If you want to know about Grilling Cheeses, you’ve definitely come to the right place! Get the list of the 20 best grilling cheeses out there for a healthy snack or a summer bbq and learn more about all things cheesy and charred. From halloumi cheese to queso fresco, find out about the ins and outs of grilling cheeses with a bonus recipe for grilled cheese on a stick at the end!
Can any cheese be grilled?
Potentially, any cheese can be grilled. However, there are certain types that are much better suited in terms of achieving the perfect char without fully melting. This means they will hold their shape when grilled under high temperatures, forming a crispy crust!
Choosing the wrong cheese will result in a gooey mess, leaving you with a cleanup you didn’t plan for!
Save yourself the hassle and learn the characteristics that make some types of cheese better than others for grilling.
What makes cheese perfect for grilling?
When you’re at the store looking for the best cheese to grill, keep these factors in mind:
Melting point: If a cheese has a high melting point, it will hold its shape on the grill.
Firmness: Cheese with a firm and dense texture won’t fall apart or turn mushy as easily.
Flavor: Ideal cheese varieties for grilling should have a fairly bold flavor that can withstand the grill and complement other flavors in the dish it’s served with.
Fat content: It’s ideal to opt for cheese with a low-fat content to avoid flare-ups on the grill or lead to a greasy, burnt flavor.
Cost: Look for cheese in your price range that is also easy to find at a local grocery store near you.
Moisture level: Choose cheese with a low water content to avoid a soggy or watery mess on the grill.
Cooking time: You want cheese that has a quick cooking time to prevent a tough, overcooked, and rubbery final result. Most grilling cheeses cook on the grill or on a grill pan for between 1-3 minutes per side.
Best grilling cheeses
The following list includes some of the 20 best cheeses for grilling. It is by no means exhaustive, but I think it will provide you with a great starting point and a better idea of what to look for at the store.
A salty, semi-hard goat and sheep milk cheese from Cyprus -- with a high melting point that makes it one of the best cheeses for grilling.
When fresh, it is dense with a raw taste, but once grilled or pan-fried, its exterior turns crispy and golden brown, while the inside softens without melting.
Halloumi is my favorite substitute for queijo de coalho (Brazilian rennet cheese). It is also the cheese I used in my recipe for grilled cheese on a stick.
But due to its salty brine, soak in water for about one hour and then pat dry very well before grilling in order to more closely resemble queijo de coalho.
But halloumi may be expensive. I am sure it is much more economical at Greek markets than at Whole Foods.
This is a hard, salty yellow cheese made from sheep's milk and/or goat's milk in Greece and Cyprus. Because it has a high melting point, pan-fry or grill it without turning it into a gooey mess.
It is saltier than halloumi and needs to be desalted by soaking in a couple of changes of fresh water and then pat dry before grilling. It also has a bold, tangy flavor!
Buy it in specialty stores and at Greek markets. It prepares a traditional Greek appetizer called saganaki, a flambéed fried cheese prepared in a small frying pan.
Its other related cheeses are graviera, kefalograviera, halloumi, and kasseri.
Kefalograviera (keh-fah-lo-grahv-YAIR-ah), is another popular Greek grilling cheese made from sheep and goat’s milk.
It is not quite as firm as kefalotyri and is pale yellow with a slightly salty, nutty, sweet flavor. In terms of saltiness, it sits somewhere between savory kefalotyri and mild graviera. Just keep in mind that it will melt more quickly on the grill than kefalotyri.
You can find kefalograviera in specialty Greek or Mediterranean markets sold in wheels or wedges. It is reasonably priced, especially compared to some other cheese varieties on this list.
Graviera cheese is the softest and most mild Greek cheese compared to kefalotyri and kefalograviera, so it will melt the fastest. It is typically made from cow or sheep’s milk (and sometimes goat’s milk), and it resembles gruyère (this is where the name is derived).
Once grilled, it turns slightly gooey with a crispy crust, so it is another common option for saganaki.
