Cheese can seem overwhelming if you don’t know what to choose. Variations in flavors, melting points, texture, hardness, type of milk, and countless others further complicates decicions.
Cheeses like Halloumi have a very specific flavor and taste. Halloumi can be hard to find so knowing some great substitutes to use in your recipe is important.
What is Halloumi?
Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese originating from Cyprus, Greece. It is a feature of many Greek dishes and is available in many local grocery stores. It is a great snack on its own but can be paired with fresh fruit or vegetables.
Halloumi is known for its tangy taste. It also has a high level of sodium giving it a salty taste. It can be made from goat, sheep, or cow milk. It has a chewy texture and is firm. You can eat raw Halloumi Cheese or use a variety of different cooking methods.
This cheese has a higher melting point making it a great choice for baking, grilling, or frying. A favorite Halloumi recipe is Halloumi Grilled Cheese. This delicious sandwich is a great meatless option with room for fresh vegetables and a lot of flavors.
Enjoying this fresh cheese can make you feel like you are right on the island of Cyprus.
Halloumi Nutrition Facts
A 1-ounce serving of Halloumi Cheese has:
- 90 Calories
- 6 g of Protein
- 1 g of Carbs
- 7 g of Fat
- 350 mg of Sodium
- 390 mg of Calcium
- 1 g of Sugar
Halloumi is a great source of calcium and protein. It may also protect against type 2 diabetes. It is a great choice for those with a high-fat diet. But, Halloumi may not be the best option for those with high blood pressure. The high levels of sodium may affect those individuals negatively.
Understanding the makeup and taste of Halloumi is important to find the best substitute. Similar flavors and nutritional aspects can make an ideal halloumi substitute.
Fun Cheese Facts
Cheesemaking has been around since 6000 B.C. It is still a huge part of the dairy market today.
Studies suggest that the average person eats 37 pounds of cheese per year!
The United States eats the most cheese of any country consuming 6.1 million tons per year. This is 24% of the total volume of cheese eaten.
Halloumi Cheese Substitutes
Cheese that offers a high melting property is important to find a suitable Halloumi substitute. It should also be a versatile cheese to give you a lot of cooking options. Here are some great picks.
Another Cypriot cheese is Kefalotyri. It is a lesser-known option similar to Anari cheese. It is made from sheep milk or goat milk. Kefalotyri cheese is a hard and salty cheese. It has a dry and chewy texture. It can vary in color from white to yellow.
Kefalotyri is a good choice to substitute Halloumi in grilled recipes. It has a high melting point and strong flavor. Try Kefalotyri with grilled tomatoes and a sweet sauce such as Molasses. These are not similar taste profiles but they will create an irresistible explosion of flavor.
Southern Italians made Mozzarella cheese likely from sheep’s milk or buffalo milk in the 1st century. It is one of the most popularly known cheeses and is commonly used on pizza. Today, it is usually made from cow’s milk but can also be made from goat milk.
Mozzarella is semi-soft to firm and has a mild flavor. It has high water content and is low in fat. It has a lower melting point than Halloumi. But, it can be one of the best halloumi cheese substitutes in salads or other dishes needing fresh cheese.
Mozzarella is also the best option as a substitute for many pasta dishes. Its creamy base would be an excellent choice in replacing Halloumi in meals such as Halloumi Pasta with Tomato Sauce. This Italian cheese is a good substitute for Halloumi.
While tofu isn't a cheese, nor does it contain any dairy, it does have a very similar consistency to Halloumi. This makes it a great substitution as well as a vegan or vegetarian alternative.
Tofu doesn't melt like cheese, however, but will behave similarly when fried.
When compared to Halloumi, tofu has less fat, calories, carbs and higher protein, so if anything, it is the healthier choice!
Not only does manouri come from the same region as halloumi, but it works great in recipes that require cooking. You see, once heated, halloumi can actually take on a rubbery texture once it cools. Manouri, on the other and, will tend to crumble when it cools. This subtle difference is quite noticeable and pleasing.
Manouri differs from Halloumi in that it is derived from the leftover whey created from the feta cheese making process combined with pasteurized sheep's milk. This is quite different than cheese, like halloumi, that are created from milk.
5. Queso Para Freir
This traditional cheese has roots in both Mexico and the Caribbean. Queso para freir is made from cow’s milk and can be white or pale yellow. It can withstand high heat and is often served fried.
Queso Para Freir offers a milder flavor than Halloumi. But, it is one of the best Halloumi Cheese substitutes, especially for fried dishes. Try Queso Para Freir in place of Halloumi in savory recipes. A delicious fried egg with cheese and bacon can be a great start to your morning!
6. Feta Cheese
Feta is one of the oldest cheeses in the world. It is considered a sister to Halloumi as both kinds of cheese originated in Greece. But, feta is made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. Feta cheese is aged, salted, and cured in brine.
