Sesame Halloumi Fries

These sesame halloumi fries are a grown-up Middle Eastern variation on classic fried mozzarella sticks. They’re made with halloumi cheese that’s coated in spiced flour, fried until golden, and served with Aleppo-hot honey dipping sauce. Yes, they’re every bit as delicious as they sound.

Several sesame-coated halloumi fries; some on a wire rack and some on a plate, with a dish and spoon of hot honey dipping sauce on the side.

Adapted from Farrah Jalanbo | The Quick and Easy Spiced Nice Cookbook | Page Street Publishing, 2022

Crispy sesame halloumi fries dipped in an Aleppo pepper–hot honey sauce…this is what dreams are made of. I could go on and on about all the things I love about this fried halloumi: the crispiness from the sesame seeds, the saltiness of the cheese paired with the slightly spicy and sweet honey, etc., etc., etc.!–Farrah Jalanbo

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Halloumi Fries FAQs

What is halloumi?

Halloumi is cheese! It originated in Cyprus and is typically made from goat or sheep’s milk (or a combination of the two), although cow’s milk varieties are also available. It’s mellow, but a little tangy. It has a very high melting point and the texture of cheese curds, making it the perfect choice for pan searing, grilling, or frying.

What should I serve with Halloumi fries?

If you’re looking for just a snack, they’re great on their own. But they’re also wonderful as part of an appetizer buffet, served with dipping sauces like tzatziki, muhammara, marinara, ranch, or labneh with za’atar and fresh naan. We also like them paired with a nice Greek salad or a big bowl of homemade tomato soup.

Can I make these in the air fryer?

Yes, you can. Our testers had success air frying these halloumi sticks at 375°F (190°C) for 12 minutes, turning halfway through.

Can I make these ahead of time?

We don’t recommend it. These are best served immediately after frying, while the coating is crispy and the cheese is soft.

Sesame Halloumi Fries

Several sesame-coated halloumi fries; some on a wire rack and some on a plate, with a dish and spoon of hot honey dipping sauce on the side.
These crispy halloumi cheese fries are a Middle Eastern-inspired riff on mozza sticks. They're an easy-to-make vegetarian finger food that's perfect for sharing.

Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 25 mins
Appetizers
Middle Eastern
4 servings
871 kcal
5 from 1 vote
Print RecipeBuy the The Quick and Easy Spiced Nice Cookbook cookbook

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Ingredients 

For the hot honey dipping sauce

  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 dried red chile peppers such as chiles de arbol
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes

For the fried halloumi

  • Two (9-ounce) packages halloumi cheese
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Neutral vegetable oil for frying

Directions
 

Make the hot honey dipping sauce

  • In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the honey, chile peppers, and Aleppo pepper flakes, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. (The longer it simmers, the spicier it’ll be, so the simmer time is up to you!)
  • Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the honey into a bowl and use it as a dipping sauce for the halloumi wedges. The hot honey will thicken as it cools.

Make the fried halloumi

  • Cut each block of the halloumi into eight wedges and pat dry. (If your halloumi came in a brine, it may be too salty, so soaking in cold water for at least 30 minutes, or longer if needed, will help.)
  • In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour, sesame seeds, sumac, za’atar, oregano, pepper, and smoked paprika. Evenly coat each wedge of halloumi in the flour mixture.
  • In a shallow frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the oil until very hot. Fry the wedges on all sides until golden, 4 to 8 minutes total.
  • Transfer the fried halloumi to a paper towel-lined plate and devour immediately.
Print RecipeBuy the The Quick and Easy Spiced Nice Cookbook cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 4sticksCalories: 871kcal (44%)Carbohydrates: 88g (29%)Protein: 31g (62%)Fat: 47g (72%)Saturated Fat: 24g (150%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.1gSodium: 1547mg (67%)Potassium: 220mg (6%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 72g (80%)Vitamin A: 744IU (15%)Vitamin C: 49mg (59%)Calcium: 1337mg (134%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I love this sesame halloumi fries recipe because it has taken traditional Mediterranean ingredients and flavors and presented them in a way that is decidedly non-traditional, but still makes sense and works really well.

Eight sesame halloumi fries on a blue plate with a glass dish of dipping sauce.

The coating came out golden and crispy, and the cheese was soft on the inside. I didn’t find the hot honey particularly spicy as I made it, but it worked well as a dipping sauce for the fries as the sweetness of the honey balanced the savoriness of the fries.

Overall, this one was a hit! It would scale up very easily and make a great snack or appetizer for a gathering.

I absolutely LOVED these grownup halloumi cheese sticks! The combinations are phenomenal– crunchy, salty, spicy, and packed with flavor! The spicy honey is the perfect accompaniment, although I ate the leftovers cold and plain and they were still delicious!

Eight sesame coated halloumi fries on a blue and white plate with a square bowl of dippings sauce.

Often, I find in recipes calling for a flour-dredging mixture, there is way too much, but this is exactly the right amount of flour mixture, so there’s no waste. I didn’t have any dried peppers on hand, so I used crushed red-pepper flakes and the honey turned out perfect. A cold beer was the great sidekick!

Before eating these sesame halloumi cheese fries, I didn’t think it was possible for me to enjoy an entire block of cheese in one sitting. I stand corrected. You ever heard someone moan after they try a bite of something delicious? I did that.

I like my halloumi pretty salty, so I didn’t pre-soak, and the end result nicely contrasted the sweetness of the hot honey. I had my doubts at first that the halloumi wedges would work without a full breading station, but it absolutely did, and mine absolutely looked like the recipe author’s photo.

When buying Aleppo pepper flakes, ask if they’re mild or spicy, because I’ve seen both, and this will impact your hot honey simmer time. Aleppo is a pepper I find myself gravitating toward again and again because it has so much flavor, so it will be a great addition to your pantry if you don’t already have it.

Don’t be afraid to let the hot honey simmer longer than the recommended time if it’s not as spicy as you would like yet, and try not to burn your tongue when tasting it as I did.

Serve these fries as an appetizer or alongside a savory entrée.

This recipe for sesame halloumi cheese fries helped me get over my fear of deep frying and produced a perfect appetizer with such well-rounded flavor and satisfying texture. We ate this on a warm evening alongside sweet corn, veggie burgers, and grilled vegetables.

The hot honey came together easily (though we only needed about a third of what we made in the recipe), and the halloumi fried up perfectly golden and crunchy on the outside.

After I initially breaded the cheese strips and was waiting for the oil to heat up, I ended up doing a second round of breading because some of the floury mixture had absorbed into the moist cheese, and I still had some coating left over to use anyway. This ended up working beautifully!

The heat, sweetness, and smooth texture of the honey complemented the saltiness, crunch, and herbiness of the cheese. A squeeze of lemon might take this dish to an even more exquisite level. It’s a winning recipe for sure!

Originally published September 28, 2022

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made recipe pretty much as presented, though cut 16 wedges per 8.8 oz. package of halloumi. Just the right size for one-bite dipping and enjoyment!! Also, sautéed a few onions, then “dry fried” coated halloumi wedges in same skillet using minimal oil, only adding splashes as needed while browning. Served with kernel corn and steamed asparagus. Tasty little devils!!
    Reno Dave

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