It is quite widely available in other countries besides Greece. Find it at large grocery stores, Greek or Mediterranean markets, specialty cheese shops, or online.
Kasseri is a Greek cheese made from sheep's milk. It's tangy, salty, and semi-hard. Some include it in the grilling cheese list, but the truth is kasseri is not a grilling cheese. It melts faster than regular provolone.
This hard, white cheese is similar to halloumi and can be made from either cow’s or goat’s milk. The best option for grilling is Mastelo cow cheese.
It is produced on the islands of Chios in Greece, so it is only available in certain areas of the world (New York being one of them).
Mastelo is also often used to make saganaki, which can be served as part of a mezze platter. It has a high melting point, making it a top option for grilling or pan-frying.
Feta is made from sheep or goat’s milk, and it is quite tangy and very salty. This Greek cheese is crumbly and used in many dishes of Mediterranean origin.
It may not be the first grilling cheese that comes to mind, but it performs surprisingly well under high heat. It develops nice char lines, a crispy exterior, and softens slightly in the middle.
Just make sure to keep the block whole to prevent it from crumbling everywhere, and also is not the creamy feta type which is best for baked feta and also the famous TikTok feta pasta.
The great thing about feta is that it is moderately priced and can be found at pretty much any grocery store around the world.
It is a fresh, non-melting cow's milk cheese common in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Paneer is firm enough to hold its shape once grilled.
Because some varieties contain very little salt, it is best to taste it first. If needed, brine it in salty water and then pat dry before grilling. When grilled, it holds its shape much better than halloumi, acquiring perfectly grilled marks.
It is nearly half of the cost of halloumi cheese and is available at Whole Foods, some local supermarkets, and of course, Indian markets.
Queijo de Coalho
Also known as queijo coalho, Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈkejʒu ˈkwaʎu]), it is a Northeastern Brazilian rennet cheese with a firm yet lightweight cheese and an almost "squeaky" texture when bitten into.
It is a very popular, cheap, skewered snack for street-eaters and beach-goers in Brazil.
Although Northeastern Brazilians also enjoy raw queijo de coalho, it is ideal for pan-frying or grilling because of its high melting point.
Once grilled, it develops a great golden surface without melting much as you can see in how to make carne de sol com queijo de coalho. Another plus is that it doesn't need to be de-salted or brined before grilling.
It's my favorite cheese for grilling, but unfortunately, it is not easily available in the US. You can try to order it online or find it at some Brazilian food markets in the USA.
Also known as queijo-de-minas, pronounced [ˈkejʒu (dʒi) ˈmĩnɐs] and translated as Minas cheese, this is a type of cow's milk cheese that has been traditionally produced in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
It makes the famous Brazilian cheese bread.
There are four varieties: frescal (fresh), meia-cura (half-matured), curado (matured), and padrão ("standard" cheese).
It matures naturally in open air, or much less often, over a cooker to dry with heat. Serve the variety frescal (fresh) with goiabada or guava paste (the combo is called Romeo and Juliet) or doce de leite (dulce de leche).
Or, use to pan-fry or grill, developing a golden surface while keeping its shape. It is not easily available in the US either.
A popular Argentinean cheese, provoleta is similar to provolone with a mild, buttery flavor. It is fairly firm and dense, making it a great choice for grilling. Once heated, it turns slightly gooey on the inside with a crispy crust.
To grill it, brush it with olive oil and herbs if you’d like. Grill it until it is just browning, but don’t leave it too long or it will melt through the grates. Serve it as an appetizer with crusty bread.
You should be able to find provoleta in some Latin American grocery stores, or you can look online.
tropical grilling cheese
Also known as "queso de freir", this Latin odd cheese can be regularly seen in the Central and South American cheese section at local grocery stores.
Although it's not a traditional cheese, it is manufactured to have the properties that make it ideal for grilling because it browns on the outside while keeping its shape.
