Easy, 10-Minute Greek Saganaki Recipe

Updated on September 7, 2017
Crispy skinned Kasar saganaki.
Crispy skinned Kasar saganaki. | Source

Delicious Fried Cheese To Make You Go "Mmmmmm"!

If you haven't fried cheese in a frypan yet, you're in for a real treat with saganaki! I recently met a Greek man who showed me how to fry saganaki the easy way and the flavour is fantastic.

Saganaki cheese is a great way to bring out the caramelized flavour of the cheese on the surface, while retaining a salty extra deep cheese flavour on the inside. This cheese is served hot and sizzling as a Greek entrée. It can be rather filling, so only a few pieces are needed.

When you fry cheese, you get the most out of the flavour. It is 110% better than just eating the cheese unfried. Imagine the difference between eating a flavourless square mishmash from some cheese corporation vs a homemade, matured brie with white wine. It is THAT big of a difference!

Choosing Saganaki Cheese

Get your tastebuds ready to tango with this sizzling entrée!

Firstly, you will need to pick your cheese. Select one from the box on the right.

There are probably many choices of cheese spelling, but you get the idea. Each type of cheese tastes different, so there is definitely a smorgasboard to try. I enjoy Kasar cheese the most out of all of these, because it has a distinctive, briny flavour.

The main differences are in the flavour and the texture – some are saltier than others, while some have a firmer texture than others. If you are a beginner with saganaki, halloumi cheese is a good choice as it won't melt as easily.

Saganaki Cheeses

Pick one of these:

  • Kassar or Kasar cheese
  • Kefelogreviera or Graviera cheese
  • Kefalotyri or Kefalotiri cheese
  • Kasseri cheese
  • Halloumi cheese (from Cyprus)
  • Any kind of labelled “Saganaki” cheese

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: Serve two pieces per person for an entrée size.

Ingredients

  • Saganaki Cheese
  • Dried oregano
  • Refined salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Lemon
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Paper towel

Directions

  1. Make the plate. Put oregano, ground pepper and refined salt on a plate or in a bowl and mix it up with a teaspoon.
  2. Cut cheese into 1cm widths (it doesn't matter what shape it is - wedges or rectangles) and coat both sides in the herbal mix.
  3. Wipe non stick frying pan with olive oil on a paper towel. Keep oil to a minimum. Place the cheese in the cold frying pan. Turn on the heat to maximum.
  4. Cook until cheese is brownish on the underside, making sure it doesn’t melt too much (a bit around the edges is fine). If it does start melting a lot and losing its shape, remove immediately from heat and flip the cheese.
  5. Flip cheese over, if you haven’t done so already and brown the other side.
  6. When lightly browned and a little crispy, transfer to serving plate.
  7. Squeeze lots of lemon juice over the saganaki and serve hot, as hot as possible. If you have any hot serving plates, then bring them out, prewarm them and serve the saganaki on them for the best effect!
Slice saganaki cheese into 1cm thick slices.
Slice saganaki cheese into 1cm thick slices. | Source
Mix oregano, pepper and salt on a plate and press the cheese into the mix on both sides. You can also use other dried mixed herbs, but oregano is the Greek preference.
Mix oregano, pepper and salt on a plate and press the cheese into the mix on both sides. You can also use other dried mixed herbs, but oregano is the Greek preference. | Source
Frying the saganaki. In this case, there is too much olive oil in the frypan. There should only be a smear of oil, otherwise the cheese melts quicker and you have less chance of getting that crispy golden skin.
Frying the saganaki. In this case, there is too much olive oil in the frypan. There should only be a smear of oil, otherwise the cheese melts quicker and you have less chance of getting that crispy golden skin. | Source

More Ways Of Cooking Saganaki

Seared Saganaki
Try grilling it in a grillpan for searing marks and a nice effect when presenting to guests. You will need to cut the cheese wedges thicker for this – about 1.5m - to 2cm thickness. Cook for longer too.

Coated Saganaki
Breadcrumbing this cheese before frying is a great way to make it more of a meal when presenting with salads on a plate. Dip cheese in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs before frying until crisp.

Saganaki Marinara
Use sheep’s milk feta cheese to make a marinara saganaki. Cook tomato paste with herbs and spices, then place shrimps, prawns or mussels along with cubed feta into the frypan and cook for 10 minutes. Serve with bread and a glass of white wine.

Searing halloumi cheese in a grill pan. Halloumi is a good choice for this type of frying, as it has a thicker texture, making it less likely to melt.
Searing halloumi cheese in a grill pan. Halloumi is a good choice for this type of frying, as it has a thicker texture, making it less likely to melt. | Source

Rate This Recipe

4.6 stars from 5 ratings of Greek Saganaki Recipe

Impress Guests With Flaming Saganaki

Make as above, then use a separate container to pour alcohol Ouzo (anise aperatif) or Metaxa (Greek brandy) onto the cheese in the frypan, light the alcohol and carry to the table in a flaming saganaki. You can also light the saganaki at the table.

NOTE: Make sure your roof is high so you don’t end up with a burnt roof. Do not pour alcohol straight from the bottle onto the cheese in the frypan, as it can result in explosion, fire or burns.

