Halloumi Fries are an easy-to-make unexpected and absolutely scrumptious appetizer, snack or side dish. With an inherently tangy-salty flavor, they have a crispy caramelized crust and a soft and creamy interior. When you dip them in the Greek yogurt dip, you might love them even more!
You've probably heard of fried cheese sticks, like Mozzarella sticks, but Halloumi Fries are quite different. Soft and creamy on the inside and super crispy on the outside, they're amazing!
Like most traditional French fries, these are essentially a one ingredient fry. Sautéeing Halloumi cheese in a small amount of oil is the most simple, healthy and most delicious cooking technique for turning them into fries. (And it keeps them keto and gluten-free to boot.)
The Ingredients (Fried Halloumi & Dip)
- Halloumi cheese - This can be found in many major supermarkets including Vons, Ralph's, Aldi, Gelson's, Costco, Amazon and Trader Joe's. It comes in blocks of various sizes.
- olive oil - Regular or extra virgin is okay.
- whole-fat plain Greek yogurt - Greek yogurt has a lovely rich and creamy texture that’s ideal for dips.
- fresh lemon juice - Use Meyer lemons over regular lemons when given the option. Meyer lemons are a touch less tart and a touch sweeter. And with a thinner skin and fewer seeds, they are incredibly juicy.
- mixed fresh herbs - You can use mint, oregano, thyme, basil or dill. This is really up to you. It’s fun to use mint because traditionally, in addition to its natural juices, Halloumi was wrapped in fresh mint leaves to preserve it.
- chile powder - Mild or hot. I use a mix of both -- Ancho and Chipotle.
- honey (optional)
- black pepper (optional) - Preferably freshly ground.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
How to Make Them
- In a small bowl, mix the yogurt with the chile powder, finely chopped fresh herbs, lemon juice and honey (if using) and pepper (if using) until smooth. Set aside.
- Place the block of cheese on a paper towel, wrap it around it and pat it dry.
- Cut the Halloumi into 12 approximately ¼ to ½-inch sticks. Place them on a paper towel and then place a second towel on top and pat them dry.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over high heat with a thin layer of olive oil until it’s very hot. Place the Halloumi sticks in the pan, one by one. If you don’t hear a sizzling sound, the pan and oil are not hot enough yet. Wait until they are.
- Sauté until the bottoms are nicely browned, about 4 minutes. (Look at the golden brown bottoms of the the slices in the below image. This is how they should look when it's time to flip them.)
- Then flip them over and brown the other side.
- If desired, you can brown the sides by stacking the sticks upright in the pan. They can lean against each other. Or you can use rubber heat-resistant tongs to hold them on the uncooked edge for a few seconds.
- Serve the fried Halloumi immediately with the dip.
(More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Made from goat and sheep milk, Halloumi is a traditional cheese of Cyprus. (Cow milk is sometimes added also.)
Preserved in a brine, it’s an unripened cheese with a very firm texture that becomes creamy when warmed.
Popular in most Middle Eastern cuisines, the cheese can be eaten raw, grated, sautéed, grilled, deep fired, and baked. It can even be cooked in an air-fryer. (In this Halloumi Fries recipe we’ll be sautéing it.)
Halloumi is very tolerant to high heat, which is why it can be cooked and hold its shape.
Very recently, in 2021, The European Union recognized Halloumi cheese as a product unique to Cyprus, giving it Protected designation of Origin. This means it can only be produced in Cyprus under certain guidelines, and no other products can be marketed with its name.
It has a tangy salty flavor and is somewhat spongy and squeaky in texture. By squeaky, I mean how it feels when you bite it.
- If you want to reduce some of the salty flavor from the brine, you can rinse the cheese in cold water. And you’ll get the best results if you soak it in cold water for up to an hour. This is your call -- in my recipe, other than patting it dry with paper towels, I use it as is.
- It’s important that the pan be very hot before you add the cheese slices. If you don’t hear a strong sizzling sound when it hits the pan, wait until it’s hotter. This is how to achieve a beautiful golden and crispy crust.
- It’s easiest to make the fries in a non-stick pan.
- Be sure there’s at least an inch or two between slices of cheese in your pan, otherwise they won’t crisp up as well.
- For the dip, if you use the honey and it’s especially thick, warm it for a few seconds in a microwave so it mixes evenly into the yogurt.
- As I mentioned above, a variety of fresh fine herbs can be used in the dip. You can use one, two, a mix, etc. (I like to use a combination of mint, thyme and oregano.)
- I use a mix of mild and hot chile powders. You can substitute all of one or the other, and for a completely mild flavor, you can substitute it with about ¼ teaspoon of sweet paprika.
- While the honey is optional, I love it if I use a hot chile powder, to balance the flavors. You can substitute it with sugar, and if you’re only using mild chile powder, you might want to skip it.
- If your prefer lime over lemon, go for it.
- Though a bit less rich and creamy, you can substitute the whole-fat Greek yogurt with low-fat or fat-free if you want.
- Grapeseed oil is a good satuéeing alternative to the olive oil.
- Of course this recipe is all about Halloumi, but if for some reason you can’t find it, and want to try something similar, Panela and Bread Cheese are both good substitutes for Halloumi.
- Halloumi Fries are a finger food, so they're a fantastic appetizer for sharing, with or without the dip. Everyone loves them to start a meal.
- In addition to serving them with the included Greek yogurt dip, you can try other dips too. Chipotle Aioli and Cilantro Chimichurri sauce would both be great. Whichever dip you use, be sure the salt content is low or non-existent, since the cheese already has a pretty salty flavor.
- I love these fries served alongside burgers, both vegetarian and meat. They'd be really good with Yellow Split Pea Burgers or Mediterranean Burgers.
- They can also be tossed into salads for a delicious soft and crispy texture -- almost like croutons.
More Unique French Fry Recipes
Making Them Ahead
- There’s no question that Halloumi Fries are best right out of the pan. That’s when the inside is at its creamiest, and they’re just magical when they're warm.
- That said, if you refrigerate leftovers and want to reheat them, the oven will likely be your best bet. (Place the Halloumi Fries on a wire rack on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for just under 5 minutes.)
I hope you love these crispy Halloumi Fries with Greek Yogurt Dip as much as my family and I do!
Halloumi Fries Recipe
For the dip
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, whole fat
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (mint, thyme, oregano, dill -- any combination), washed and dried
- 2 teaspoons honey (optional)*
- ½ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon hot or mild chile powder (or a combination)
- a few turns of black pepper (optional)*
For the fries
- 5½ ounce block Halloumi cheese
- olive oil for the pan
For the Dip
- In a small bowl, mix the yogurt with the chile powder, finely chopped fresh herbs, lemon juice, honey (if using) and black pepper (if using). Set aside.
For the Fries
- Prepare the Halloumi. Place the block of cheese on a paper towel and wrap it around it to pat it dry. Then cut it into 12 approximately ¼ to ½-inch sticks. Place them on a paper towel and then place a second towel on top and pat them dry.
- Sauté. Heat a large non-stick skillet (about 12-inch) over high heat with a thin layer of olive oil until it’s very hot. Place the Halloumi sticks in the pan, one by one. If you don’t hear a sizzling sound, the pan and oil are not hot enough yet. Wait until they are. Cook on high for the first couple of minutes and then reduce the heat to medium heat. Sauté until the bottoms are nicely browned, about 4 minutes. Then flip them, and keeping the heat at medium, brown the other side. This should take just a couple of minutes. If desired, you can brown the thinner edges by stacking the sticks upright in the pan. They can lean against each other. Or you can use rubber heat-resistant tongs to hold them on the uncooked edge for a few seconds.