It has a mild taste, making pico de gallo, chimichurri sauce, or molasses great options to serve with.
Queso Panela is a Mexican grilling cheese made from cow’s milk. It is white, fresh, and smooth! Enjoy it fried or grilled since it holds its shape and doesn't melt easily.
It is versatile and enjoyable in nopal salads, quesadillas, tacos, etc. Just grill it for one or two minutes on each side.
Two other similar Mexican cheese varieties that you can use instead of queso panela are queso blanco and queso fresco.
Also known as queso fresco, queso blanco (or white cheese) is a Mexican fresh cow’s milk cheese with a slightly sweet and mild flavor. It’s firm and has a crumbly texture. It melts slightly when grilled, but develops a crispy exterior.
This cheese is also used as a topping for tacos such as this spicy shrimp tacos.
If you can find this cheese, it’s quite inexpensive and pairs well with grilled vegetables. You can substitute queso fresco or paneer if you can’t find queso blanco.
Ragusano is a Sicilian cheese made from raw cow’s milk. It is tangy, salty, and firm. As it ages, it has a distinct spicy ﬂavor that goes well with herbs and olive oil.
You can find this type of cheese grilled in street stalls in Italy, then added to slices of bread. Once grilled, it becomes slightly gooey and develops a crispy crust.
To cook it at home, you can just pan-fry it with a light drizzle of olive oil over low heat until it begins to soften. You’ll most likely have to look for this type of cheese at specialty cheese shops.
Although some include provolone within the list of grilling cheeses, it's not 100% grillable cheese. Why?
It may not melt so quickly on the grill but after a certain time, it does not hold its shape that well. Perhaps a better quality than the deli version, such a hard provolone, holds its shape better. For a spicy variant, you can try provolone piccante.
Pecorino Romano is a sharp, salty cheese with a very firm texture. You’ll most often find it grated over pasta and salad dishes, but it holds up extremely well on the grill.
Once you add it to the grates, it develops a caramelized crust and remains firm. You can find this cheese at a reasonable price point in most grocery stores or specialty cheese shops.
Juustoleipa is a cow's milk cheese produced in Finland and Sweden. It's also known as “Bread Cheese,” because of its crust-like appearance that is similar to a loaf of bread. Grill it at medium heat and serve with jam.
Camembert and Brie
Both melt on the grill. You may find some grilled camembert or grilled brie recipes online, but the truth is these cheeses do NOT hold their shape under fire. Indeed, you can see how well brie melts in this Brie en Croute recipe.
Some even wrap them in foil or grill them on a plank to avoid the gooey mess on the grill grate.
This is by no means a complete list. I am sure there are more cheeses that one can use for grilling, but the question is how well these others would hold their shape under high heat.
If you are asking how many calories are in a grilled cheese, it depends on the cheese! See the grilling cheese recipe below.
Well, enjoy our grilled cheese on a stick, and happy grilling!
Tips for grilling cheese
Cheese type: Make sure you choose a cheese that’s hard or semi-hard so it doesn’t melt as easily.
Preheat: Preheating the grill under medium-high heat will help the cheese develop a perfect crust.
High-smoke point oil: It can help to add a small amount of oil to the cheese to prevent it from sticking to the grill, griddle, or frying pan. Use just enough oil to brush the grill pan or the grates of your outdoor grill. I prefer no-stick cooking spray though. But some high smoke point oils with a mild flavor are avocado oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil.
Thickness: Cut the cheese into thick slices or sticks to prevent it from melting too quickly. This is especially important for softer cheeses.
Griddle or basket: Using a grilling basket or griddle prevents the cheese from sticking and can make the flipping process easier.
Heat: Grill the cheese on medium-high heat to develop the crispiest, golden-brown crust.
Watch closely: Don’t leave the grill unattended! Cheese can burn and melt very quickly.
Don’t overcook: Overcooked cheese is tough and rubbery. Make sure you cook it just long enough to acquire grill marks and a golden brown crust.
