5 Best Mediterranean Grilling Cheeses
We are all familiar with a perfect grilled cheese sandwich, but how often have you actually grilled a piece of cheese on its own?
There are some amazing Mediterranean grilling cheeses that not only work to make an incredible grilled cheese sandwich, but can be grilled themselves!
Trust us: you want to try cutting these cheeses into thick slices to be placed directly onto the grill, cooked until brown on the outside, and soft and gooey on the inside.
But what are the best Mediterranean grilling cheeses? The best Mediterranean grilling cheeses include the popular halloumi, provolone, Greek kefalotyri, kasseri, and Yanni. These are all types of cheese that hold up well to the grilling process, and taste even more delicious once grilled!
If you are wanting to explore all things Mediterranean grilling cheeses, then read on to find out more about the best options to try, and how best to enjoy them!
The Best Mediterranean Grilling Cheeses
One thing is for sure: there is no shortage of cheese options when it comes to Mediterranean cuisine.
However, each Mediterranean cheese has its own properties and purpose, and when it comes to grilling, there are only a few options to choose from.
The best Mediterranean grilling cheeses should hold up to the grilling process well, and should also be able to make a delicious grilled sandwich.
Read through all of the below to find your next Mediterranean grilling cheese to try out!
When talking about the best Mediterranean grilling cheeses, halloumi needs to be at the top of the list! Halloumi really is the king of grilling cheeses, and it is one that everyone should include in their grilling repertoire.
Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese made from either goat or sheep milk. It originated in Cyprus, and has a salty flavor to it.
The cheese has a very high melting point, which makes it an ideal cheese to grill as it does not turn into a gloopy mess as soon as it is exposed to heat.
It is actually not recommended to eat halloumi raw — it should be grilled or heated before being eaten. Raw halloumi is hard and dense, and is often sold in a slab. The halloumi will need to be sliced and then grilled or pan-fried.
Once grilled or pan-fried, halloumi will turn brown and crispy on the outside, and the inside will be soft and chewy, but not melted.
Halloumi is wonderfully versatile too. It can be grilled and enjoyed on its own, it can be added to a salad, skewers or commonly pita, or it can be added to a grilled cheese sandwich!
It has a salty flavor with a squeaky, chewy and soft inside, and hopefully a crisp and golden-brown exterior after grilling.
Provolone is an Italian cheese that can either be enjoyed as is, or it can be grilled or added to a grilled cheese sandwich and be absolutely delicious!
Being made from cow’s milk, provolone has a fairly mild flavor and is creamy once it is grilled and melted.
The one thing to keep in mind when using provolone for grilling is that you should try to use a hard, high-quality provolone that will not melt too quickly.
Provolone does melt eventually, but it can withstand a bit of heat before melting to the point of being difficult to grill.
You just need to place a piece on the grill, allow it to soften and brown for a few seconds, flip to the other side and remove. If left too long, it might stick to the grill.
Provolone will continue to melt even once it has been removed from the grill, so it is a good idea to serve it on top of some bread and drizzle it with some olive oil, herbs and salt.
When it comes to grilled cheese sandwiches, provolone is ideal. It is cheesy and creamy, and melts to the perfect consistency when used to make grilled cheese!
Provolone cheese has a sharp taste with buttery notes, and some nutty flavors. It is a complex cheese, with some being stronger in flavor than others.
Kefalotyri is another Greek cheese — like halloumi, it is made from either sheep’s or goat’s milk, and the texture and flavor are similar to halloumi too.
Just like halloumi, kefalotyri is a hard cheese, and it is salty too — however, it has less of a tangy flavor compared to halloumi.
While it is less tangy than halloumi, kefalotyri is saltier, which makes it difficult to pair with other salty foods.
Kefalotyri has a high melting point, unlike most other cheeses, which allows it to be grilled or fried without melting and forming a melted mess.
When grilled or fried, kefalotyri browns on the outside and develops a pleasantly crisp exterior, while the inside becomes soft and chewy.
The inside of grilled kefalotyri is creamier and softer than halloumi, but it is still slightly chewy and squeaky — it is still easy to slice and eat.
The best way to serve kefalotyri is to serve it grilled on its own, with some black pepper and lemon juice.
It can be added to grilled cheese sandwiches, but keep in mind how salty it is when adding other ingredients.
Kasseri is a cheese that originated in Greece and is made from sheep’s milk, but it is fairly similar to provolone. It has a semi-hard texture and a salty, tangy flavor to it.
The problem with kasseri is that it does not have a high melting point like halloumi does, but it can be grilled with some precaution, served as a grilled cheese on its own, or used in a grilled cheese sandwich.
Kasseri melts faster than provolone does on the grill, so you will have to work quickly. You will need to place the kasseri on the grill and flip it over within a few seconds so that it does not begin to melt too quickly.
When you remove the kasseri from the grill, place it directly onto a slice of fresh bread or use it as a dip, and enjoy the salty, tangy, and creamy flavors that it offers.
It also works exceptionally well as a cheese to use to make a Mediterranean grilled cheese sandwich, and it melts down creamy and beautiful between two slices of bread!
While it might not grill as well as halloumi or kefalotyri, it can be grilled, and the flavor it offers when it is grilled is definitely worth the try.
Yanni is another Greek semi-firm cheese that is similar to halloumi, but with some differences. It is a Mediterranean cheese that was made to be grilled, and it holds up to grilling beautifully.
A solid piece of yanni can be placed on the grill, and left to brown and crisp on the outside, while the inside is soft and creamy, but which does not form a gooey mess.
A traditional semi-firm Mediterranean grilling cheese, yanni is mildly salty, but creamier and more buttery than halloumi. This gives it a richer, creamier flavor and texture compared to halloumi, which makes it a favorite for many.
Other than grilling, yanni can be baked, microwaved and pan-fried. As it has a high melting point, and as it is so creamy, it can be used in many different ways.
It can be grilled and served on its own as an appetizer, it can be used in a grilled cheese sandwich, it can be placed into a salad, or it can be grilled and used as a burger topping.
Yanni needs to be grilled, heated, or cooked before being eaten — it won’t be as enjoyable eaten raw and directly from its packaging.
6. Bonus: Non-Mediterranean Grilling Cheese
If you cannot find any suitable Mediterranean grilling cheese to use, you could opt for a basic grilling cheese that is made in Central and South America, like Coalho or Queso Panela!
These cheeses are commonly made from cow’s milk and appear similar to halloumi at first, but are softer than halloumi and have a fine texture.
This does not affect their grilling properties — they can still be grilled successfully without losing their form.
They tend to have a more mild flavor, so you will have to add your own seasoning to make a more enjoyable appetizer, or when using them to make a grilled cheese sandwich.
If you want to get the best of non-Mediterranean grilling cheeses, grill them and use them in a taco!
Now that we’ve learned all about the best Mediterranean grilling cheeses, plus some of the best non-Mediterranean grilling cheeses, here are some additional questions that we thought you might have.
Is gouda good to use to make a grilled cheese sandwich?
Gouda is a great cheese to use to make a grilled cheese sandwich, as it has a good acidity level — this means it melts beautifully in a grilled cheese sandwich and offers great flavor too.
However, how gouda melts can be affected by whether it is aged, so consider that when planning your next grilled cheese experiment.
Which cheese melts best?
There are a few types of cheese that melt better than others. The best melting cheeses include Colby, Havarti, Swiss cheese, Monterey Jack, fontina, provolone, gouda, and muenster.
This means that these are all great for grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese sauces!