Cracking the Halloumi Code: Why This Cheese is the Saltiest of Them All

You have probably noticed this strong taste and wondered, why is halloumi so salty?

Is the salt added during the cheesemaking process?

Or is it how it is preserved?

Is halloumi not suitable for a low-sodium diet?

Can you remove the salt from halloumi?

Let’s dive into the truth about salt and halloumi!

Halloumi is typically stored in brine, a salt solution. Rinsing with water or lemon juice only removes surface salt, while soaking in milk is an alternative. Cutting halloumi into smaller pieces increases surface area for more salt removal. Halloumi can have high sodium content (up to 2.4g per 100g), unsuitable for low-salt diets. Low-salt halloumi options are available to address this concern.

What Makes Halloumi So Salty?

You can’t fail to have noticed that halloumi is somewhat on the salty side!

If this is not to your taste, or you need to keep your sodium intake low, this could be a problem.

It is possible to find a low-salt version, this may be labeled as “lite” halloumi.

But the “lite” may refer to reduced fat levels, so be sure to read the ingredients list.

But what makes it so salty in the first place?

Obviously, there are two possible reasons.

The salt is either added during the cheesemaking process or is used for preserving the halloumi.

The second option will probably be most likely.

The halloumi is usually preserved in brine, which is a solution of salt and water.

And, of course, it will absorb the salt.

The brine solution can be anywhere between 12% and 20% salt.

But there is no way of knowing this unless you actually make the halloumi yourself!

On the upside, the salt solution does mean that halloumi can be kept for a long time, up to six months, unopened.  

Salt is also added during the cheesemaking process.

This serves two purposes – again, to help preserve it but also to age it.

There really isn’t any getting away from this fact.

Can You Remove Salt from Halloumi?

So, having established that realistically, halloumi is always going to be salty, is there anything you can do about it?

Most people would suggest simply rinsing the cheese.

However, that’s only really going to remove the brine from the surface.

Actually, soaking the halloumi in water with added lemon juice can be more effective.

But don’t leave it too long, as it can start to develop a slimy texture.

You can also chop the halloumi into smaller pieces before soaking, as this will expose more of the cheese.

Adding the halloumi to milk is also said to remove the saltiness.

Simply cooking the cheese eliminates some salt, especially if you sprinkle it with lemon juice.

And, of course, don’t add any extra seasoning other than maybe some herbs, pepper, or oil.

What is Halloumi?

Final Thoughts

Halloumi is a particularly salty cheese because it is preserved in brine.

This salt solution not only sits on the surface but penetrates into the cheese.

This makes it challenging to remove all salt from halloumi.

Unfortunately, the high salt levels may make it unsuitable for those on a low-sodium diet.

Soaking in milk or in water with added lemon juice are possible solutions. 

Chopping the halloumi into smaller pieces will remove more salt if using the soaking method.

At the end of the day, the salt adds to the unique character and flavor of halloumi.

If you are wondering if it’s the same with other cheeses, read my article on why feta is so salty.

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