Serve hot: Serve your cheese immediately after grilling it for the best texture.
Rest before cutting: If you’re cutting it after grilling, let the cheese rest for about 5 minutes so it doesn’t fall apart.
Clean the grill: Make sure you do a thorough cleaning of the grill grates after you’ve finished so you don’t run into sticking issues in future recipes.
If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them in water for about 10 minutes before gently threading them into the cheese sticks. This will prevent the wood skewers to burn under high temps.
Differences between grilling cheeses and grilled cheese
Grilling cheeses may sound similar to grilled cheese, but the two couldn't be more different! Grilling cheeses refer to cheese that’s meant for the grill.
In other words, they don’t melt easily when exposed to heat. They present a crispy exterior and a gooey interior. Examples include halloumi, paneer, and kefalotyri.
On the other hand, grilled cheese is a type of sandwich made with soft, melting cheese variety (like cheddar or mozzarella). When the bread is grilled or pan-fried, the cheese transforms into a gooey, creamy masterpiece.
Although both methods involve grilling and cheese, one is specifically meant for grilling on a grill and the other is a classic sandwich.
Grilled cheese on a stick
Known as grilled cheese sticks, grilled cheese on a stick, or grilled cheese skewers, this simple recipe is popular in Brazilian cuisine. They are easy to prepare and make a great snack for any occasion, especially during grilling season.
In Brazil, the most common type of cheese is called coalho cheese. As mentioned, it is firm, salty, and doesn’t melt easily. There are a few options to choose from when it comes to cooking the cheese:
Outdoor grill: This is my favorite method as it’s the most traditional and offers beautiful char marks as well a complex flavor from the flame.
Grilling pan: A grilling pan is the next best option if you don’t have access to a grill. You can still achieve fairly good grill marks and a nice charred flavor.
Air fryer: Although not traditional, you’d be surprised at how well cheese sticks crisp up in an air fryer. The benefit is a quick cooking time and easy clean up.
Since coalho cheese may be challenging to find outside of Brazil, you can try any of the other options included in the list of grilling cheeses. However, I find halloumi or paneer provide the most similar characteristics to coalho, although they don’t have the same flavor.
This recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, keto, and low-carb!
How to grill cheese
- Soak wood skewers in a rectangular container with cold water for 10 minutes. This will help them not to burn when grilling the cheese.
- Cut cheese into thick sticks. PIC. 1 NOTE: If using halloumi cheese, soak cheese sticks in a bowl with cold water for about 30-60 minutes and then pat them dry before grilling because halloumi is quite salty. Otherwise, skip this step!
- Pat cheese sticks dry very well with a paper towel. Gently thread the stick into the cheese stick. PIC. 2
- Preheat a grill pan until sizzling hot over medium-high heat and then grease it with the cooking spray.
- Cook cheese sticks for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown with grill marks. PICS. 3 & 4 TIP: Depending on the type of grilling cheese you use, it can take between 1-3 minutes per side to grill (or get grilled marks with a golden brown, crispy crust).
- Lastly, season your grilled cheese skewers with salt (only if your cheese is not salty), pepper flakes, fresh herbs, and drizzle with honey or maple syrup. They are crispy and quite yummy! TIP: Chimichurri sauce also makes a great savory choice to serve these Brazilian grilled cheese skewers with. In Brazil, these can be served with black treacle or molasses. This means you can serve them either with a sweet or savory side.
What to serve with grilling cheeses
Once the cheese sticks are cooked, you can serve them with chimichurri sauce, molasses (black treacle), or honey. For more ideas, garnish your grilled cheese on a tick with different toppings like these:
Oil: Drizzling herb-infused oil over the cheese adds rich, savory flavors.
Balsamic glaze: A sweet, zesty, and tangy balsamic glaze is always a great option.
Compote: Pair your grilled cheese sticks with a sweet fruit compote, like apricot or fig, to complement the salty cheese.
