates from Latin America and is an excellent garnish or topping for foods.
This popular cheese is soft, non-aged, slightly salty, and creamy. You can fry it or grill it until it’s golden brown and crispy. It can also be crumbled into a rice dish, salads, tacos, enchiladas, or grilled and served on its own.
Paneer, also known as Indian cottage cheese, is a fresh white cheese. It is made using sour milk and is commonly used in curries.
This mild Indian delight gives spicy food a creamy touch. And like many substitutes for Halloumi cheese, Paneer tastes excellent when fried. Use it as the meat substitute in a vegetarian curry to balance the spiciness. You can also make appetizers like cheese skewers and desserts like Indian Kheer with Paneer.
If you want cheese that you can melt and tastes like Halloumi, Provolone is an excellent option. It is one of the semi-hard mild Halloumi cheese substitutes you can grill.
While it can hold its shape when seared on a grill, Provolone melts when pan-fried for a long time. Use it in lasagna, grilled sandwiches, and fondue. It also goes well with savory dishes such as chicken pasta and salads.
If you are looking for a vegan alternative for Halloumi, try Tofu. Tofu is, essentially, bean curd made from curdling soy milk. This healthy substitute comes from Japan, where it has been around for over 2,000 years.
Tofu takes on the flavor of the spices and sauces you cook it in. Without these, it doesn’t have much flavor compared to Halloumi. But it’s just as versatile and tastes great in savory recipes. Use Tofu in sauces as a protein or lasagna as a soft cheese substitute. You can also barbecue it or use it in stir-fries.
Mozzarella is one of the Italian Halloumi cheese substitutes you can use when you need thick creamy cheese. It originated in the 16th century when buffalo farming came into effect in Southern Italy.
This soft, moreish cheese is made with cow’s and buffalo’s milk and is often used in pizza and pasta dishes with tomatoes and basil. Mozzarella has a bouncy consistency but turns creamy and soft when used in hot dishes.
Halloumi is an ideal cheese to use whenever frying or grilling is required. It crisps up deliciously when grilled, but it also tastes excellent raw and is often included in Mediterranean dishes. If Halloumi isn’t available, you should find any of the above substitutes for Halloumi in a grocery or specialty store.