The concept of fried cheese sticks as we know them seems to have sprung to life, full-blown, right alongside the rise of casual restaurant chains in the ’80s. In fact, the U.S. Dairy Council informs us that breading and frying cheese is a practice that may actually date back to the 14th century. Who knew? While mozzarella sticks may be the best-known form of fried cheese, there’s no reason why other types of cheese can’t lend themselves to a similar treatment.
Recipe developer Ting Dalton favors halloumi and says, "There’s nothing quite like the taste of gooey salty halloumi encased in crispy breadcrumbs." The way she prepares these cheese sticks though, they aren’t actually deep-fried but are instead baked, a process she says will still leave them "crispy crunchy" without a lot of excess oil. She adds that "There is no need for seasoning of salt and pepper, the halloumi is already salty," but says "You can dip these [fries] in any sauces you like from ketchup and mayonnaise to sweet chill dip."
Gather the ingredients for the halloumi fries
In order to make these halloumi cheese fries, you won’t need very many ingredients. First, check your pantry for flour -– the all-purpose kind is fine. Next, look in the spice cabinet for garlic powder and check the fridge for eggs. You’re also going to need panko breadcrumbs. If you don’t have these, there’s no need to buy them, you can always just crumble regular white bread and toast the fine bread crumbs in the oven for a few minutes – Spend With Pennies suggests 7 to 10 minutes at 300 F. The last ingredient you’ll need is, of course, the cheese. Unless you’re a halloumi hoarder, you may need to make a trip to the store for this.
Prepare the equipment and the cheese
Start by preheating the oven to 350 F. As it’s heating, find a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Dalton insists that "It’s really important to have baking parchment [as] this helps the halloumi fries to crisp up well in the oven and not to stick to the baking sheet." If you have no parchment though, you can try a silicone baking mat or just grease the baking sheet. Sure, your halloumi fries may not be quite as crispy as if you’d used parchment paper, but they should still be delicious.
Use a paper towel to pat down your halloumi and absorb any excess moisture. Now slice it into thin strips approximately the same shape and size as french fries or mozzarella sticks. (Dalton’s fries appear to be fairly thick-cut.)
Bread the halloumi
Set out three shallow bowls or dishes to make your breading station. If you’ve ever breaded anything before, you surely know the drill. The flour, seasoned with the garlic powder, goes in the first bowl. The beaten eggs go in the second bowl, and the breadcrumbs go in the third bowl.
Dip the halloumi sticks into the seasoned flour, then shake off any excess. Now it’s on to the egg coating, and as a final step before the halloumi sticks are ready for baking, roll them in the breadcrumbs until they are coated.
Bake the halloumi sticks
Spread the breaded halloumi over the prepared baking sheet and put it in the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes until they are golden brown. Dalton suggests that these halloumi sticks are "best eaten straight away out of the oven, as the halloumi will be gooey and soft in the middle." She does say, though, that you can freeze them and then reheat the frozen halloumi sticks in the oven for another 25 minutes. As for a serving suggestion, she says these halloumi fries are "perfect as an appetizer or for sharing as a family or with friends."
Halloumi makes the perfect base for these deliciously cheesy fries. You can feel good about this treat since you’ll skip the deep fryer and bake the fries.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 8 ounces halloumi cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Dry the halloumi with a paper towel to soak up any excess moisture.
- Cut the halloumi into rectangular strips.
- Mix the flour with the garlic powder in a shallow dish or bowl.
- Beat the eggs in another dish or bowl, and fill a third bowl with the breadcrumbs.
- Dredge the halloumi sticks in the flour and shake off the excess.
- Dip the floured halloumi into the eggs and then the breadcrumbs.
- Place the halloumi sticks on the baking sheet and bake until golden, about 25 minutes.
- Serve the halloumi sticks warm with the dipping sauce(s) of your choice.