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Can You Freeze Halloumi: Cooking and Freezing Ideas

Halloumi is a semi-hard, white cheese that is closely associated with the island of Cyprus, where it originated. The cheese has been produced in Cyprus and the wider Eastern Mediterranean region for hundreds of years from goat’s, sheep’s and cow’s milk. It is one of the oldest known cheeses in the world, though the exact origins are still an unanswered question.

To make halloumi, milk is heated with rennet to naturally separate the curds from the whey. The curds are then drained, salted and firm up further during poaching or a second cooking before being formed into shapes and brined in a salty water solution to preserve the fresh cheese. This double cooking process gives halloumi its distinctive high melting point compared to other cheeses, meaning it can be fried or grilled without completely melting away. Halloumi cheese maintains its solid form and develops a nice toasted or charred exterior when cooked, making it a popular addition to salads or as a meat alternative for vegetarians.

It is often rolled, split or sliced and served with flecks of fresh mint leaves scattered across its surface. Some claim halloumi is a throw-back to cheesemaking techniques of the past, and it keeps very well if kept in its original brine.

Can You Freeze Halloumi?

We will now be going through many ways to make and freeze it. Not only that, shall we discuss many other ways and common concerns of the people regarding freezing halloumi.

How to Freeze Halloumi 

1- How to Freeze Sliced Halloumi

It’s best to freeze pre-sliced halloumi for later use rather than freezing the whole block and slicing it later. To freeze individual slices, it is essential to separate them to prevent them from sticking together. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange slices in a single layer. Freeze until firm, about 1-2 hours. Then wrap the tightly frozen slices individually in plastic wrap or cling film to create an airtight seal. Transfer to a freezer bag or container and label with the freezing date.

2- How to Freeze Halloumi Block

For freezing an unopened whole block of halloumi, simply freeze as is. If an opened block has some leftover after slicing portions, follow the same method mentioned above for individual slices.

3- Using Freezer Bags or Airtight Containers

No matter if wrapping slices or blocks, ensure proper containment in heavy-duty freezer bags or airtight containers. Always label packages with the freezing date to track the halloumi’s freshness.

4- How to Prevent Freezer Burn

Freezer burn can adversely affect the texture and taste of halloumi if not prevented. Well-wrapped packages in plastic wrap and stored to minimize air exposure helps prevent ice crystal formation on the cheese’s surface. This maintains quality when thawing and using.

Can You Freeze Halloumi Once Cooked? 

Many enjoy freezing cooked halloumi for later use rather than eating it all at once. Cool cooked halloumi completely before carefully wrapping tightly in plastic wrap or storing in an airtight container for freezing. The grilled outer layer and interior will maintain their texture when thawed and reheated. This makes cooked halloumi very convenient to enjoy in meals. Just be sure to thaw before reheating to allow for even warming through. Freezing locks in the delicious flavors of charred or pan-fried halloumi perfectly.

How Long Can You Freeze The Halloumi 

If properly stored in the freezer, halloumi cheese can last 6 months without significantly compromising its quality. Ensure it is well-wrapped securely in plastic wrap or sealed in an airtight container or freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Following recommended packaging will keep halloumi fresh-tasting in the freezer for around half a year.

Does Freezing Affect Halloumi

Freezing can slightly affect the texture and taste of halloumi cheese, as it is susceptible to some changes during the freezing and thawing process. The texture of the halloumi may soften slightly after freezing and reheating compared to when freshly cooked.

Halloumi’s appealing qualities like its ability to develop a nice crispy, golden-brown outer layer when cooked may be impacted if freezing and thawing affect this characteristic. It won’t achieve the same grilled texture as when using fresh halloumi.

However, freezing halloumi does generally not alter the taste significantly. While some people may notice subtle differences, the overall difference in flavor is minor and not very noticeable.

4 Tips for Freezing Halloumi 

  1. Always label packages with the freezing date and store in the freezer to keep track.
  2. Keep halloumi in sealed packaging, as it can pop or freeze to the sides of non-airtight containers.
  3. Freezing may change the texture, but won’t become drastically rubbery or dry. Cook halloumi instead of eating uncooked after freezing to prevent texture issues.
  4. Avoid air exposure which causes ice crystals to form, making the cheese dry out and alter the textural characteristics. Sealed, airtight storage helps minimize this.

Keeping these tips in mind helps maintain halloumi’s quality when frozen for later use. Proper containment and labels prevents confusion on storage dates.

Does Halloumi Freeze Well? 

