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What is halloumi?

Originating from Cyprus, halloumi is a semi-hard, un-ripened, brined cheese that can be made from cow, sheep or goat’s milk. It can be eaten raw but is truly delicious cooked, having a high melting point, makes it an excellent choice for grilling or frying.

To make halloumi, milk is heated and rennet or vegetarian rennet is added. Once cooled, the curds and whey naturally separate. The curds are then left to firm up, after which they are poached in the whey with a little salt, and then kept in brine to preserve the cheese.

Discover our full range of health benefit guides and check out some of our favourite halloumi recipes, from our spicy cauliflower and halloumi rice to our pumpkin, halloumi and chilli omelette.

Nutritional profile of halloumi

An 80g serving provides:

More like this

250 Kcal / 1042 KJ

19.1g Protein

18.8g Fat

1.4g Carbohydrate

635mg Calcium

2.4g Salt


Top 5 health benefits of halloumi

1. Rich in bone-friendly calcium

Halloumi, like other dairy foods, is rich in calcium, a mineral we need for muscle and nerve function as well as strong healthy bones and teeth. A portion (80g) supplies a significant contribution towards your daily calcium needs, something which is of important for all life-stages.

2. A useful source of protein

Protein is essential for good health with muscle, skin and blood all formed from this essential macronutrient, we need adequate amounts in our diet for cells and tissues to grow, develop and repair.

3. May reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes

Interestingly a study suggests that regularly eating full fat dairy during adolescence may reduce the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance in later life. The exact mechanisms for this are not fully understood but may, in part, be thanks to the high levels of protein and fat which slows digestion and helps stabilise blood sugar levels.

4. May keep you fuller for longer

Being rich in protein and fat and full on flavour, cheese like halloumi helps to keep us fuller and more satisfied for longer. The punchy flavours of halloumi mean you don’t need to use very much to achieve a flavour-packed dish.

5. A useful meat replacement

Being high in protein, halloumi makes a valuable dietary inclusion, especially for those following a lacto-vegetarian diet. Although, be aware not all halloumi cheese is vegetarian-friendly some are produced using animal-derived rennet, so check labels.

The texture and cooking properties of halloumi, also make it an easy way to replace meat in dishes such as burgers and kebabs.

Is halloumi safe for everyone?

Being a dairy product those allergic or intolerant of milk should avoid halloumi; it is also not suitable for vegans, Nutritionally, there isn’t a great deal of difference between different types of halloumi. If you are sensitive to lactose, you may find sheep or goat’s halloumi easier to digest – speak to your GP or dietitian if you’re concerned about food allergies or intolerances.

Halloumi is high in salt so if you’ve been advised to watch your salt intake it may not be the best option for you. Some supermarkets offer a ‘light halloumi’ which has a reduced total fat content, but the saturated fat and salt levels may still be high. It’s always worth checking labels for the nutrition information so you can make an informed choice.

Healthy halloumi recipes

Spiced halloumi & pineapple burger with zingy slaw
Cumin-spiced halloumi with corn & tomato slaw
Beetroot & halloumi salad with pomegranate & dill

Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at


All health content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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