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16 Strange Substitute For Halloumi Cheese You Never Heard Of

Hello to this cheery-sounding semi-hard cheese from Cyprus! That’s Halloumi cheese to you.

While halloumi cheese sounds like an aesthetic mainstay for salads and sandwiches, there might be a time when you’ll go from “hallo!” to “where’s the cheese?” If in case you run out of halloumi cheese at a time when you’re ready to fire the skewer, check out some of the possible substitutes so you can still go on with your lit meal.

  1. Paneer
  2. Feta
  3. Panela
  4. Manouri
  5. Queso Para Freir
  6. Queso Blanco
  7. Mozzarella
  8. Provolone
  9. Graviera

Don’t worry if you have upended your kitchen and still find the alternatives for the list above. We have a full comprehensive one for your below.

But first, let’s talk a bit about this Cyprus cheese.

16 Best Halloumi Cheese Substitutes 

Substitute For Halloumi Cheese

Halloumi cheese is colored white and comes from goat’s and sheep’s milk—which contribute to its mild and salty flavor.

If you want to sound like a cheese connoisseur, you can refer to it as an unripe and brined cheese with a high melting point.

This makes halloumi cheese nearly indestructible by fire, since it retains its melt-resistant form even after frying.

Here are the 16 best substitutes for halloumi cheese to always fire up your meal:

Paneer(Indian Cottage Cheese)

palak paneer

If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, Paneer will not sound new to you. You’ve surely tasted something like Palak Paneer—and loved it!

Paneer also known as Indian cottage cheese covers all the traits of halloumi cheese such as its white color, firm texture, and a mild taste.

Paneer comes from curdled sour milk so it has an acid component—but the result is a versatile type of cheese that can be grilled, pan-fried, and curried.

The cheese maintains a rigid form in high heat, making it a perfect companion for sauce-based dishes.

Paneer can add a layer of creaminess to a sauce without upstaging the entire dish. It’s a team player that is flexible and reliable enough to perk up your curry and grilled cheese.

If you live near an Indian market, lucky you! Paneer can be purchased from specialized groceries or Asian stores and bakeries. If you do manage to find it, it’s a must-try.

Feta

Feta is a popular Greek cheese that comes from sheep’s or goat’s milk—and is a common ingredient in Mediterranean salads, pasta, and sandwiches.

The signature white cubes show that feta packs a unique character: salty and tangy that crosses over to deliciously pungent.

Feta can be treated as a softer halloumi cheese substitute since it takes on a firm and crumbly form. It may appear brittle and cannot be fried outright, but its texture is far from flat.

Taste-wise, it has a salty flavor—much sharper than halloumi—so consider feta cheese if you’re after a stronger version of halloumi.

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Panela

Queso panela is a fresh white cheese that originates from Mexico. Even if it comes from cow’s milk, it bears several similarities to halloumi: the mild salty flavor and solid form that lasts even when fried.

Queso panela has that rubbery texture that adds to its halloumi-like behavior. Since it’s “wetter” than halloumi, the only difference is that it doesn’t turn into golden brown when fried—but that isn’t a deal-breaker.

Use it as a burger or sandwich filling. Add panela cubes on soup, or top shredded pieces on tacos and quesadillas to get a winning halloumi fix.

Manouri

 

Manouri can be called a distant cousin of halloumi and feta. It’s a Greek cheese, but with a softer texture and milder flavor. Manouri is produced from the whey used to create feta cheese, so the effect is a semi-delicate and milkier cheese.

The milder taste makes it a flexible choice for sweet and savory dishes. Manouri’s versatility is quite commendable, since it can be topped on salads or mixed with pastries.

You can also try to cook it as you would halloumi and get a crumblier finish.

Queso Para Freir

Queso Para Freir may sound like a mouthful, but it deserves its long name since it can serve as a substitute for many types of cheese, including halloumi. It fulfills the number one requirement of staying firm despite high temperature, yielding a golden brown finish that adds aesthetic value.

Queso Para Freir belongs to the cottage cheese family so it resembles cottage cheese: white, crumbly, creamy, and mildly salty. Add the high melting point, and you’ve got a piece of cheese with a lot of cool points.

Queso Blanco

Queso Blanco

Queso Blanco translates to “white cheese” in English and can refer to any white-colored cheese.

Queso Blanco’s strongest suit, which makes it a contender as a halloumi substitute, is keeping its firm form when heated. The flavor is mild and subtle—which makes this cheese a simple and adaptable base for your cooking, grilling, and salad-topping requirements.

Mozzarella

Mozzarella is world-famous for being that oozing cheese that makes pizza the best food ever.

Fresh mozzarella is thick and firm, which makes it a low-sodium and healthier halloumi substitute. It has comparably fewer calories and fat content than halloumi and offers more protein. Add solid cubes of mozzarella to your salads to pack more nutrition and enjoy the same kind of chewy texture.

