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Saganaki Fried Halloumi Cheese (Cyprus)

A simple recipe for Greek Style fried halloumi cheese with lemon and olives. You can use regular halloumi or vegan halloumi for this Cypriot dish.

Saganaki Fried Halloumi Cheese with lemon and mint.

Saganaki Fried Halloumi Cheese (Cyprus)

A delicious Cypriot dish made with halloumi cheese.

Saganaki comes from a Greek word that means frying pan and is often used to refer to this squeaky grilled or fried cheese.

Greek named because the south of Cyprus is Greek (just in case you didn't know).

This dish is so much more than fried cheese, it is full of flavour.

It's perfect served as a starter or with some salad for lunch.

In Cyprus, it might be served as part of a meze.

What is halloumi cheese?

Halloumi cheese is a traditional cheese from Cyprus.

It has a high melting point which makes it perfect to grill.

Once grilled it is crisp and chewy with that distinctive squeak when you eat it.

As well as regular halloumi, you can now buy vegan-style halloumi cheese, which is perfect for those on a dairy-free or vegan diet.

Halloumi cheese is also popular in the north of Cyprus (which is Turkish), but there they call it Hellim.

There are many similar dishes between the north and south of the country

Can you cook vegan halloumi the same way as regular halloumi?

Vegan halloumi is pretty good.

Let's face it vegan cheese is improving all the time.

You can cook it the same way.

It doesn't get quite as crisp or chewy, but will be fairly similar in texture and does cook until golden.

vegan halloumi cheese.

How to cook halloumi

Although halloumi can be eaten raw, it is so, so good when it is grilled.

Here are a few cooking methods that will also give you that grilled chewy finish.

  • Frying pan - cooked with some hot olive oil
  • Grill pan - for those distinctive charred lines
  • Waffle maker - yep and it's great for frilling tofu too, try my chipotle waffle tofu (or halloumi)
  • Panini machine - or George Foreman to grill the halloumi
  • Air fryer - brush with olive oil and roast in the air fryer
  • Oven - you can also oven-bake on a baking tray

Cyprus halloumi meze dish with mint and olives

What you need to make saganaki fried halloumi cheese

Here are the simple ingredients you need to make this tasty dish.

  1. Halloumi cheese - regular or vegan halloumi
  2. Olive oil
  3. Fresh lemon - juice and zest
  4. Fresh mint leaves
  5. Black olives - pitted
  6. Black pepper


Here are a few tweaks you can make to this simple Cypriot meze dish.

  • Fresh oregano - instead of mint
  • Fresh basil - instead of mint
  • Fresh parsley - instead of mint
  • Chilli flakes - for a bit of heat
  • Green olives - instead of black olives
  • Capers - for a salty bite
  • Sundried tomatoes - sliced thinly, instead of olives, if you don't like them or added for extra flavour as well as olives

More halloumi recipes

Here are a few more delicious halloumi recipes for you to try next.

You can use regular or vegan halloumi.

grilled halloumi, fried halloumi, Cyprus meze, Cypriot cuisine, fried hellim, grilled hellim
Yield: 4
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
Saganaki Fried Halloumi Cheese

Saganaki Fried Halloumi Cheese

A simple recipe for Greek Style fried halloumi cheese with lemon and olives. You can use regular halloumi or vegan halloumi for this Cypriot dish.
Prep time: 2 MinCook time: 10 MinTotal time: 12 Min


  • 250g (9 oz) Halloumi Cheese (regular or vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • fine zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 12 black olives, pitted and sliced
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Slice the cheese into long slices, 1/2 cm thick
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the cheese until golden, using tongs turn the cheese over and cook the other side until golden too.
  3. Squeeze the lemon juice over the cheese while it's frying.
  4. Place the cheese on warmed plates then scatter over the fresh herbs, olives, lemon zest and season with black pepper.
  5. Serve immediately.
  6. Enjoy!


