Halloumi Cheese Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Halloumi cheese

Getty Images / Jennifer A. Smith

In a world of conflicting opinions, we can almost all agree on one near-universal truth: the irresistibility of grilled cheese. If you’ve ever tried halloumi, the semi-hard, unripened cheese made of goat and sheep's milk, you’ve likely eaten (and enjoyed!) it fried or grilled.

With its firm texture, this unique dairy product can be cooked at high temperatures without losing its structure. In fact, cooking methods like grilling or frying create an almost meat-like main course with appealing, crispy browning on the outside.

Halloumi originates from the island of Cyprus, where it’s been produced for centuries. This sturdy Mediterranean staple is a relative newcomer to North America, but has increased in popularity in the U.S. in the last several years (and is especially popular in the U.K.).

Brined in a salt solution, halloumi tends to contain a lot of sodium, but it’s also high in calcium and protein. One serving of halloumi contains 40% of the Daily Value of calcium and as much protein as an egg.

Ready to say hello to halloumi? Here’s everything you need to know about the cheese's nutritional components, health benefits, and culinary uses.

Halloumi Cheese Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information, for a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of halloumi cheese, has been provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 7g
  • Sodium: 350mg
    Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Calcium: 390 mg

Carbs

Since halloumi is made from goat and/or sheep's milk (and sometimes even a bit of cow's milk), it retains a small amount of carbohydrates from lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in milk.

Fats

In one serving of halloumi you’ll find 7 grams of fat, 4 of which are saturated. According to the American Heart Association, about 5 to 6% of daily calories should come from saturated fat. On a 2,000 calorie diet, halloumi’s 4 grams supply about 31% of your daily target.

Protein

A serving of halloumi comes with a sizable dose of protein. Its 6 grams provide 12% of the daily value of 50 grams.

Vitamins and Minerals

Two minerals stand out in halloumi’s micronutrient profile: calcium and sodium. This firm cheese is an excellent source of calcium, with 390 milligrams per serving. (That’s 40% of the your recommended daily value!) Less beneficial, however, is halloumi’s sodium content. A hefty 350 milligrams (15% of the recommended 2,300 milligrams per day) can be found within each 1-ounce serving.

Calories

Not surprisingly (it is a cheese, after all!) halloumi isn’t considered a low-calorie food. A 1-ounce serving contains 90 calories.

Health Benefits

Calcium Builds Healthy Bones

You likely know calcium as the bone-building nutrient. Since halloumi supplies so much of this mineral, it can help contribute to healthier bone mineral density as well as help the body to remodel bones.

Protein Promotes Muscle Growth

Protein serves many essential functions in the body. Halloumi’s relatively high protein content of 6 grams per serving helps promote muscle growth, create enzymes and hormones, and fortify the immune system.

May Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Cheese isn’t always thought of as a health food, but science has recently provided some vindication for the tasty dairy product—including the possibility that it might protect against type 2 diabetes.

One large study of over 37,000 women found that those who had consumed more dairy in their teenage years were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes as adults. Another large review from 2019 concluded that overall dairy consumption was associated with a lower risk of the disease.

Compatible with High-fat and Other Special Diets

With its sizable percentage of calories from fat (70%, to be exact), halloumi earns its place on a high-fat diet such as keto. Individuals participating in gluten-free or low-carb diets can comfortably include this cheese.

May Be a Good Choice for People with Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a spectrum, with some sufferers able to eat nearly any cheese and others who end up with tummy troubles from a single bite of pizza. Fortunately, if you have lactose intolerance, halloumi may be easier on your digestive system than some other cheeses. That’s because goat’s milk contains slightly less lactose than cow’s milk.

Allergies

While people with lactose intolerance may be able to include halloumi in their diet, those with a dairy allergy need to stay away. The cheese contains casein and whey, the two proteins responsible for causing reactions in dairy allergy sufferers. Fortunately, in recipes with halloumi, extra-firm tofu often makes an excellent substitute.

Adverse Effects

Part of halloumi’s charm is its salty, briny taste—but unfortunately, this savory flavor has a downside for health. Halloumi’s high sodium content might not be suitable for those who need a low-sodium diet. Even for people on a regular diet, it’s smart to limit sodium to prevent high blood pressure.

Varieties

Halloumi isn’t known for a wide array of varieties, but you may see low or reduced-fat versions sold in grocery stores or Middle Eastern markets. Some manufacturers may also enhance flavor with additions like fresh or dried herbs.

Storage and Food Safety

In the refrigerator, unopened halloumi has an impressive shelf life of up to one year. After opening, it can stay fresh in the fridge for about two weeks. To increase freshness, store extra halloumi in salt water in an airtight container.

How to Prepare

There’s no season for halloumi production, but there are best practices for preparing it. Though the cheese can be eaten by itself, uncooked, most people find it most enjoyable when it’s grilled or fried. Try grilling thick slabs of halloumi on a 400 degree barbecue for about two to three minutes per side.

If you’d prefer to cook indoors, pan-frying is another simple method. Heat a small amount of olive oil (or any oil with a high smoke point) in a non-stick pan until shimmering, then add slices of halloumi and cook to three minutes per side, or until a brown, crispy webbing appears on its surface.

Recipes

Healthy Halloumi Recipes to Try

Halloumi is great in recipes designed specifically for it, but it also makes a fantastic substitute for other cheeses.

 

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7 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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