Syrup: Raspberry or blueberry syrup can also add fruity sweetness and depth of flavor.
Mustard: Mustard adds a tangy kick, which balanced the richness of the cheese.
Salsa: Any type of salsa, whether sweet or spicy, will impart unique flavors and textures.
What is a grilling cheese?
A grilling cheese is a specific type of cheese that’s meant to be grilled. It is a hard or semi-hard cheese that doesn't melt easily on the grill. This type of cheese recipe is meant to be served straight from the grill and has a crispy exterior with a soft interior.
How do I grill a grilling cheese?
All you have to do to grill a grilling cheese is preheat the grill and place the cheese directly on the grates. Cook the cheese for a few minutes on each side until crispy. It’s best to slice the cheese thickly to prevent it from melting too quickly.
Can I use a grilling cheese in other recipes besides grilling?
Yes, other than grilling, you can use grilling cheese for recipes like salads, pizzas, or sandwiches. You can even incorporate it into dishes like pasta, casseroles, or lasagna.
Preparation and storage are incredibly important when it comes to grilling cheeses. Follow these steps to keep your cheese fresh:
Before grilling: Keep most cheeses stored in the fridge in their original packaging, an airtight container, or a sealable plastic bag.
After grilling: Let the leftover cheese cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can reheat it again on the grill, skillet, or air fryer when you’re ready for more. If reheating in a microwave, it will melt!
Freezing: Freezing grilled cheese is not recommended as it can really affect the taste and texture once thawed. Harder cheeses (like halloumi or paneer) can be frozen before grilling, but it’s best to just keep them in the fridge.
Other cheese recipes to enjoy
If you love all things to do with grilling cheeses, take a peek at these recipes that are filled with this flavorful and versatile ingredient:
- Cream Cheese Fruit Dip (Keto)
- Meat and Cheese Platter (Charcuterie Board)
- Whipped Feta Dip
- Shrimp Cheese Ball Recipe
- Bacon and Cheese Brazilian Hot Pockets
- Ham and Cheese Baked Rice Recipe
- Broccoli, Ham, and Cheese Pop Tarts Recipe
- Provoleta Fried Cheese
- Cheese Stuffed Garlic Bread Rolls
PIN & ENJOY!
20 Best Grilling Cheeses and Grilled Cheese on a Stick Recipe
- 1 Grill pan , or outdoor grill
- 20 oz halloumi queso fresco, or other grilling cheese [Paneer, Kefalotyri, "Tropical grilling Cheese" (queso de freir), queso panela, Brazilian queijo de coalho, queso fresco, etc.)
- No stick cooking spray to grease grill pan
- Soak wood skewers in a rectangular container with cold water for 10 minutes. This will help them not to burn when grilling the cheese.
- Cut cheese into thick sticks. NOTE: If using halloumi cheese, soak cheese sticks in a bowl with cold water for about 30-60 minutes and then pat them dry before grilling because halloumi is quite salty. Otherwise, skip this step!
- Pat cheese sticks dry very well with a paper towel.
- Preheat a grill pan until sizzling hot over medium-high heat and then grease it with the cooking spray.
- Cook cheese sticks for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown with grill marks. TIP: Depending on the type of grilling cheese you use, it can take between 1-3 minutes per side to grill (or get grilled marks with a golden brown, crispy crust).
- Lastly, season your grilled cheese skewers with salt (only if your cheese is not salty), pepper flakes, fresh herbs, and drizzle with honey or maple syrup. They are crispy and quite yummy! TIP: Chimichurri sauce also makes a great savory choice to serve these Brazilian grilled cheese skewers with. In Brazil, these can be served with black treacle or molasses. This means, you can serve them either with a sweet or savory side.
- Before grilling: Keep most cheeses stored in the fridge in their original packaging, an airtight container, or a sealable plastic bag.
- After grilling: Let the leftover cheese cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can reheat it again on the grill, skillet, or air fryer when you’re ready for more. If reheating in a microwave, it will melt!