Halloumi fairly freezes well as a cheese. While its texture may change slightly, the overall taste is well-preserved if you follow instructions correctly. With some experience freezing halloumi, minimal ice crystals form when taking the right steps along the way. Compared to crystals forming in other cheeses like cheese curds or soft cheeses, halloumi fares much better due to its firmer, semi-hard texture working in its favor. Going one step wrong may affect quality, but overall it freezes better than many fresh cheeses thanks to protective packaging and guidelines.

How Do You Defrost Halloumi 

  1. For the best results, defrost halloumi in the refrigerator to thaw slowly and evenly. This prevents moisture loss and other gradual changes that can affect the cheese’s quality.
  2. Place the frozen halloumi wrapped loosely in plastic or on a plate to catch any drips or excess liquid, avoiding a mess.
  3. Allow sufficient time, depending on the halloumi’s size and thickness – usually several hours for a whole block or slices.
  4. Sliced halloumi may thaw faster than a solid chunk.
  5. Avoid rapid methods like the microwave or submerging in water, which can negatively impact the texture, destroying that signature soft, crispy outer layer. Properly thawed halloumi lets you cook, serve and enjoy it fried, grilled or in your favorite recipes.

Can You Defrost Halloumi in the Microwave? 

Defrosting halloumi in the microwave is generally a bad idea, as it can cause the cheese to become very dry and rubbery. The rapid bursts of heat from a microwave often disrupt the halloumi’s texture. It’s best to opt for slowing thawing halloumi overnight in the fridge instead. As halloumi has a higher moisture content than other harder cheeses, prolonged low-heat defrosting overnight in the fridge is the gentlest method to prevent freezing and microwave damage. Consistent chill avoids micro-temp fluctuations that degrade quality. For preserving halloumi’s signature meltability, the fridge is superior to the microwave for thawing frozen haloumi slices or blocks.

How to Tell if Frozen Halloumi is Bad

  1. Visual Inspection – Examine for visible signs of spoilage like mould growth, discolouration, or other off-putting appearances like green or fuzzy spots.
  2. Texture Changes – The texture may be slightly softer after thawing but should still be firm, not slimy, excessively mushy or crumbly.
  3. Smell Test – Take a whiff for any sour, ammonia-like or rancid smells rather than a mildly salty and tangy aroma.
  4. Taste Check – If uncertain, don’t taste, but inspecting and smelling can indicate potential unpleasant or bitter tastes.
  5. Ice Crystals/Freezer Burn – Excessive ice crystals or freezer burn from improper storage over long periods can affect taste, making it less enjoyable.
  6. Refreezing Concerns – Once thawed, it’s not recommended to refreeze, which could further degrade quality and potentially lead to foodborne illnesses.

Paying attention to visual, textural and olfactory signs is key to determining if frozen halloumi is still safe to consume.

Can You Refreeze Halloumi?

It is not recommended to refreeze halloumi once it has been thawed. While possible, refreezing will further degrade changes to the cheese’s texture and taste due to formation of additional ice crystals and moisture loss. Each thawing process cumulatively degrades quality, making the halloumi less desirable in flavour.


To avoid waste, only thaw the amount you intend to use within the given time before it needs to be consumed. Halloumi is best when enjoyed fresh after thawing without refreezing.

What Does Halloumi Taste Like? 

Halloumi has a truly unique and delightful flavour profile. It tastes salty yet also has a tangy flavour. The saltiness comes from the way it is prepared and preserved – halloumi is brined or soaked in a very salty solution. Underneath the saltiness is a subtle hint of sweetness. When fried or grilled, halloumi develops a crispy, golden-brown crust on the exterior while retaining a soft, chewy texture inside. The combination of flavours and textures make halloumi very versatile.

The flavours can also differ slightly depending on whether it is made from goat’s milk, sheep’s milk or cow’s milk. Typically, halloumi made from goat’s or sheep’s milk tastes saltier, while cow’s milk varieties tend to be a bit milder. No matter the milk used, halloumi has a pleasantly salty yet nuanced taste that makes it a favorite among cheese lovers around the world.

What Ingredients You Need

1 package halloumi cheeseLook for a brand with a denser texture and no artificial colors or flavours
BrineThe liquid the halloumi is stored in helps keep it moist. Most halloumi comes brined in a packet.
Olive oilFor cooking. Choose a mild flavoured oil that can withstand higher heat without smoking.
Lemon/lime segmentsTo squeeze over hot halloumi
Fresh herbs like mint, basil, or oregano
Black pepper, paprika or hot pepper flakes
Balsamic vinegar or honeyFor a sweet and tangy glaze
Stainless steel panFor pan frying halloumi. Spray the pan first to prevent sticking.

