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Halloumi cheese is a popular cheese that is often used in dishes like salads and sandwiches. However, if you’re looking for a substitute for halloumi, there are several options available. In this blog post, I’ll share some tips on how to find the best halloumi cheese substitutes.
We’ll also share some recipes that use substitutes for halloumi cheese. So, whether you’re looking for a vegetarian option or just need a replacement. We got you covered! But before we dig into our options, let’s make sure we understand what halloumi tastes like so we can find the perfect swap!
What Is Halloumi Cheese?
Halloumi or Haloumi is a type of cheese that is originally from Cyprus. It is made from sheep’s or goat’s milk and has a high-fat content, which makes it ideal for grilling or frying. Halloumi has a mild, slightly salty flavor and a firm, chewy texture.
It is often used as a vegetarian alternative to meat and can be found in many grocery stores and online retailers. When cooked, halloumi cheese forms a crispy outer layer while remaining soft and gooey on the inside. It pairs well with salads, grilled vegetables, and fruit chutneys. For a truly unique experience, try grilling or frying halloumi cheese and serving it with honeycomb!
I really enjoyed how the Cheese Month Club describes the taste of Halloumi, “Halloumi has a very appealing flavor that’s unlike any other cheese: mellow, but not in the least boring, mildly feta-like, notably tangy, and never too strong. It can be enjoyed almost any of the ways you’d eat other cheeses: sliced, for a simple snack, cubed in salads or melted it in or on casserole”
- Sheep or Goat Cheese
- Sem-Soft but Firm Texture
- Able to be Grilled and Cooked (High Melting Point)
- Salty and Tangy
Halloumi Cheese Substitutes
The list of cheese below is a mix of easy-to-find and not so easy to find. I know it can sometimes be hard to find the closest match. So, I encourage you to do your best when choosing a replacement.
The closest halloumi substitute is feta cheese! It has similar flavor notes, and both can be cooked or grilled. Feta cheese is a brined curd cheese typically made from goat’s or sheep’s milk. It is a crumbly, aged cheese with a strong, salty flavor. Feta originated in Greece and is an integral part of Greek cuisine.
It is often used as a topping on salads or pizzas, in pasta dishes, or as an ingredient in spanakopita and other savory pies. Feta can also be eaten on its own as a snack or appetizer. When replacing halloumi with feta cheese, look for a brand that is made with traditional methods and is in block form, not crumbled.
Another grillable cheese substitute from south of the border is queso panela. It is a type of fresh cheese that originated in Mexico. It is made from whole milk that is slowly heated until it forms a curd. The curd is then pressed into a mold and allowed to cool. Once cooled, the queso panela has a firm texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It can be eaten as is or used in a variety of dishes.
Queso panela is an important ingredient in many traditional Mexican recipes, such as quesadillas and enchiladas. It can also be used as a topping for tacos or nachos. When shopping for queso panela, look for a cheese that is white in color and has a smooth texture.
Mozzarella isn’t the most perfect substitute for halloumi, but it can work if you’re backed in a corner, and the recipe is versatile. Mozzarella cheese is delicious, and it originated in Italy. Its soft, creamy texture makes it perfect for slicing and melting, making it a popular choice for pizzas and lasagnas. Mozzarella is made from cow’s milk, and it gets its distinctive flavor from the addition of rennet and other enzymes.
The curds are then heated to release the whey before being strained and formed into balls. Once the balls are cooled, they are submerged in brine, which gives them their characteristic softness. Mozzarella cheese is typically white or slightly yellow in color. It is sold both fresh and aged, and it pairs well with a variety of foods.
Another great thing about mozzarella is that it is a simple find at the grocery store, or you might have it on hand. Keep in mind that mozzarella will hold its shape when heated for a while, but it will begin to melt. So it is not a great option for grilling or cooking compared to our other options.
Queso Para Freir
Queso para Freir is a type of cheese that is commonly used in Latin American cuisine. It is made from cow’s milk and has a firm, slightly crumbly texture that is salty. Queso para freir is known as a frying cheese, which makes it a great halloumi cheese alternative.
The cheese can be used in a variety of dishes, including quesadillas, empanadas, and chiles Rellenos. So you can easily swap it for the recipe you have! It can also be shredded and used as a topping. Queso para freir is widely available in Hispanic markets and some supermarkets.
Paneer is a type of fresh cheese that originated in India. It is made by curdling milk with acidic ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar. The resulting cheese is then drained and pressed to remove excess water.
Paneer has a firm texture and can be cubed or sliced for use in a variety of dishes. It is a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine, where it is often used in curries and other savory dishes. It can be grilled, but it doesn’t have that salty tang of halloumi.
Kasseri might be tough to find, but if you do, you are in luck! Kasseri cheese is a type of cheese that originated in Greece. It is made from sheep’s milk, and it has a mild, slightly sharp flavor. The cheese is white in color, and it has a firm texture.
It is typically aged for two to three months. Kasseri cheese is often used in salads and as a topping for pizzas and other dishes. But in Greece, that has a popular dish called Saganaki which is mostly used with Kasseri. It’s pan-fried and served alongside pita bread. Sound delicious, right?
Cheeses I Don’t Recommend As A Halloumi Cheese Substitute
Not all cheeses are created equal, and when it comes to Halloumi, it’s important to try to stay close to its unique characteristics. These are cheeses I would not uses in their place. They just won’t work based on flavor, type, and melting point:
- Cheddar Cheese or White Cheddar
- Swiss Cheese
- Colby Jack Cheese
- Monterey Jack Cheese
- American Cheese
- Romano Cheese
My Final Thoughts on Halloumi Alternatives
Overall, if you’re looking for a cheese that will melt and has a salty tang, halloumi is your best bet. However, if you’re looking for something a little different or can’t find halloumi, any of the cheeses listed above should work as substitutes in recipes.
Just be sure to keep an eye on the melting point and flavor profile when making your selections. With such a variety of delicious cheeses available, there’s no need to miss out on your favorite dish just because Halloumi isn’t an option!