3 simple steps to lose weight as fast as possible. Read now


Nutrition, benefits, downsides, substitutes, and more

Halloumi is a well-liked cheese recognized for its distinctive flavor and texture. This article provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects related to halloumi.

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts, and fact-checked by experts.
We look at both sides of the argument and strive to be objective, unbiased, and honest.
Halloumi: Nutrition, benefits, downsides, and more
Last updated on November 21, 2023, and last reviewed by an expert on June 6, 2023.

Halloumi cheese, with its distinctively rich flavor and sturdy texture, is a valuable source of calcium and protein, offering benefits like improved bone health and a potential reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, consuming it in moderation and as part of a balanced diet is advisable.

Halloumi: Nutrition, benefits, downsides, and more

A semi-hard cheese primarily crafted from the milk of goats, sheep, or cows, halloumi is characterized by its unique zesty flavor and solid, chewy texture.

With its origin in Cyprus centuries ago, halloumi has seen a significant rise in popularity recently. It has become a regular feature on the menus of Greek restaurants and can be easily located in the cheese aisles of most grocery stores.

Its high melting point sets halloumi apart from many other cheese variants, allowing it to withstand baking, grilling, or frying without losing its form. This makes it a popular choice for cooking, a process that amplifies its innate salty flavor and gives it a slightly crispy exterior.

It can be savored as a standalone dish or paired with a variety of other ingredients like fresh fruits, tomatoes, toasted sesame seeds, or, for those with a sweet tooth, honey.

In this article, we’ll explore the nutritional values, health benefits, and potential drawbacks of halloumi and some simple ways to incorporate this unique cheese into your everyday meals.

In this article

Nutrition of halloumi

While halloumi’s nutritional profile can vary slightly based on how you prepare it, each serving provides protein and calcium.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of halloumi contains the following nutrients:

Calcium, in particular, plays a key role in muscle function, nerve transmission, bone health, and hormone secretion.

Meanwhile, protein promotes proper growth and development and supports muscle growth, immune function, and weight management.

Keep in mind that the fat and calorie content of each serving can increase if you fry the cheese or cook it in oil.

Summary: Halloumi is a good source of important nutrients, including protein and calcium. Its exact content of fat and calories depends on how you prepare it.

Health benefits of halloumi

Halloumi may be associated with several health benefits.

Feta cheese: Good or bad?
Suggested read: Feta cheese: Good or bad?

Halloumi is rich in protein

Halloumi is a great source of protein, packing 7 grams into a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.

Protein is essential for many aspects of your health, including hormone production, immune function, and tissue repair.

Exercising can increase muscle growth and strength when you’re getting enough protein in your diet. Protein can also help you retain lean body mass during weight loss.

Additionally, consuming protein after working out can promote muscle recovery, reduce recovery time, and enhance your progress.

Halloumi supports bone health

Like other dairy products, halloumi is high in calcium, a micronutrient important for bone health.

Calcium provides your bones with strength and structure. Approximately 99% of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones and teeth.

Studies show that getting more calcium could increase bone density and reduce bone fracture risk, especially if combined with vitamin D.

For example, one review noted that regularly consuming dairy products may increase bone mineral density in women by up to 1.8% over two years. It may even be linked to a lower risk of bone fractures.

Halloumi may protect against diabetes

Some studies have found that consuming dairy products such as halloumi could protect against type 2 diabetes.

One review of 30 studies linked regular dairy consumption with reduced belly fat and body weight. The review also noted that dairy improved insulin sensitivity, which can improve the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels.

Suggested read: 12 sweet and diabetes-friendly snacks

Another large review had similar findings, associating regular dairy intake with a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The protein and fat in halloumi can also slow the emptying of your stomach, which may help stabilize your blood sugar levels after meals.

Summary: Halloumi is high in protein and calcium, which could promote bone health. Studies also show that high-fat dairy products may be linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Potential downsides of halloumi

Halloumi is relatively high in sodium, containing 350 mg in each serving. The World Health Organization recommends that healthy adults get less than 2,000 mg per day.

Health experts often recommend that people with high blood pressure decrease their salt intake to promote healthy blood pressure levels.