How to Pan-Fry it

Step 1

Slice the halloumi block into 1/2 inch thick slices. Cutting longer slices works best for sandwiches or to pile on appetizers.

Step 2

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Use a stainless steel pan to prevent sticking. Add a thin layer of olive oil to lightly grease the pan bottom.

Step 3

When the oil is hot but not smoking, arrange the halloumi slices in the pan without overcrowding. Fry for 2–3 minutes per side, or until a golden brown crust forms.

Step 4

Resist the urge to flip the cheese too early, as the oil needs to evaporate and a residue to build up first for crispness. Once the bottom is golden brown, carefully flip the slices.

Step 5

Continue cooking for another 2–3 minutes, or until the second side is golden brown and the centre is melted and soft. Monitor closely, as thinner slices may cook faster. Fry in batches if needed to cook the slices evenly.

Step 6

Use tongs to flip the halloumi to avoid breaking it. A non-stick pan would work too, but stainless steel browns the cheese best. You can also use a grill pan for grill lines or enamelled cast iron pans, but they require more care during clean-up.

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How to BBQ/Grill it 

  • Preheat the BBQ grill to medium-high heat, around 200C/390F.
  • Brush the grill grates with oil to prevent the halloumi from sticking.
  • Place the 1/2 to 1-inch thick halloumi slices directly on the oiled grill.
  • Grill for 2–3 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and crisp.
  • Alternatively, thread large cubes of halloumi mixed with veggies like zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, or meatballs onto skewers.
  • Use thin metal skewers or thicker wooden skewers that have been soaked in water beforehand to prevent burning.
  • Turn the skewers regularly, grilling for 5 to 10 minutes total, or until the halloumi is softened and vegetables are charred.
  • Serve halloumi skewers or slices straight from the grill with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice.

How to Broil it

  • For halloumi kebabs under the broiler, thread cubes of halloumi alternately with vegetables like peppers and zucchini onto presoaked wooden skewers.
  • Lay the skewers on a baking pan or grill/broiler pan lined with baking paper or foil for easy cleanup.
  • Brush the halloumi and vegetables with olive oil and broil on the top rack of the oven, 4-6 inches from the heating element.

How to Bake it

  • Baking halloumi is another simple and hands-off way to cook it when something else is already in the oven or BBQ.
  • Lay halloumi slices in a single layer in a baking dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil and scatter over black pepper, dried herbs like oregano or thyme, red chili flakes or smoked paprika.
  • Bake at 200C/390F for 10-15 minutes, flipping slices over halfway through, until lightly golden brown on both sides.
  • Baking results in a soft, melted interior while the outside develops a crisp crust. Serve baked halloumi as a delicious appetizer or side dish.
  • Enjoy warm slices as a favourite snack with grilled or toasted bread, or sandwich fillings. You can also serve baked halloumi wedges with lemon or lime wedges for squeezing over.

How to Air Fry it 

Air frying is a quick and easy way to cook halloumi for those that own an air fryer. First, cut the halloumi into 1/2 inch thick slices or cubes. Toss them with just a drizzle of olive oil to coat.

Place the halloumi pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket. No need for excess oil. Air fry at 370 °F (ca. 188 °C) for 5–7 minutes, flipping halfway through, until outside is crisp and browned. The moving hot air circulates around the cheese to cook it faster and more evenly than conventional oven baking or stovetop frying.

Air frying halloumi makes it lighter and crispier than deep-frying. It’s a more hands-off method than pan frying on the stove as well. The air fryer also provides an attractive, crunchy exterior without the mess of traditional frying methods. Just be sure not to overcrowd the basket.

Popular air fryer brands recommended for halloumi include the Cosori XL model, Philips XL air fryers or the large capacity Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro which can fit over a pound of cheese. Just about any air fryer should do the trick, though – it’s a tasty low oil way to enjoy halloumi.

How to Serve Halloumi 

A simple but delicious way to serve halloumi is on a small platter along with pieces of toasted or grilled bread. You can pan-fry, grill, BBQ or air-fry halloumi slices until golden brown. Arrange them artfully alongside bread that has been rubbed with a little olive oil and sprinkled with flaky sea salt.

For something a bit more substantial, try making 1-hour focaccia bread to accompany the halloumi. Brush the dough with olive oil before baking and top with diced halloumi for the last 5 minutes so it melts into the bread. Grilled Mediterranean-style pita bread is also a tasty carrier for halloumi.

