Saganaki (Greek fried cheese) is crunchy on the outside and melty on the inside. If you like cheese, you're going to love this pan-seared Greek cheese appetizer. Ready in 10 minutes!
Saganaki refers to Greek dishes that are prepared in a small frying pan. The cheese is probably the best known, especially outside of Greece.
I first had cheese saganaki in a Greek restaurant. I'm annoyingly picky about the kind of cheeses I like, so I'm not sure what exactly prompted me to try this. Anyway, I've been hooked ever since. It's always spectacular (and slightly scary) when they flambé it at your table, but don't worry - we're not lighting anything on fire here. That part is optional at your own risk.
It's perfectly safe if you do it properly, but I am not going to suggest something that may burn your house down 🙂 Basically, you would add a little brandy after the cheese is cooked, and then flambé it before you squeeze the lemon juice on top to extinguish the flame.
I was originally going to post a fried halloumi recipe, but I couldn't find any at my usual grocery store, and I didn't feel like driving around looking for it.
What kind of cheese do you use to make saganaki?
I found a cheese labeled as "saganaki cheese" in the cheese section by the brand Krinos. It's a firm ripened cheese made from cow's and sheep's milk. I did some research and if you can't find something like that, you could try other Greek cheeses such as kefalograviera, kasseri, or graviera. I think you probably would need to go to a more niche grocer to find any of those.
The key to this dish tasting so good is squeezing on a lot of lemon juice and eating it when it's hot.
It gets hard quite quickly so it's best enjoyed right in the pan, in my opinion. I've never been to a Greek restaurant that didn't serve it right in the skillet.
Will you try this Greek fried cheese recipe?
Questions? Let me know!
Saganaki (Greek Fried Cheese)
- 1 piece saganaki cheese
- Flour for dredging
- Olive oil for frying
- 1/2 lemon cut into wedges
- In a small skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. You want enough oil that the bottom of the skillet is well coated.
- Dredge cheese in flour.
- Once the oil is hot, add the cheese. Fry for a few minutes on each side until it's golden brown. It may stick a little, so use a metal spatula to loosen it and then flip it.
- Serve immediately with lemon juice squeezed over the cheese. If you wish, you can drain some of the oil prior to adding the lemon juice.
- If you can't find a cheese that's labeled as a saganaki cheese, try kefalograviera, kasseri, or graviera cheese.
- The skillet pictured is a 5" Lodge cast iron skillet. It works for a small piece of cheese 🙂
- If using a cast iron skillet, let it heat up, and cook the cheese on medium heat since it retains heat so well.