Certain cheeses, such as halloumi and mozzarella, are often stored in sealed packages that are filled with liquid rather than air (I'm assuming to help to preserve it for longer).

However, this tends to cause a problem when it comes to cooking, as a large amount of excess moisture inevitably leaks out. This sometimes really ruins certain dishes, for example when shallow-fried halloumi becomes almost poached, or when the mozzarella causes a pizza base to become soggy.

The only solutions I've found are to grate the cheese and squeeze out the moisture (which changes the texture) or to wrap the cheese in paper towels and leave it for a while to absorb some of the water (which takes a long time), neither of which are always an option.

Are there any more effective methods for removing the excess liquid from these types of cheeses immediately prior to cooking?

  • 2
    What shape is the cheese? Balled mozzarella won't press as well as a block of Halloumi, but a small cheese press works for the latter (I bought mine for making paneer and pressing the packing water out of tofu)
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 12:02
  • @ChrisH I've never heard of a cheese press until now, but I'll definitely check that out. And I have had the same problem with tofu in the past so it's good to know it works for that too. Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 12:24
  • Why isn't the paper towel method always an option? Nothing about your question would disqualify that method. Are you searching for something that requires no time, no waste, or meets some other constraint? If so, please state.
    – ruief
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 2:29
  • @ruief it does take a long time, but it could also be because I've ran out of paper towels. Either way, they aren't always options, so I'm looking for a more consistent and efficient method. Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 8:25
  • You're using the wrong kind of mozzarella then. There are different varieties. Sadly I don't know what it's called since I'm not an expert, so I just make this a comment. My local mozzarella producer has a special variety for cases when you need them a bit drier, e.g. Pizza. If you don't have a specialized store, you can even buy them at least at my local super market, but mostly as crumbled mozzarella in a package. It tastes just as bland as the one you buy in those small plastic packages, so I don't see any downsides
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 8:28

2 Answers 2


The tool for the job is a cheese press, though for small quantities a tofu press (I have one similar to this) works well. I bought mine for home-made paneer and bought tofu, but have also used it for halloumi and mozarella (home made, not brilliantly successful).

The idea is simple: wrap the cheese in a cheesecloth, place in the press, weight, and wait. If your cheese doesn't have flat parallel sides the design I've linked above won't work as well; there are more piston-like shapes that keep the top plate of the press horizontal.

You can improvise with two plates, but it's fiddly, and the bottom plate should really have drainage holes.


For cheeses like Halloumi, there should not be a real problem, isn't it ?

It should be pan fried quickly at high temp, so that the humidity does not come into play.

For fresh mozzarella, there's not much to do that will not change the texture/taste of the cheese.

You could press it, but it will change the texture.

If wanting to put on a pizza, make certain that you bake it at as high temperature you can, so that the humidity quickly evaporate; and the longer it stay in the oven, the more humidity will leech from the cheese.

You could use a regular mozzarella (not fresh) for you pizza.

When I use fresh mozzarella on a pizza, I will bake my pizza to near completion, then add the cheese and put under the broiler.

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