You can’t go wrong serving halloumi with lemon or lime wedges for squeezing fresh juice over the warm melted cheese. And don’t forget fresh herbs – scattered mint, basil and oregano leaves or a sprinkle of thyme are delicious with halloumi. Other favorite garnishes include capers, sundried tomatoes, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Halloumi is perfect for sharing family style, so you may want to put out a variety of items to make it an interactive eating experience. Small bowls of garnishes as well as glasses of crisp white wine, beer or ouzo are lovely additions to a halloumi board. It’s an absolutely delicious cheese best enjoyed on a warm evening with friends and family as the sun goes down.

What Goes Well with Halloumi?

1. Fresh lemon or lime juice – It was mentioned to squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon or lime over hot cooked halloumi, as it is heaven to pair perfectly.

2. Mint – It was mentioned to sprinkle fresh mint leaves when serving halloumi.

3. Honey – It was mentioned to drizzle hot halloumi with honey for a delish contrast to the milky, mild flavor.

4. Chili – It was mentioned to sprinkle some chili flakes over halloumi while cooking or as a side to contrast the mild creamy cheese.

5. Fresh Mediterranean herbs – It was mentioned to scatter oregano, basil, and thyme in overcooked halloumi.

6. Olive oil – It was mentioned to dash halloumi with a little lemon olive oil before serving.

7. Balsamic vinegar – It was mentioned to drizzle balsamic vinegar over halloumi, either for a glaze or as a tasty contrast to the salty cheese.

8. Pomegranate – It was mentioned to sprinkle pomegranate seeds as a wild card option and delicious with halloumi or pomegranate molasses for a perfect pairing.

9. Watermelon – It was mentioned that believing halloumi and watermelon is a popular combo, to toss cubes with salad or as a favorite simple dressing.

10. Vegetables – It was mentioned to roast Mediterranean style vegetables and stack with cooked halloumi drizzled with balsamic glaze for a colourful healthy yummy meal.

11. Bacon or chorizo – It was mentioned surprisingly salty meats like bacon or chorizo complement the mild creamy cheese in halloumi, making for a delicious recipe idea like halloumi kebabs with tomatoes.

How to Make Halloumi Fries 

Cutting the halloumi into fry-shapes is the first step to making this legendary snack. Simply slice the halloumi block lengthwise into long thin strips, about 1/4 inch thick. You can also cut them into triangles if desired. Continuing the tradition of enjoying halloumi fries that was started years ago, your guests are sure to swoon over these.

Set up your frying station by filling a small bowl with all-purpose flour for dredging. Heat 1 to 2 inches (ca. 5 cm) of vegetable or olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, dredge the halloumi fries in flour, shaking off any excess. Fry for 2–3 minutes per side, using a fork to gently flip, until crisp and golden brown. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Finally, serve the hot halloumi fries on a platter alongside small dishes of sweet chilli sauce or thick Greek yogurt for dipping. Watch your guests happily indulge, then make a mental note to read that post, dedicating an entire recipe to making these ridiculously easy halloumi fries to have again. The fried halloumi will quickly disappear, as the crispy exterior and soft interior are simply perfection.

Can You Freeze Halloumi Fries?

You can freeze the fried halloumi fries for later enjoyment. Allow them to fully cool before storing in an airtight container or plastic bag in the freezer. To serve, simply reheat from frozen in a 400 °F (ca. 204 °C) oven for 10–15 minutes until hot and crispy.

More Clever Ways to Use Halloumi

  1. As croutons in salad – Scatter fried or baked halloumi cubes in place of croutons for extra flavor and protein in green or soup salads.
  2. On homemade pizza – Top pizza dough with slices of halloumi, capers, chopped chilis before baking for a gourmet white pizza.
  3. In roasted vegetables – Toss Mediterranean roast veggie medleys with sliced halloumi on a baking tray for the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  4. In curries and stews – Dice or slice halloumi and stir through simmering curries or casseroles towards serving for a crisp exterior and squidgy middle.
  5. As a chicken schnitzel coating – Grate halloumi as a panko-style breadcrumb coating on chicken cutlets before pan-frying.
  6. In breakfast dishes – Add small cubes of halloumi to pan-fried bacon and eggs or baked cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.
  7. On crostini or flatbreads – Top toasted bread slices or flatbreads with halloumi slices, pesto, sundried tomatoes.
  8. In veggie sandwiches and toasties – Layer grilled halloumi in toasted sandwiches with hummus, greens, roasted peppers.
  9. In grain and veggie salads – Toss cubed or sliced halloumi into couscous, bulgur wheat or orzo salads with roasted vegetables.


