Saganaki (Flaming Greek Cheese)


Saganaki is a Greek appetizer made with fried kasseri cheese. The ritual of adding brandy and flambéing the cheese was started by restaurateurs in Chicago, who encouraged customers to yell "Opa!" as the plate was being ignited. You can recreate the tradition at home in minutes, whether you'd like to spark up a little romance with an old flame on date night or just try a fast and fun cheese dish on a chilly weeknight. Serve with sliced fresh or grilled bread.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
15 mins


  • 1 (4 ounce) package kasseri cheese

  • 1 tablespoon water, or as needed

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour, or as needed

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons brandy, at room temperature

  • ½ lemon, or to taste

  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian parsley


  1. Brush each side of kasseri cheese with water; dredge both sides in flour, making sure the surface is completely covered.

  2. Preheat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet on medium-high heat until smoking; pour in olive oil. Carefully place floured cheese in hot oil and cook until cheese begins to ooze and a golden-brown crust forms, about 2 minutes. Quickly flip cheese over with a spatula. Fry until the bottom is golden brown, about 30 seconds more.

  3. Remove from the heat and place skillet onto a napkin-lined plate. Pour brandy into the skillet over the cheese. Light the brandy using a fireplace lighter. Squeeze some lemon juice on top to extinguish the last few flames and garnish with parsley.


Chef's Notes:

I've also done this with a cheese called halloumi, which is tasty but doesn't melt at all, and for me, that's the best part. You can also use Graviera, Kefalograviera, Kefalotyri, or even a firm feta cheese.

Any high-proof liquor will work in this recipe, and you can garnish with oregano if you prefer.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

391 Calories
25g Fat
15g Carbs
16g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Calories 391
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25g 33%
Saturated Fat 11g 56%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 544mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 24mg 121%
Calcium 431mg 33%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 68mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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