Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese typically made from the milk of goats, sheep, or cows.

Although it has been enjoyed for hundreds of years in Cyprus, it has recently surged in popularity and can now be found in grocery stores and restaurants around the world.

Because it has a higher melting point than many other types of cheese, it can be grilled or fried without losing its shape.

For this reason, it’s typically served cooked, which enhances its signature salty taste and makes it slightly crispy on the outside.

This article reviews the nutrition, benefits, and downsides of halloumi, as well as some simple ways to incorporate it into your diet.

Grilled halloumi with tomatoesShare on Pinterest

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

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

  • Calories: 110
  • Carbs: 0 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Calcium: 25% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Sodium: 15% of the DV

Calcium, in particular, plays a key role in muscle function, nerve transmission, bone health, and hormone secretion (2).

Also, protein is important for promoting proper growth and development, as well as supporting muscle growth, immune function, and weight control (3).

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

SUmmary

Halloumi is a good source of several important nutrients, including protein and calcium. Its exact content of fat and calories varies depending on how you choose to prepare it.

Halloumi may be associated with several potential health benefits.

Rich in protein

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

Protein is essential for many aspects of health, including hormone production, immune function, and tissue repair (3).

When you’re getting enough protein in your diet, exercising can increase muscle growth and strength while helping you retain lean body mass during weight loss (4, 5).

Additionally, consuming protein after working out can promote muscle recovery to help reduce recovery time and enhance progress (6).

Boosts bone health

Like other dairy products, halloumi is high in calcium, a micronutrient that is important when it comes to bone health.

Calcium is responsible for providing bones with their strength and structure. Approximately 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth (2).

Studies show that increased consumption of calcium could be linked to increased bone density and a reduced risk of bone fractures (7, 8).

In fact, one review noted that regularly consuming dairy products may increase bone mineral density by up to 1.8% over 2 years in women and be linked to a lower risk of bone fractures (9).

May protect against diabetes

Some studies have found that consuming full fat dairy products like halloumi could protect against type 2 diabetes.

According to one study in 3,736 people, regularly consuming full fat dairy was linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, a condition that impairs the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels (10).

Another study in more than 37,000 women observed similar findings, reporting that women who consumed the most dairy had a 38% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, compared with those who consumed the least (11).

The protein and fat in halloumi can also help slow the emptying of the stomach, which may help stabilize your blood sugar levels after meals (12, 13).

summary

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

Halloumi is relatively high in sodium, containing a whopping 350 mg in each serving (1).

Decreasing salt intake is often recommended to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels in those with high blood pressure (14).

Also, some people may be more sensitive to the effects of salt. For these individuals, a high intake could cause issues like water retention and bloating (15).

Additionally, 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 of the final product, potentially contributing to weight gain.

It’s also high in saturated fat, a type of fat that may contribute to increased levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol when consumed in high amounts (16).

Therefore, it’s important to enjoy halloumi in moderation alongside an array of other healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds.

Finally, note that halloumi is not suitable 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, an ingredient made from the stomachs of ruminant animals, such as cows, sheep, and goats.

Summary

Halloumi is often high in sodium, saturated fat, and calories, depending on how it’s prepared. It’s not suitable for those following a vegan or dairy-free diet.

Halloumi has a deep, savory flavor and can be prepared and enjoyed in a number of ways.

Frying the cheese in a bit of olive oil can help enhance its texture and salty flavor.

It can also be grilled for 2–3 minutes per side, which gives 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.

Furthermore, halloumi works well in a variety of 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 a variety of recipes.

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

Given that halloumi 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.

It’s also highly versatile and can be fried, baked, or grilled and incorporated into a wide range of dishes.