Fresh sliced halloumi
Country of origin Cyprus
Source of milk Goat, sheep, sometimes cow
Pasteurised Commercially, but not traditionally
Texture Semi-soft
Aging time Commercially not aged
Traditionally aged
Certification No
Derivatives {{{derivatives}}}
Related media on Wikimedia Commons

Halloumi (/həˈlmi/), challoumi (Greek: χαλλούμι [xaˈlumi], challoúmi)[1][2][3][4] ])[5] is a semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk, and sometimes also cow's milk.[6][7][8][9] It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. Rennet is used to curdle the milk in halloumi production[10], although no acid-producing bacteria are used in its preparation.[11]

Halloumi is popular throughout the region broadly known as the Levant.[12][13] Demand in the United Kingdom surpassed that in every other European country, except Cyprus, by 2013.[14]


The name "halloumi" is derived from the Egyptian Arabic, itself a loanword from Coptic ϩⲁⲗⲱⲙ halom (Sahidic) and ⲁⲗⲱⲙ alom (Bohairic) 'cheese', referring to a cheese that was eaten in medieval Egypt.[15][16] In modern Egypt, hâlûmi is similar to Cypriot "halloumi" but is essentially a different cheese, is eaten either fresh or brined and spiced.

By country/region


Halloumi cheese originated in Cyprus[12] in the Medieval Byzantine period (AD 395 – 1191),[17] and was subsequently eaten throughout the Middle East. Cypriot farmers relied on halloumi as a source of protein and in many villages the entire community would join forces and make huge batches together. Recipes varied from village to village, with each taking great pride in their special technique and secret ingredients. Halloumi became so important to village life that even the surnames of many Cypriot families reflect their role in halloumi production, with names such as Hallumas, Halluma and Hallumakis common by the 19th century.

The cheese is white, with a distinctive layered texture, similar to mozzarella and has a salty flavour. It is stored in its natural juices. It is commonly garnished with mint, a practice based on the fact that halloumi keeps better and stays fresher and more flavoursome when wrapped with mint leaves. In accordance with this tradition, some packages of halloumi contain fragments of mint leaves on the surface of the cheese.

The cheese is often used in cooking and can be fried until brown without melting, owing to its higher-than-normal melting point. This makes it (like saganaki) an excellent cheese for frying or grilling or fried and served with vegetables, or as an ingredient in salads. Cypriots like eating halloumi with watermelon in the warm months, and as halloumi and lountza, a combination of halloumi cheese and either a slice of smoked pork, or a soft lamb sausage.

The resistance to melting comes from the fresh curd being heated before being shaped and placed in brine.[18] Traditional halloumi is a semicircular shape, about the size of a large wallet, weighing 220–270 g. The fat content is approximately 25% wet weight, 47% dry weight with about 17% protein. Its firm texture when cooked causes it to squeak on the teeth when being chewed.[19]

Traditional halloumi is made from unpasteurised sheep and goat milk. Many people also like halloumi that has been aged; kept in its brine, it is much drier, much stronger and much saltier, making it very different from the milder halloumi generally used in the West.

Halloumi is registered as a protected Cypriot product within the United States (since the 1990s) but not yet in the European Union. The delay in registering the name halloumi with the EU has been largely due to a conflict between dairy producers and sheep and goat farmers as to whether registered halloumi may contain cow’s milk, and how much.[20][21] Most Cypriots agree that, traditionally, halloumi was made from sheep and goat milk, since there were few cows on the island until they were brought over by the British in the 20th century. But as demand grew, industrial cheese-makers began using more of the cheaper and more-plentiful cow's milk.[22]

Middle East

Halloumi is regularly consumed in many parts of the Levant. It is a traditional component of the Levantine breakfast, eaten either fresh or fried, along with other dishes such as hummus, falafel, and khubz. Halloumi cheese is very similar to Nablusi cheese, named after Nablus, Palestine, its city of origin. Some believe that halloumi cheese is of Levantine creation, due to its similarity to Nablusi cheese and the region's long history of consuming halloumi cheese. Halloumi in Israel is sometimes fried in olive oil and served for breakfast and served with meze. It is also eaten with fish.

