Top Pick Of The Week

July 24, 2012


You can grill yanni cheese like fish or chicken: It holds its shape and can be used to top a salad or in the delicious suggestions below. Photo by Looby | Dreamstime.

WHAT IT IS: A Mediterranean-style cheese that is resistant to heat. It’s delicious warm, hot or at room temperature.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: You can grill it and it doesn’t melt: It just gets softer and creamier.
WHY WE LOVE IT: It’s creamy, luscious comfort food.
WHERE TO BUY IT: At retailers nationwide (store locator or phone assistance, 1.888.767.0778).

Sliced Yanni Grilling Cheese

Slice and grill: It’s delicious. You can also succumb to temptation and eat it without heating. Photo of jalapeño and original Yanni Grilling Cheese by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

Photo of Yanni Grilling Cheese packages by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE. Chef’s knife from Shun.


The Other Grilled Cheese:
Yanni Grilling Cheese (Watch Out, It’s Addictive)

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If you’re trying to cut back on cheese, don’t buy Yanni Grilling Cheese from Karoun Dairies. It’s addictive, and you’ll be back at the store the next day to buy more—much more.

This oh-so-delicious comfort food can be baked, grilled, microwaved or pan-fried. It’s made for grilling without melting: a solid piece of cheese without runniness. The grill or the pan gives it a browned surface or grill marks, with a soft and creamy middle. It’s PDH: pretty darn heavenly.

Yanni is a traditional, semi-firm Mediterranean grilling cheese, creamy and mildly salty with a rich buttery taste. It develops a delicious golden crust when pan-seared, grilled or barbecued—similar to halloumi, but it’s a much better cheese (see why below).

Karoun makes original and jalapeño flavors, the latter with crushed chili flakes. The jalapeño is only mildly spicy and provides an excellent counterpoint to the creamy cheese. We found ourselves adding a pinch of chili flakes to the original variety.

How To Serve Yanni

Here are our favorite ways to enjoy grilled yanni cheese:

  • Appetizer. Serve grilled slices on a plate with sliced tomatoes, or a skewer of raw or grilled cherry tomatoes and with arugula or basil leaves. Drizzle fine olive oil lightly across the plate.  
  • Burgers. Grill alongside the burgers, then place the grilled cheese on the burger. Yum!.
  • Cheese Course. As the cheese course, with grilled fruit, fresh fruit or fruit salad. For grilled fruit, try grapes on skewers, stone fruit halves and/or pineapple.
  • Grilled Cheese. In a grilled cheese sandwich—use garlic butter for a memorable garlic bread grilled cheese
  • Party Food. As “lollipop” food at a party (here’s how).
  • Salad. Add grilled yanni atop a salad, in slices or dice—combining the salad and cheese course. To counter the creamy cheese, we like a spicy salad of arugula or watercress, red onions and cherry tomatoes in an olive oil-balsamic vinaigrette. Snip in some mint or parsley.
  • Skewers. Add to skewers with chunks of meat (or tofu for vegetarians) and vegetable.

You can also enjoy yanni without heating it, but its heating qualities make it truly special.

The Difference Between Yanni and Halloumi Cheeses

Both yanni and halloumi are dense cheeses that can withstand the heat of a stove or a grill without melting.

  • Yanni is pale yellow compared to white halloumi.
  • Yanni’s texture is more layered.
  • But the real reason to reach for the yanni it that it is much less salty than halloumi (much halloumi is way too salty for us).

Why doesn’t these cheeses melt? It’s all in the recipe. The curd is heated before the cheese making process begins. This pre-preparation toughens the curd and makes the finished cheese heat resistant.

How To Grill Yanni Cheese

It couldn’t be easier:

  • Slice. Slice the brick into half-inch-thick slabs.
  • Cook. Place on a hot grill or sauté pan that has been brushed with olive oil.
  • Flip. As the cheese rectangles lose their sharp edges, flip them. After another minute, you’re ready to pop them onto the plate, salad, burger, etc.

See more delicious recipe ideas in the photos below.


— Karen Hochman

Get Cooking With Cheese!

The Great Big Cheese Cookbook   The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook and Guide   The Tillamook Cheese Cookbook

The Great Big Cheese Cookbook, by Running Press. More than 300 recipes that show how to bring out the best in Cheddar, Feta, Gruyère, Gouda, Mozzarella, Swiss and other favorites. More information.


The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook and Guide, by Paula Lambert. The great cheese maker shows that she is also a great cook, with more than 100 recipes, including savory cheesecakes and desserts. More information.


The Tillamook Cheese Cookbook, by Kathy Holstad. The award-winning Cheddar co-ops delivers some 150 sophisticated recipes (try Hazelnut Crusted Salmon with Cheddar Pesto). More information.


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