Provolone

Provolone

provolone dolce cheese slices on a wooden board

Provolone is a type of cheese that originates from Italy, specifically in Campania near Mount Vesuvius. It is interesting to note that provolone cheese is known for being soft, lava smooth, and melts when heated—to make the volcano connection.

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You may sear it a bit, but anything more will result in a gooey outcome.

Why does it make a good halloumi substitute then? Provolone has two types: Dolce with a milder flavor and Piccante with a stronger and grounded flavor.

Provolone Dolce is the better alternative to halloumi because of its gentle flavor. Use provolone for dishes that would be remarkable with the addition of melted cheese.

Graviera

Have you ever been confused between graviera and the Swiss cheese gruyere? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Graviera actually derived its name from gruyere, and both have similar characteristics.

Graviera is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s and goat’s milk—or sometimes from cow’s milk—depending on the area this was sourced. Similar to feta and halloumi, graviera is hard and light. It can be cooked, fried, or added raw to salads.

Graviera offers a flavor ranging from sweet to nutty. A bonus would be the taste of young graviera, which is buttery and sweet.

Kefalotyri

 

Let’s just say that kefalotyri is the hardheaded sibling and substitute for halloumi—for interesting reasons you should consider.

Kefalotyri is much harder and more pungent than halloumi as a result of its one-year aging process. If your goal is to melt the cheese, you will be disappointed.

The dry texture and salty flavor of kefalotyri work well when grilled or barbecued—enhanced with a squeeze or spritz of lemon juice.

If you find it too strong for your dish, serve it in smaller portions or use it as a garnish for soups and salads.

Saganaki

Saganaki sounds Japanese, but is actually Greek in origin. It is another one of halloumi’s comparable cousins that comes close in the areas of flavor and form.

If halloumi is “squeaky,” saganaki has less of a squeak because of its dampness. While saganaki will not achieve a brown hue when cooked. It will remain white and firm.

The taste is pretty much spot-on—so if you like a picture-worthy, mildly salty white cheese, saganaki would be a worthy alternative.

Tofu

tofu

Tofu or bean curd is made from soybeans and lists several health benefits, so you’re good to add it to your cart ASAP. It’s the top vegan and vegetarian alternative for halloumi—so keep tofu in mind in case you’re having friends over.

Tofu is low in calories, sugar, and fat, and is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and iron. Even if tofu isn’t a type of cheese, it is an innovative and nutritious substitute for halloumi. It is crumbly and firm, and when fried, presents a crisp exterior and slightly creamy middle.

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Tofu has no signature flavor, so it may come across as bland or acrid. It can soak up the brine flavor of your sauce or recipe—so maximize this versatile substitute with creamy sauces and spicy curry.

Vlahotiri

Vlahotiri is not a Harry Potter character but an aged Greek cheese that translates to Farmer’s cheese. That seems like a fitting way to name a cheese made of sheep’s milk.

Vlahotiri can be a similar replacement for halloumi in pasta, casseroles, sandwiches, and antipasti since it is a tangy and hard cheese. With its subtle flavor, there is so much potential to season and experiment with Vlahotiri—depending on what your recipe calls for.

Anari

 

Another cheese product of Cyprus, Anari is a soft, white, and mild whey cheese. It comes from goat’s and sheep’s milk and is a type of cottage cheese—which is reflected by its creamy and soft attributes.

Think of it as similar to ricotta that can be a delectable breakfast spread.

The interesting part about Anari is that it has a hard and air-dried version. The dry anari is what you are looking for to replace halloumi for dishes asking for mildly salted and brittle cheese.

Anari is similar to provolone’s sharp and tart character. Even when used sparingly, it can add much-needed flavor to dishes like pasta and salads.

Kasseri

Kasseri is a Greek cheese made of 100% sheep’s milk, though some goat’s or cow’s milk may be added to its overall composition. The flavor is mild with a hint of saltiness and sweetness—which makes it a good candidate for a halloumi replacement.

Kasseri is also known as “table cheese.” It gives off a pleasant buttery texture that makes it a perfect pairing for bread and olives and a filling for pastries and pies. It is semi-hard so it retains its form when served plain—like on sandwiches or salads.

Another name for Kasseri is “cheddar cheese of the Balkans” since its salty and tangy flavor can enhance every baked dish or grilled sandwich. Once cooked, it can take on a chewy form—a combination of the gooey mozzarella and the sharp provolone.

Cheese Curds

 

Last on the list as a viable substitute for halloumi would be cheese curds. For those unfamiliar with the term (and read this as “cheese curls”), cheese curds are a French Canadian must-have for poutine, though these are also popular in areas like Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Cheese curds come from curdled milk and were formed in the cheddar cheese-making process but didn’t make the cut. Also called “squeaky cheese,” they are rubbery in texture and mildly salty.

They can also achieve that gooey texture when deep-fried—similar to what you’d do with halloumi cheese.