Nutritional facts

100 grams of commercially produced packaged halloumi has a typical composition of:[23]

Fat 26.9 g
Carbohydrate 2.2 g
Protein 21.2 g
Energy 336 kcal
Salt 2.8 g

See also


  1. "The History of Halloumi Cheese". Mediterranean Diet for All. 2011-04-22. Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  2. "Challoumi | Melitzazz". www.melitzazz.gr. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  3. "Cyprus halloumi - challoumi". www.challoumi.com. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  4. "Μαθιάτης / Mathiatis - Challoumi". www.mathiatis.com. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  5. "European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Cyprus 'Χαλλουμι' (Halloumi)cheese set to receive Protected Designation of Origin status". Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  6. Gibbs, Paul; Morphitou, Ria; Savva, George (2004). "Halloumi: exporting to retain traditional food products". British Food Journal. 106 (7): 569–576. doi:10.1108/00070700410545755.
  7. "Cyprus - Cultural life - Daily life and social customs - halloumi cheese". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 2009-06-16. Geography has left Cyprus heir to numerous culinary traditions—particularly those of the Levant, Anatolia, and Greece — but some dishes, such as the island’s halloumi cheese…are purely Cypriot
  8. Ayto, John (1990). The glutton's glossary: a dictionary of food and drink terms. Routledge. p. 133. ISBN 0-415-02647-4. Haloumi, or halumi, is a mild salty Cypriot cheese made from goat's, ewe's, or cow's milk.
  9. Dew, Philip – Reuvid, Jonathan - Consultant Editors (2005). Doing Business with the Republic of Cyprus. GMB Publishing Ltd. p. 46. ISBN 1-905050-54-2. Cyprus has managed to secure EU recognition of halloumi as a traditional cheese of Cyprus ; therefore no other country may export cheese of the same name
  10. Lazarou, Stalo. "Χαλλούμι". foodmuseum.cs.ucy.ac.cy (in Greek). Cyprus Food Virtual Museum. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  11. Charles O'Connor. Traditional Cheesemaking Manual. International Livestock Centre for Africa.
  12. 1 2 Robinson, R. K. – Tamime, A. Y. (1991). Feta and Related Cheeses. Woodhead Publishing. p. 144. ISBN 1-85573-278-5. Halloumi is a semi-hard to hard, unripened cheese that, traditionally, is made from either sheep's milk or goat's milk or a mixture of the two. Although the cheese has its origins in Cyprus, it is widely popular throughout the Middle East, and hence many countries have now become involved with its manufacture. In Australia, it is coated with a greek yogurt
  13. Allen, Gary J. (2007). The herbalist in the kitchen. University of Illinois Press. p. 212. ISBN 0-252-03162-8. Haloumi (sometimes spelled Halloumi) is a brine-cured cheese from Cyprus containing chopped mint.
  14. Cooke, Nicholas (22 September 2013). "How halloumi took over the UK". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  15. Andriotis et al., Λεξικό της κοινής νεοελληνικής
  16. P. Papademas, "Halloumi Cheese", p. 117ff, in Adnan Tamime, ed., Brined Cheeses in the Society of Dairy Technology series, Blackwell 2006, ISBN 1-4051-2460-1
  17. Goldstein, Darra – Merkle, Kathrin – Parasecoli, Fabio – Mennell, Stephen - Council of Europe (2005). Culinary cultures of Europe: identity, diversity and dialogue. Council of Europe. p. 121. ISBN 92-871-5744-8. Most culinary innovations in the Cypriot cuisine occurred during the Byzantine era.... Experimentation with dairy products resulted in the now-famous halloumi and feta cheese.
  18. Galarneau, Andrew Z (2008-09-14). "Elements: Halloumi -One ingredient, one dish". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  19. Eskin, Leah (21 March 2016). "The salty, satisfying squeak of fried halloumi". NY Times. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  20. Application for the name ‘halloumi’ to go to EU in early 2007, Cyprus Mail archive article - Saturday, September 2, 2006 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2006-12-05.
  21. Saoulli, Alexia (March 3, 2007). "Halloumi bickering threatens EU application". Cyprus Mail. Archived from the original on August 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-04.
  22. In Cyprus, New Cheese Edict Gets the Goat of Dairy Farmers Wall Street Journal - October 11, 2012
  23. "Tesco Halloumi 250G". Teso. Archived from the original on 2016-04-14. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
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