In conclusion, halloumi is very versatile and suitable for freezing to enjoy later. Portioning fried or baked halloumi, as well as curries containing halloumi, allows them to be conveniently stored in the freezer. With proper wrapping and reheating, frozen halloumi maintains much of its flavour and texture qualities over several months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Freeze Halloumi Cheese? 

Many people wonder if you can freeze halloumi cheese to prolong its freshness and enjoy it at a later time. While halloumi’s unique firm texture makes it suitable for freezing, it does require special care to prevent undesirable changes like freezer burn.

Freezing halloumi can be an effective way to preserve it for a few months. The cheese maintains much of its original flavor when thawed and cooked. It’s best to freeze halloumi in an airtight container or packet wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or foil to protect it from absorbing odors. Label packages with the contents and date before placing in the freezer. This allows you to separate blocks into usable portions and have halloumi on hand whenever a Mediterranean appetite strikes. Just be sure to thoroughly thaw cheese in the refrigerator before using. With proper packaging and storage, freezing is a viable option for enjoying halloumi cheese at a later time.

What can I substitute for halloumi?

In popular places where halloumi is difficult to find, you can enjoy similar cheeses like Indian paneer, Greek kefalotyri or Greek saganaki, Mexican queso panela, queso blanco which all have a similar taste and texture when grilled or fried.

My halloumi is rubbery. What did I do wrong?

Certain lower quality or cheaper brands can be rubbery. Use an authentic Cypriot brand and slice the halloumi thin, around half an inch or 1-2 cm thickness. Fry for just 2–3 minutes per side over medium-high heat, so the outside is crispy while the inside remains moist and squidgy. Don’t overcook, or the juices will evaporate too much.

Is it healthy?

Halloumi can be part of a healthy diet as it is high in protein, calcium and adds a meaty texture to vegetarian meals. It contains fat, but the calorie and salt content can vary between brands. Check nutrition labels and enjoy in moderation.

Can I eat it raw?

You certainly can enjoy raw halloumi cubes as part of simple mezze or salads in Cyprus and Greece on a hot summer’s day. Try raw cubes sprinkled on fresh green leaves with watermelon, mint and orange segments or chopped strawberries for a fresh blend of flavours.

I’m on a keto diet. Can I eat it?

Yes, halloumi is a great option for the keto diet as it is high in protein and fats but very low in carbs.

Can you reheat it?

Leftover cooked, or fried halloumi can be reheated in the microwave without losing its crisp exterior. It may become softer inside but tastes great in sandwiches or added to fresh salads. Freshly cooked is best but reheating works well.

How long does it keep, and can you freeze it?

Unopened halloumi will last 2–3 weeks in the fridge as marked on the packaging. Freeze halloumi wrapped in plastic or in an airtight container labelled with the date for up to 3 months.

Can You Freeze Halloumi Kebabs?

You can freeze prepared halloumi kebabs, but the moisture in vegetables may cause them to become mushy. Place on a tray to freeze then transfer to a freezer bag or container. They’re still worth making if you intend to cook from frozen.

How Long Does Halloumi Last Once Open?

Once opened, halloumi will generally last 3–5 days if stored wrapped in the fridge. Use within the best before/use by date on the packaging or sooner for best quality.

How do you defrost halloumi cheese?

For best results, defrost frozen halloumi in the fridge overnight wrapped in plastic or placed in an airtight container to prevent drying out. You can also defrost on the counter, but this may cause the outer layers to become mushy.

How long can halloumi stay in the freezer?

Freezing is recommended for up to 3 months to retain quality without altering the texture too much. Beyond 3 months, the salt content could decrease noticeably.

How do you store leftover halloumi?

Store leftover halloumi wrapped tightly in the fridge for 1–2 weeks. Rewrap in fresh paper beforehand. You can also store small pieces in an airtight container submerged in brine or salty water for extra preservation.

Can you freeze halloumi curry?

 It was mentioned that cooking diced or sliced halloumi in curries and stews towards serving works well to provide a crisp exterior and squidgy middle. Prepared halloumi curries can also be portioned and frozen for easy reheating on busy nights.

Whisk and Nibble

Whisk & Nibble is a blog devoted to all things related to food - from sharing recipes for meals and drinks to highlighting the latest dessert trends and culinary lifestyle content. Visitors can find ideas and inspiration for all eating occasions while enjoying engaging writing about food culture. Whisk & Nibble aims to bring readers together over the shared joy of cooking and dining.

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