Don’t Risk It: When to Toss Your Halloumi

  • Halloumi can spoil through bacterial or fungal growth, showing signs such as blue or green mold
  • Spoiled halloumi may have a sour milk smell and taste, an indication that it’s gone off
  • Proper storage of halloumi in the fridge, either in brine or wrapped, can extend its freshness
  • Freezing halloumi is an effective way to prolong its shelf life
  • If you notice unusual liquid leaking from halloumi while cooking or changes in its expected high melting point, it may be a sign the cheese is off, indicating it’s time to discard it

Does Halloumi Go Bad?    

Halloumi seems to last forever when the packet has not been opened, actually up to a year when refrigerated.

So, how do you know if Halloumi is off?

It’s pretty much just like other cheese; it can be subject to both bacterial and fungal growth.

This is most evident by patches of blue or green mold.

Now, with hard cheeses, you can cut the moldy bits off and eat the rest.

But halloumi is softer, and this means the mold spores may have penetrated the parts of the cheese you can’t see.

So, unfortunately, if you see any sign of mold, you need to throw the whole block away.

The next thing to look out for is the smell.

If it has an odor of sour milk, this is not normal; it indicates the halloumi has gone bad.

And, if it also tastes of spoiled milk, then it’s off.

Another less common indication of bad halloumi is that it gives off some liquid as you are cooking it.

If this does happen, then usually, it is simply the residue of the brine that the cheese has been preserved in.

This liquid should evaporate pretty quickly in a hot pan.

But if the liquid is not clear or does not evaporate, this may show that the halloumi is off.

You also need to remember that halloumi has a very high melting point.

When cooking, it should simply get softer to give us that lovely squidgy texture we love!

So, if the cheese itself starts to liquefy in the pan, this is not a good sign.

How Long Does Halloumi Last?

As mentioned previously, halloumi lasts a very long time, provided the packet is unopened.

As much as a year when stored in a refrigerator.

The halloumi will be preserved in brine, which gives it longevity.

Even when open, the halloumi will probably be safe to eat for up to two weeks.

You can extend this period further by taking the cheese out of its original wrapper and placing it in a container of salt solution.

Halloumi freezes quite well, and this applies equally whether the packet has been opened or not.

If unopened, simply pop the entire block in the freezer.

Unless, of course, you wish to slice it first to avoid having to thaw the whole block.

If the halloumi has been opened, then put it in a vacuum-sealed bag for the best results.

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving or cooking.

As halloumi has been around for thousands of years, you may be wondering how it was stored before the days of refrigeration.

The traditional method was to cover it in olive oil and keep it in a jar.

You will still find halloumi stored in this way in your local supermarket, typically in a glass jar, with added flavorings such as herbs or chili.

Storing and Using Halloumi

My Final Thoughts

Halloumi can go off due to bacterial or fungal growth.

This can lead to patches of blue or green mold on the cheese.

There may also be a change in taste or smell, possibly an odor of sour milk.

Look out for unusual liquid leaking from the halloumi when cooking.

Halloumi can last for up to a year when refrigerated.

If you have any doubts as to whether the halloumi is unfit to eat, then err on the side of caution and throw it away!

If you are wondering about other types of cheese, read my article on whether Cheddar needs to be refrigerated.

How has your approach to storing and assessing the freshness of halloumi (or any cheese) changed after reading these insights, and what new practices might you adopt?

Let us know in the comments below!


1. How can you tell if halloumi cheese has gone bad?

  • You can tell if halloumi has gone bad by checking for any changes in color, texture, or smell. Fresh halloumi should have a mild, salty scent, not sour or ammonia-like.
  • Look for any signs of mold or an excessively dry, crumbly texture, which are clear indicators that the cheese is no longer good to eat.

2. How long does halloumi last in the fridge once opened?

  • Once opened, halloumi can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator if stored properly in an airtight container or brine solution.
  • The key to extending its freshness is to ensure it’s wrapped tightly in wax paper, parchment, or placed in a brine solution to prevent it from drying out or absorbing other flavors.

3. Can you freeze halloumi cheese?

  • Yes, you can freeze halloumi cheese. Freezing can extend its shelf life up to a year, although it may affect the texture, making it slightly crumblier once thawed.
  • To freeze halloumi, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a freezer bag, squeezing out as much air as possible before sealing.

4. What does spoiled halloumi smell and taste like?

  • Spoiled halloumi may have a sour or unpleasant ammonia-like smell, a stark contrast to its normally mild, salty scent.
  • The taste may become sour or bitter, significantly different from the cheese’s typical flavor profile, indicating that it’s no longer safe to consume.

5. Is it safe to eat halloumi past its expiration date?

  • Eating halloumi past its expiration date can be safe if it has been stored correctly and shows no signs of spoilage. However, it’s important to inspect the cheese thoroughly before consumption.
  • As with any dairy product, use your best judgment and prioritize safety, discarding any cheese that looks, smells, or tastes off, regardless of the date.

Leave a Comment