Feta is considered a healthier cheese option. It contains more calcium than other cheeses. The Greek cheese also offers 4 g of protein in only a one-ounce serving. Feta makes a good halloumi cheese substitute that is easy to enjoy.
Feta is a salty cheese with a tangy and rich flavor. It is saltier than Halloumi Cheese but can make a good substitute in Greek dishes.
Try it on top of a pizza with fresh tomato, black pepper, and olives. You can also enjoy feta with fresh fruit or in a dip.
7. Queso Panela
Queso Panela is also called Queso Canasta or "basket cheese". This cheese originated in central Mexico. The makers of the cheese would strain it through a hand-woven basket, calling it basket cheese.
Queso Panela is a white cheese that has a smooth and rubbery texture. It is made from pasteurized cow's milk. It has a similar salty taste as Halloumi making it an excellent substitute. It also doesn’t melt easily and is easy to exchange in many dishes.
Try Queso Panela in place of Halloumi in dishes such as salads or on top of burgers.
Looking for a great salad recipe that goes well with Halloumi? Try this Greek Salad.
Queso Panela has much more moisture than Halloumi. Its higher moisture content is not a great option if you are looking for browned fried cheese. But, this kind of cheese can still be a great choice based on the qualities you are looking for.
8. Queso Blanco
Queso Blanco means “white cheese” in Spanish. It also originates in Mexico. Queso Blanco is often mistakenly called Queso Fresco. There isn’t much difference between the two. Queso Blanco is made from cow’s milk and is a great option in place of Halloumi.
Queso Blanco has a fresh milky taste. It has a softer texture and is crumbly. Queso Blanco can be eaten fresh, grilled, or fried like Halloumi.
This Mexican cheese is a great substitute in dishes such as Mediterranean Baked Cheese. Queso Blanco will keep its form even though it is a soft cheese. It is the perfect choice to replace Halloumi.
Indian cottage cheese, also known as Paneer is one of the great Halloumi alternatives. It is used commonly in Indian cuisine and is a very versatile option. It can be grilled or fried and used in almost any recipe.
Curdled milk and lemon juice extract create the mild milky flavors of Paneer. It is known for its excellent high-melt properties.
Paneer has a similar firm texture to Halloumi and is a healthy fat. This mild cheese is a simple swap for Halloumi because of this similar texture.
Paneer cheese is also more affordable than Halloumi. It is great in place of Halloumi, especially if you are on a budget. Paneer can be used as a good substitute for Halloumi to create a tasty grilled cheese sandwich.
Provolone Cheese is a great mild cheese. It is made from cheese curds and created into a stretchy texture. It is a semi-hard cheese that has a complex flavor profile.
This type of cheese is the best substitute for Halloumi on sandwiches or cheese boards. It will not hold its shape well when it reaches high temperatures.
It does have a similar flavor to Halloumi and is popular cheese. You can easily find Provolone at your local market.
There are many different types of cheese that make good substitutes for Halloumi. The best way to find the kinds of cheese that match your recipe is to check out its flavor and melting properties.
A high boiling point is important in Halloumi dishes that need firm cheese. But, melted cheese can be a good substitute for sandwiches or burgers. You will also want to keep in mind the salty flavor that some cheeses have and make sure that works for your recipe.
Finding the best substitute is an easy task with the amount of cheese available in the United States. You can buy unusual cheese in small portions at specialty stores or in bulk. There are also vegan substitute options for almost any recipe. You can use soy milk in place of animal milk as an easy swap.
Halloumi is a great cheese with a salty taste. It can be substituted in many ways. Using a variety of recipes will bring opportunities to try something new.
Substitute Guide for Halloumi Cheese
All the information you need organized for you below!
Halloumi Substitution Graphic
Substitutes for Halloumi Table
|Kefalotyri||Hard and salty, made from sheep or goat milk, dry chewy texture, high melting point, strong flavor.|
|Mozzarella Cheese||Soft and creamy, made with buffalo milk, offers similar taste but will melt.|
|Tofu||Vegan, mild flavor, takes on the flavor of surrounding ingredients, similar texture.|
|Manouri||Comes from same region, crumbles once cooled after being heated, made from sheep's milk and leftover whey from feta cheese|
|Queso Para Freir||Often served fried, can withstand high heat levels, made from cow's milk, mild flavor.|
|Panela Cheese||Mild, white, fresh cheese, does not melt, made with cow's milk.|
|Feta Cheese||Soft and crumbly, made with sheep and goat's milk, does not melt.|
|Queso Panela||White cheese, smooth and rubbery texture, does not melt easily, higher moisture content.|
|Queso Blanco||White cheese, made from cow's milk, soft and crumbly texture, can be grilled.|
|Paneer Cheese||Can be grilled or fried, mild flavor, high melting point, firm texture.|
|Provolone||Mild cheese, melts easily, similar flavor, wildly available, inexpensive.|
Do you have any other tried and true substitution recommendations? Please let me know in the comments!