Origins Of Saganaki

Saganaki was invented in Greece or Turkey, but has evolved into becoming known throughout history as a Greek dish. It is recorded that in the 1800s, it was served in the Ouzerias (tavernas) of Greece.

It is a common entrée in the Mediterranean and is also found in Egypt, as a signature dish of Alexandria.

The word “saganaki” comes from the name of the traditional two-handled frying pan used to cook it – either the “sagani” in Greek or the “sahan” in Turkish.

The first flaming saganaki was served in 1968 at The Parthenon Restaurant in Greektown, Chicago. Since then, it has become a popular restaurant dish in the USA.

The finished skin of the saganaki should be crispy. Serve saganaki with lots of lemon juice squirted over it.
The finished skin of the saganaki should be crispy. Serve saganaki with lots of lemon juice squirted over it. | Source

Saganaki is a divine, delicious cheese creation that can easily be made in 10 minutes. My thanks to the Mediterranean people who invented this amazing flavour. I hope you find saganaki as easy to make as I do and I think that once you try it - you will want it in your life regularly...

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Suzanne Day

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Christina Poe 

        15 months ago

        Very nice! I'm from Greece too! :)

      • peachpurple profile image

        peachy 

        3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

        wow your presentation is so good, you can sell them on kindle

      • Monis Mas profile image

        Aga 

        4 years ago

        I haven't heard of this dish. It looks very yummy on the photo though!

      • Victoria Lynn profile image

        Victoria Lynn 

        5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

        I have never heard of this kind of cheese, but my boyfriend and I have accidentally discovered how great fried cheese tastes. We were putting it on eggs. Since then, we have both fried cheese for sandwiches. The flavor is incredible!

      • vespawoolf profile image

        vespawoolf 

        5 years ago from Peru, South America

        I've never heard of saganaki, but it sounds divine! I do love the texture of fried cheese and yours sounds extra flavorful. I also enjoyed your photos. Thank you for sharing!

      • jacksson47 profile image

        John Reeder 

        5 years ago from Reedley, CA

        Yes, from the Greek side of the world. Now I have to get my wife to make it for me. Maybe I can trade honeydoos. lol

      • Mike Robbers profile image

        Mike Robbers 

        5 years ago from London

        I really love saganaki!! Is so easy to make, yet so delicious!! Thanks for the whole presentation :) Voted up!

      • prasetio30 profile image

        prasetio30 

        5 years ago from malang-indonesia

        Wow....Yummy...Actually, I had never heard about Greek Saganaki. But from the pictures it sound delicious and I can't wait to make it soon. Of course, I'll show this hub to my mom. Dear friend, I love your picture profile. I am so happy to see you again. God bless you and Voted up :-)

        Prasetio

      • peachpurple profile image

        peachy 

        5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

        never heard of this cheese but looks good on anything !

      • Susan Recipes profile image

        Susan 

        5 years ago from India

        Great hub with beautiful pics. Thanks for sharing.

      • CraftytotheCore profile image

        CraftytotheCore 

        5 years ago

        This sounds amazing. Your photos are fabulous. Well-written! Great presentation.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        5 years ago from USA

        I have never heard of Saganaki cheeses but love the idea of flaming and frying it. Five stars.

      • Suzanne Day profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Day 

        5 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

        You can usually find these cheeses in ethnic shops - Turkish supermarkets, Greek delicatessens and possibly some of the bigger chains, depending on where you are. Ethnic food markets might stock some in the deli section. You can try Middle Eastern grocery stores too.

        I get all mine from a Turkish shop which I didn't even know existed until about 4 months ago. The cheeses are about the same price or cheaper than the normal cheeses you can buy, so I wouldn't pay too much for them!

        If you know anyone of Turkish, Greek or Mediterranean descent, you can ask them where to buy it and they should (theoretically) know as these cheeses form a common part of their diet.

        Then again, I'm in Melbourne, Australia where it can be a bit multicultural when it comes to shops....so it might take more of a hunt on your end.

      • DzyMsLizzy profile image

        Liz Elias 

        5 years ago from Oakley, CA

        Thanks much for the info--I've actually never heard of or seen any of the cheeses you mention here. Perhaps they are limited to specialty or high-end grocery stores, or are regional in availability.

      • jponiato profile image

        jponiato 

        5 years ago from Mid-Michigan

        Looks good. Might have to to try it.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        5 years ago from Olympia, WA

        How very interesting. I have never done this but it looks so incredibly easy that I think you just might have a convert. Thank you!

      • Suzanne Day profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Day 

        5 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

        Hi DzyMsLizzy, you could try any cheese you want, but for a traditional flavour the cheeses listed in this hub rolled in oregano are the way to go. Saganaki was invented with halloumi, etc in mind. Let us know if you try a different cheese that tastes good - I have an inkling that a chilli/cheddar combination might work OK.

      • DzyMsLizzy profile image

        Liz Elias 

        5 years ago from Oakley, CA

        This sounds easy and amazing. I never would have thought you could fry cheese!

        I do like cheese, but the "sharpest" flavors I like are bleu or sharp cheddar. I don't care for the "mature/ripe" cheeses such as brie, and I wouldn't be able to get near enough to limburger to even think of sticking it in my mouth.

        Would a Gouda or sharp cheddar work? Perhaps a Jarlsberg or Muenster?

        Voted up, starred, shared and pinned.

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