Fried halloumi is tasty, easy and ready in 5 minutes. Once fried, I like to pair my crispy haloumi with spicy honey to make a tasty appetizer in no time.
Long-time readers will be well aware of my love of cheese. From marinated feta and homemade labneh to baked feta with zaatar and honey, my family is among the most devoted cheese fans you'll find. Today's recipe is one of my favorites - if you've never had halloumi, you're in for a treat! This appetizer is ready in 5 minutes and could turn out to be a showstopper at your next gathering!
Table Of Contents:
What is halloumi?
Associated with Cyprus, halloumi is a sturdy cheese made of sheep or goat's milk, or a combination of the two. This is a semihard cheese with a texture similar to mozzarella. As an unripened cheese, halloumi has a squeaky and spongy texture with salty and tangy flavor that it gets from brining.
Halloumi keeps its shape and doesn't melt when cooked due to its high melting point, making it the perfect appetizer that's ready in 5 minutes. You can grill, bake or pan fry this cheese. When fried, this semi-firm cheese is crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
You can eat halloumi raw, but it tastes so much better when cooked. In this recipe, I topped the pan fried halloumi with spicy warm honey for a nice combination of sweet and salty.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Halloumi: You can find this cheese in the cheese isle of many supermarkets, close to the feta and mozzarella. If you can't find it in your local supermarket, check out Middle Eastern and Mediterranean shops. It's usually sold as a log in a pack with a little bit of brine to keep it fresh.
- Olive oil: I like using extra virgin olive oil to "shallow fry" the cheese.
- Honey: A little bit of warm honey takes this dish from a humble to fancy!
- Spices: A combination of Aleppo pepper and sumac paired with warm honey adds a lot of flavor to the cheese.
- Sesame seeds: For a bit of nutty flavor, top the pan fried halloumi with toasted sesame seeds.
How to make fried halloumi
- Slice the cheese: Place the sturdy halloumi on a cutting board and cut it into ½ inch (1.5 cm) slices. You'll get about 8 to 10 slices. Pat dry each piece thoroughly, using a kitchen paper towel.
- Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium high heat.
- Once the oil is hot and shimmery, place the halloumi slices in the pan and fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until they are golden and crispy.
- Heat the honey and drizzle over the fried halloumi and finish with Aleppo pepper and sumac. Serve immediately.
Turn it into halloumi fries!
To make halloumi fries, cut the semihard cheese into ½ inch thick sticks and shallow fry them in olive oil for 2 minutes on each side until they're golden. Think of these as Cypriot mozzarella sticks, ready in 5 minutes without breading or excessive toppings that detract from the cheese.
Tips to make best halloumi fries
- Pat dry: Make sure to pat dry each halloumi piece well with a paper towel so they don't splatter once placed in the hot pan.
- Control the heat: Keep the heat at medium high so the cheese gets crispy and golden as soon as it's added to the pan.
- Don't overcrowd the pan: To have evenly golden, crispy and nicely cooked halloumi fries, use a large pan and don't overcrowd it.
- Serve right away: Fried halloumi is best served immediately when it's hot, creamy and soft. Once cool, halloumi fries get rubbery and loses its creamy texture.
Frequently asked questions
Since fried halloumi is best served right away when it's hot, I don't recommend frying it anytime before serving.
Not really. Some say Indian paneer or south American frying cheese (queso de freir) can work, but their texture and flavor is different from halloumi.
Yes, you can fry the halloumi slices in a nonstick pan without oil. This method is called "dry frying". Heat the nonstick pan over medium high heat and fry the cheese for 2 minutes on each side until golden.
As I mentioned before, this dish is best served hot. Leftovers don't reheat well and the texture of the cold fried halloumi is rubbery. It's best not to have any leftovers but, if you do, cut them up and add them to salads like croutons.
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Fried Halloumi with Honey
- 8 oz halloumi cheese
- 3 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
- ½ tsp sumac
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Place the halloumi cheese on a cutting board and cut it into ½ inch (1.5 cm) thick slices. Pat dry the halloumi slices completely using a kitchen paper towel.
- Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmery, place the halloumi slices in the pan and fry for 2 minutes on each side, until they're golden and crispy. Transfer to the serving plate.
- Warm the honey in the microwave (10 to 15 seconds) or in a small saucepan over medium low heat. drizzle over the fried halloumi. Top with Aleppo pepper, sumac and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
- Once fried, halloumi is crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, therefore it's best to serve it immediately, as it would get rubbery when it cools.
- Instead of Aleppo pepper, you can use red pepper flakes. If 1 teaspoon sounds a lot, use less pepper.
- Nonstick pans work best for this recipe since halloumi is a delicate cheese and we don't want it to stick to the pan.
- You can find halloumi in many supermarkets in the cheese aisle near feta and mozzarella. If not available, check out your local Middle Eastern and Mediterranean shops.
- It's best not to have leftover fried halloumi because it doesn't reheat well. However, if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To serve, cut them into smaller pieces and add it to salads or sandwiches.