How Do You Remove the Salt from Halloumi? (Explained!)

You may have noticed that your favorite cheese has a strong briny taste and wondered how you remove the salt from halloumi.

Can you just wash the halloumi, or will the salt not just be on the exterior?

Will the salty taste go away once the halloumi is cooked?

What if you don’t mind the salt flavor, is it safe to eat?

Let’s find out all about salt and halloumi!

Halloumi may have a lingering taste of salt due to being stored in brine. If this is the case, simply rinsing the cheese can remove the salt. Soaking the halloumi in lemon juice or milk can also take away some of the saltiness. However, there is always the possibility that the salt has penetrated the cheese, as halloumi easily absorbs odors and flavors. This means that the salt can’t be removed, although the flavor will become less pronounced once the halloumi is cooked. This also applies if salt has been added during the cheesemaking process, as it is a natural preservative.  

What is the Best Way to Remove the Salt from Halloumi?

In general, halloumi doesn’t really smell or taste of anything!

But you may have noticed that sometimes it has a salty flavor.

If this is not something you enjoy or you are following a low-sodium diet, what is the best way to remove the salt from halloumi?

If you assume that the salt comes from the brine that the halloumi is stored in, then it’s a simple case of rinsing the cheese.

However, you have to realize that halloumi is a soft cheese, and flavors and odors from other foods are easily absorbed.

So, if the salt has penetrated further into the halloumi, then just washing it is not going to make any difference.

Your next option to try is soaking the halloumi in lemon juice.

It’s best to dilute the lemon juice with water, as it is citric acid.

If the lemon juice concentration is too strong, or you leave the halloumi in it for too long, it can affect the cheese.

It may well remove the salt, but the texture of the halloumi could become slimy and unpleasant.

So, perhaps a mix of 50% water and 50% juice would work best.

And don’t leave it in the liquid for more than an hour before cooking.

It’s your choice as to whether to give the halloumi a final rinse, but the lemon flavor does actually go well with the cheese!

Milk has a similar effect to lemon juice, it can help remove the salt from the halloumi.

Simply soak the cheese for a couple of hours.

With either of these methods, try cutting the halloumi into smaller pieces.

This will expose more of the surface area, helping to remove any salt from the middle of the halloumi.

Just the action of cooking the halloumi can also remove the salt. 

Why is Halloumi Salty?

So, having established ways you might be able to remove the unwanted flavor, why is halloumi salty anyway?

As I mentioned earlier, halloumi is typically stored in brine, which is a solution of salt and water.

And as it can be kept for up to a year without opening, that’s a long time to be surrounded by the salty liquid!

It’s pretty obvious that the halloumi is going to absorb some of the salt.

Salt has been used as a preservative for centuries and can also help prevent bacteria from entering food. 

Brine is often used for preserving cheese, and the concentration can be as high as 20% salt.

Of course, salt can also be added during the cheesemaking process.

Again, as a method of preservation or simply to add extra flavor.

There is no problem with actually eating salted halloumi, but obviously, you need to be wary if following a low-sodium diet.  

Halloumi Cheese from Cyprus

Final Thoughts

Halloumi typically acquires its saltiness from the brine it is stored in.

It may be possible to remove the salt by rinsing the cheese.

But if the salt has penetrated the halloumi, then soaking the cheese in lemon juice or milk can solve the problem.

Chop the halloumi into smaller pieces to remove more of the salt from the inside of the cheese.

Once cooked, the salt will be less evident anyway.

It’s not harmful to consume salted halloumi, but take care if you are on a low-sodium diet.

Enjoy your halloumi, salted or not!  

Of course, it’s not just halloumi, so have a read of my article on why feta tastes of salt.

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