What Cheese Is Used For Saganaki?

Saganaki is a Greek dish that is both tasty and fun to watch being made. It shows off Greek cooking in every hot bite. The dish is named after the pan it’s cooked in, giving it a cozy, party-like feel. Different regions use different cheeses to make Saganaki, adding to the variety of flavors.

This article explores Saganaki and the cheeses that can be used, each bringing something special to the dish. The right cheese is important for a delicious saganaki. Let’s learn more about this popular Greek appetizer and all the tasty cheese options available.

What Cheese Is Used For Saganaki?

No matter which shape you pick, whether it’s the flaming cheese or the classic fried cheese, the key to making the perfect Saganaki is choosing the right cheese.

So, people have different opinions based on their preferences.

People who prefer classic choices and flavors often choose traditional options. In Greece, the main cheeses used to make Greek Saganaki are Graviera, Kefalograviera, and Kefalotyri. These cheeses are yellow and hard, with a mild, nutty flavor.

For different tastes, cheeses like Formaela from Arachova, Ladotyri from Mytilene, Komos from Naxos and Mastelo are great for Saganaki. Talagani and halloumi, popular grilled cheeses, are also used for Saganaki.

The cheese needs to be somewhat firm so it won’t melt completely in the heat. It should have a texture that holds up in the pan, melting on the outside but staying soft inside.

You can use soft white cheeses like feta cheese and manouri for Saganaki. They need special preparation and are usually not chosen. Cut them into thick slices and dip them in water, then flour, and then water again. This creates a protective layer that keeps the cheese moist and prevents it from melting.

When cooking, make sure to focus on getting the perfect crust! This crust is important for both taste and presentation, as it keeps its shape and doesn’t melt on the plate.

How To Make Saganaki?

Cooking Saganaki is easy and gives a fun food experience with its tasty fried cheese and exciting presentation. Here is a basic recipe to make this Greek starter at home:


  • 1 block of semi-hard cheese, such as kefalotyri, graviera, or pecorino, that weighs 8 ounces.
  • All-purpose flour for coating
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup of high-quality olive oil
  • 1 small lemon cut into small pieces
  • ½ Add a small amount of brandy or Ouzo and ignite it to create a flame.


Get the cheese ready. Cut the cheese into two slices that are about half an inch thick using a sharp knife. Wash each slice with water that is not too hot or cold, then gently dry them a little bit. This will make it easier for the flour to stick to the cheese.

Cover the cheese with flour. Put flour on a plate and add black pepper. Dip the cheese in the flour until it’s completely covered.

Cook the cheese in a pan. Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, place the cheese slices in the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Reduce the heat slightly. Flip the cheese and cook until the other side is golden brown.

Finish and serve. Put lemon juice on the cheese and serve immediately. To flambé the cheese, take the pan off the heat. Pour brandy into the skillet and light it carefully. When the alcohol burns off, add lemon juice on top and enjoy!

How To Store Saganaki?

How you store Saganaki depends on whether it’s already cooked or if you have some leftovers. Here are some tips for each situation:

Storing Uncooked Saganaki Cheese

Refrigeration: If you haven’t cooked the cheese yet, keep it in the original packaging or wrap it tightly in cling film or aluminum foil. Put it in the fridge, preferably in the cheese drawer for consistent temperature. Saganaki cheeses can last up to two weeks in the fridge if stored correctly.

Storing Cooked Saganaki

Cooling Down: Let the cooked Saganaki cool down before putting it away. Don’t leave it out for more than two hours or bacteria might grow.

Refrigeration: Put the cooled Saganaki in a sealed container. You can keep it in the fridge for a few days.

Reheating: When you’re ready to eat, warm up the Saganaki in a skillet over low heat to make it hot and crispy again. It’s best not to use the microwave because it can make the cheese rubbery.

How To Serve Saganaki?

This appetizer is easy to make, but you can’t make it ahead because it needs to be served hot. It only takes 5 minutes to make, so there’s no need to make it ahead. Saganaki is served with lemon and that’s it. Put it on the table and cut it into small pieces.

It’s usually not eaten with bread, but I like to have it with a simple tomato salad or romaine lettuce to balance out the richness of the cheese. It’s not the healthiest food, but a saganaki is usually shared between 2-4 people, so it’s just a small amount of cheese for each person.

When making Saganaki, the type of cheese you choose is really important for getting the true, delicious taste of this Greek dish. Kefalograviera is the classic favorite because it fries up to a nice golden color and stays gooey inside. Other cheeses like Kasseri, Halloumi, and Graviera have their own unique textures and flavors, so you can pick the one you like best. Picking the right cheese not only makes the dish taste better but also makes sure every bite is as good as the showy way it’s served. Whether you like it with lemon or flambéed at the table, the right cheese is key to a great Saganaki experience.

Thanks for reading. I hope you find it helpful.

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