Also, some people may be more sensitive to the effects of salt. A high intake could lead to issues such as water retention and bloating in these individuals.

While raw halloumi contains a moderate number of calories, it’s often consumed fried or coated in oil. This can significantly increase the calorie content, potentially contributing to weight gain.

It’s also high in saturated fat, which may contribute to increased LDL (bad) cholesterol levels when consumed in high amounts.

Therefore, enjoying halloumi in moderation and a balanced diet is important.

Note that halloumi is unsuitable for those following a dairy-free or vegan diet.

Vegetarians should also check the ingredient label carefully, as some varieties are produced using animal-derived rennet. This ingredient is produced in the stomachs of ruminant animals, such as cows, sheep, and goats, and is not vegetarian-friendly.

Summary: Halloumi is often high in sodium, saturated fat, and calories. It’s not suitable for those following a vegan or dairy-free diet. Some types are not appropriate for a vegetarian diet, either.

How halloumi is made

Halloumi can be made from the milk of goats, sheep, or cows.

Suggested read: Butter: Good or bad?

The process involves heating milk and adding rennet, a substance used to coagulate milk. This naturally separates the curds and whey.

The curds are drained using a cheesecloth-lined strainer and pressed into a mold.

Once the curds have become firm, they are poached in salted whey and brined in the refrigerator.

Summary: Halloumi is made from the milk of goats, sheep, or cows. The production process involves adding rennet to milk to separate the curds and whey, draining them, pressing them into a mold, and then poaching and brining them.

How to enjoy halloumi

Halloumi has a deep, savory flavor; you can prepare it and enjoy it in many ways.

Frying the cheese in olive oil can enhance its texture and salty flavor.

You can also grill it for 2–3 minutes per side to give it a nice color and crisp exterior.

Alternatively, try drizzling some oil over the cheese in a sheet pan, sprinkling on some herbs, and baking it for 10–15 minutes at 350°F (175°C) for a flavorful appetizer or accompaniment to your meal.

Halloumi also works well in various other dishes, including skewers, salads, sandwiches, curries, paninis, and pizzas.

Summary: Halloumi has a savory, rich flavor and firm texture. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be fried, grilled, or baked and incorporated into various recipes.

Substitutes for halloumi

If you’re having a hard time finding halloumi at your local supermarket, you can use many other types of cheese instead.

For example, queso para freir is a type of Latin American cheese often used for frying thanks to its high melting point, firm texture, and mild taste.

Kefalotyri is a similar option from Greece and Cyprus. Because it’s slightly harder than halloumi and has a saltier flavor, you may need to adjust your recipes accordingly before swapping in kefalotyri.

Paneer, also known as Indian cottage cheese, can also be used in place of halloumi in some dishes thanks to its high melting point and mild flavor.

Suggested read: 21 delicious and healthy keto snacks

Other possible substitutes for halloumi include:

Summary: Many types of cheese can be used instead of halloumi, including queso para freir, kefalotyri, and paneer.

Storage of halloumi

Unopened halloumi can last up to 1 year in the refrigerator.

After opening it, store it in salt water in an airtight container or wrap it in parchment or waxed paper. Keep it in the fridge.

Halloumi can also be stored in an airtight container and frozen for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to use it, defrost it in the fridge overnight before adding it to your recipes.

Summary: Halloumi can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. To maximize its quality, wrap it in waxed or parchment paper or store it in an airtight container in salt water.


Originally from Cyprus, halloumi cheese is a popular dairy product. Its firm texture and unique savory taste are enjoyed worldwide.

Since it provides a good amount of protein and calcium in each serving, adding it to your diet may enhance your bone health and protect against type 2 diabetes.

Just remember to enjoy it in moderation so you don’t go overboard with your oil and calorie intake — especially if you choose to fry the cheese in oil.

Halloumi is highly versatile and can be fried, baked, or grilled and incorporated into a wide range of dishes.

Share this article: Facebook Pinterest WhatsApp Twitter / X Email

More articles you might like

People who are reading “Halloumi: Nutrition, benefits, downsides, and more” also love these articles:


Browse all articles