- Freezing: Freezing grilled cheese is not recommended as it can really affect the taste and texture once thawed. Harder cheeses (like halloumi or paneer) can be frozen before grilling, but it’s best to just keep them in the fridge.
** Nutrition labels on easyanddelish.com are for educational purposes only. This info is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate, since the nutrition content of recipes can vary based on ingredient brand or source, portion sizes, recipe changes/variations, and other factors. We suggest making your own calculations using your preferred calculator, based on which ingredients you use, or consulting with a registered dietitian to determine nutritional values more precisely.
Please note that health-focused and diet information provided on easyanddelish.com is for educational purposes and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Consult with your doctor or other qualified health professional prior to initiating any significant change in your diet or exercise regimen, or for any other issue necessitating medical advice.
POST WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON JULY 21, 2015.
Little Cooking Tips says
Denise what an excellent idea for serving grilled cheese!! Panos will definitely try it with kasseri or graviera and your chimichurri sauce to our next bbq gathering. Delicious!!! Have a beautiful day!! 😀 xoxoxo
A big wow! I have never had the pleasure of trying grilled cheese, on the grill! Both paneer and halloumi are readily available at my grocery store. I'll be trying this tempting recipe soon.
Coffee and Crumpets says
I grew up eating halloumi and it's one of my favourite cheeses, grilled or straight up. It's very popular in the ME as well and England also, so I always got plenty!
I'm not a huge fan of paneer, but my kids love it.
I love the chimichurri sauce idea, going to try that next time.
Anna @ shenANNAgans says
I still remember my very first bite/taste of halloumi, it was heavenly, slight squeak as I bit, then that salt explosion. Gahhhh - Droooool! Little bit drool on the keyboard now. LOL! Will absolutely be trying your cheese sticks, especially with the sweet glaze. Very clever! 🙂
John/Kitchen Riffs says
What an informative post! I've never grilled cheese, but I'm definitely going to. And thanks to you, I know exactly which ones to look for! Love this -- thanks so much.
Paneer is one of my favorite cheese ever, maybe next to goat cheese. I've eaten halloumi and I love that too.
The dressing and the grill marks on the cheese are perfect. love this one.
Gourmet Getaways says
Those cheese sticks look so nice and flavourful! A perfect list for the summer, indeed! Julie is still enjoying the cool breeze while Alesah may take advantage of this recipe with the warm and humid weather in Manila 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!
Julie & Alesah
Gourmet Getaways xx
OMG - mind blown here. Why are we not all eating grilled cheese sticks at all time!??!
Jess @ whatjessicabakednext says
These grilled cheese sticks look amazing! I've just got back from a holiday in Cyprus and we ate halloumi almost every single day! It's so good and amazing grilled or fried! I'm definitely going to give paneer a try!
Fran @ G'day Souffle' says
Denise, thanks for the information regarding (especially) Haloumi cheese. I bought some recently and didn't like eating it plain, but sounds like grilling it improves the flavour. That's interesting that the cheese doesn't melt when you grill the sticks- your photo makes the sticks almost look like chicken pieces!
Dedy@Dentist Chef says
I only know about hanoumi n paneer before, this is tempring to try!!!!
Grilling or even frying Halloumi is trendy in the Middle East. I didn't know that paneer could be also grilled. I love that you served with chimichurri sauce! You pictures are so beautiful! Cheers!
Hi Denise, thank you SO much for all your help and wonderful advice on cheeses for grilling. I joined Hello Fresh about 5 months ago, and my favorite recipe is one with grilled cheese. I wish I had found this food blog of yours before attempting to grill it the first time! (I melted my cheese, quite the trick!) Anyway, your list and recipe are very helpful. Have a great day, Lee
Denise Browning says
Thank you Lee for stopping by. I am so glad you found the info useful. I love grilled cheese. My family and I have been grilling them for years. Enjoy!