More cheese, please!
We are so fascinated with the abundance of cheeses worldwide that we sometimes get confused over which is which!
But one thing’s for sure: We can’t get enough cheese and want to know even more about it.
Halloumi cheese is an exciting and delicious cheese you can find in supermarkets, tasting delicious in salads, sandwiches, and on skewers. (*)
Fun fact: Serve halloumi with watermelon, a traditional Cyrpus dish!
Unfortunately, finding halloumi cheese in the United States can be pretty challenging. If you find it in your local store, it most likely comes with a high price tag!
Don’t worry; your recipes aren’t ruined.
You can easily find the best substitute for halloumi cheese and still nail the flavor your dish needs.
Read on as we show you the top alternatives you can find in your kitchen or supermarket.
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What is a Good Substitute for Halloumi Cheese?
If you’re not familiar with what halloumi cheese is yet, this is a semi-hard, white, brined cheese made of goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, or a combination of these two. Sometimes, you can find halloumi cheese made of cow’s milk!
Fun fact: Halloumi cheese originated from Cyprus, where people produced the cheese for centuries.
Halloumi cheese is made from heating milk and adding rennet to coagulate the milk. After that, cheesemakers will cut the curds and leave them to firm up. Once firmed, these are pressed into molds, packed in water, then salted.
While halloumi cheese has become very popular and more accessible in well-stocked supermarkets and online shops, there are various reasons why you may need a substitute.
It may not be in your supermarket, the cheese is more expensive, or you require a dairy-free option.
Whatever the case is, you can always turn to any of these substitutes for halloumi cheese:
1. Indian Cottage Cheese (Paneer)
As the name suggests, you can find paneer cheese in many dishes from Indian cuisine. It’s a fresh cheese with similar characteristics and texture as halloumi cheese.
Paneer is created by turning sour milk (buffalo milk or cow’s milk) with an acidic component. Like halloumi cheese, paneer has a high softening point so that you can use it for frying. This cheese won’t dissolve even when warmed, and the paneer has a similarly smooth and gentle flavor, making it an excellent halloumi cheese substitute.
We like using paneer for grilling, frying, and in all recipes that require halloumi cheese!
2. Feta Cheese
Feta is a famous Greek cheese made from goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, or both. Feta is a white and tenderized curd cheese without skin and a smaller surface, which is gramed into big squares then matured.
Expect an intense flavor ranging from gentle to sharp. Furthermore, feta has a brittle and grainy surface, taking time to soften.
With all that in mind, you can use feta as an excellent substitute for halloumi in numerous dishes like salads or coomed mixed greens. You get a more grounded and slightly pungent taste from feta, though!
Manouri is a semi-delicate Greek cheese, having a comparative flavor and appearance to halloumi. This cheese is also made with sheep’s milk and goat’s milk!
However, manouri has a milder flavor, making it more adaptable as a halloumi substitute. You can use manouri in different recipes, particularly in mixed greens.
We recommend using manouri to convey various flavors like oils or to add a bit of lemon juice and dark pepper! While halloumi is usually served with mint, you can try the new twist with manouri, radiating its mild flavor to your recipes.
We all know that mozzarella is an Italian cheese that works best as a garnish for delicious pizzas. That’s thanks to mozzarella’s low-dampness assortment.
Since we don’t let fresh mozzarella mature, you can eat it within hours after it’s made, having a thick and creamy consistency.
Note that this lovely Greek cheese doesn’t have the dissolving properties halloumi cheese does, but it still makes a good halloumi substitute if you prefer a fresh and gentle cheese with a softer texture.
If you want to serve halloumi cheese in mixed greens or other fresh dishes, you can use any type of mozzarella, may it be fresh mozzarella or mozzarella di bufala.
Don’t attempt cooking with it unless you want melted cheese or a soggy mess on your grill!
5. Provolone Cheese
Provolone is another Italian cheese in two main types: Provolone dolce and provolone piccante.
Provolone dolce has a fragile flavor comparable to halloumi, while provolone Picante has a more grounded taste. Because of that, the former is a better halloumi cheese substitute.
Many people know provolone for its softening properties, so note that it will not hold its shape when exposed to heat. This cheese continues softening after heating or cooking it.
We recommend other halloumi cheese substitutes if you need to cook your cheese. This is better used for sandwiches and other dishes that don’t require cooking.
6. Queso Panela
Queso panela is a white cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk. It’s a fresh Mexican cheese with a semi-delicate yet light and spicy taste, assimilating various flavors.
We recommend queso panela because it has a high melting point and tastes similar to halloumi after cooking or roasting.
That said, queso panela has a higher dampness content, so it’s a bit wetter than halloumi. Meaning this cheese won’t brown when fried.