Here are some variations

  • Fresh oregano - instead of mint
  • Fresh basil - instead of mint
  • Fresh parsley - instead of mint
  • Chilli flakes - for a bit of heat
  • Green olives - instead of black olives
  • Capers - for a salty bite
  • Sundried tomatoes - sliced thinly, instead of olives, if you don't like them or added for extra flavour as well as olives

Some other cooking methods

  • Grill pan - for those distinctive charred lines
  • Waffle maker - yep and it's great for frilling tofu too
  • Panini machine - or George Foreman to grill the halloumi
  • Air fryer - brush with olive oil and roast in the air fryer
  • Oven - you can also oven-bake on a baking tray

Nutrition Facts





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  1. I love Halloumi cheese. There use to be a local restuarant who's speciality was halloumi kebabs, unfortunately it has closed down and I was never able to replicate the kebab.

  2. I love Saganaki cheese. I've had it in a few Greek restaurants where they light it on fire. I do think the Kalamata olives would be great with the cheese!

  3. Not know what halloumi cheese is like, can you tell me is it a mild cheese or strong? I assume it is hard or you would not be able to slice and fry. It sounds and looks awesome! I am not a cooked olive person either. I like them cool and out of the jar, but that is about it. Nice Photo!

  4. That looks delicious! Seems we like many of the same foods, as you have posted a few recipes here that I plan to try. I've added you to my blogroll, as I am very much looking forward to your upcoming creations.

  5. Kaylyn,
    I have made the decision to give olives another go. The comments on your site were so persuasive about Kalamata olives, that I feel like I am missing out!

    I would say that halloumi cheese has the texture of chicken and while I don't crave that taste, it is always good to have another texture to your meal and It is cheese!

    I have enjoyed your blog , it is on my favourite list, the raspberry cornmeal muffins look great!

  6. Mmmm, Halloumi.
    It was indeed very tasty, the grated lemon sometimes confused me into thinking i was having a dessert though. so i definetely think we should have it again so i can get my mind straight out about it. several times would be beneficial to this process of course :)

  7. That looks delicious. Such a good idea, trying out recipes and posting the results! Keep those mouthwatering pictures coming...

  8. Hi! Thanks for coming by my blog! In answer to your question we are moving to Edinburgh. We used to live there before moving to California. Can’t wait to get back! Whereabouts in Scotland are you? It’s so nice to meet another Scottish veggie blogger...I don’t think there are many of us around! Your blog looks lovely...I have just had a little browse through. I also never had any of my pictures show on Take hoo!! I have been looking at the monkey web’s so adorable...I love it!! I may spend hours reading all his recipes!!

  9. Hi Scottishvegan,

    Welcome to my blog! Glad you like it! I am based in Dundee, not too far from Edinburgh!

    It's great news that you are moving to Edinburgh, it is my favourite Scottish City! Although it will be sad to leave your friends behind.

    You should head over to Adventures of a Veggie Lady . Laura lives in Edinburgh and posts a lot of good reviews on restaurants and shops in Edinburgh. You may pick up some good tips!

    Good luck with the move!

  10. Me again! I used to go to Broughty Ferry on my holidays as a kid (very exotic) and my husband lived in Dundee for a while before we were married so I’ve been to Dundee many times. I’m sure it’s probably changed a lot since I was last there! Thanks for the info on Laura’s blog…I will take a look! Have you checked out Lelly’s Vegan Kitchen ( She’s also in Dundee.

  11. Broughty Ferry is a nice place to be, I was lucky enough (well lots of weddling on my part) to live there when I was a student. It was great living by the beach and you must remember the ice cream shop!
    I haven't checked out Lelly's blog, I'll have a look!

  12. Oh, I'm totally devoted to halloumi, it's really addictive, don't you think? This recipe sounds delicios!

  13. Pia K
    You are right Halloumi is addictive, but then I find all cheese addictive, more's the pity!

  14. I adore halloumi cheese! I almost bought some yesterday at the store, now I wish I had. I just bought a Celia Brooks Brown cook book - low carb vegetarian -, but I haven't made anything out of it yet.

  15. Sara, let me know how you get on with that cookbook, I am a Celia Brooks Brown convert now!


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x