We like using this when garnishing burgers or in other Mexican dishes.
7. Queso Para Freir
You can easily find queso para freir in places selling American food. It’s a suitable substitute for halloumi but has a gentler surface.
Queso para Freir can still withstand high temperatures and keeps its shape even after frying. If you cook it properly, you might even achieve a scorched covering as it’s pretty melt-proof.
Think of queso para Freir as queso panela, but the former can get a brown crust after grilling it. Also, like queso panela, this cheese is made from cow’s milk.
8. Queso Blanco
As it isn’t matured, Queso Blanco is a white cheese with a gentle and slightly spicy flavor. Queso Blanco is a versatile ingredient in cooking and has similar liquefying properties halloumi offers.
You can use queso Blanco like how you would use halloumi, whether you’re pan-frying, grilling, or serving it raw in salads and sandwiches.
Fun fact: Queso Blanco means white cheese in Spanish! This cheese has a high melting point but a milder flavor, making it one of the best substitutes for halloumi.
9. Kefalotyri with Lemon Juice
Kefalotyri is made from goat or sheep milk to expect a similar taste. You can replace halloumi with this unique cheese, though it’s a bit harder and more pungent with less tang.
Since kefalotyri has a firm texture, you get a consistency similar to halloumi. You can barbecue this cheese to serve as an appetizer with a sprinkle of lemon juice and black pepper.
10. Anari Cheese
Anari is another type of Cypriot cheese, meaning it comes in Cyprus, like halloumi! This fresh ricotta-style cheese comes from a combination of cheese types, like halloumi and kefalotyri.
This isn’t a famous ingredient but still deserves to be on our list of best substitutes for halloumi cheese. It’s made from sheep milk with a semi-hard surface and a slightly spicy, tart flavor. It works well in salads, and you can consume it dry or fresh.
Graviera is a Greek cheese that’s hard with a light shade, with other flavors ranging from nutty to sweet. Like halloumi, this is made from sheep and goat milk, though you can find it made of cow milk, too.
You can use this in various recipes, like sandwiches and salads.
While saganaki sounds like a Japanese city, it’s a Greek cheese! It’s one of the best halloumi substitutes as it has the same taste as halloumi with small differences.
You fry saganaki until it reaches its boiling point, then serve it with bread and some lemon juice.
Saganaki isn’t as “squeaky” as halloumi, and it has a higher dampness content, so it won’t brown when cooking. But still, it’s a melt-proof cheese!
If you can’t have cheese or prefer a healthier option, we recommend tofu. It doesn’t have a similar taste as fresh cheese, but you get a slightly similar texture.
You can use tofu in any recipe calling for halloumi cheese, using the hearty and creamy kind. While it’s not precisely like halloumi cheese, you still get an exciting flavor.
This ingredient has an acrid taste, retaining flavors after consolidating it in your recipes. You must prepare it properly to achieve the best taste and only use it when marinated in vegetable stock to achieve a cheesier, acidic flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have questions about using halloumi and the alternatives we mentioned above?
Here are frequently asked questions to learn from:
1. How do you choose the ideal halloumi substitute?
If you want a cheese with similar melting properties as halloumi, meaning it has a high melting point and holds its shape when heated, then we recommend using:
- Queso panela
- Queso para Freir
- Paneer cheese
- Kefalotyri cheese
- Queso Blanco
For those who want fresh cheese for salads, then stick to:
If you need a plant-based or dairy-free option, then tofu is one of the best halloumi cheese substitutes to suit your needs.
When selecting an ingredient for replacing halloumi, choose one based on what your recipe needs, along with your personal taste and preference.
2. What other cheeses are similar to halloumi cheese?
The substitutes we mentioned above are similar to halloumi cheese. But as a rule of thumb, we recommend using cheese types made of sheep’s milk to achieve a similar flavor.
If you want cheese with high melting points, you’ll have to conduct research properly on how to cook it as they come apart when exposed to high temperatures.
Fun fact: Halloumi is also called grilled cheese because of the high melting point, so you can fry and grill it without losing shape.
3. Is halloumi similar or the same as mozzarella?
Halloumi cheese isn’t entirely the same as the likes of feta and mozzarella.
Halloumi is made of goat’s milk and sheep’s milk from Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean island.
It’s a layered white cheese, which makes it similar to mozzarella. Furthermore, it’s semi-hard, springy, tenderized, and unripened cheese, without skin and having a tart, intense flavor.
Wrapping It Up
Halloumi cheese has its unique taste, but that doesn’t mean you can find something similar to it when you have none at home.
If you’re scrambling for a halloumi substitute for your recipe, go back to our food blog and experiment with what you have.
Good luck and happy cooking with these halloumi substitutes!